On this approach (KPRC VOR12),

enter image description here

Is it okay to enter holding and execute the Procedure turn? I had a discussion with another pilot who wanted to do that, and thought, "Why would you ever need to do that?" if you need to hold, wouldn't you enter holding and then, when ready, just complete the final approach segment from DRK (the FAF) to the MAP?
You would have no need to execute the Procedure Turn. Since the purpose of a Procedure Turn is to perform a course reversal, If you are already in the holding pattern, each time you get to DRK you are already on the Final approach segment inbound heading and there is no need to perform a course reversal.

“Section 97.3(p) defines a procedure turn, in part, as a maneuver prescribed when it is necessary to reverse direction to establish the aircraft on an intermediate or final approach course. A SIAP may or may not prescribe a procedure turn based on the application of certain criteria contained in the TERPs. However, if a SIAP does contain a procedure turn and ATC has cleared a pilot to execute the SIAP, the pilot must make the procedure turn when one of the conditions of Section 91.175(j) is not present.”

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ At what altitude are you holding? You'd have to descend to 6600 ft while holding, right? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to proceed on the final approach segment directly out of Holding, then yes, that would be wise. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry to be thick, but I'm a fairly inexperienced IR pilot, and am really interested in this sort of question - what procedural turn are you talking about? I only see a hold and a final approach (ignoring all the joining info up in the top left including the DME arc) $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Jamiec the procedure turn is the little arrow with 350° and 170° written next to it. It looks like this on a Jeppesen chart. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable Ah yes, thats what I thought it might be - Im used to the other depiction on UK charts. Ok, so follow on, if you're in the hold, why would you ever go outbound... is that what this question is asking? I cant see why you would you'd be going the wrong way $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 16:43

3 Answers 3


If you find yourself in that hold, you're calling ATC for your next steps.

The holding pattern depicted on this chart is not for aircraft on the approach. Once you've completed the PT, or one of the arc entries, you should be proceeding straight-in at that point.

The dotted line indicates that the hold is, instead, for aircraft that have gone missed. This can be verified by reading the missed approach procedure where it tells you to climbing-turn to Drake, and then climb-in-hold at Drake. Compare to the hold depicted as part of the ILS/LOC 2 at KEEN, which is a solid line and so is part of the approach procedure (though it's pretty much only used for hold-in-lieu-of-PT unless KEEN is busy enough that ATC needs to stack folks up in that hold). At KEEN that hold is also part of the missed approach procedure, but it's not dashed, because it's not exclusively so.

The most likely event where you end up in that hold is that something went wrong on the approach and you've gone missed. You're outside KPRC's Class D and since you're IFR that means you're reporting the missed approach to Phoenix Approach so they can clear the next person in or out. You're not going back down to KPRC without a new approach clearance.

Flying the missed-approach hold without ATC instruction to do so is potentially dangerous as it would be unexpected behavior. The good news is, KPRC is Class D, so presumably if there's any confusion as to what you should be doing, Tower can provide clarification as to what's correct there; or if you're above 7,500, Phoenix Approach.

If it's after hours, CTAF is your friend, and entering a hold should definitely be something you let your fellow pilots know you're up to, anyway, since it creates the possibility of opposite-direction traffic.

  • $\begingroup$ But the question remains: if you're in the hold after a missed approach (at 9000 ft) and decide to have another go, how do you get established inbound? Directly from the hold or first fly outbound and then do the PT? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable If you had to go missed, something is wrong and how you proceed is going to depend on why you went missed. Since it's Class D airspace, you're best asking Tower how they'd like you to proceed (they'll almost certainly clear you to resume the approach from DRK if it was just an unstable approach). Most likely, though, you're diverting to your alternate. Absent ATC instruction or conflicting traffic, you could re-join the approach from there, but remember you're at 9,000 now, which is likely higher than you crossed DRK at on your initial go, so you might want the room the PT offers. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ If it's VMC, though, and you're a GA aircraft, an unstable approach is just as likely to result with you simply entering the pattern upwind leg. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable, how to get re-established inbound? Make a left 180. There is no procedure depicted to intercept the 305 radial outbound from the MA hold in order to perform the procedure turn, and the hold is perfectly set up to put you back on the inbound course, so why on earth would you want do this? (cut left, intercept 305, then cut back right...) If you want a little longer straight away to settle your nerves following the missed approach simply tell ATC that you'd like to extend the downwind leg of your hold and turn final as if you were coming in off the 10DME arc. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @WilliamWalkerIII. However, if you have missed and are holding over the VOR and want to shoot the approach again starting at the VOR you can ask ATC to go direct to DRK for a straight-in VOR RWY 12 approach. If ATC clears you using the wording straight-in you can commence approach from VOR. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 3:17

One crucial piece of information here is the distance of the VORTAC DRK 114.1 to runway 12, just over 4 nm.

The missed approach procedure is to hold at 9000 feet. Terrain in the area rises to 7880 feet. The hold pattern is in and out of the VORTAC (305/125).

Since the inbound approach altitude at the VORTAC is 6600 feet, it would seem the "procedure" turn is further out anyways (around 10 miles from runway 12), and one would go there after holding, rather than dropping into the pattern out of the holding loop. The pocedure turn is also farther away from the mountains.

Finally, the runway elevation is 5045 feet. From 9000 feet that would involve a descent of around 4000 feet in 4 miles$^1$, so in this case, probably no.

$^1$ arc sine angle of descent works out to 9.5 degrees

  • $\begingroup$ This is a great point. The profile view tells a story. You hold at 9000, and can descend to 8500 once established on the outbound course of the PT. You have to perform the PT at or above 8500, and only start descending to the 6600 inbound crossing height once established on the inbound course. The reason why you can’t descend until established inbound may be unknown to us, the pilots consuming the chart, but ARE known to the approach designer, who says it is only safe to approach DRK at 6600 on the 305 radial but not safe to descend to 6600 in the hold protected area. $\endgroup$
    – Max R
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 8:18

-Holding patterns have a charting hierarchy. A missed approach hold (dashed line) is only charted if there is not also an arrival hold or hold-in-lieu of procedure turn (HILPT). An arrival hold is only charted if there is not a HILPT. See IAC 4 paragraph

-For this procedure, only a missed approach hold exists. If you are cleared for a subsequent approach, the charted hold is no longer relevant for initiating that procedure. You must either receive RADAR vectors to final or proceed to an IAF (either the arc or the procedure turn).

-It would be incredibly difficult to go direct DRK (the FAF) for a straight-in from holding. A controller can only clear you via the IAF (or IF if there is not an IAF published, which is not this case). See FAAO 7110.65 section 4-8-1. If you request RADAR vectors to final, the controller must be able to vector you to final 3 NM prior to the FAF. Even if you specifically requested to be inside of that, the amount of space for vectors (including the descent) to the FAF would be too small from the holding pattern. See section 5-9-1.

  • $\begingroup$ Agree with all. Before this, I did not know about the three types of Holding patterns (and the way they are distinguished in their depictions). Did not know about the "charting hierarchy" you describe. Do you have a reference for that? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ @CharlesBretana Interagency Air Committee 4. It’s hosted on the FAA’s website. I put the section in my response above. $\endgroup$
    – Timbo
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ ,, Thanks for that! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 15:31

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