5.15. Circling Procedures

[The discussion in this section pertains to operators that are approved for circling at less than 1000 and 3. If your operation is not so approved, recommend that you refer to the section on VFR Circuits for procedures.]

[During circling it is mandatory that the aerodrome remain in view of at least one of the pilots. The pilot who is maintaining visual contact is tasked primarily with keeping the aerodrome in sight. The other pilot is tasked with constant monitoring of aircraft altitude, speed, and bank angle. Whatever procedure your organization uses to carry out a circling manoeuvre, the above principles must apply. The procedure described in this section assumes that the pilot who flew the approach will remain in control of the aircraft throughout the circling procedure all the way to landing. In our example, if it is necessary to circle with the aerodrome on the opposite side of the aircraft from PF, the PNF would provide heading and turn guidance to manoeuvre the aircraft into a position for the PF to visually acquire the area of intended landing. We chose this procedure because it permits us to illustrate some manoeuvres that may apply to a broad variety of procedures. We neither endorse nor disapprove of such a procedure. It is merely an example. You must develop procedures that meet the requirements of your operation.]

  1. General - The information in this section provides guidance for circling from an Instrument Approach. Circling may be required whenever no straight-in minima are published, when the approach flown does not serve the runway of intended landing, or when a reconnaissance of the runway is advisable. Effective crew coordination is vital to safe and effective circling. This section provides guidance for crew coordination as well as configuration of the aircraft. This section must be used with the section on Landing Procedures that is found later in this chapter. Basic information on circling is found in the AIP and the Instrument Procedures Manual. The following points apply to all circling procedures:
    1. Visual contact with the aerodrome shall be maintained by at least one of the pilots throughout the circling manoeuvre.
    2. If visual contact with the aerodrome is lost, a missed approach shall be executed.
    3. The aircraft should remain at the MDA until in a position to commence a normal descent for landing.
    4. No more than 30o of bank is to be used during the circling manoeuvre.
  2. Aircraft Configuration - The recommended configuration for circling until the aircraft commences the final descent for landing follows. For information on landing see the Landing Procedures section later in this chapter.

    [Insert the aircraft configuration(s) that apply your operation. Specify either as a requirement, a recommended profile, or an approximate configuration. In developing procedures for Intermediate/Final Approaches, consider the following items:
    - Aircraft speed;
    - Circling Category (based on the maximum speed used during the final, circling, and initial part of the missed approach);
    - Engine and/or propeller settings;
    - Landing Gear position;
    - Flap setting;
    - Icing considerations;
    - Speed brake or spoiler setting;
    - NAVAID display;
    - Autopilot usage;
    - Flight Director usage.

  3. Crew Coordination - This subsection on Crew Coordination is further divided into areas dealing with procedures that are common to all circling, circling with the aerodrome on the PF side of the aircraft, and circling with the aerodrome on the PNF side of the aerodrome.
  4. Common Procedures - The pilot who flies the instrument portion of the approach should retain control of the aircraft during circling through to landing. As detailed in the section of this chapter dealing with Standard Calls for MDA, the PF calls "Commencing Circling" in response to the PNF's call of "Visual xx o'clock." Once the aircraft has been manoeuvred into a position for a normal landing the PF shall call "Landing" and continue as described in the section "Landing Procedures" found later in this chapter. If reconnaissance of the runway is one of the objectives of the circling manoeuvre, the pilot observing the runway should advise the other pilot of the relevant information using the following format:
    1. Wind;
    2. Obstructions on the runway;
    3. Runway surface condition; and
    4. Remarks.
  5. Aerodrome on PF side - While manoeuvring the aircraft for landing, the PF shall maintain visual contact with the aerodrome. The PNF will primarily monitor the aircraft instruments and immediately advise the PF of abnormal altitude, bank, or speed. The standard calls for abnormal conditions described in the General chapter are to be used.
  6. Aerodrome on PNF side - While the PF is manoeuvring the aircraft and is able to maintain visual contact with the aerodrome, the PNF shall monitor the aircraft instruments and immediately advise the PF of abnormal altitude, bank, or speed. Prior to losing visual contact with the aerodrome, the PF will request heading and turn directions from the PNF using the standard call "Request Steer." The PNF will respond "Check." The PNF will then direct the PF to position the aircraft such that the PNF will remain in visual contact until the aircraft is manoeuvred to a point where the PF can continue to fly the aircraft visually to landing. Once the aircraft has manoeuvred to a position that the PNF assesses that the PF can continue visually, the PF should be advised using the standard call "Visual xx o'clock." The PF should confirm that a landing is advisable, then call "Landing", to which the PNF will respond "Check." The standard calls for steering the aircraft follow:
    1. When a turn to a specific heading is required the PNF should call "Turn Left (or Right) to heading xxx." The PF should respond "Turning Left (or Right) to xxx" and begin to turn the aircraft to the assigned heading. Unless specified by the PNF the turn should be carried out at rate one to a maximum of 30o of bank.
    2. When a specific heading is not easily determined, the PNF may direct the commencement and termination of a turn. To begin a turn the PNF should call "Turn Right (or Left) Now." The PF should respond "Turning Right (or Left)" and roll into a rate one turn to a maximum bank angle 30o unless another bank angle is directed. To end a turn the PNF should call "Roll out, Now." The PF should respond "Rolling Out", and level the aircraft.

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