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Could You Fly This Localizer Back Course Approach?

Flying a localizer approach is pretty straight forward, but flying a back course approach is a whole different animal...


  1. 1) You're getting ready to fly the LOC BC RWY 17R in your Cessna 172. The Grand Forks altimeter isn't available, so you have to use the Crookston altimeter. What will your MDA be for the approach (without WUSIK fix minimums)?
    Geoff Collins
    View GFK LOC BC RWY 17R

    You got it. Based on the instructions in the top-left of the approach chart, you should add 80 feet to the MDA if you have to use the Crookston altimeter.

    Nice try. Based on the instructions in the top-left of the approach chart, you should add 80 feet to the MDA if you have to use the Crookston altimeter.

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  2. 2) You're south of the GFK airport when approach control clears you direct to MANZA and clears you for the localizer back course 17R approach. When you cross MANZA and turn outbound, will you have normal or reverse localizer sensing (assuming you're using a CDI with OBS)?
    View GFK LOC BC RWY 17R

    You got it. Because you're outbound on the localizer front course, you will have normal sensing.

    Nice try. Because you're outbound on the localizer front course, you will have normal sensing.

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  3. 3) You complete the procedure turn and you're inbound to MANZA. What's the lowest you can descend to at this point?
    insEyedout
    View GFK LOC BC RWY 17R

    You got it. The minimum altitude you can descend to prior to crossing MANZA inbound is 2400' MSL.

    Nice try. The minimum altitude you can descend to prior to crossing MANZA inbound is 2400' MSL.

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  4. 4) You've crossed MANZA inbound to Runway 17R. Are you currently left or right of course (assuming you're using a CDI with OBS)?
    View GFK LOC BC RWY 17R

    You got it. Because you have reverse sensing when you're inbound on a localizer back course with a CDI/OBS, you are currently left of course.

    Nice try. Because you have reverse sensing when you're inbound on a localizer back course with a CDI/OBS, you are currently left of course.

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  5. 5) As you approach Runway 17R, what kind of visual guidance lights would you expect to see?
    View GFK LOC BC RWY 17R

    You got it. Runway 17R has PAPI lights on the left. The airport diagram inset depicts them with a 'P' inside a circle next to 17R.

    Nice try. Runway 17R has PAPI lights on the left. The airport diagram inset depicts them with a 'P' inside a circle next to 17R.

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  6. 6) You execute a missed approach and begin a climb. As you're flying to HISER, will you have normal or reverse sensing south of the localizer antenna (again, assuming you're using a CDI with OBS)?
    View GFK LOC BC RWY 17R

    You got it. You still have reverse sensing.

    Nice try. You still have reverse sensing.

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Well, that wasn't very easy...

You scored % Not bad, you're getting the hang of this back course approach. Now pass it on for everyone else to try.


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You've got this approach down...for the most part.

You scored % Nice work. Now pass it on for everyone else to try.


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You're a localizer back course expert.

Nicely done - you scored % Well done. Now pass it on for everyone else to try.


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GFKLBC17R X

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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