TRANSITION TO VISUAL SEGMENT OF THE APPROACH
The transition to the visual segment on an instrument approach may begin at any point during the
approach, once the field is in sight. If a VDP is depicted on the approach, you should not descend
below the MDA prior to reaching the VDP.
On PAR, ASR, and Localizer approaches, the aircraft should be very close to being lined up on
centerline when you gain visual reference with the runway environment. The transition in this
case should be relatively simple. All that is normally required is a speed reduction while
continuing the descent from the DH/MDA to intercept a normal visual glidepath. Comply with
the minimum speed for the aircraft configuration until touchdown. On Nonprecision
approaches, you must also decide if flaps should be used.
On other types of Straightin approaches (TAC/VOR), the final approach course may be as much
as 30º off runway heading. For example, the TAC 14 to North Whiting has a FAC of 124º, while
actual runway magnetic heading is 137.9º. In these cases, it will be necessary to continue on the
final approach course until you can make a turn to line up on centerline. To avoid needing large
heading corrections at low altitude, do not "angle in" toward the runway.
Some Nonprecision approaches have MDAs of 800/1 or higher. At typical approach speeds in
the T34C (120 knots), this could require descent rates in excess of 1600 FPM if you do not break
out prior to the MAP. In these cases, an aggressive power reduction, possibly idle power, may be
required in which case a missed approach may be warranted. Typically, if you gain sight of the
runway at the MAP itself, a safe landing is not possible. Remember, adjust nose attitude
accordingly to maintain a safe speed. Try to dissipate excess altitude and airspeed as soon as
possible so that you can arrest the resultant high sink rate prior to the landing threshold.
Remember just because the runway environment is in sight at the MAP does NOT mean a safe
landing can be made. Both of these conditions must be met before attempting a landing from a
Circling approaches can present a very challenging situation. If the weather is at or near
minimums, the circling maneuver may severely tax the pilot's ability. While you will attempt to
fly the aircraft to a normal VFR checkpoint (i.e., 180, 90, final), it may not be possible. A
thorough discussion of different types of maneuvers is discussed in Section 710.
Remember, a ¾ wingtip on downwind at 400 feet AGL (for example) will be much closer to the
runway than at the normal VFR altitude of 800 feet AGL, and may not be a sufficient distance
from the runway to allow a safe turn to final. There are no absolutes on Circling approaches; you
must use good judgment to position the aircraft for landing.
INSTRUMENT NAVIGATION 7-19