The Missed approach Instructions for the VOR approach at Prescott AZ (KPRC) KPRC VOR Rwy 12 reads as follows:

MISSED APPROACH: Climbing left turn to 9000 via DRK VORTAC R-305 then right turn direct DRK VORTAC and hold, continue climb-in-hold to 9000.

enter image description here

If performing this MA, when you get to DRK VORTAC, and you are still not yet at 9000 MSL, One of three things must be true.

  1. You are to continue outbound on the DRK 305 radial until you reach 9000, then turn right direct to DRK VORTAC and enter the holding pattern.
  2. When reaching Drake, enter the holding pattern and continue climbing in the holding pattern to 9000 MSL.
  3. This Missed Approach procedure, as written, is inconsistent and is erroneous. You cannot both execute a climbing left turn to 9000 via the drake 305 radial, and Climb in the holding pattern to 9000.

... or does the phrase "Climbing left turn to 9000... " at the beginning of the Missed Approach instructions simply mean that the final altitude of your climb will be 9000, not that you have to get there before the next step which reads "... then right turn direct DRK VORTAC ... "

This post from askacfi.com is interesting ...

More info (FWIW): Submitted
Since posting this, I have contacted a FSDO, and was told that they cannot offer definitive official help on this, but that I should contact the controlling ATC agency, which in this case is Phoenix TRACON. They did agree that the MAP instructions, as written, are confusing and probably should be clarified.

So I contacted and spoke with a controller at PHX TRACON. He also agreed that the procedure is confusing, but told me what he expected a pilot to do when executing this procedure "as published". He said he expects pilots to turn left and roll out on heading DIRECT to the DRK VORTAC, (NOT to intercept the 125 radial inbound to DRK), then, at station passage, turn right to track outbound on the DRK 305 radial, climbing until they reach 9000 MSL. Then, when reaching 9000 MSL, but not before, turn right direct back to the VORTAC, and enter the holding pattern. When I pointed out the inconsistency of the last six words, "continue climb-in-hold to 9000", he said I should just ignore that. When I asked him if he could tell me who is responsible for these procedures, (who I might call to pursue this further), he did not know, and could not tell me who to contact next.

Also worth reviewing is this FAA Doc, which outlines the latest info on this procedure, including history of the changes to it.

Final Entry... I submitted an aeronautical inquiry about this procedure, and was pleasantly surprised to get a response almost immediately. As you can read below, their intent is almost identical to my option 1, except that they want you to roll out of the first turn Direct to DRK VORTAC.
Their corrected text will, (once flight test has been accomplished and approved) read as follows: climbing left turn to 9000 direct DRK VORTAC and DRK R-305, then right turn direct DRK VORTAC and hold
Here is their complete response:

Charles Bretana,

Your Aeronautical Inquiry has been closed. If you have followup questions or comments, please use the online inquiry form instead of sending via email.

======================================================== FAA Response:

We agree that, as written, the missed approach instructions are confusing. We also agree that the climb on R-305 then reverse course and continue climb in hold are not compatible. Here's our 1996, Amdt 2 instructions: CLIMBING LEFT TURN TO 9000 DIRECT DRK VORTAC, CONTINUE CLIMB TO 9000 NW BOUND VIA DRK R-305, THEN TURN RIGHT DIRECT DRK VORTAC AND HOLD. The Flight Inspection Pilot who flew the amendment, had us change the instructions to what was charted prior to Amdt 3. What was observed at the time was that the missed approach required two turns, which our criteria does not permit without a waiver. He also felt that the turn direct the facility may be too great a turn (not standard) for some aircraft. Our amendment 3 added continue climb-in-hold without an explanation. We will request our Development Team to change the instructions to: climbing left turn to 9000 direct DRK VORTAC and DRK R-305, then right turn direct DRK VORTAC and hold. So, you would climb direct DRK, intercept R-305, at 9000 reverse course, proceed direct DRK and hold. We consider that a continuance rather than two turns, but the change will require another Flight Inspection of the procedure. Hope this is acceptable, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Thanks to all for your comments and input!

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The addition of the "continue climb-in-hold" is a very recent change; as of the last cycle the MA read MISSED APPROACH: Climbing left turn to 9000 via DRK VORTAC and DRK R-305, then turn right direct DRK VORTAC and hold. The controller you talked to may not have fully understood this, nor the reason for it, but it appears the TERPS guys very much want you to turn back to DRK before reaching 9000. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 23:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Anyway, to answer your last question: Mr. John Bordy (FAA/AJV-A422) is the individual responsible for this most recent change, as indicated on the previously linked Form 8260-3. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 23:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I noticed that, and I have submitted what us called an "Aeronautical Inquiry" on this which I believe will be routed to Mr Bordy... $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 20, 2022 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ As noted in my most recent edit to the question, I have a response from FAA, who agreed with our joint comments, and are in the process of amending the text of the MAP procedures to make it (almost) compatible with option 1. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 20, 2022 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Jpe61, Ahhhh, yes, that's right, good point. And on this specific approach that holding pattern is indeed the same hold used by incoming (newly arriving), aircraft using the DRK IAF & Procedure Turn option. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 12:16

3 Answers 3


Option 2 is clearly correct.

