I was looking at RNAV (GPS) RWY 6. I considered that conceivably ATC could have me enter the hold at an altitude requiring a rapid descent to get to the initial approach altitude.

I know that unless NoPT is specified on the initial segment or from the TAA sector that you must do at least 1 hold, but what I wasn't sure was could you do more than one hold at your own discretion?

So, say, you were told to cross the IAF at 4000 and you felt like losing 2000 feet in half a hold would make your passengers uncomfortable, could you just make two laps? Would you have to ask ATC for permission first?

It looks like crossing the hold fix is your initial approach fix and then it's subsequently an intermediate fix so it seems like the design is that you enter the hold and then cross the holding fix on your way into the approach, so it seems like it's designated that you cross the fix only twice, but I wanted to be sure.


Certainly there are exceptions. When directed by ATC to fly a straight in approach, the hold-in-lieu is not required. If NoPT is designated for your TAA region or on your initial segment, then it is forbidden.

To rephrase my question, given that your hold-in-lieu is required then your lower bound is 1 hold. Is there a designated upper bound of 1 hold as well?

I.e., if a hold -in-lieu-of-procedure turn is required, is it 1 and only 1 hold?

Sorry for the confusion.

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of When are procedure turns not required? $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Sep 13 '16 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ Technically it is not a holding; it is a racetrack. $\endgroup$ – expeditedescent Sep 13 '16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @ymb1, it's not a duplicate. I specifically mentioned that it's required at least once unless otherwise specified. My question is specifically regarding the upper bound on the number of laps around the hold. Is it indeed designated as 1 or is that up to the discretion of the pilot? $\endgroup$ – D. Patrick Sep 13 '16 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Hougaard, do you mean that racetrack is vernacular for "hold-in-lieu-of-procedure-turn?" $\endgroup$ – D. Patrick Sep 13 '16 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ @D.Patrick I understand, it's just a possible dupe. Other answer says when in contact with ATC things differ. Also you can always ask for whatever you want from ATC. If there's a baby on board you can even ask for a very shallow descent for the baby's ears. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Sep 13 '16 at 16:36

When flying a hold-in-leiu-of-procedure-turn and the exemptions from that procedure are not met, you must fly that procedure exactly once. From the AIM, 5-4-9(a)(5):

The holding pattern distance or time specified in the profile view must be observed. For a hold−in−lieu−of−PT, the holding pattern direction must be flown as depicted and the specified leg length/timing must not be exceeded. Maximum holding airspeed limitations as set forth for all holding patterns apply. The holding pattern maneuver is completed when the aircraft is established on the inbound course after executing the appropriate entry. If cleared for the approach prior to returning to the holding fix, and the aircraft is at the prescribed altitude, additional circuits of the holding pattern are not necessary nor expected by ATC. If pilots elect to make additional circuits to lose excessive altitude or to become better established on course, it is their responsibility to so advise ATC upon receipt of their approach clearance.

Further notes: I'm not sure quite what you mean by losing 2000 feet in "half a hold", but if you got a clearance to maintain 4000 until established, you could start your descent immediately after crossing ODAZO, giving you 8 miles plus a one-minute turn to descend. At 120 kt, that's 4 minutes for the 8 miles, so 5 minutes for 2,000 feet or 400 ft/min - perfectly reasonable.

Finally, you mention that "When directed by ATC to fly a straight in approach, the hold-in-lieu is not required." Your statement should be stronger: as when NoPT is printed on the chart, a straight-in clearance forbids the procedure turn/HILOPT unless you ask for and receive approval from ATC.

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  • $\begingroup$ Awesome answer!! Thanks @NathanG! $\endgroup$ – D. Patrick Sep 14 '16 at 22:53

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