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Thread: Short Approach

  1. #1
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    Short Approach

    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Right now we are trying to figure out what a "short approach" is - the local schools are asking for them, then going a mile beyond the threshold for base leg.
    https://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/.../ac_90-66b.pdf

    "9.9.1 A short approach is executed when the pilot makes an abbreviated downwind, base, and final legs turning inside of the standard 45-degree base turn."

    The trouble is that busy training airports will have a "normal" pattern that puts the base leg much further out than the "standard 45-degree base turn".
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    https://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/.../ac_90-66b.pdf

    "9.9.1 A short approach is executed when the pilot makes an abbreviated downwind, base, and final legs turning inside of the standard 45-degree base turn."

    The trouble is that busy training airports will have a "normal" pattern that puts the base leg much further out than the "standard 45-degree base turn".
    True, but all that represents is poor primary instruction.

    MTV
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    I always accepted short approach requests as a clearance to deviate from the standard pattern to reduce my time in the pattern in order to help ATC manage a spacing issue.

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    Per AIM 4-3-3: "complete turn to final at least 1/4 mile from the runway".
    To me, a "short approach" is where you fly a final approach at or less than this 1/4 mile minimum,
    sometimes when or even before you are abeam the numbers.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    I always accepted short approach requests as a clearance to deviate from the standard pattern to reduce my time in the pattern in order to help ATC manage a spacing issue.
    That's part of it, and basically what the AC says. That said, I sometimes use a "real" short approach, with ATC permission, to turn base inside the numbers, with a long landing near the taxiway I need to exit. That too aids ATC in getting me out of the pattern as soon as possible. Years ago, that's what I was taught was a "short approach".

    The problem at airports with lots of training aircraft is that students are trying to put off that landing as long as they can, and instructors are busy lecturing them on downwind, which often goes on far longer than necessary. And, many training flights wind up flying their downwind barely in sight of the runway. Which makes it harder for others to find them when looking for traffic, and also plugs up the system, due to longer legs all round.

    MTV
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    True, but all that represents is poor primary instruction.
    Flying at KDVT I was once extended on downwind so far that I was close to leaving the KDVT class Delta. I asked tower if I was cleared to enter KSDL class Delta and only then did they approve a base turn.

    Ab Intito students require a longer final then experienced pilots and all it takes is one to push the pattern out and then it feeds on itself. I have asked for, and been given, a short approach ahead of several aircraft flying a huge pattern but most of the time I go with the flow as tower lets me do non standard stuff when it's not busy.

    My idea of a short approach to 7R at KDVT is to turn base about 2/3 down the runway. One controller actually told me they like watching those.
    Last edited by frequent_flyer; 01-11-2023 at 12:35 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    https://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/.../ac_90-66b.pdf

    "9.9.1 A short approach is executed when the pilot makes an abbreviated downwind, base, and final legs turning inside of the standard 45-degree base turn."

    The trouble is that busy training airports will have a "normal" pattern that puts the base leg much further out than the "standard 45-degree base turn".
    I have never heard of a "standard 45-degree base turn"​. On downwind, yes.

    NX1PA

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    I of course agree with the above posts. The 1/4 mile point on our airport is exactly at the eastern edge of the pavement. The 45 degree point depends on how wide your pattern is, of course, and I suppose if you are running a mile abeam on downwind the 45 degree point is a mile out.

    For me, when I am number one I can get there any way I want. That is now much safer since helicopters are always pointed out, and usually on the same frequency.

    When our tower says "make short approach" I point the nose at my touchdown point, add power, and hustle.

    We are now close to the number one GA airport in the world, measured by operations count and complexity. I, and my students, now enjoy what is being called "the inside pattern." You can imagine - but we get between two and three landings for every Cherokee landing.

    We normally do not get short approach clearances, but if we are #1 with a clearance, we are well inside AIM and Airplane Flying Handbook norms.

    It is a lot of wasted words for a Cherokee to ask for a short approach when they are intending a one mile stabilized final - and even more wasted words when they are not #1. I believe the tower reps are going to address this. As yet we have not defined a "normal approach."

