Ryan asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 9 years ago

Alternate Instrument Approach?

For an Alternate when you are flying IFR, does it have to have a published instrument approach?


And I just want to know per FAR, thanks!

1 Answer

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The answer is that it depends on the weather at the alternate used!

    If the destination has no instrument approach, then weather must be good enough to make a VFR approach from the IFR minimum en route altitude (MEA). If you're under radar surveillance, however, you may be able to descend to the minimum vectoring altitude (MVA), which will sometimes be lower than the MEA. MVAs aren't printed on any chart; they're known only by the controller and vary from sector to sector, based on radar coverage. In some cases that coverage may be able to get you very near the ground as long as there are no obstructions along the way! BEWARE of Mountains etc!

    In the case above an IFR approach does not have to be available but you better be sure about the weather!

    Otherwise you start with the 1,2,3 rule.

    " If the forecast weather at your destination, from one hour before to one hour after your estimated time of arrival, is at least a 2,000-foot ceiling and three statute miles' visibility, then no alternate is required to be filed. " from memory.

    Then it gets more complex...

    Standard IFR alternate minimums state that if the alternate airport has a precision approach (ILS or PAR), it can be filed as an alternate if, at the time of arrival, the forecast is no worse than 600 feet agl and two miles. If the airport is served by a nonprecision approach (NDB, VOR, LOC, GPS, etc.), the ceiling rises to 800 feet agl and visibility remains at two miles.

    Always check the TPP or Jepsen mimums lists as the 600-2 and 800-2 rules are basic minimums that apply when there are no specific alternate minimums listed in the beginning of the National Ocean Service's Terminal Procedures Publication (TPP) or on Jeppesen Airway Manuals' airport layout pages.

    If alternate minimums for a specific airport are not published, they are assumed to be standard minimums. Jeppesen publishes the minimums regardless of whether they're standard or not, to avoid any possible confusion. You'll find that airports in mountainous areas or those that have obstructions near them generally have higher-than-standard alternate minimums.

    The above was from AOPA Instrument Insights and a bad IFR plan of mine from years back!


    Source(s): Years - TL
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