low approach vs. missed approach

DanTheMan

New Member
The other day I was doing some practice approaches, called up SoCal and requested "VOR-A Riverside, low approach, followed by blah blah blah...". Checking back in with SoCal after the approach I said something to the effect of "cessna 7339D, on the missed approach off of riverside, climbing to blah blah blah...".
Well, then the controler gives me heck about how "missed approach" is a term used exclusively in IMC for when you were attempting to land and couldn't see the airport. He said the term I should use is "low approach" because I was never planning on landing.
I don't see what the big deal is because it was 100% VMC and they knew I was on a low approach because that's what I requested. Why did this guy waste everybody's time on someting seemingly so trivial? Is it really that big of a deal? Thanks
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
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The other day I was doing some practice approaches, called up SoCal and requested "VOR-A Riverside, low approach, followed by blah blah blah...". Checking back in with SoCal after the approach I said something to the effect of "cessna 7339D, on the missed approach off of riverside, climbing to blah blah blah...".
Well, then the controler gives me heck about how "missed approach" is a term used exclusively in IMC for when you were attempting to land and couldn't see the airport. He said the term I should use is "low approach" because I was never planning on landing.
I don't see what the big deal is because it was 100% VMC and they knew I was on a low approach because that's what I requested. Why did this guy waste everybody's time on someting seemingly so trivial? Is it really that big of a deal? Thanks

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The terms are used interchangebly, and this would be somewhat nitpicking, IMO. Executing the published missed is when you're actually complying with the written or ATC issued missed approach instructions, normally in IMC. "Executing climbout" is more what one does on a low approach in VMC. Either way, when sent from tower back to approach on a climbout/low approach (practice), there's really no need to inform the controller of this; simply checking in with your callsign and altitude ( at and climbing to, if appropriate) should suffice.
 

DanTheMan

New Member
Thanks MikeD, I thought it might be a little easier on him if I told him exactly where I was, but I guess he knows how long the approach takes so he'll expecting me to be checking in. Maybe I'll just leave that part out all together from now on.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
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Thanks MikeD, I thought it might be a little easier on him if I told him exactly where I was, but I guess he knows how long the approach takes so he'll expecting me to be checking in. Maybe I'll just leave that part out all together from now on.

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Not only that, but he has your flightstrip in front of him, and is expecting you back under his control since he' s most likely the one that just cleared you for that approach. Technically speaking, if you'd only been issued, for example, a heading and altitude as climbout instructions following the approach, and you call "missed approach", you're doing something different than what he told you to do.
 

sixpack

New Member
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Not only that, but he has your flightstrip in front of him, and is expecting you back under his control since he' s most likely the one that just cleared you for that approach. Technically speaking, if you'd only been issued, for example, a heading and altitude as climbout instructions following the approach, and you call "missed approach", you're doing something different than what he told you to do.


[/ QUOTE ] I didn't know that either. I've always called in saying "... back with you on the missed". Since I never got any feedback to the contrary, and that's what everyone seems to do, I took for granted it was correct.

Just goes to show, you can learn something new every day! Time to refresh myself on the AIM.
Thanks for the insight!
 

Pilot Hopeful

Well-Known Member
How I would use the two terms:
When contacting tower or announcing intentions on the advisory frequency, if you do not intend to land, state “Low approach only.” Then, as you execute the missed approach, announce “Missed approach.” Both statements accurately reflect what you will intend to do.

I like to read Don Brown’s articles at Avweb.com. As an Atlanta Center controller, Brown provides many insights for improving our communication as pilots. From what I have read and what I would prefer to do, dantheman’s experience seems a little unusual, but I don’t think it should change our approach to communication.

1. Let the controller know what you are doing. If you are flying a missed approach, say so: “Cessna XYZ, missed approach.” How else should an instrument student explain his situation, when, under the hood, he cannot see the runway even with VMC and must execute the missed approach? In this case, low approach is entirely unacceptable, since the student must immediately commence the missed approach (no longer a low approach). If the controller has issued alternate missed approach instructions, say something like “Cessna XYZ, missed approach, runway heading climbing 3000” (or whatever your missed instructions might be).

