What is a "short Approach"?

bob44zw

Junior Member
Apr 5, 2011
108
1
18
Specifically, when a Cherokee asks for a short approach, and a tower says "short approach approved" what can that Cherokee now do that it could not have done without that specific clearance?

Background for this question: when Cherokees ask and get approval, they run downwind only one mile past the abeam point instead of the usual two miles.

More background: I have asked elsewhere - Cub drivers and AOPA - you are my last stop. Consensus among Cub pilots is that a "short approach" is one where the base leg is abeam the threshold or even closer to the departure end, and is usually coupled with a long landing.

I have personally assumed it meant anything where the final approach was shorter than the AIM- suggested 1/4 mile. From pattern altitude abeam, even a Cub cannot do that at normal speeds without a giant slip.

What say the guys who issue the clearance.
 

FL_CTI

Trusted Member
Oct 8, 2009
467
3
18
Colorado
Depends on how the pilot defines "short approach". Most of the time, when I issue the clearance, I assume they are going to turn their base abeam the numbers or very soon thereafter, but I have seen pilots fly 1/2 a mile out and call that a short approach. The AIM is simply there for guidance and is not regulatory so technically, a pilot can keep their approach as short as they want unless ATC dictates otherwise.
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
1,561
21
38
If I tell a pilot to make a short approach, I expect something shorter than what they've been making on their previous laps. Usually base no further out than a half-mile. If it's turboprops of the Pilatus and King Air variety, I expect a base no further out than one mile. Lots of pilots are well inside of that though.
If a pilot asks me for a short approach, I'm expecting the CFI to do a power-off 180 with their student, so they're aiming for the numbers. Basically I won't have time to get a departure out.

I'm more curious why a Cherokee pilot is going 2 miles out past the abeam point for a normal base.
 

bob44zw

Junior Member
Apr 5, 2011
108
1
18
They are training for the airlines. Stabilized approaches. I fit in well, because even in a Mooney I am half their speed, and half their pattern. In the Cubs and Stearman the tower expects power off approaches - at least from me.

I am just blown away when an instructor asks for a short approach, then proceeds to do a one mile downwind. It doesn't seem to affect operations any. Thanks for the input.
 

Amyth013

Newcomer
Jun 20, 2012
1
0
1
Former CFI here. When a student is in the pattern practicing a short approach there's a lot going on in the cockpit that differs from a regular pattern approach. Instead of reducing power to less than cruise setting when abeam the numbers (which is typical when practicing normal landings), you pull power to idle and perform a simulated glide to the touch down point, essentially doing a 180 from the downwind leg instead of squaring the downwind/base/final leg turns. That being said, the glide ratio of most single engine trainers is pretty good, so that even with less power, most students practicing a short approach still fly pretty close to the same distances as a regular approach so that they don't end up super high on final.
Many primary instructors I know don't even bother requesting a short approach because it doesn't make a huge difference, where controllers are concerned, in terms of time to touchdown, etc.
 

thirtythree

Senior Member
May 24, 2011
180
1
18
Specifically, when a Cherokee asks for a short approach, and a tower says "short approach approved" what can that Cherokee now do that it could not have done without that specific clearance?

Background for this question: when Cherokees ask and get approval, they run downwind only one mile past the abeam point instead of the usual two miles.

More background: I have asked elsewhere - Cub drivers and AOPA - you are my last stop. Consensus among Cub pilots is that a "short approach" is one where the base leg is abeam the threshold or even closer to the departure end, and is usually coupled with a long landing.

I have personally assumed it meant anything where the final approach was shorter than the AIM- suggested 1/4 mile. From pattern altitude abeam, even a Cub cannot do that at normal speeds without a giant slip.

What say the guys who issue the clearance.
I agree with the cub pilot. It means the plane can turn base at any point they want, including prior to passing the approach end of the runway on downwind.
 

ChefBryardee

Rookie
Jul 5, 2018
34
0
6
Fort Worth
In my experience, "approved" anything in the pattern is basically the same as flying a closed pattern. The citation jets I've seen hit the peak of their base anywhere from 1 to even 3 miles out. They all usually fly however they want as long as they're allowed.
 

slater

Epic Member
Oct 16, 2009
1,293
17
38
Outside your window
I usually toss in "long landing approved" with a short approach. Helps them cut sooner and able to olan a faster exit from rhe runway. Especially if you say "plan to exit Bravo 4" followed by "in front of a b737 on a 4 mile final."

Be prepared for the pilot to completely botch the short aproach. Have a back up plan.