January 11, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
Now, it’s academic.
Isn’t that a curious expression? It suggests that something is interesting, but dismissible as moot.
A question that stirred up much debate among instrument pilot readers is now academic. Readers who for a week have pondered whether a “NoPT” notation on an instrument approach procedure to Kingston-Ulster Airport in New York was valid or erroneous will now find that the IAP has been “deleted since last cycle.”
Two next-generation IAPs have become available at Kingston-Ulster for those equipped to fly them. The new IAP for Runway 33 is—academically and otherwise—a serious improvement over the deleted procedure.
Does that mean that the debate over the note must end? It remains good ground school (that is, academic) fodder. And judging from the responses to the Jan. 8 poll question, many pilots gave its consideration a good effort.
For the record, it wasn’t a trick question, as a few readers suspected. With all options for executing the approach—with and without the mandatory racetrack PT—all accounted for on the plate, the note prohibiting a procedure turn between JOEYL and SHANO appeared misplaced.
Still, a large majority of respondents believed that the NoPT note might be valid for flights vectored to the final approach course. That prompted Craig D’Ambra, who originally posed the intriguing question, to cite Aeronautical Information Manual guidance stating that “the vector will be such as to enable the pilot to establish the aircraft on the final approach course prior to reaching the final approach fix. … Therefore, once established on the final approach course, pilots must not deviate from it unless a clearance to do so is received from ATC.”
Some respondents sought to justify the note as a prudent warning about the vicinity’s high terrain.
AOPA inquired with the FAA about the note before the question became academic. Any response will be passed along.
There were two other questions to be answered from the Jan. 8 IFR Fix mini-quiz.
In the METAR sequence UPB52E53, UP stands for unknown precipitation. It is used only at automated sites when the equipment can’t tell what the precipitation is.
The question about how to determine an RVR value’s comparable surface visibility is addressed in a table in an IAP volume’s legend: A note requires using the next highest ground visibility value, rather than interpolating.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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