    As for running into adjacent class Delta when on a long downwind, it happens. The tower can get you a clearance. The Cubs get carefully planned 360 holds. We have Piper Cub experts in our tower, and they trust us to "do it now."
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    Edit: Skywagon's post appeared after I started typing.

    The "45 degree base leg" is a poorly stated attempt to describe looking over your shoulder and spotting the touchdown point at 135 degrees of neck angle as you turn 90 degrees. It has been around as long as I have been flying. It is about as useful as losing 1/3 of your altitude before you turn, etc.

    We practice a lot. Yesterday was very light - only two J3s and IFR traffic - rain, low ceilings, and gusts to 24.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    I have never heard of a "standard 45-degree base turn"​.
    May not be the best description but no doubt in my mind that it refers to initiating the base turn when the landing point is 45 degrees behind the wing. It's a reasonable position when starting pattern training but it makes no allowance for wind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    I of course agree with the above posts. The 1/4 mile point on our airport is exactly at the eastern edge of the pavement. The 45 degree point depends on how wide your pattern is, of course, and I suppose if you are running a mile abeam on downwind the 45 degree point is a mile out.

    For me, when I am number one I can get there any way I want. That is now much safer since helicopters are always pointed out, and usually on the same frequency.

    When our tower says "make short approach" I point the nose at my touchdown point, add power, and hustle.

    We are now close to the number one GA airport in the world, measured by operations count and complexity. I, and my students, now enjoy what is being called "the inside pattern." You can imagine - but we get between two and three landings for every Cherokee landing.

    We normally do not get short approach clearances, but if we are #1 with a clearance, we are well inside AIM and Airplane Flying Handbook norms.

    It is a lot of wasted words for a Cherokee to ask for a short approach when they are intending a one mile stabilized final - and even more wasted words when they are not #1. I believe the tower reps are going to address this. As yet we have not defined a "normal approach."

    As for running into adjacent class Delta when on a long downwind, it happens. The tower can get you a clearance. The Cubs get carefully planned 360 holds. We have Piper Cub experts in our tower, and they trust us to "do it now."
    You should try any of that at a Contract Tower……..Ours shut down ALL VFR arrivals/departures for three hours to allow all the wealthy jet owners to depart after the holiday. On a very nice VFR day.

    Count yourself lucky.

    MTV
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    I ask the local whiz kid instructors if they are flying a landing pattern or conducting a dual cross-country. Its kind of hard to tell. Someday they might re-evaluate the technique they are teaching when they are three miles past the threshhold on the downwind leg and the fan stops.
    Last edited by Waldo M; 01-12-2023 at 11:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    You should try any of that at a Contract Tower……..Ours shut down ALL VFR arrivals/departures for three hours to allow all the wealthy jet owners to depart after the holiday. On a very nice VFR day.

    Count yourself lucky.

    MTV
    I beat up the pattern at Oxnard a few years back in a Citabria, and they gave me all sorts of short approaches to fit me inside the other pattern. Kept sending me around to the right to keep me out of the conga line in left traffic. That is a contract tower, but not a super busy one. Camarillo is an FAA tower, there my experience is riding the long line with extended downwinds and super long finals. Here in King Salmon, we have a contract tower and they stuff me inside people all the time, even though I have reminded them that I am never in a hurry and they can park me anywhere, give me 360s, whatever facilitates keeping all the stress levels low. But apparently getting me out of the air is their preferred way to reduce their stress. Not sure how I should take that...

