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If you have been cleared to LCA (from the direction shown by the red arrow) then outbound on the procedure, what is correct way to get established on the outbound track?

Ideally, I'm looking for an ICAO/PANS-OPS reference or similar (not US).

Many thanks!

---- Edited for clarity ----

So, to avoid a situation like this:

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What is the correct action to take?

Is it to request the arrival pattern hold to better align yourself:

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Or manoeuvring space to the south to better align yourself:

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Or something else?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Realistically, if approaching from the east, you would probably fly the ILS/VOR Y via AMAKO (i.imgur.com/PPyQrWR.png) or the ILS/VOR S via SOBOS (i.imgur.com/qk1cFlY.png). Still a valid and interesting question for theoretical purposes. $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2020 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ Intersections include obstacle clearance for wide turns in your first example, some of these limit turns to less than 120degrees. It is expected to turn early to avoid going far beyond the intersection, this requires some extra navigation to estimate the start of the turn; dme, gpss, or another VOR. At 210kts a standard rate turn has a 1.1NM radius, so start 90 degree turn about 1.1NM before the intersection. 120deg 2.0NM and 135deg 2.7NM. At half the speed it is half the radius. I might also favor the south side of the inbound course for extra margin. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Sep 2, 2020 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ This turn angle is large enough that I would consider a left turn, or request hold pattern if in cat C or D. A continuous left turn to 025 [to intercept R053 or R062] is not holding, you would make use of the holding obstacle-clearance area but you would not request a hold. Your inbound course overlaps with the hold area anyway so ATC can not use the hold at your altitude in any case. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Sep 2, 2020 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ Just curious, why are you trying to avoid the first example? $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2021 at 19:27

4 Answers 4


I do not have a specific ICAO reference. By my interpretation of the chart, you can approach the airport at any assigned altitude above 2300 feet MSL from your specified East direction. Just as long as your aircraft stays between the 71° radial clockwise to the 215° radial of the VOR. But, you would have to be above 4900 MSL to intercept any part of the instrument approach. Once you are established on the approach, you can drop down to the appropriate designated at-or-above altitude marked on the approach. If you are joining the approach at the LCA VOR, you would enter the hold, either climbing or descending until you reach an altitude where you can safely descend down to 1500 feet MSL during the teardrop course reversal. Remember, you have to remain at or above 4000 feet MSL until passing the VOR when leaving the hold. This will be your Minimum Holding Altitude as well as your Minimum Crossing Altitude at the LCA VOR.

If you have already been cleared for the procedure at LCA, you would just have to make your radio call once you reach the VOR for the hold, and again at the VOR when you leave the hold (if one is necessary to gain/lose altitude).

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To answer the specific question: When arriving in the direction of the red arrow, enter the hold at LCA by flying a parallel entry. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Aug 1, 2020 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry - You are correct about the recommended but not required entry into the hold being a parallel one. But, was the original question about the correct method to enter the hold? I read it as how do aircraft join the procedure. After all, if a Cat A or B aircraft’s heading were Northwest instead of West, no hold would be necessary nor advised. The hold is simply a convenient way to adjust altitude and avoid sharp turns. The hold is not an obligatory part of the procedure. It is strictly optional. Hence the thin vs thick lines. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Aug 2, 2020 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply! I've edited the original question to clarify what I'm asking $\endgroup$
    – user51746
    Aug 3, 2020 at 6:36

For the clearance described by the red arrow, believe you me, ATC expects you to make a maneuver exactly mimicking a parallel entry to the published LCA hold as depicted on the plate and thereafter proceed outbound on LCA R053 on returning to the VOR and continue with the teardrop/base turn Instrument Approach. Here's the official word on this (thanks ICAO, Jepp), as we all understand a pilot's trepidation at performing such a complex maneuver without much by way of a clearance. An appropriate R/T call "approaching overhead LCA, proceeding to turn left HDG 221" should do the trick. For extra safety, add "as per procedure". If this sounds too iffy, have agreement with ATC earlier.

Re: direct entry to outbound course for course reversal type Instrument Approaches

plan view and profile diagrams showing the direct entry (or not) procedures when cleared to facility for approach

As long as from the 1st passage of LCA, IAS < 210 and Altitude at or above 4000ft and the published holding inbound course is followed you are in the protected area of the published hold. There is no overt need for turn-anticipation, though it would be nice, and you can turn left to 221deg immediately on arriving overhead LCA.

Your 2nd option can work too if ATC is agreeable. I know it was legal and there was a published procedure in Australia to make a course alteration to facilitate a passage direct outbound for approach, it didn't require ATC "permission" as long as you were within the LSALT 25 mile circle and above LSALT. Can't imagine the busy airports of today allowing this except at times of very low traffic. In the airline cockpit it would require good anticipation of turns and proper orientation, and a suitable brief, an art that is slowly being lost.

Concepts discussed in the role of enthusiasts and answers given in good faith. They are not meant for any sort of implementation. Please consult current and officially provided documentation before operational use of any of the concepts discussed.

(write ups and diagrams courtesy ICAO/Jeppessen)


For a category A or B aircraft, with permission, 3rd diagram seems the most practical and safest. A 45 degree into the holding pattern at 4000 feet (approaching from the East) also seemed good, unless faster, heavier traffic was also there.

First diagram would intersect 221, potentially near a high go-around. Flying northwest of the airport might also have controllers freaking out a bit too. Second diagram hopefully does not mean flying in the opposite direction of holding traffic.

Diagram three, slightly more to the southwest, may be the best choice for a light incoming aircraft approaching from 090. Since the "missed approach" track is 155 to 335 at 2000 feet$^1$, 335 may be a useful entry to 053 downwind leg as per airport procedures.

More information shows aircraft in the holding pattern descend from 4000 feet to 1500 feet 8 miles from the 221 runway. A light aircraft in the "missed approach" entry at 2000 feet (around 3 miles from the southwest) could completely avoid holding pattern traffic (after flying the 053 downwind) until merging at the 1500 feet turn for the 221 final approach (as per diagram) or at any point before 8 miles out.

For a light aircraft with a final approach speed much lower than the category C and D aircraft flying the 062 downwind, this would present an option to further avoid traffic by turning base/final earlier than the 8 mile turn point.

In summary, larger/faster planes hold at 4000 feet for an 062 downwind. Slower/lighter aircraft work the 053 downwind. All are under ground control.

$^1$ Courtesy of @Dean F. more detailed diagram

  • $\begingroup$ Not a bad answer, but the OP is specifically asking for the "correct" way per ICAO, not the most practical, safest, best choice, or useful... Your opinions are valid, but I believe they are just that - opinions. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2021 at 20:25

Plain and simply ICAO DOC8168 says that max intercept angle for a base turn procedure is +/- 30 degrees to the outbound - just like it is 110 for an RNAV IAF, so if ATC is unaware of this (which they usually are) you request a heading to position better. Ask to do a track-reversal west of the beacon, or simply chance it and turn anticipate the hell out of it.

  • $\begingroup$ Definitely not west of the VOR, there is high ground there (MSA 7300). You either have to be vectored to arrive from the narrow heading range 23°–34° (or even narrower 33°–34° for cat C/D) or use the hold as published. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Sep 23, 2021 at 19:08

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