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6/17/21 

AIM 

3. 

When the approach procedure involves a 

procedure turn, a maximum speed of not greater than 
200 knots (IAS) should be observed from first 
overheading the course reversal IAF through the 
procedure turn maneuver to ensure containment 
within the obstruction clearance area. Pilots should 
begin the outbound turn immediately after passing 
the procedure turn fix. The procedure turn maneuver 
must be executed within the distance specified in the 
profile view. The normal procedure turn distance is 
10 miles. This may be reduced to a minimum of 
5 miles where only Category A or helicopter aircraft 
are to be operated or increased to as much as 15 miles 
to accommodate high performance aircraft. 

4. 

A teardrop procedure or penetration turn may 

be specified in some procedures for a required course 
reversal. The teardrop procedure consists of 
departure from an initial approach fix on an outbound 
course followed by a turn toward and intercepting the 
inbound course at or prior to the intermediate fix or 
point. Its purpose is to permit an aircraft to reverse 
direction and lose considerable altitude within 
reasonably limited airspace. Where no fix is available 
to mark the beginning of the intermediate segment, it 
must be assumed to commence at a point 10 miles 
prior to the final approach fix. When the facility is 
located on the airport, an aircraft is considered to be 
on final approach upon completion of the penetration 
turn. However, the final approach segment begins on 
the final approach course 10 miles from the facility. 

5. 

A holding pattern in lieu of procedure turn 

may be specified for course reversal in some 
procedures. In such cases, the holding pattern is 
established over an intermediate fix or a final 
approach fix. The holding pattern distance or time 
specified in the profile view must be observed. For a 
hold

in

lieu

of

PT, the holding pattern direction 

must be flown as depicted and the specified leg 
length/timing must not be exceeded. Maximum 
holding airspeed limitations as set forth for all 
holding patterns apply. The holding pattern maneuver 
is completed when the aircraft is established on the 
inbound course after executing the appropriate entry. 
If cleared for the approach prior to returning to the 
holding fix, and the aircraft is at the prescribed 
altitude, additional circuits of the holding pattern are 
not necessary nor expected by ATC. If pilots elect to 
make additional circuits to lose excessive altitude or 
to become better established on course, it is their 

responsibility to so advise ATC upon receipt of their 
approach clearance. 

6. 

A procedure turn is not required when an 

approach can be made directly from a specified 
intermediate fix to the final approach fix. In such 
cases, the term “NoPT” is used with the appropriate 
course and altitude to denote that the procedure turn 
is not required. If a procedure turn is desired, and 
when cleared to do so by ATC, descent below the 
procedure turn altitude should not be made until the 
aircraft is established on the inbound course, since 
some NoPT altitudes may be lower than the 
procedure turn altitudes. 

b.  Limitations on Procedure Turns 

1. 

In the case of a radar initial approach to a final 

approach fix or position, or a timed approach from a 
holding fix, or where the procedure specifies NoPT, 
no pilot may make a procedure turn unless, when final 
approach clearance is received, the pilot so advises 
ATC and a clearance is received to execute a 
procedure turn. 

2. 

When a teardrop procedure turn is depicted 

and a course reversal is required, this type turn must 
be executed. 

3. 

When a holding pattern replaces a procedure 

turn, the holding pattern must be followed, except 
when RADAR VECTORING is provided or when 
NoPT is shown on the approach course. The 
recommended entry procedures will ensure the 
aircraft remains within the holding pattern’s 
protected airspace. As in the procedure turn, the 
descent from the minimum holding pattern altitude to 
the final approach fix altitude (when lower) may not 
commence until the aircraft is established on the 
inbound course. Where a holding pattern is 
established in

lieu

of a procedure turn, the maxi-

mum holding pattern airspeeds apply. 

REFERENCE

 

AIM, Paragraph 5

3

8 j2, Holding 

4. 

The absence of the procedure turn barb in the 

plan view indicates that a procedure turn is not 
authorized for that procedure. 

5

4

10.  Timed Approaches from a Holding 

Fix 

a.  TIMED APPROACHES

 may be conducted 

when the following conditions are met: 

Arrival Procedures 

5

4

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