If you have an aircraft (training flight) that is doing practice instrument approaches and ATC is notified that they will fly the approach and then go missed, what is the correct phraseology for the tower? "Cleared to land" or "cleared missed approach"? Where can I find this information in a document?

  • $\begingroup$ You might be interested in Clearance limit of VFR practice IFR approach? $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about a specific country? There are often some differences between the US and other countries, for example. And can we assume the practice approach is under VFR, not IFR? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ Im asking for a NOn FAA country but if you can provide me with the FAA standard that would be fine as well. The flight was a VFR but simulated IFR with safety pilot. $\endgroup$
    – user30767
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 14:40

4 Answers 4


If you want to go missed on a practice instrument approach rather than land, the controller will clear you for a "low approach".

See here for more on the legality of low approaches.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The caution here is that if cleared for a low approach and you get locked in and make a touch and go instead you are in violation. Better to ask for, and be cleared for the "option". Or even a touch and go... You never have to touch down if cleared, but if you haven't been cleared to touch the runway and you do, I think it is a bigger deal. At least that is what I was taught back in the day, FWIW. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ Oke but where can i find it in some atc manual that is open to the public? For example ICAO has a manual of Radiotelephony. this scenario is not covered by it. $\endgroup$
    – user30767
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 23:21

At a large airport, you would not be able to do this. However, at smaller airports, especially those that are geared towards training, they are very welcoming of this.

When talking to the tower, you can be as formal as you like, or at the smaller, training airports, fairly casual.

"XXX Tower, Tail Number, Location, would like to make a practice ILS approach on runway 10, and depart west/stay in pattern."

The tower would then clear you for a "practice ILS approach". I've heard practice approach used as the accepted terminology before, and I don't think "missed approach" would work, as you can't miss what you never intended to hit!

  • $\begingroup$ You can ask to fly the Miss if that is what you want to practice, like if a holding pattern is involved and you want to practice flying it. You may not get it a large, busy airport, but there may be plenty of others around where it will be granted. Won't get it if you don't ask for sure. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads Personally I've never heard that terminology here, though I do see it's listed in some training materials. If you'd like to edit my answer to include that terminology, feel free. $\endgroup$
    – M28
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ but what standard Radio Phraseology should be used by ATC and pilots for this? For example if atc knows that its a training and i report on the Final approach fix, what instruction should i receive? cleared to land or cleared missed approach.. ? $\endgroup$
    – user30767
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ @user30767 You will never be “cleared missed approach”; that isn’t approved phraseology. Where I usually practice, tower will clear you for “the option” unless they need something specific for other traffic. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 14:42

Just tell them what you want to do. Don't be afraid of using the radio. Your phrasing and stuff will get better as you do it more. Remember, who you are, where you are, what you want to do. For example:

ZZZ Tower, Nxxxxx, 10 miles northeast at 3,500, for the ILS approach to runway 12, then go Missed and (try another approach, depart to the east, etc).

Nxxxxx, ZZZ Tower, cleared for Approach via some approach fix, on the Miss proceed as requested (or other direction provided if they need you out of the way for other traffic for example, such as fly the published hold). Notify when at Outer Marker.

ZZZ Tower, (read back the clearance given), Nxxxxx.

  • $\begingroup$ I think the questioner is asking what clearance the controller would give. $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yes correct im asking what tower should give me, because some times they tell me cleared to land and other times they tell me cleared missed approach Runway XX when i report on final. $\endgroup$
    – user30767
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 23:19

Seems you are all wrong. Here is the information you requested that was copied&pasted from the FAA Pilot & Controller Glossary.

CLEARED FOR THE OPTION — ATC authorization for an aircraft to make a touch and go, low approach, missed approach, stop and go, or full-stop landing at the discretion of the pilot. It is normally used in training so that an instructor can evaluate a student's performance under changing situations.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nothing in the question mentions the FAA or the USA. It's wrong of you to assume this question is specifically about the USA. By default, answers should be based on international regulations, not regulations valid only in one single country. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed, @J.Hougaard, however, based on this comment the OP said FAA regs would be acceptable. This is the only answer in nearly a year that's quoted any regulations at all, and this (currently most upvoted) answer links to a question that's specifically tagged faa-regulations. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 13:05

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