An AINSafety story published last year demonstrated that a relatively straightforward GPS approach can be fraught with danger even when pilots precisely follow the instrument approach plate. Our editors began thinking about what readers might regard as their most challenging instrument approaches. Perhaps the Runway 34 VOR DME ILS DME approach to JuJuy Airport (SASJ) in Argentina, where the minimum safe altitudes (MSA) within 25 nm vary from 9,500 feet approaching from the southeast to 19,000 feet from the northwest? The approach begins from a holding pattern followed by four course changes before localizer interception. The missed approach demands a 4-percent climb gradient to avoid terrain.
Consider Cuzco Airport (SPZO) in Peru, where surrounding mountains mean that the minimum safe altitude arriving from the northeast is 23,000 feet for the VOR DME circling approach to Runway 28. The approach begins from a 16-mile final at 17,400 feet and leads the pilots between nearby 16,000-foot mountain peaks to best-case minimums approximately 4,000 feet above the ground.
So tell us about your most challenging instrument approach and why in as much detail as possible. We’ll share your story (we don’t need to use your company’s name) with other aviators here in an upcoming AINSafety. Everyone will benefit from your on-the-scene perspective though, so send your story today to Editor, AINSafety.