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AIM

10/12/17

5−5−2

Pilot/Controller Roles and Responsibilities

5−5−3. Contact Approach

a. Pilot.

1. Must request a contact approach and makes it

in lieu of a standard or special instrument approach.

2. By requesting the contact approach, indicates

that the flight is operating clear of clouds, has at least

one mile flight visibility, and reasonably expects to

continue to the destination airport in those conditions.

3. Assumes responsibility for obstruction clear-

ance while conducting a contact approach.

4. Advises ATC immediately if unable to

continue the contact approach or if encounters less

than 1 mile flight visibility.

5. Is aware that if radar service is being received,

it may be automatically terminated when told to

contact the tower.

REFERENCE−

Pilot/Controller Glossary Term− Radar Service Terminated.

b. Controller.

1. Issues clearance for a contact approach only

when requested by the pilot. Does not solicit the use

of this procedure.

2. Before issuing the clearance, ascertains that

reported ground visibility at destination airport is at

least 1 mile.

3. Provides approved separation between the

aircraft cleared for a contact approach and other IFR

or special VFR aircraft. When using vertical

separation, does not assign a fixed altitude, but clears

the aircraft at or below an altitude which is at least

1,000 feet below any IFR traffic but not below

Minimum Safe Altitudes prescribed in 14 CFR

Section 91.119.

4. Issues alternative instructions if, in their

judgment, weather conditions may make completion

of the approach impracticable.

5−5−4. Instrument Approach

a. Pilot.

1. Be aware that the controller issues clearance

for approach based only on known traffic.

2. Follows the procedure as shown on the IAP,

including all restrictive notations, such as:

(a) Procedure not authorized at night;

(b) Approach not authorized when local area

altimeter not available;

(c) Procedure not authorized when control

tower not in operation;

(d) Procedure not authorized when glide

slope not used;

(e) Straight-in minimums not authorized at

night; etc.

(f) Radar required; or
(g) The circling minimums published on the

instrument approach chart provide adequate obstruc-

tion clearance and pilots should not descend below

the circling altitude until the aircraft is in a position

to make final descent for landing. Sound judgment

and knowledge of the pilot’s and the aircraft’s

capabilities are the criteria for determining the exact

maneuver in each instance since airport design and

the aircraft position, altitude and airspeed must all be

considered.

REFERENCE−

AIM, Paragraph 5−4−20 , Approach and Landing Minimums

3. Upon receipt of an approach clearance while

on an unpublished route or being radar vectored:

(a) Complies with the minimum altitude for

IFR; and

(b) Maintains the last assigned altitude until

established on a segment of a published route or IAP,

at which time published altitudes apply.

4. When applicable, apply cold temperature

correction to instrument approach segments. Advise

ATC when intending to apply cold temperature

correction and of the amount of correction required

for each affected segment on initial contact (or as

soon as possible). This information is required for

ATC to provide aircraft appropriate vertical separa-

tion between known traffic.

REFERENCE−

AIM, Paragraph 7−2−3 , Altimeter Errors 

AIM, TBL 7−2−3, ICAO Cold Temperature Error

b. Controller.

1. Issues an approach clearance based on known

traffic.

2. Issues an IFR approach clearance only after

the aircraft is established on a segment of published

route or IAP, or assigns an appropriate altitude for the

aircraft to maintain until so established.