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View Full Version : Contact Approach question


BlackPaw
01-15-2015, 02:41 PM
There is some debate on a particular aspect of a contact approach among some of my buddies.

They say that you can request and perform a contact approach if you can see an aircraft ahead of you that is either also on a contact approach or on an ILS and you do not have to meet the visibility requirements specified in the AIM.

I just can't see where following an aircraft exempts you from the visibility required.

AIM 5-4-25 and 5-5-3 states the following:

"By requesting the contact approach, indicates that the flight is operating clear of clouds, has at least one mile flight visibility, and reasonably expects to continue to the destination airport in those conditions."

Any input?


galaxy flyer
01-15-2015, 02:56 PM
The controller has to provide separation for each aircraft on any approach, so it'd be hard to clear one for an ILS and another for a contact. Contacts basically give the aircraft flying it the entire local airspace, as there is no defined course guidance. You'll only see them issued at small airports with little traffic.


GF

EasternATC
01-15-2015, 05:13 PM
There is some debate on a particular aspect of a contact approach among some of my buddies.

They say that you can request and perform a contact approach if you can see an aircraft ahead of you that is either also on a contact approach or on an ILS and you do not have to meet the visibility requirements specified in the AIM.

I just can't see where following an aircraft exempts you from the visibility required.

AIM 5-4-25 and 5-5-3 states the following:

"By requesting the contact approach, indicates that the flight is operating clear of clouds, has at least one mile flight visibility, and reasonably expects to continue to the destination airport in those conditions."

Any input?

They are misleading you with incorrect information. We are trained to be leery of contact approaches; having two aircraft on contact approaches would cause tsuris.


rickair7777
01-15-2015, 05:27 PM
I think you can be given a contract approach to follow another aircraft. The traffic to follow would probably need to be on a visual or contact as well.

JohnBurke
01-15-2015, 05:59 PM
There is some debate on a particular aspect of a contact approach among some of my buddies.

They say that you can request and perform a contact approach if you can see an aircraft ahead of you that is either also on a contact approach or on an ILS and you do not have to meet the visibility requirements specified in the AIM.

I just can't see where following an aircraft exempts you from the visibility required.

AIM 5-4-25 and 5-5-3 states the following:

"By requesting the contact approach, indicates that the flight is operating clear of clouds, has at least one mile flight visibility, and reasonably expects to continue to the destination airport in those conditions."

Any input?

Blackpaw,

Your friends are confused between a visual approach and a contact approach.

ATC may assign a visual approach, and the pilot must have either the airport in sight, or the preceding aircraft.

A pilot must request a contact approach, and it is predicated on the ability to remain clear of clouds with at least one mile visibility. There is no provision in a contact approach for following another aircraft, insofar as a criteria for the clearance.

Separation from IFR and VFR traffic is provided during a contact appreoach, until the pilot switches to the advisory frequency. In the case of a visual approach, however, if the pilot accepts the clearance based on the preceding aircraft in sight, the pilot takes responsibility for separation.

A contact approach is an approach procedure. A visual approach is not an instrument approach procedure.

aviatorhi
01-15-2015, 08:32 PM
Contact Approach is to an IFR flight as Special VFR is to a VFR flight.

That's the easy way to remember it.

Contact App
01-15-2015, 11:15 PM
Can be used in lieu of an IAP

Can be reqested by the Pilot but not instructed like a Visual Approach from ATC

1 S MILE and clear of clouds required

Contact App
01-15-2015, 11:26 PM
You could be thinking about making a sidestep maneuver or whether to go for a Contact approach

BlackPaw
01-16-2015, 04:14 AM
Thank you everyone, it definitely didn't seem right, I think they are mistaking it for a visual approach as well.

rickair7777
01-16-2015, 08:47 AM
Thinking about it, I have been cleared for a contact approach (done a gazillion of them at a certain airport) and also instructed to follow/reference another aircraft. Sounds like the contact approach clearance wasn't legally based on following the other aircraft, that was just a separation advisory sort of thing.

Twin Wasp
01-16-2015, 09:21 AM
From the controller's handbook:

7−4−6. CONTACT APPROACH
Clear an aircraft for a contact approach only if the
following conditions are met:
a. The pilot has requested it.
NOTE−
When executing a contact approach, the pilot is
responsible for maintaining the required flight visibility,
cloud clearance, and terrain/obstruction clearance.
Unless otherwise restricted, the pilot may find it necessary
to descend, climb, and/or fly a circuitous route to the
airport to maintain cloud clearance and/or terrain/
obstruction clearance. It is not in any way intended that
controllers will initiate or suggest a contact approach to a
pilot.
b. The reported ground visibility is at least
1 statute mile.
c. A standard or special instrument approach
procedure has been published and is functioning for
the airport of intended landing.
d. Approved separation is applied between
aircraft so cleared and other IFR or SVFR aircraft.
When applying vertical separation, do not assign a
fixed altitude but clear the aircraft at or below an
altitude which is at least 1,000 feet below any IFR
traffic but not below the minimum safe altitude
prescribed in 14 CFR Section 91.119.
NOTE−
14 CFR Section 91.119 specifies the minimum safe altitude
to be flown:
(a) Anywhere.
(b) Over congested areas.
(c) Other than congested areas. To provide for an
emergency landing in the event of power failure and
without undue hazard to persons or property on the
surface.
(d) Helicopters. May be operated at less than the
minimums prescribed in paras (b) and (c) above if the
operation is conducted without hazard to persons or
property on the surface.
e. An alternative clearance is issued when weather
conditions are such that a contact approach may be
impracticable.
PHRASEOLOGY−
CLEARED CONTACT APPROACH,
And if required,
AT OR BELOW (altitude) (routing).
IF NOT POSSIBLE, (alternative procedures), AND
ADVISE

So no visibility relief for following another aircraft but they do have to separate traffic.