    LOL

    Anyway, not sure the contract tower is the issue. My impression is towers tend to have a very defined culture that persists through time even as staff change. But I think the origin of those cultural differences is actually in the staff, not the agency per se.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    That's part of it, and basically what the AC says. That said, I sometimes use a "real" short approach, with ATC permission, to turn base inside the numbers, with a long landing near the taxiway I need to exit. That too aids ATC in getting me out of the pattern as soon as possible. Years ago, that's what I was taught was a "short approach".
    ...
    MTV
    Us GA pilots routinely ask for short approach & long landing at KBOI. I've had tower accept the request, then call my base at mid-runway, presumably to manage traffic clearance. I've turned inside the tower at least once, which had me passing below the tower cab, and no one complained. I wonder just how short is acceptable.
    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy Hamon View Post
    I beat up the pattern at Oxnard a few years back in a Citabria, and they gave me all sorts of short approaches to fit me inside the other pattern. Kept sending me around to the right to keep me out of the conga line in left traffic. That is a contract tower, but not a super busy one. Camarillo is an FAA tower, there my experience is riding the long line with extended downwinds and super long finals. Here in King Salmon, we have a contract tower and they stuff me inside people all the time, even though I have reminded them that I am never in a hurry and they can park me anywhere, give me 360s, whatever facilitates keeping all the stress levels low. But apparently getting me out of the air is their preferred way to reduce their stress. Not sure how I should take that...

    LOL

    Anyway, not sure the contract tower is the issue. My impression is towers tend to have a very defined culture that persists through time even as staff change. But I think the origin of those cultural differences is actually in the staff, not the agency per se.
    Read this report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tkM...f0nA6KkYJ/view The DOT Office of Inspector General was pretty critical of the Contract Tower program.

    Our Class D tower, a Contract facility, operates 20 hours per day, seven days a week. For some time, they were authorized four controllers, one of whom is the ATC supervisor. Do that math on staffing ANY thing for 20 hours a day with four employees and get back to me. After considerable pressure from our senior Senator, there are now six controllers here, one of whom is the Supervisor, but one of those positions is funded by the Airport, not the FAA.

    For perspective, Bozeman enplaned over 2 Million airline passengers last year. By comparison, Helena, just north of us, is authorized 11 controllers, and doesn't even have radar.....and is one of the slowest Delta facilities in MT.

    Contract tower employees are paid significantly less per hour than FAA controllers, doing the same work as well.

    This may function at a relatively slow airport, but it sure doesn't here, and the FAA's response to the Bozeman issue? "We've never converted a Contract tower back to an FAA facility". Period.

    MTV
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    I have had the same experience with Serco towers (contract). I have had some luck calling the tower chief to get his/her folks in line.
    First, they are not all jerks - just enough to make it obvious that they don’t read the “point 65.”

    Some are serious jerks. They assume a call sign starting with “Pipercub” is automatically incompetent. One kept me out of Delta because I did not have a transponder. I told him I was landing anyway, and that he could violate me. We got that straightened out inside of two minutes, with an on-air apology.

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    When Iím at an airport that has those long finals (and in a capable airplane), when I turn downwind I slow to minimum control speed and just drive around the rest of the pattern at about 40 mph. Let the guys behind me figure out how to slow down or do 360s behind me. Doesnít take long for them to figure out whatís going on and they shorten up their patterns after about 2 or 3 circuits.


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    Not ours. They are a major flight training operation for future airline pilots. We have a viable workaround, as described above. I just wish they would quit wasting transmissions on “short approach” requests when they have no intention of actually doing one.
    They are a good outfit, with competent instructors and highly visible paint schemes. We work well together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    When Iím at an airport that has those long finals (and in a capable airplane), when I turn downwind I slow to minimum control speed and just drive around the rest of the pattern at about 40 mph.

    I do the same at KDVT but with a much closer downwind than the 3 counties tour flights. Tower usually lets them fly past me but keeps my place in the sequence.

    Flagstaff (KFLG) is a contract tower and the usual controller is happy handling one or two aircraft at a time. We once had a poker run with KFLG as one of the stops and we had 5 or 6 aircraft approaching Flagstaff about the same time. After the first three tower told the rest to remain clear of the Delta. If he had just gone back to sleep we could have all sequenced to landing just fine.
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    Our controllers with one exception, work hard and try. But they’re nearly all new (most former military controllers), they’re scared of their shadows, so everything slows down. On January 2 they shut the airport down to all VFR aircraft so all the private jets could leave after the holiday. On a good VFR day. Seriously, they couldn’t figure out how to mix traffic.

