I'm having trouble figuring out the correct procedure to enter an approach such as:


Let's say you are cleared from ISLND for the NDB approach. How do you maneuver safely and legally to the the outbound leg once you reach the IAF?

My guess is the correct way would be a turn to the outbound course from the NDB. Then a right turn direct to the NDB and a direct entry to the outbound course, then proceed as charted.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Even better: how would you approach from WATTR? $\endgroup$
    – Radu094
    Nov 6, 2014 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ This chart is starting to make no sense honestly. I would say that from WATTR that NOPT should be indicated $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 6, 2014 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ @John Remember, WATTR and ISLND are not IAF's, so think of this the same way as being cleared direct to Friday Harbor NDB for the approach, from wherever you happen to be. FHR is the IAF.... $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Nov 8, 2014 at 6:37
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    $\begingroup$ Right. That makes sense. It can't be NOPT since you have no way of knowing your distance from FHR. You need to get to FHR first to ensure you stay int the safe area. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 11, 2014 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


First of all, do not let the depicted holding pattern confuse you. It is only there because the missed approach procedure happens to have the hold at the same place, and for the purposes of the course reversal may be ignored.

In this case, you have options because the course reversal is simply a "barbed arrow".

AIM 5-4-9. Procedure Turn and Hold-in-lieu of Procedure Turn(a)(1) says:

On U.S. Government charts, a barbed arrow indicates the maneuvering side of the outbound course on which the procedure turn is made. Headings are provided for course reversal using the 45 degree type procedure turn. However, the point at which the turn may be commenced and the type and rate of turn is left to the discretion of the pilot (limited by the charted remain within xx NM distance). Some of the options are the 45 degree procedure turn, the racetrack pattern, the teardrop procedure turn, or the 80 degree 260 degree course reversal. Racetrack entries should be conducted on the maneuvering side where the majority of protected airspace resides. If an entry places the pilot on the non-maneuvering side of the PT, correction to intercept the outbound course ensures remaining within protected airspace. Some procedure turns are specified by procedural track. These turns must be flown exactly as depicted.

In other words, do what you want as long as you either stay on the protected side or correct to intercept the outbound course if you find yourself on the non-maneuvering side and you stay within 10 miles of the NDB.

Personally, I would:

  • Cross the NDB and then simultaneously:
    • Turn left to a heading of about 129 degrees (depending on the wind)
    • Descend to 2,300 feet
  • Start the outbound timing as I cross the 69 degree bearing TO the NDB (90 degrees)
  • Intercept the outbound course of the procedure turn and then fly the rest of the course reversal as depicted (the 45 degree procedure turn).

However, as I said in the beginning, you can do it however you like within the constraints that the AIM gives.

I did find a rather interesting article which states that ICAO rules are a little different, but I won't go into the specifics since this is an FAA chart. For those who are curious though, take a look at it here: Course Reversals.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This. I've flown this approach and what is described works just fine, thank you very much. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Nov 8, 2014 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't a right turn be more suitable for this chart? Considering the two obstacles and the Canadian border on the west side of the approach. Also, if you cross the NDB then turn left to 189, wouldn't you'd be headed SW, away from the approach course? $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Nov 11, 2014 at 13:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @kevin Correct on the second part, it should have said 129 (that's what I get for writing the answer late at night on my phone, lol), I've updated the answer, thanks. As far as the first part, the approach was designed with those obstacles in mind, and is the reason that you can't descend until you are established on the outbound course. Your certainly could make a right turn, but it would be the long way around and there is no reason to do so. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Nov 11, 2014 at 17:02

Since the NDB is the only navigational reference, you don't have much choice but to fly right over it.

So, ISLND direct FHR, turn right and intercept 159 FROM, as indicated. Once you're established on the 159 FROM, do the procedure turn exactly as shown, and stay within 10NM of the NDB.

Notice all maneuvering is to the east of FHR, that's the "safe area," since there are two obstacles on the west side @424ft and 1100ft, as well as the Canadian border.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How would you turn right and intercept 159. Are you suggesting the correct approach would be something like go direct FHR then right turn (294 degree right turn). I would imagine that at a minimum you'd need to do something of a tear drop (similar to the depicted missed approach). Meaning direct FHR, 339 FROM then right turn direct FHR, left turn 159 FROM. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 6, 2014 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ From ISLND, fly the ADF inbound on whatever bearing keeps the need from moving. when the needle flips around, you've reached the NDB, so set the ADF to 339 (159 + 180) TO. Initiate a right-hand turn until the needle reads 159 TO, and intercept. $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Nov 10, 2014 at 19:08

Joe pilot answer was not totaly correct.

I'll try to explain in a more easy way.

You are on ISLND in a Direct heading (273° for 14.5nm) for FHR NDB. When you are over FHR NDB, start your left turn to intercept the RAD 159° FROM FHR, and begin descent 2300ft At 10nm, you need to turn left heading 114° after 1min or 2min right turn to HDG 294° and intercept RAD 339° TO FHR, when you are on RAD 339° TO FHR, i wish you a great approach and an Happy Landing !

I think, Dotted line was used for Go Around Procedure.

(Sorry if my english is not perfect)

Edit : A friend gived to me a Jeppesen Chart of KFHR (maybe outdated, but very close to your chart), but i only display a little part of the chart

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You don't have anyway to know when you are very close to FHR (since you likely wouldn't be flying this approach at all if you had a GPS). $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 7, 2014 at 19:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ With an ADF you won't know your relative distance to the NDB. You'll only know when you pass it $\endgroup$ Nov 7, 2014 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ Alright, sorry i was disturbed because i have some many exemple with DME... =(, but you know the distance, and you have capability to determinate after how many time you can begin your turn if you don't want to overshoot FHR... $\endgroup$
    – EchoZulu
    Nov 7, 2014 at 20:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ you're treating this like a VOR, not an NDB. there are no Radials, only bearings. Its wrong $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Nov 10, 2014 at 19:09

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