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AIM 

6/17/21 

b. 

Before practicing an instrument approach, 

pilots should inform the approach control facility or 
the tower of the type of practice approach they desire 
to make and how they intend to terminate it, 
i.e., full

stop  landing, touch

and

go, or missed or 

low approach maneuver. This information may be 
furnished progressively when conducting a series of 
approaches. Pilots on an IFR flight plan, who have 
made a series of instrument approaches to full stop 
landings should inform ATC when they make their 
final landing. The controller will control flights 
practicing instrument approaches so as to ensure that 
they do not disrupt the flow of arriving and departing 
itinerant IFR or VFR aircraft. The priority afforded 
itinerant aircraft over practice instrument approaches 
is not intended to be so rigidly applied that it causes 
grossly inefficient application of services. A 
minimum delay to itinerant traffic may be appropriate 
to allow an aircraft practicing an approach to 
complete that approach. 

NOTE

 

A clearance to land means that appropriate separation on 
the landing runway will be ensured. A landing clearance 
does not relieve the pilot from compliance with any 
previously issued restriction. 

c. 

At airports without a tower, pilots wishing to 

make practice instrument approaches should notify 
the facility having control jurisdiction of the desired 
approach as indicated on the approach chart. All 
approach control facilities and ARTCCs are required 
to publish a Letter to Airmen depicting those airports 
where they provide standard separation to both VFR 
and IFR aircraft conducting practice instrument 
approaches. 

d. 

The controller will provide approved separation 

between both VFR and IFR aircraft when authoriza-
tion is granted to make practice approaches to airports 
where an approach control facility is located and to 
certain other airports served by approach control or 
an ARTCC. Controller responsibility for separation 
of VFR aircraft begins at the point where the 
approach clearance becomes effective, or when the 
aircraft enters Class B or Class C airspace, or a TRSA, 
whichever comes first. 

e. 

VFR aircraft practicing instrument approaches 

are not automatically authorized to execute the 
missed approach procedure. This authorization must 
be specifically requested by the pilot and approved by 
the controller. Where ATC procedures require 

application of IFR separation to VFR aircraft 
practicing instrument approaches, separation will be 
provided throughout the procedure including the 
missed approach. Where no separation services are 
provided during the practice approach, no separation 
services will be provided during the missed approach. 

f. 

Except in an emergency, aircraft cleared to 

practice instrument approaches must not deviate from 
the approved procedure until cleared to do so by the 
controller. 

g. 

At radar approach control locations when a full 

approach procedure (procedure turn, etc.,) cannot be 
approved, pilots should expect to be vectored to a 
final approach course for a practice instrument 
approach which is compatible with the general 
direction of traffic at that airport. 

h. 

When granting approval for a practice 

instrument approach, the controller will usually ask 
the pilot to report to the tower prior to or over the final 
approach fix inbound (nonprecision approaches) or 
over the outer marker or fix used in lieu of the outer 
marker inbound (precision approaches). 

i. 

When authorization is granted to conduct 

practice instrument approaches to an airport with a 
tower, but where approved standard separation is not 
provided to aircraft conducting practice instrument 
approaches, the tower will approve the practice 
approach, instruct the aircraft to maintain VFR and 
issue traffic information, as required. 

j. 

When an aircraft notifies a FSS providing Local 

Airport Advisory to the airport concerned of the 
intent to conduct a practice instrument approach and 
whether or not separation is to be provided, the pilot 
will be instructed to contact the appropriate facility 
on a specified frequency prior to initiating the 
approach. At airports where separation is not 
provided, the FSS will acknowledge the message and 
issue known traffic information but will neither 
approve or disapprove the approach. 

k. 

Pilots conducting practice instrument ap-

proaches should be particularly alert for other aircraft 
operating in the local traffic pattern or in proximity to 
the airport. 

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3

22.  Option Approach 

The “Cleared for the Option” procedure will permit 
an instructor, flight examiner or pilot the option to 
make a touch

and

go, low approach, missed 

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Airport Operations