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Quiz: Can You Fly The North Pole RNAV Approach To Runway 18?

Santa has a lot of flying to do tonight, and to finish it off, he needs to shoot the RNAV Rwy 18 approach to get home. Could you fly the approach as well as him?


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  1. 1) You've been cleared for the RNAV RWY 18 approach and you just crossed SANTA inbound. What altitude can you descend to?
    View RNAV RWY 18 Approach

    The lowest you can descend to is 2500' prior to CLAUS. Make sure you're watching for Reindeer when you're in VMC...

    The lowest you can descend to is 2500' prior to CLAUS. Make sure you're watching for Reindeer when you're in VMC...

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  2. 2) What is the highest point on the planview map?
    View RNAV RWY 18 Approach

    The workshop complex is 65 feet - Santa and the elves need room to make all those presents!

    The workshop complex is 65 feet - Santa and the elves need room to make all those presents!

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  3. 3) You've crossed CLAUS inbound and you're using RLS minimums. What altitude can you descend to?
    View RNAV RWY 18 Approach

    The RLS DA is 250' feet MSL, which is 200 feet above the touchdown zone. You should be able to land in most weather after you deliver all the presents.

    The RLS DA is 250' feet MSL, which is 200 feet above the touchdown zone. You should be able to land in most weather after you deliver all the presents.

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  4. 4) Can you circle to land if Rudolph isn't available?
    View RNAV RWY 18 Approach

    Rudolph is pretty important here - as you can see in the lower-right corner of the approach chart, if Rudolph isn't available, circle-to-land is not authorized.

    Rudolph is pretty important here - as you can see in the lower-right corner of the approach chart, if Rudolph isn't available, circle-to-land is not authorized.

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  5. 5) You reach your DA and you can't see the runway. What initial altitude will you climb to on the missed approach procedure?
    View RNAV RWY 18 Approach

    You'll climb to 2,500' direct to MSLTO, then turn right to KSSNG and hold.

    You'll climb to 2,500' direct to MSLTO, then turn right to KSSNG and hold.

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  6. 6) After you go missed, you're cleared for the approach a second time. As you descend toward the runway, what approach lights would you expect to see?
    View RNAV RWY 18 Approach

    Tinsel twinkle lights are Santa's approach lights of choice, as you can see on the approach chart. There's no better way to find the runway!

    Tinsel twinkle lights are Santa's approach lights of choice, as you can see on the approach chart. There's no better way to find the runway!

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Not bad...but we'd recommend you ride along with Santa for this approach.

You scored %. Better luck next Christmas...

Photo via August Allen

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Nice work, but we'd recommend you have Santa sit right seat for this flight.

Not bad - you scored %.

Photo via August Allen

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You could take Santa's place on this approach.

Nice - you scored %! Well done.

Photo via August Allen

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Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at colin@boldmethod.com.

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