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Visual Approach at night under IFR

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hoylee created the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

So you’re flying IFR to an aerodrome that doesn’t have an IAP. You descend to LSALT, and you satisfy the requirements to conduct a visual approach. What distance from the aerodrome can you descend below LSALT?

The only reference I can find says “within the circling area” or 3nm by day.

I have spoken to a few RFDS pilots who fly in these situations often and they have said they have company 10nm MSAs for such aerodromes then within 3nm they can descend below it. I just can’t find a specific distance in the AIP. Is it a case of practicing the privileges of NVFR under the IFR and therefore applying the 3nm rule?

Any help with regulatory references would be appreciated.
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  • swampy1972
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swampy1972 replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

AIP Australia
1.15 Visual Approaches
Subject to the requirements of paras 1.7, 1.10 and 1.14, the pilot
need not commence or may discontinue the approved instrument
approach procedure to that aerodrome when:
a. By Day. Within 30NM of that aerodrome at an altitude not
below the LSALT/MSA for the route segment, the appropriate
step of the DME or GPS Arrival Procedure, or the MDA for the
procedure being flown, the aircraft is established;
(1) clear of cloud;
(2) in sight of ground or water;
(3) with a flight visibility not less than 5,000M or, in the case
of a helicopter, is able to proceed under helicopter VMC,
or the aerodrome is in sight; and
(4) subsequently can maintain (1), (2) and (3) at an altitude
not less than the minimum prescribed for VFR flight (CAR
157), to within the circling area or, in the case of a
helicopter, can subsequently maintain helicopter VMC to
the HLS.
b. By Night. At an altitude not below the LSALT/MSA for the
route segment, the appropriate step of the DME or GPS
Arrival Procedure, or the MDA for the procedure being flown,
the aircraft is established:
(1) clear of cloud;
(2) in sight of ground or water;
(3) with a flight visibility not less than 5,000M; and
(4) within the circling area or VAA–H, as applicable; or
(5) within 5NM (7NM for a runway equipped with an ILS) of
that aerodrome aligned with the runway centreline and
established not below “on slope” on the T-VASIS or PAPI;
or
(6) within 10NM (14NM for Runways 16L and 34L at Sydney)
of that aerodrome, established not below the ILS glide
path with less than full scale azimuth deflection.
Note: Reference to circling area in this section includes the
circling area for the category of aircraft or a higher category
where the limitations of the higher category are complied with.
95
24 MAY 2018 ENR 1.5 - 13
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hoylee replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

Yep that reference only refers to an aerodrome with an IAP.
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Stuart Tait replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

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hoylee replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

Thanks Stu, but once again, it only states about a circling area, or aligned with runway with PAPI etc. I am talking about flying into an Aerodrome, at night, OCTA, doesn’t have and IAP and therefore does not have a prescribed circling area, does not have a PAPI or ILS etc. So how far from and Aerdrome without these features can you descend below LSALT in VMC? I assume because the only reference refers to a NVFR (3NM), then technically, unless you downgrade to VFR and conduct and comply with a NVFR visual approach then there are no decent below LSALT guidelines.
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Stuart Tait replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

This is the best I can find

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hoylee replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

Thanks again Stu. Circling areas have been surveyed to provide guaranteed obstacle protection. You can not calculate a circling area using those Category distances on an airfield that hasn’t been surveyed. It’s a sticky question, that no one I have asked has been able to find a solid answer to. Everyone has had their own opinion on it, but hasn’t been able to provide a solid reference. Thanks for your input though.
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Stuart Tait replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

Airfields are surveyed for the MDA not the circling area it's up to the pilot to access whether they are in the circling area based on the category of the aircraft. The circling area is the same at any airfield regardless of if they have been surveyed or not
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hoylee replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

I found it Stu!
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  • swampy1972
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swampy1972 replied the topic: Visual Approach at night under IFR

Sorry mate. Didn't read your question correctly.
You're correct, not below LSALT until you can establish and maintain VMC until within 3mn.
The reference below is from the military FIHA, but it parallels the Airservices AIP, so should point you in the right direction.
138 18 AUG 16 FIHA

ENR 1.5
4.7 Landing Minima
4.7.1 Aerodromes without approved instrument approach procedures.
IFR Day - visual approach requirements.
IFR Night - VMC from LSALT within 3NM.
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