Consider the following NDB DME approach into runway 08 at Jersey (EGJJ):


Let's assume we are coming in from the North and are currently cleared direct to the JW NDB flying inbound on a 180° track. Now we are cleared for the NDB DME approach. How should the entry into this approach be flown:

  1. When reaching the NDB, immediately turn right to intercept the 246° outbound course. This seems to be prohibited by ICAO PANS-OPS because the difference between my inbound course and the outbound course is larger than 30°:

    Unless the procedure specifies particular entry restrictions, reversal procedures shall be entered from a track within ±30° of the outbound track of the reversal procedure. However, for base turns, where the ±30° direct entry sector does not include the reciprocal of the inbound track, the entry sector is expanded to include it.

    (ICAO Document 8168, Vol 1 §4,

  2. Enter the hold with a direct entry and immediately follow the Alternative procedure by extending the outbound leg of the hold. This seems to be the best option, but I'm not sure if this would be expected without being explicitly cleared for the alternative procedure.

  3. Enter the hold with a direct entry and after one racetrack when crossing JW fly a course reversal / alignment turn to the left. As far as I understand, this would be the normal procedure if the hold were aligned with (or within 30° of) the outbound course since no course reversal would be required any more. But in this case, it seems weird since there is nothing in the chart about an alignment turn.

  4. Or maybe something else?

Here is what I imagine the options 1-3 to look like: Approach Entries

  • $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? How to properly enter a holding pattern? $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Apr 24, 2020 at 10:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ManuH No, I know how to enter the holding pattern (direct entry in my example). The question is about how I can get from the holding pattern onto the outbound course of the procedure. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Apr 24, 2020 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ Options 1 & 2 are virtually and practically indistinguishable, and probably beyond the ability of most pilots to fly as precisely as you depict them. (unless the autopilot was coupled to a GPS programed for the profile...) And unless you are just building time and practicing holds I'm not sure why you would want to fly #3. You are just burning fuel making extra laps. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2021 at 16:32

3 Answers 3


I flew many of these types of approaches in northern Canada from 1980 to about 1990. In my opinion Option "2" is the best, followed by option 1, but all three are possible.

It is my understanding that when cleared for an approach, you own the airspace, and as long as you stay in the "protected" airspace, you can do almost anything you like.

  • $\begingroup$ That's good to know all are allowed. Could you elaborate a bit on what exactly is part of the "protected" airspace? In the first example on this page (linked under the other answer) the pilots got into trouble for violating some airspace, even though it looks similar to my option 1. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Apr 24, 2020 at 17:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For Protected airspace" see this question and answers: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/21612/… $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2020 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable that would be the case of approaching from the south (and is a reason why what should be done when approaching from the south might be a more interesting question). $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Oct 23, 2021 at 15:30

It’s very rare that I get to do a true NDB approach. Only one of the training aircraft I’ve flown had an ADF. And we had to use the GPS nearest page in lieu of DME. Using the bearing function in the G500/1000 has been a close substitute until the local NDBs started disappearing one by one.

But, the way I would interpret the IAP to include it’s notation in the upper left corner is that your #1 option is the best one if you do not have to enter the hold for any reason. You are just using the course from D8.3 to D5.3 to align yourself with the ILS since there is not an Intermediate Fix before the FAF of FQ08.

If you were to have to “go missed”, ATC could clear you go direct to JW after your right turn, to begin your next approach. This would make any hold unnecessary. It would just be another variation of your option #1.

If you had to enter the hold for any reason (such as to delay your approach, after a missed approach, descent from a higher altitude, or a hold in lieu of a procedure turn / course reversal), you would basically ignore the direct course from JW to D8.3. You would properly enter the hold for at least the first right turn of a circuit after crossing JW. Once you establish yourself on the outbound leg of the hold (completing your right turn and coming wings level), you would fly direct to D8.3. Once you cross D8.3, you can begin your approach again assuming you have been given the proper clearance before leaving the hold. This would be a slight variation of your option #2.

ATC typically does not care whether you enter the hold using the teardrop, parallel, or direct method. As long as you establish yourself on the hold by first crossing (entering at) the designated hold fix, and you stay in the protected airspace. After entering the hold at JW using the parallel method, you would be established on he hold. After entering the hold at JW using the teardrop or parallel method, you would be established after crossing JW again (the second time). This and the above variation of your option #2 would make your option #3 unnecessary.



If you look at the provide view of the approach plate, you'll see the normal procedure requires you to go to D8.3 IJJ, and then proceed on the inbound course of 083°.

profile view

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, that's clear. My questions was how do I turn onto the outbound leg to D8.3 IJJ from the NDB when arriving from a course more than 30° offset? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Apr 24, 2020 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable See if this page gets you close to an answer $\endgroup$
    – RaajTram
    Apr 24, 2020 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ The Isle of Man example in that document looks quite similar, but they don't explain the correct entry procedure since they say they got radar vectors instead... $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Apr 24, 2020 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @ Bianfable There is no "course reversal", only a hold for the published missed (note the thin line that depicts the hold). PANS-OPS aren't a concern when flying within the U.S., are they? #1 Crossing the NDB turn right 246 and intercept the charted track to IJJ. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2021 at 5:59

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