IFR Minimum Vectoring Altitudes

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IFR Minimum Vectoring Altitudes

Postby N7479G » Sat Dec 28, 2019 11:59 am

Hi, working my way through the I rating program, yesterday was I-5. I fly my little C172 for all missions to simulate real life where I can. I entered the CRESO arrival at 11k, in the clouds at 12F. In real life, this would be a no-go due to icing risk. I asked center for a lower altitude, they initially offered me 10k, which appears to be the MEA from DAG to SARAS. I declined because I knew it would not get me out of the layer, so I'd proceed past SARAS and ask for lower. Crossing SARAS I asked for 7k, which is charted as the MEA for the remainder of the STAR into LAS. ATC said he couldn't give me 7, but dropped me to 9k, as that was his MVA. Any lower and I'd have to cancel IFR. 9 still had me in the clouds.

Simple question- I don't understand how ATC could ever have MVA's that are higher than MEA's that are charted on the plates? Is this a quirk of the sim environment, or something that I could experience in real life?

Thanks- I'm new to all of this :) Chuck
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Re: IFR Minimum Vectoring Altitudes

Postby Kevin_atc » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:47 pm

MVAs/MIAs can defintiely be higher than the charted MEA. This is due to the fact that MVAs/MIAs are typically a broad area where a certain altitude has been deemed safe. However, on a charted procedure, an MEA of an airway or segment is a very specific area of which may be flight checked lower than the controllers’ MVA/MIA. However, in your situation, assuming you were still on the STAR and hadn’t been assigned “fly present heading” or anything like that, the controller should have been able to descend you to the MEA altitude since they weren’t vectoring you. I suppose the only other issue could be if the controller knows he will have to vector you at a certain time of which is before you would reach a lower MVA.
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Re: IFR Minimum Vectoring Altitudes

Postby N7479G » Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:08 pm

Thanks. I was still on the STAR but ATC was about to vector me to the approach. Mountains everywhere on that arrival so ATC was probably keeping me at their MVA for the sector. Wx was not on my side in a C172 that day but I got the rating :-).
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Re: IFR Minimum Vectoring Altitudes

Postby Marcus Becker » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:38 pm

Exactly. Landing the 1’s and about to hand you off from center to approach. You’ve got it right. Vectors were coming soon enough but with where you were and where you were going, it wasn’t practical to drop you yet unless you were in an emergency scenario.
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