In a proposed cost-cutting measure, the FAA is considering eliminating certain circling procedures, including circling-only instrument approaches and circling minimums charted on straight-in procedures. The agency proposes specific criteria to identify and select appropriate circling procedures that can be considered for cancellation.
Each circling procedure would be evaluated against the following criteria: Is this the only instrument procedures at the airport?; If multiple procedures serve a single runway end, is this the one with the lowest circling minimums for that runway?; Would cancellation result in removal of circling minimums from all conventional navaid procedures at an airport?; Will removal eliminate lowest landing minimums to an individual runway?; Does this circling-only procedure exist because of high terrain or an obstacle that makes a straight-in procedure unfeasible or which would result in the straight-in minimums being higher than the circling minimums?; And, is this circling-only procedure at an airport where not all runway ends have a straight-in procedure, and does it have a final approach course not aligned within 45 degrees of a runway which has a straight-in procedure?
The agency said, “As new technology facilitates the introduction of area navigation instrument approach procedures over the past decade, the number of procedures available in the National Airspace System has nearly doubled. The complexity and cost to the FAA of maintaining these procedures while expanding new RNAV procedures is not sustainable.” There are approximately 12,000 instrument approach procedures in the U.S. and nearly 10,600 circling lines of minimums. Comments on the proposal are due by November 6.