Holding and PT

Hi all,

My question comes about from an article I read in Flying Mag just recently.

Reference LEB ILS RWY 18 (the infamous Hamburger Fries approach): tiles.skyvector.com/sky/files/tp … 59IL18.PDF

The guy gets held at the OM BURGR inbound on the localizer, right turns (opposite the PT direction) at 6k. Apparently the minimum IFR altitude that center can assign out there is 5400, and the GS altitude is down at 2717’.

After being established in the hold, when cleared for the ILS, how does a pilot execute a course reversal without a hold-in-lieu-of PT? The article doesn’t explain this well except that he states he went out to an IAF and got on the approach course. This seemingly violates his clearance though, as well as the 10 NM range from BURGR to remain within.

Can any instrument rated pilots enlighten me? I’m a center controller myself, and this situation might come up at some point. I’d like to know what to expect the pilot to do.


Since there is not a published hold at Burgr and the pilot is going to descend below the MVA the pilot has no choice but to fly the procedure turn without special ATC direction.

Seems like vectors to the final approach course would be better:
“N12345 15 miles from burger turn left heading 220, maintain 5400 until 17 DME, cleared for…”

Frank Holbert

I understand that. But how? And what if 1.) The controller doesn’t have time to vector to final or 2.) There isn’t an approach course depicted on the controller’s scope such that he can’t vector to final (this is common out here at ZAB)?

If you’re going opposite direction from the PT from the hold, and ATC clears for the approach while on the outbound leg (which is what happened in this instance), what does the pilot do?

Just cut across the localizer and make a procedure turn from the outbound leg?

If RNAV equipped, proceed direct HAMMM then start the procedure turn?

Continue the hold back to BURGR then make a left turn to re-join the localizer outbound then make the right turn to start the procedure turn as published?

Obviously the pilot can’t safely descend below the last altitude assigned by the controller without being on a published segment of the approach… but holding turns opposite in direction to the procedure turn seems to make for a heck of a funky way to get to the localizer. Curious if there’s any standard for this.


They tried to do that to me in a c340 comming in from the west #3 and hold at 8000 I told them no! and suggested to go to MPV( IAF) 28 miles to the north then back,that let him get one or two in and one out and I didnt do any crazy slam dunk twisting turning. It was a nice standard approach. No Problem…

P.S the Boston CTR guys are about the worst to get any help out of.

Let’s assume a holding pattern airspeed of 120k. A holding pattern with right turns and 1 minute legs:

Aircraft rolls out outbound in the hold and hears:

N12345 maintain 6000 until established on the final approach course cleared for…

1.) The Sundowner pilot turns inbound and 1 minute (2 miles) from burgr he leaves 6000’ for 2900’. This requires a descent rate of 3100 fpm. Wrong answer.

2.) The Bonanza pilot starts his descent 2 miles from burger. By the time he realizes he can’t make burgr anything near 2900, he’s gone lost comm with ATC (to low) so he elects to make another turn in holding to loose altitude. He finds a mountain while in the clouds because he’s not operating in protected airspace. wrong answer.

3.) The Cessna pilot sees what’s happening so he extends his outbound leg 4 minutes guessing he can make 2900’ in four minutes. Wrong answer.

4.) The Bellanca pilot tracks outbound then turns right to a heading of 052. Crosses the final approach course, makes a procedure turn. All the time ATC is saying I have a number for you to call, advise ready to copy.


Oh god no. Hammm plays no part in the outbound leg.

Best thing to do would be to ask. ATC has placed the pilot between a rock and a hard spot and there is no good way out unless you ask.

Franks last line is the answer I’d give.

A. I would not accept that clearance.

B. I’d Ask for Radar Vectors

C. If center is too busy I’d tell them I’d be willing to hold till they can accommodate me.

D.If the time it takes for them to get to me would encroach on my Fuel reserve I’d Divert.

Why in the name of all that is holy did Center give him Right turns?

