At least where I fly, most instrument approaches now use a Hold In Lieu of Procedure Turn (HILO). The "full procedure" now consists of a turn in the hold before proceeding inbound.

KPAE ILS Y RWY 16R (annotated)

In the example above (click to embiggen), if a pilot is northeast of EYWOK and receives the following clearance from Seattle Approach:

Cessna 123AB, proceed direct EYWOK, maintain 3000 until established, cleared for the ILS Yankee approach at Paine Field.

Are they required to fly the course reversal, or can they proceed inbound on the final approach course immediately upon reaching EYWOK and fly direct to ITIPE? If not, what instruction must be received in order to skip the HILO procedure?

  • $\begingroup$ This is the sort of thing one might see on an instrument checkride, albeit as a warmup softball sorta thing. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Jan 10, 2014 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


Yes, with this procedure you are required to fly the procedure turn unless you are flying the CVV transition (which is notated as NoPT), are receiving vectors to final, or receive a clearance for a "straight-in approach" over EYWOK. If you are cleared direct to the final approach fix, none of these apply (but remember that you can always request a straight-in approach if you don't want to do the course reversal)!

FAR 91.175

(j) Limitation on procedure turns. In the case of a radar vector to a final approach course or fix, a timed approach from a holding fix, or an approach for which the procedure specifies "No PT," no pilot may make a procedure turn unless cleared to do so by ATC.

The AIM states:

5-4-6. Approach Clearance

4. If proceeding to an IAF with a published course reversal (procedure turn or hold­in­lieu of PT pattern), except when cleared for a straight in approach by ATC, the pilot must execute the procedure turn/hold­in­lieu of PT, and complete the approach.

5. If cleared to an IAF/IF via a NoPT route, or no procedure turn/hold­in­lieu of PT is published, continue with the published approach.

6. In addition to the above, RNAV aircraft may be issued a clearance direct to the IAF/IF at intercept angles not greater than 90 degrees for both conventional and RNAV instrument approaches. Controllers may issue a heading or a course direct to a fix between the IF and FAF at intercept angles not greater than 30 degrees for both conventional and RNAV instrument approaches. In all cases, controllers will assign altitudes that ensure obstacle clearance and will permit a normal descent to the FAF. When clearing aircraft direct to the IF, ATC will radar monitor the aircraft until the IF and will advise the pilot to expect clearance direct to the IF at least 5 miles from the fix. ATC must issue a straight­in approach clearance when clearing an aircraft direct to an IAF/IF with a procedure turn or hold-in-lieu of a procedure turn, and ATC does not want the aircraft to execute the course reversal.

7. RNAV aircraft may be issued a clearance direct to the FAF that is also charted as an IAF, in which case the pilot is expected to execute the depicted procedure turn or hold­in­lieu of procedure turn. ATC will not issue a straight­in approach clearance. If the pilot desires a straight­in approach, they must request vectors to the final approach course outside of the FAF or fly a published “NoPT” route. When visual approaches are in use, ATC may clear an aircraft direct to the FAF.

  • $\begingroup$ I realize that this is a pretty old post, but I stumbled upon it and am puzzled by what the AIM says, as well as your interpretation. Let’s simplify the scenario further and presume that our aircraft is on the 342 radial, heading inbound on a heading of 162. If cleared for the approach, but not specifically cleared for a straight-in, your position seems to be that the aircraft should execute a turn in holding, is that correct? $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2019 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ And if "straight-in" is not heard the pilot should query ATC? Because a course reversal is clearly not required, and without being cleared into holding I can't imagine saying nothing and doing an unnecessary lap. But if asking "understand cleared for the straight-in?" I could imagine a snarky "weeellll... would you like to hold?" kind of a response. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2019 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ @michaelhall One thing to keep in mind is that a course reversal is not always used to align yourself with the final approach course. It can also be used as a means to descend to an altitude on the approach while assuring obstacle clearance. In your example, yes you are expected to perform the course reversal, if you have been cleared direct to the FAF (you didn't specify that). Paragraph 4 if the AIM is very specific, and applies directly to that situation. As far as asking, if you ever aren't sure what they want, please DO! I'll take a snarky response over a violation, or worse. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Aug 1, 2019 at 8:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. Most of my time is military, and I can't say that I have ever encountered this specific scenario. I totally agree with asking if unsure, and I have asked many times for an offset, or one turn in holding for alignment. In my scenario though, cleared to the airport (vs IAF) and cleared for the approach, even lacking the specific words "straight-in" from the controller it would never occur to me that a lap in the hold might be expected. If a turn was needed for spacing or descent I would expect the controller to tell me. I need to watch for this now! Thanks again. $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2019 at 16:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .