Logging Approaches


Well-Known Member
Okay, maybe this has been covered, but I haven't found anything on it. At what point can you log an approach? Do you have to be IMC until the DA/MDA? Two examples:

1. I shot an an ILS tonight. The approach commenced at 1,600' in the clouds and we broke out at 600' and landed. The DA is 300'. Does this count as a loggable approach?

2. I then shot a VOR approach. The approach commenced at 1,800' and we broke out at 1,200'. The MDA is 540'. Is this approach loggable?

In IFR training most instructors take their students to the MDA/DA before the student removes the hood and goes visual. However, in the real IFR world not all approaches go to the DA/MDA before going visual. So where is the line drawn on what is loggable and what is not?
Approach #1: definitely loggable. Approach #2: I'd say yes to that one too. If you're on an IFR flight plan and shoot an approach and it's day VMC, then I would say that it's loggable too (more so if you shot the approach and didn't sneak a peak) if you didn't cancel IFR and fly visual (i.e. stay under the IFR flight plan until you taxi off the runway). I know for a fact that you don't have to fly down to the minimums for every approach to be able to log it. Another way to look at it would be did you start the approach in IMC and stay under IFR until landing? Then yes, that is loggable. However, if you started in IMC, popped out and cancelled IFR since you had a clear view of the airport, then no, I would not log that one as an approach.

I shot two approaches yesterday in VMC and didn't log them since I was not under the hood or under an IFR flight plan.

Basically, it's one of the "use your best judgement but be fair" scenarios.
They are both logged approaches. The procedure began in IMC and decent from the FAF was IMC. You can only log an approach in VFR if you are under the hood and have a safety pilot. It doesn't matter if you filed IFR.

Also, it don't matter if you cancel IFR after breaking out as long as the approach started in IMC.
I agree with Bryan. Basically I figure that if a VFR descent from the MSA to the airport is not possible than you can log an approach.
However, I have logged approached where I was out of the clouds, but due to blowing snow I couldn't see the runway at the FAF, I logged that too, even though technically the flight visibility and ceilings allowed for VFR.
I would log both of the approaches. I personally log any approach where I start the approach in IMC regardless of whether I break out at mins or during my descent from the final approach fix.
anybody have a quick answer for logging approaches in a sim, and/or the proper way to do such a thing?
FAR 61.51 - Pilot Logbooks

(g) Logging instrument flight time.

(1) A person may log instrument time only for that flight time when the person operates the aircraft solely by reference to instruments under actual or simulated instrument flight conditions.

(2) An authorized instructor may log instrument time when conducting instrument flight instruction in actual instrument flight conditions.

(3) For the purposes of logging instrument time to meet the recent instrument experience requirements of Sec. 61.57(c) of this part, the following information must be recorded in the person's logbook--

(i) The location and type of each instrument approach accomplished; and
(ii) The name of the safety pilot, if required.

(4) A flight simulator or flight training device may be used by a person to log instrument flight time, provided an authorized instructor is present during the simulated flight.

[/ QUOTE ]

To me, I would think that according to parts 1 & 3 (ii), since the airport was below VFR minimums during the ILS approach, i.e. you didn't need a safety pilot or a hood, that approach would qualify. But, since the VOR approach was done with the airport above VFR minimums, your approach would have required a hood and an appropriately rated safety pilot, which you didn't have and therefore wouldn't qualify. It almost doesn't seem fair in your case since it was so close, but imagine if you would have broken out at 3000'. Would you consider that an approach logable for currency?

Dak, see part 4.