# SEE THE LIGHTS.

Instrument training routinely teaches departing, cruising, and approaching--only to leave pilots on their own for the last 200 feet. That final descent isn't always simple.

It's decision time. Decision altitude, actually, for the ILS Y Rwy 35 approach to Wilmington, Intl. (KILM). We didn't include "Loc" in the title. You're way too low for non-precision.

This KQ set up is a bit different than the others in that we're not gonna tell you a story for setup. It doesn't matter how you got here, it doesn't matter (yet) where you'll go next, and it doesn't matter what Tower reported as RVR. It's the end of the day, night is falling, and you'd really like to land. All that matters is if "having the lights" is enough--given the panel and view you see right now.

In the real world you have a second or so to handle these questions. Answers on page 23.

1. Peering through the darkening miasma, you see the white "roll bar" of the approach lights, plus four white bars past it. How far apart are those white bars?

a. 100 feet per row on precision approach lights. You see at least 400 feet past the bar.

b. 150 feet per row on precision approach lights. You see at least 600 feet past the bar.

c. 200 feet per row on this lighting system. You see at least 800 feet past the bar.

d. 300 feet per row on this lighting system. You see at least 1200 feet past the bar.

2. You might see some green beyond the approach lights, but it's difficult to tell. How far is that roll bar from your landing threshold?

a. It's 1000 feet from the landing threshold. That's always true.

b. It's 1400 from the landing threshold.

d. Can't tell. Doesn't matter. Don't care.

3. Cut yourself some slack and say you see five rows of lights past the roll bar (and the last one seems greenish). Can you--legally-continue this approach without the allowance for RVR 1800 shown in the notes?

a. Not even close. Time to go missed approach.

b. Almost. From a DH of 200 feet, the threshold is about 2400 feet away. But from 210 feet, you're not seeing as far.

c. Yes. At a DH of 210, the threshold is about 2600 feet away. You got this.

d. Room to spare. The threshold is displaced, so if you can see it you have hundreds of feet over 2400 RVR.

e. That's a joke, right? See lights; land airplane.

4. True or false: Answer to #3 aside, with vis at 1800 feet, you could continue to land given the panel shown here.

5. Speaking of RVR, where is RVR measured for Runway 35?

a. The touchdown zone

b. The mid point of the runway

c. The departure end of the runway.

d. Oh, come on. Like that's published.

6. When the tower is closed, how would you control the Runway 35 approach and runway lights at KILM?

a. You can't.

b. Approach lights are always on; Runway lights are pilot-controlled.

c. After hours all lights are pilot-controlled.

d. A bit more of the Chart Supplement is needed to answer.

7. PAPI guidance is to the touchdown zone, which normally starts 1000 feet past the threshold, and is where the glideslope angle meets pavement. Where do PAPI and glideslope guidance meet this runway?

a. The PAPI is always 1000 feet beyond the landing threshold, the glideslope always meets the runway at the PAPI.

b. This PAPI is less than 1000 feet beyond the landing threshold due to the displacement, but the glideslope still meets the runway at the PAPI.

c. The PAPI and glideslope descent paths are not the same on this runway due to this displacement.

8. Enough with the lights: This airplane is basically centered on localizer and glideslope. Given the indications you see and no major control inputs, in a couple seconds it will be:

a. In position for a sweet touchdown.

b. Right side of the runway and diverging, but over the touchdown zone.

c. Centered in the runway but short of the touchdown zone.

d. Giving renewed meaning to the term "lawn dart."

9. There's a hold-in-lieu-of-procedure-turn at AIRLI that's 1800 feet outbound. If you flew that course reversal, what would be your altitude crossing AIRLI Inbound on the ILS or localizer approaches respectively?

a. 1576 and 1800

b. 1576 and 1700

c. 1700 for both

d. 1576 for both

Bonus questions requiring a bit of research:

B1. If there's an IAF at AIRLI, why is Radar required to get on this approach? Couldn't you just navigate from the en route structure direct AIRLI and continue to fly a full-procedure?