The Pilot should have requested a hold south of the OM, RH turns, but the pilot screwed that by accepting a hold at the OM inbound.


  1. Descend in the hold to 3900. At 3900 inbound Descend to 3500, grab the GS and go get coffee. A proper hold will keep you with in 10nm.

  2. Cross the OM inbound, turn right to 052 make your PT keeping it within 10nm and fly the approach.

3.Remember your PIC and ATC works for you. Get the Controller to clarify your clearance and be clear with ATC what you can or can’t do

Pretty much every dept has to cross IVV at 4000 hence the holds at 6000

But there’s no published hold at BURGR.

If ATC’s MIA is 5400, then that’s the lowest they can assign you, and the lowest you can go until on a published segment of the approach. As there is no holding, IMO it’s illegal and unsafe to descend while in the controller’s ad hoc holding pattern.

If you cross the OM inbound, what makes you decide to turn right instead of left, assuming ATC cleared you for the approach while inbound to BURGR as opposed to just after crossing it? I ask since the holding is ostensibly cancelled upon receiving the approach clearance.

Inherently, there isn’t anything particularly wrong with the holding clearance itself. The devil is in transitioning from the hold to the PT for the approach.

@fholbert… your #4 is kind of confusing… one one hand, you seem to say ATC would have you calling the tower/center for doing something illegal, but then you go on to say that’s exactly what you’d do. I’m confused. Are you saying go ahead and establish on the outbound leg of the hold, then turn to the 052* recommended heading across the localizer course, perhaps beginning the PT timing when you cross the loc centerline?

Admittedly, I don’t see anything inherently unsafe about that as long as you remain AOA 5400’ until crossing the localizer outbound on the procedure turn.

Given the worst case scenario that this is your divert airport, no vectors are available for whatever reason, and you need to get down, is this the safest way to do this?


1.) I’m not afraid to call the tower, especially when I’m right.
2.) I’ve found few ATC’ers fully understand an instrument approach.
3.) If you went NORDO crossing the localizer and shooting the PT would be the correct way.

Ask yourself, if you went NORDO what would be the correct procedure?

Frank Holbert

Just trying to gain some knowledge here really… this seems like the most complex instrument approach entry I’ve seen.

Like I said, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with the method you gave, just wanted to make sure that’s what you were stating. Sounded like you were contradicting yourself for a second there. I didn’t understand why you thought ATC would think you were up to no good anyway, honestly. Once I clear someone for approach in a one-in-one-out situation, I honestly don’t pay much attention to them.


Agree 100%

Notice how the beeches hit a mountain or tear the wings off, but yet the bellanca makes it in and goes and has coffee with the tower…wonder why that is…I say foul play. :wink:

I would have gone with “C”…wait till I can be accomodated by atc. as flyboy stated.

When I was an ATC’er my standard answer would have been;

  • “Say fuel remaining in time.”*

Funny but, they always saw it my way after that.

:laughing: I can believe that…

I see the 6000’ hold at the OM as an interim hold pending further clearance. The controller may have some good reason to hold aircraft there, but may not have time to tell me why. If you get cleared for the approach without a vector or other specific way to get down I would also turn outbound, slide over to the localizer, then start down to 3900 and fly the PT as published.
I do agree that a hold south of BURGR would have made life a bit easier but since this is one of those “what if” questions it doesn’t count…
Also nothing wrong with continuing the turn to 052 straight away as long as the airplane has the performance to get down in the shorter than usual distance.
HAMMM is there for LOC only approaches.
HAM is also illegal in some parts of the world, but that’s another story. :angry:

John in Saudi

I feel for you John. The Turkey bacon and Turkey sausage at the JW in Dubai almost fools you after a month.
I have a friend that is making money off the Midex pilots by Smuggling pork to them.

He’s making a killing for no reason then, you can get real pork along with a real beer in Dubai.
I hear they even have real girls… :laughing:

Yes Dubai has the real stuff, but He is in Saudi like you.

ah, that Midex. I was thinking of someone else.