Course Reversal on a SID

Questions and comments about the PE Pilot Training Program

Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Mark Hargrove » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:44 pm

The FLOUT5 departure procedure out of Santa Barbara takes you out to FLOUT intersection on the RZS 197 radial. The RZS transition then takes you directly back to San Marcus VOR on the same radial without specifying how to conduct the course reversal. Is there a standard procedure for reversing course at FLOUT (or at any fix that is part of a departure procedure where you need to turn around)? Can I just use a "barb"-type procedure turn? --or do I need to learn how to execute an Immelman? :-)
Mark Hargrove
Longmont, CO
PE: N757SL (Cessna 182T 'Skylane'), N757SM (Cessna 337 'Skymaster'), N757BD (Beech Duke Turbine)
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Orest Skrypuch » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:20 pm

Odd SID. There being no guidance on the plate, and with no other instruction from ATC (or with radios failure) I would just turn 180+ degrees and reintercept inbound. I would suspect in most instances you would get an instruction to turn R or L heading xxx, fly direct RSZ when able -- when you are high enough.

I look forward to the answer here.

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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Steve Caffey » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:33 pm

It is a strange departure, but ATC wouldn't give you an instruction as it's a pilot nav departure. Since it doesn't specify which way to turn, I assume the choice is yours, but could be wrong.
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Keith Smith » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:44 pm

I'm told by our controllers that listen to the liveatc feed for SBA for hours at a time that they don't seem to use anything but the SBA2 out of SBA. My guess is that even if you were assigned this SID, once you're climbing at a good clip and can make the required altitude restrictions, they're going to give you a shortcut. If you were in a lost comms case or ATC just like watching you waste fuel...you could reverse course either way. You're over the ocean and there are no conflicting traffic flows in the area, so it's not important which way you turn.
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Alex Stjepanovic » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:43 am

If you think that it's funky without a specified turn - There was a case a few years back at SLI, where the ALBACOR DP used to have a literal procedure turn to the SE of ALBAS. They've since changed it to a specified turn, by putting an arrow in there. I'll try and find the original chart if I can.

If you want another interesting "ambiguous" one in the area, go to SMX and fly the BUELT. See FRAMS transition :)

In fact, now that I think about it, while going through these each AIRAC, I'm starting to see a trend, of more and more of such(or similar) cases appearing. It must be some lost comms plan only, as KS alludes.
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Orest Skrypuch » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:02 pm

Steve Caffey wrote:It is a strange departure, but ATC wouldn't give you an instruction as it's a pilot nav ...


Even with pilot nav SIDs, it is not uncommon to get shortcuts. This one would be ripe for one.

* Orest
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Keith Smith » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:13 pm

I agree, it being a pilot nav doesn't mean that ATC will NOT pull you off the dep. It just means that it's completely flyable without any additional instructions from ATC.
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Steve Caffey » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:47 pm

Right, that's not what I meant. Outside of a shortcut they wouldn't tell you which way to turn.
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Mark Hargrove » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:57 pm

...and indeed, I got a shortcut almost immediately. ATC let me proceed towards FLOUT until I reached about 3000' then gave me a couple of 90-degree left turns and let me proceed direct to RZS.
Mark Hargrove
Longmont, CO
PE: N757SL (Cessna 182T 'Skylane'), N757SM (Cessna 337 'Skymaster'), N757BD (Beech Duke Turbine)
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Re: Course Reversal on a SID

Postby Orest Skrypuch » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:32 pm

Steve Caffey wrote:Right, that's not what I meant. Outside of a shortcut they wouldn't tell you which way to turn.


In my experience, an instruction to fly direct a waypoint in approach/departure or other busy airspace is preceded by a heading to fly, together with the direction of turn. If you think about it, it makes sense. If the turn is ambiguous. (as it is here) they want to know where you are going to fly, and in addition turning to heading is generally faster than turning to a waypoint, it assists you too.

Enroute you generally just get fly direct xxxxx, but of course you can ask for a heading.

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