Is a low approach simply a visual approach at low alt??
In the US (including Alaska), the FAA's Pilot/Controller's Glossary
defines low approach as:
LOW APPROACH- An approach over an airport or runway following
an instrument approach or a VFR approach including the go-around maneuver
where the pilot intentionally does not make contact with the runway.
As a pilot, I often hear a tower controller use the phrase when I am practicing instrument approaches and previously expressed to the approach controller my desire to fly a missed approach rather than terminate the practice approach with a landing.
Presumably, approach will pass this information on to tower and then the check in will go something like this:
me: "Syracuse Tower, Bonanza xxx, over ZIMBY, ILS 28."
Tower: "Bonanza xxx, Syracuse Tower, wind 280 at 15, cleared low approach."
I have also heard of pilots whose gear down-and-locked lights did not illuminate request a low approach to have tower verify that the gear appears to be extended.