CFI Topics

How can instructors teach radar approaches if we have never done one?

Lesson 1

Have you executed an ASR or PAR approach? How about a no-gyro approach? Do you fly in an area where there is an ASR approach available within a reasonable distance of your home airport? If you are lucky, the answer to these questions are ‘yes’, but for many instructors, the answer is ‘no’ to all of them.

How can instructors teach radar approaches if we have never done one? Information for pilots is sketchy on how ATC handles this type of approach yet, as instructors, we need to be as realistic as possible in playing the role of the controller. The goal of this article is to give CFIIs a tool to help pilots learn and practice no-gyro and radar approaches so our students know what to expect when they do one for real.

Abilene ASR-11 radar antenna

Approach Surveillance Radar (ASR) facilities are in operation within a short distance of almost anywhere in the US. However, only a few of these facilities also provide approved radar approach capability and few of us are lucky enough to train in an area with an approved ASR approach. Even if an airport with an approved radar approach is reasonably close, ATC may not provide practice ASR approaches due to their staffing and workload.

Airports with approved ASR or PAR approaches are given in the Instrument Procedures. For example, in Florida, approved radar approaches are available at the following civilian airports: Jacksonville International, Gainesville, Fernandina, Daytona International, New Smyrna, Deland, Ormond, Tallahassee, Fort Myers, Key West, and Panama City. In Virginia, there are no radar approaches at civilian airports.

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