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I've been practicing circling approaches in Homestead General Aviation Airport in Homestead, Florida (X51). I performed the RNAV (GPS) RWY 10 approach with circling minimums.

approach RNAV 10

My questions are:

a) For example if the active runway is Runway 18, then how exactly is the circling procedure performed? Should I start circling after crossing the MAP (XAGUH), or before?

b) And if the active runway would be 36, then the circling procedure would be to enter a downwind, then a base and then a final. Until when should I maintain the Circling MDA?

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The FAA instrument flying handbook discusses techniques and the procedures by which circling approaches must be conducted.1

You must remain within the protected area or circling radii, but as soon as you enter this area, you may begin the circling maneuver. Usually, this means you will begin the maneuver well before the missed approach point. In particular:

a) "The criteria for determining the pattern to be flown are based on personal flying capabilities and knowledge of the performance characteristics of the aircraft. In each instance, the pilot must consider all factors: airport design, ceiling and visibility, wind direction and velocity, final approach course alignment, distance from the final approach fix to the runway, and ATC instructions." b) "Fly no lower than the circling minimums until positioned to make a final descent for a landing." (page 10-20 of Ref 1).

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