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AIM 

6/17/21 

1. 

Circling approach protected areas are defined 

by the tangential connection of arcs drawn from each 
runway end (see FIG 5

4

29). Circling approach 

protected areas developed prior to late 2012 used 
fixed radius distances, dependent on aircraft 
approach category, as shown in the table on page B2 
of the U.S. TPP. The approaches using standard 
circling approach areas can be identified by the 
absence of the “negative C” symbol on the circling 
line of minima. Circling approach protected areas 
developed after late 2012 use the radius distance 
shown in the table on page B2 of the U.S. TPP, 
dependent on aircraft approach category, and the 
altitude of the circling MDA, which accounts for true 
airspeed increase with altitude. The approaches using 
expanded circling approach areas can be identified by 
the presence of the “negative C” symbol on the 
circling line of minima (see FIG 5

4

30). Because of 

obstacles near the airport, a portion of the circling 

area may be restricted by a procedural note; for 
example, “Circling NA E of RWY 17

35.” Obstacle 

clearance is provided at the published minimums 
(MDA) for the pilot who makes a straight

in 

approach, side

steps, or circles. Once below the 

MDA the pilot must see and avoid obstacles. 
Executing the missed approach after starting to 
maneuver usually places the aircraft beyond the 
MAP. The aircraft is clear of obstacles when at or 
above the MDA while inside the circling area, but 
simply joining the missed approach ground track 
from the circling maneuver may not provide vertical 
obstacle clearance once the aircraft exits the circling 
area. Additional climb inside the circling area may be 
required before joining the missed approach track. 
See Paragraph 5

4

21, Missed Approach, for 

additional considerations when starting a missed 
approach at other than the MAP. 

FIG 5

4

29 

Final Approach Obstacle Clearance 

NOTE

 

Circling approach area radii vary according to approach category and MSL circling altitude due to TAS changes 

 

see FIG 5

4

30. 

Arrival Procedures 

5

4

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