This is because it says "Continue climb-in-hold to 9000". If you were expected to be at 9000 before entering the hold at DRK there would be no need to add that statement.


My two cents say that your option 2 is the correct execution.

Climbing left turn to 9000 via DRK VORTAC R-305 then right turn direct DRK VORTAC and hold, continue climb-in-hold to 9000

emphasis mine

The to 9000 is presented right at the beginning just for good measure, so that the pilot knows what to "aim" for. Procedure is then flown as described: intercept R-305, turn right towards DRK, and enter the holding pattern (parallel entry). If 9000ft is not reached by then, continue climb in pattern.

To further clarify the instructions, I've emphasized part of the text in the quote above: "Climbing ... to 9000 via DRK...". Note that if the missed approach was to be executed such that 9000ft shall be reached before DRK, the wording would be different. The "via" would be omitted, and as DJClayworth pointed out, there would be no need to reference the altitude later on in the description of the procedure. Also the beginnig should be something along the lines "Circle left climbing to 9000 , then intercept DRK VORTAC R-305...". Note that I'm not aware of such procedures existing but my knowledge of airports around the world is very, very limited.

As you can see in the bottom part of te plate, the missed approach is also described there with three boxes:

1st one sets target altitude and left turn towards R-305 DRK

2nd one commands right turn

3rd one sets DRK as target

9000ft might seem like a lot, but since field elevation is 5045ft, it's really not that much.

I agree that this procedure is not describe in the clearest possible manner, allthough it might be the most concise way to do it.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think you're correct, but I think this way of phrasing MA instructions is confusing and misleading ... $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, of course @757toga $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 8:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just adding that after some significant research and phone calls, I am now no longer certain what the correct interpretation should be. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ @CharlesBretana I've edited my answer with further points supporting my view on this matter. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Apr 20, 2022 at 5:51
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    $\begingroup$ @CharlesBretana - the 305 radial only exists NW of the VOR. Just as the 125 radial only exists SE of the VOR. Whether or not you are inbound or outbound to/from the VOR, if your aircraft is on the 305 radial you're NW of the VOR. That is the fundamental and basic design of VOR navigation. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 18:56

In my opinion, when flying the missed approach you should make a left turn and establish your aircraft on the DRK 305 radial (which places the aircraft NW of the DRK VORTAC). After you are established on the DRK 305 radial (NW of the DRK VORTAC) make a right turn direct to the DRK VORTAC (similar to a parallel entry) then fly the holding pattern as published. Climbing to 9000 ft, which you may or may not have reached prior to starting the holding pattern.

I think the idea is to ensure that you are established NW of the DRK VORTAC (on the 305 degree radial) before making a right turn direct to the DRK VORTAC (as published) and all the while climbing to 9000 ft.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I disagree. I think the "then right turn direct DRK..." is just totally redundant and unnecessary instructions that you have to turn right when you get to the 305 radial, (and actually it will be the 125 radial), in order to track Inbound to the DRK VORTAC. DRK is 4 nm from the MAP, so it's unlikely your turn would be so wide that you would get to the radial NW of DRK. If you start a Standard rate turn at the MAP, you will intercept the radial about a mile NW of he MAP, 3 nm SE of DRK. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ That whomever wrote this refers to the radial as the 305 radial, instead of the 125 radial, only adds to the confusion. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ That doesn't make logical sense. What does it even mean to "be on the 305Radial (NW) before turning back to Drake"? Is One foot past DRK sufficient to satisfy that requirement? How about one mile? No, the "right turn" is informing you that you need to turn right when you get to the extension of 305 radial SE of DRK in order to go direct to DRK. That makes sense. Any other interpretation makes the last sentence "continue climb-in-hold to 9000" completely unintelligible. How can you "Continue" climbing to 9000 if you're already there? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ ... and the line that says "direct DRK VORTAC and hold" means to Hold, when you get to DRK from the SE , on a 305 heading, which would suggest a teardrop entry. Then it makes perfect sense to continue climb-in-hold to 9000, if you're not there yet. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 2:09
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    $\begingroup$ Two other points. First, the depiction of the MA on the chart clearly shows the ground track intercepting the extension of the 305 Radial SE of the VORTAC, and second, and way more significant, the MSA within 25 NM of DRK IS 9100 MSL, and defined by terrain NW of the VORTAC, on or near the 305 radial. How can a MA procedure tell you to head into rising terrain with instructions to climb to only 100 feet above that terrain, with no DEFINITIVE CLEARLY DEFINED way to avoid it? It doesn't say to turn right direct to DRK at or before some specific point! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 13:36

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