B2. Why is there a GPS waypoint IRULE shown on this approach chart? It's not because you rule if you aced this quiz. (You do rule, but that's not the reason.)

QUIZ ANSWERS (Questions on page 12)

1. c. This is MALSR, as shown in the briefing strip. The MALSR is a simplified version of the ALSF-2, which has white bars every 100 feet. Part of the simplification of the MALSR is removing every other bar, so the remaining ones are 200 feet apart. Four rows = 800 total feet.

2. b. The roll bar marks the final 1000 feet of the approach lights and ends at the runway pavement, not at the threshold. Runway 35 has a displacement of 400 feet, so that roll bar is 1400 feet from your landing threshold. You need to reference the Chart Supplement to know it's 400 feet.

3. c. The higher you are on that glideslope, the further you are from the touchdown zone. At a typical DA of 200 feet on a three-degree glideslope, you're about 2400 feet from the threshold. Hence the common RVR 2400 requirement. Just 10 feet higher on glidepath and you're about 2600 feet away.

4. False. This airplane could, but it would have to be coupled with the autopilot or have a flight director visible. Neither is true here. As it turns out, that's an error on the chart that has been rescinded by NOTAM, so it's false for two reasons.

5. a. They publish it in the Chart Supplement. Runway 35 shows "RVR-T." The "T" stands for "touchdown." "M" and "R" mean "midpoint" and "rollout," respectively.

6. a. The black-on-white symbol for the MALSR in the briefing strip means it's not pilot controlled. The airport sketch shows which runway systems are PCL by an inverse L (white-on-black). Runway 35 high-Intensity runway lights (HIRL) is not PCL. The whole system burns bright all night. Approach and runway lights for Runway 6-24 are both pilot controlled. Which lights are PCL and what frequency is in the Chart Supplement as well.

7. b. The exact angles of the visual glidepath and the ILS glideslope may not be the same, but they always meet at the touchdown zone. There would be a "VGSI and glidepath not coincident" note in the profile view if they differed at all. The touchdown zone is 1000 feet past the beginning of the pavement for Runway 35. You can tell because your threshold crossing high (TCH in the profile view) is only 37 feet, as opposed to the normal 50-ish feet. TCH is at the landing threshold, which is displaced 400 feet, so roughly 600 feet shy of the touchdown zone.

8. d. A descent rate over 1000 fpm for an aircraft only doing 94.6 knots groundspeed (see airspeed or the GPS) is a problem. The quick estimator is groundspeed times 10 divided by two for a descent rate in fpm on a three-degree angle. Do that to 94.6 knots and you get 473 fpm. This airplane is descending on better than a sixdegree angle. If the pilot doesn't act now, those approach lights are gonna get a whole lot brighter. Laterally, the airplane is only 0.01 NM from center by cross-track error (XTK) on the GPS, or about 61 feet. It's banked right (attitude Indicator) and turning right (turn-and-bank indicator). Track (TRK) is already one degree right of the inbound course (DTK). It'll pass through the localizer soon If that increases.

9. b. This is a case of trying to show too much with one set of symbols. The HILPT is minimum 1800 feet outbound and 1700 feet inbound for both the ILS and the localizer approach. The 1700 with the lightning bolt is glideslope interception altitude, so that's the inbound altitude for the ILS. It's also the inbound altitude for the localizer. If it wasn't, there would be another altitude listed with an asterisk to indicate "Loc only." Confusing the chart further is the inbound line descending on an angle to show about how far from AIRLI you'd intercept a glideslope.

B1. AIRLI isn't on the en route chart, so it can't be used for sole pilot navigation. Funny because It would be less ink to add it to the en route chart than print RADAR REQUIRED on this chart.

B2. The ILS Z Runway 35 approach uses a GPS-required terminal arrival area in the place of radar to get established. IRULE is the IAF/IF. Perhaps it appears here to ease ATC's burden by using direct IRULE from the south instead of issuing vectors.
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