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Consider the LOC-D at KSEE and note the Alternate Minimums criteria.

  1. 99.9% of the time, the winds strongly favor 27R;
  2. The tower closes at 1900 PT currently (usually at 2100 PT non COVID times);
  3. LOC-D is a circle only approach with a 6.88º final segment;
  4. LOC-D to 27R not available to at night at all I think since it is a circle only approach (given the steepness). However, you can cancel IFR and continue visually usually;
  5. DEBEY to Apt Elev in 3.1 nm is over 1,500 ft / min descent rate at 120 kts (top of Class B approach speed and common for a small turbo jet aircraft such as a Phenom)
  6. Stabilized approach criteria for a Phenom is no more than 1,000 ft / min decent rate within 1,000 ft of the ground;
  7. Circle NA with tower closed or to the northeast;
  8. Local custom is to start on the LOC-D approach and cancel IFR prior to DEBEY. That makes the approach a 2,400 and 3 mi approach.

With the following conditions:

  1. Part 91 in a light turbojet, class B aircraft (a Phenom);
  2. Night with 1,800 Broken / 3 (so below the altitude at DEBEY and beyond where it is practical to cancel IFR even though KSEE is VFR);
  3. Wind from the west at 10 kts (most turbo jet aircraft have a 10 kt tailwind limitation including the Phenom);
  4. Tower closed (so no circle to land 27R) and Class G around KSEE;
  5. There are two RNAV approaches to 9L and 17. If you do one of these, you still have the 27R circle limitation for night and tower closed but they each have lower minima. 17 / 35 is 1200 feet shorter with a cross wind. 9L would have a limitation busting tail wind.

Questions (and my concern are the REGULATORY aspects here) with the airport 1800 and 3:

  1. Can the LOC-D be flown with the tower closed at all? (The Alternate Minimums clearly state Circling is NA with the tower closed and LOC-D is a circling only approach. But aircraft are commonly cleared LOC-D approach with tower closed...)

  2. Can you land on 27R with some interpretation of IFR rules?

    a. If you fly LOC-D with with tower closed, is completion of that approach NA? As a practical matter, on LOC-D, you would break out at 1800 about 1.5 miles from the airport decending at 1500 fpm at night trying to break in to cancel IFR with SOCAL... You can descend to a VFR pattern height and complete the pattern VFR and buy time to cancel.

    b. Can you fly one of the approaches and cancel IFR and complete the approach VFR?

  3. What are the limitations on when during an approach you can cancel IFR and legally complete the approach VFR?

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  • $\begingroup$ Alternative #1: does your landing performance allow landing on 19, even though it is short? Alternative #2: tell the customer he can choose between going to El Cajon during daylight or to Lindberg at night -- his choice. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Sep 4 '20 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ There is only 27R / 9L or 17/35. Did you mean 17? As stated, 4100 feet is shortist at night with 10 kts cross wind, but doable. Better alternate is KMYF than KSAN. $\endgroup$
    – dawg
    Sep 4 '20 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, 17. Since the performance supports that runway, it's an option; maybe see about getting some practice landing on something similar (comparable width + lighting, longer but with a visible spot to see what 4100' down is) at night to build proficiency. And until the pilot is comfortable with that operation, offer the customer his other options. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Sep 4 '20 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I did not make clear that my interest (and concern) is the regulations and limitations (10kt tailwind) and SOPs vs proficiency. I already feel quite proficient to land on less than 4000 ft at night and regularly land at SMO (3500 ft). $\endgroup$
    – dawg
    Sep 4 '20 at 15:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Alt Mins are only when you’re filing it as an Alt. You can still file it as your Dest. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Sep 28 '20 at 21:18
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Question 1: Can the LOC-D be flown with the tower closed at all? (The Alternate Minimums clearly state Circling is NA with the tower closed and LOC-D is a circling only approach. But aircraft are commonly cleared LOC-D approach with tower closed...)

Ans: The restriction eliminating the option of flying the LOC-D with the tower closed only applies when designating KSEE as a required alternate.

Question 2: Can you land on 27R with some interpretation of IFR rules?

Ans: At least 2 options:

(1)-Tell approach control (ATC) when they clear you for the approach that you intend on cancelling IFR when you get below the clouds (assuming it's still VFR/VMC). When VFR, cancel IFR and land at your discretion VFR/VMC. If, for some reason, the frequency is overwhelmingly busy and you can't get through in order to say "November**** Cancelling IFR" (hard to imagine) fly the published missed or land on another (none restricted) runway. OR

(2)- Request, at an appropriate time, a "Contact Approach." You would then be responsible for terrain avoidance (still under IFR) and land.

Question 3: What are the limitations on when during an approach you can cancel IFR and legally complete the approach VFR?

Ans: You cancel IFR on the approach when you are operating in legal VFR minimums (Class G in your example).

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