2. Consider the possibility that the controller does not recall who you are, especially if your approach will terminate at an uncontrolled field. In his most recent article on Avweb, Brown noted an instance where a plane “at random” called on the Atlanta Center frequency and stated only “Piper 123, missed approach.” Yes, the controller had issued the pilot a clearance for the approach at Statesville, but in the busyness since then, he had not communicated at all with the plane (which had switched to the advisory frequency) and temporarily “forgotten” him.

Of course, he had the plane on radar and kept other traffic separated from him, but the pilot most likely would have completed the approach with a landing. In this case, stating “Piper 123, missed approach, Statesville” would have clarified a somewhat confusing situation as the controller frantically tried to find information for the “unfamiliar plane.”

In the end, the goal is to ensure the controller knows what you are doing. While we must all strive to maintain concise communication, we must never be overly brief at the cost of thorough understanding. Remember, when we check in with departure on a missed approach, we have been away from the frequency and do not have the complete picture of the situation. Likewise, the controller may have temporarily “excluded” us from his concerns, and may need a brief reminder of what we are doing to supplement the picture he sees in front of him.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
How I would use the two terms:
When contacting tower or announcing intentions on the advisory frequency, if you do not intend to land, state “Low approach only.” Then, as you execute the missed approach, announce “Missed approach.” Both statements accurately reflect what you will intend to do.

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When checking in with tower, let them know exaclty what you're doing. Approach control already passed them to you, but it doesn't hurt to check-in with "Cessna 123, 8-mile VOR final, low approach, back to radar". This tells them, for the purposes of the tower, that you are flying a low approach (as opposed to landing), and heading back to radar, as opposed to remaining in their traffic pattern VFR. When checking in on an advisory frequency, don't use intersection names, FAF, etc. Give mileage from the runway, so the PVT and Student pilots in the pattern who may not be familiar with particular approach points can gain SA on where you are.
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I like to read Don Brown’s articles at Avweb.com. As an Atlanta Center controller, Brown provides many insights for improving our communication as pilots. From what I have read and what I would prefer to do, dantheman’s experience seems a little unusual, but I don’t think it should change our approach to communication.

1. Let the controller know what you are doing. If you are flying a missed approach, say so: “Cessna XYZ, missed approach.” How else should an instrument student explain his situation, when, under the hood, he cannot see the runway even with VMC and must execute the missed approach? In this case, low approach is entirely unacceptable, since the student must immediately commence the missed approach (no longer a low approach). If the controller has issued alternate missed approach instructions, say something like “Cessna XYZ, missed approach, runway heading climbing 3000” (or whatever your missed instructions might be).


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Again, depends what missed instructions you're following, not whether you're under the hood or not. If flying the published missed, then check-in with "Cessna 123, missed approach". No need to add extra BS like runway heading and climbing to 3000 feet. If you're flying a publiched missed approach, then it's already a known that you're doing that. Remember, clear/concise/correct communication is imperative so as not comm jamm frequencies. If flying previously-issued ATC climbout instructions, then on the low approach, you'd advise tower "Cessna 123, executing climbout" to where they'd tell you "Cessna 123, contact departure/frequency change approved, etc". Then you'd check-in with the approach/departure controller with "Cessna 123, 2000' for 3000' heading 120," or whatever the initial portion of the climbout instructions are.
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2. Consider the possibility that the controller does not recall who you are, especially if your approach will terminate at an uncontrolled field. In his most recent article on Avweb, Brown noted an instance where a plane “at random” called on the Atlanta Center frequency and stated only “Piper 123, missed approach.” Yes, the controller had issued the pilot a clearance for the approach at Statesville, but in the busyness since then, he had not communicated at all with the plane (which had switched to the advisory frequency) and temporarily “forgotten” him.

Of course, he had the plane on radar and kept other traffic separated from him, but the pilot most likely would have completed the approach with a landing. In this case, stating “Piper 123, missed approach, Statesville” would have clarified a somewhat confusing situation as the controller frantically tried to find information for the “unfamiliar plane.”


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Agree with this situation

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In the end, the goal is to ensure the controller knows what you are doing. While we must all strive to maintain concise communication, we must never be overly brief at the cost of thorough understanding.

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Nor be overly blabby, which is more than often the case, on frequencies. You can easily exercise the C3 comm l demonstrated, and pass all the info needed.
 
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