    Land on the “wrong” runway (which they tell you to use) and you’ll spend twenty minutes or more waiting to cross the parallel. Imagine being a student, watching that Hobbs click over while you’re “learning”.

    Heres the line for departure the day they shut down VFR:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    MTV
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Our controllers with one exception, work hard and try. But they’re nearly all new (most former military controllers), they’re scared of their shadows, so everything slows down. On January 2 they shut the airport down to all VFR aircraft so all the private jets could leave after the holiday. On a good VFR day. Seriously, they couldn’t figure out how to mix traffic.

    Land on the “wrong” runway (which they tell you to use) and you’ll spend twenty minutes or more waiting to cross the parallel. Imagine being a student, watching that Hobbs click over while you’re “learning”.

    Heres the line for departure the day they shut down VFR:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    MTV
    I'm soooo.....glad I fly out of my back yard

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    I'm soooo.....glad I fly out of my back yard

    Glenn
    I was just thinking the same thing! Not my backyard, but man...reading this thread makes me thankful to fly out of an uncontrolled airport.
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    Yellowstone

    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    I'm soooo.....glad I fly out of my back yard

    Glenn
    Me too, and mine is water where there is even less chance of other traffic.
    NX1PA
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    Midfield downwind slip onto the runway is something every good pilot should be ready to execute. If you can't make the runway with a engine out your pattern is too big. Atleast in the little uncontrolled areas anyway.
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    Thanks everyone for the thread, years ago my club made me self conscious about my small patterns.
    What's a go-around?

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    "the 3 counties tour flights" We call those B-52 patterns

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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    I do the same at KDVT but with a much closer downwind than the 3 counties tour flights. Tower usually lets them fly past me but keeps my place in the sequence.

    Flagstaff (KFLG) is a contract tower and the usual controller is happy handling one or two aircraft at a time. We once had a poker run with KFLG as one of the stops and we had 5 or 6 aircraft approaching Flagstaff about the same time. After the first three tower told the rest to remain clear of the Delta. If he had just gone back to sleep we could have all sequenced to landing just fine.
    So what do they do when you are on that 5 mile final and sit there at 40mph? Can't let them go past you once you are on final.
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    My idea of a short approach to 7R at KDVT is to turn base about 2/3 down the runway. One controller actually told me they like watching those.
    Wonder how long they've been there? A 'few' years ago when the tower was still on the south side there used to be a controller there that would request a short approach from what was probably at the time the strangest looking cub they'd seen, that would have a guy basically wrapping the turn to base around the tower good times. When Pan Am and Westwind started having a line up in the morning similar to MTV's pictures above, I knew it was time to start looking for a backyard to fly out of.

    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    If he had just gone back to sleep we could have all sequenced to landing just fine.
    Or you could have tightened it up and tied the runway up ounce landing as a flight... The pilot / tower relationship is always so much more pleasant when you're helping each other. The same goes for The XXX style pilot vs YYY style pilot relationship. Guaranteed almost any of those primary students with the extended patterns just don't know what they just don't know. Heck, there 300hr. instructors probably fill the same bill.

    FLG with it's zillion foot paved runway is no place for cub's on big $$$ tires to be shooting patterns. So I'm assuming it was just a single stop on on the run that everyone just need.

    Most of what I see in these threads is 'hooray for me, why can't everybody assimilate to our style' Since you are not in the tower the assumption is that nothing else is going on and it should be your space (and probably should have been), but from you seat that's an assumption.

    Take care, Rob
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    So what do they do when you are on that 5 mile final and sit there at 40mph? Can't let them go past you once you are on final.
    Traffic in the pattern is often sequenced in front of traffic on a long final. My final speed depends on the flow I have to fit in with. I would only be that slow if I had been asked to slow for sequencing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    Or you could have tightened it up and tied the runway up ounce landing as a flight... The pilot / tower relationship is always so much more pleasant when you're helping each other.
    The point was that this controller could not handle 5 aircraft in the class Delta at the same time. The aircraft were well spaced (probably more than 3 miles separation), arriving from the same direction, and with no prior agreement to operate as a flight.

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    Yeah. Best not to do any non-pre-briefed formation flying. I refuse to participate in those well-briefed 20 plane holiday fly-overs, because even if well briefed, there are always a few who think their way is better. Dangerous.

    And yes, I am an experienced formation pilot - I do it weekly.
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    Back to the short approach. I submit that we now need a definition - a published definition - of a short approach. I suggest anything shorter than the AIM 1/4 mile final, but would accept any definition. Turn it over to the "air mission" folks?

    As to tower vs non-tower - I hsve extensive no radio transcontinental experience, and now value that second set of eyes on the radar scope. My first seven years as a Cub pilot were with a compass, watch, and WAC chart. No notams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Our controllers with one exception, work hard and try. But they’re nearly all new (most former military controllers), they’re scared of their shadows, so everything slows down. On January 2 they shut the airport down to all VFR aircraft so all the private jets could leave after the holiday. On a good VFR day. Seriously, they couldn’t figure out how to mix traffic.

    Land on the “wrong” runway (which they tell you to use) and you’ll spend twenty minutes or more waiting to cross the parallel. Imagine being a student, watching that Hobbs click over while you’re “learning”.

    Heres the line for departure the day they shut down VFR:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	962D28A6-2536-4F10-9AFE-68202ABDB025.jpeg 
Views:	50 
Size:	81.2 KB 
ID:	64309

    MTV
    Blows my mind. I finished my PPL there in the early 80s. It was uncontrolled, even with constant airline traffic.

    Kind of breaks my heart. Haven't been there in a long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    Traffic in the pattern is often sequenced in front of traffic on a long final. My final speed depends on the flow I have to fit in with. I would only be that slow if I had been asked to slow for sequencing.
    Missed the point on this one. I was answering the post about tower sending all the others around him but maintaining the same sequence.
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    This sort of reminds me of Lake Hood the evening before moose season opens…..
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    The point was that this controller could not handle 5 aircraft in the class Delta at the same time. The aircraft were well spaced (probably more than 3 miles separation), arriving from the same direction, and with no prior agreement to operate as a flight.
    My apologies, it was not my intention to suggest emulating a Blue Angels performance in the pattern. I thought we were all landing, after having assembled some sort of flight together so the assumption was that some pre flight briefing had occurred. If we haven't even prepared our own selves, how do we judge the guy in the box while we only hear what is available on our end? Did he have something to solve on another freq? The phone? In the tower? Nah, he didn't keep up with us, burn him at the stake.... lol

    FWIW, my formation flight is probably stunted by the standards of others here. Working side by side in ag is really pretty straight forward.

    Take care, Rob

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Back to the short approach. I submit that we now need a definition - a published definition - of a short approach.
    You didn't like the FAA published definition that I posted to start this thread? I looked it up specially for you.

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    By golly, you are correct! I sort of thought it was out of the Airplane Flying Handbook, which is not a source of definitions. The Advisory Circular is such a source. But now we need to have a definition of a standard downwind distance - not an AIM suggestion, but something that would allow measurement using the 45 degree criteria.

    If you run a one mile downwind, that means that a short approach would be anything less than a one mile final.

    Next question: do you need a clearance to execute a short approach, once we have one clearly defined?

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    Bob, my take has always been once cleared to land it is up to you on how you make your approach. If I get cleared to land on downwind, Iíll do a ďnormalĒ approach so I will never be beyond gliding distance from the threshold with power off. That typically will be about a 1/4 mile final. In the pattern with other airplanes maintaining appropriate spacing given your speed and the speed of the traffic you are following dictates how you make your approach. If that extends beyond that 1/4 mile final, I maintain pattern altitude until I can execute a glide path that would get me to the runway with no power, then I start my descent. The only time Iíve ever said anything about the approach Iím making is if my intention is to land beyond the designated TDZ to get to a desired taxiway. In that case I just tell them Iím landing long and perhaps indicate the planned taxiway exit.


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