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Author Topic: Cleared for the option  (Read 7694 times)
n07cfi
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« on: February 25, 2014, 09:04:27 PM »

At a busy towered airfield on a weekend, a pilot requested and got a "cleared for the option" clearance whilst practicing the traffic pattern.  The tower is juggling multiple aircraft in the field, nothing unusual.

Think aloud to yourself - what does "cleared for the option" allow you to do?  Full stop landing, stop and go, touch and go, etc., right?  Low approach and missed approach if on or practicing IFR.  No problem.  How about a go-around?  That's always a possibility too.

So this pilot performed a go-around and announced that he was doing so to the tower.  At this point the tower berates the pilot since a go-around is not one of the approved endings for an option clearance!  The tower spends the next 20 seconds explaining the procedures that are allowed for the option (keep in mind it's still busy in the airspace).  I can see how the pilot making the go-around can screw the pattern of planes in the air, but that's a pilot decision not a tower one (91.3).

Lo and behold, "ATC Order JO 7110.65T" says:

The “Cleared for the Option” procedure will permit an instructor pilot/flight examiner/pilot the option to make a touch-and-go, low approach, missed approach, stopand-go, or full stop landing. This procedure will only be used at those locations with an operational control tower and will be subject to ATC approval.

There is no mention of a go-around in that.

Moral of the story - don't do a go-around if cleared for the option.   cheesy
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notaperfectpilot
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 09:59:13 PM »


Lo and behold, "ATC Order JO 7110.65T" says:

The “Cleared for the Option” procedure will permit an instructor pilot/flight examiner/pilot the option to make a touch-and-go, low approach, missed approach, stopand-go, or full stop landing. This procedure will only be used at those locations with an operational control tower and will be subject to ATC approval.

There is no mention of a go-around in that.

Moral of the story - don't do a go-around if cleared for the option.   cheesy


While that does not have a go-around listed, if you refer to AIM 4-3-12, it says:

"A low approach is the go-around maneuver following an approach."

Seems to me to be pretty clear that a go-around would be a option in the "option" clearance. 
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martyj19
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 11:08:28 PM »

Seems to me a pilot initiated go-around is a possible outcome of any approach no matter how it had been cleared.  We do not want pilots thinking they have to complete a landing if the approach isn't working out to safely accomplish one.  Seems like the .65 should be amended to enumerate this possibility.  Moreover we do not want pilots keying the mike to report "on the go" until they have climb flaps and power established and positive rate.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 11:11:55 PM by martyj19 » Logged
n07cfi
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 11:40:53 PM »

While that does not have a go-around listed, if you refer to AIM 4-3-12, it says:

"A low approach is the go-around maneuver following an approach."

Seems to me to be pretty clear that a go-around would be a option in the "option" clearance.  

The pilot in question was VFR (didn't clarify that in OP) practicing the pattern.  Is AIM 4-3-12 referring to just an IFR approach, or would a "VFR final approach" be included?

The wording can be interpreted in different ways I would say.
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jermscentral
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2014, 01:01:34 AM »

I'd rather you just say something like "going missed" instead of "going around". If I hear "going around", I immediately look at the runway again to see what you may have seen that I didn't (like wildlife running around or a flock of birds in your flight path), even if I know you were cleared for the option. Maybe I'm more lax than other tower guys, but I don't get too specific as long as you don't turn off course into my arrivals/departures.
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notaperfectpilot
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2014, 08:06:29 AM »

While that does not have a go-around listed, if you refer to AIM 4-3-12, it says:

"A low approach is the go-around maneuver following an approach."

Seems to me to be pretty clear that a go-around would be a option in the "option" clearance. 

The pilot in question was VFR (didn't clarify that in OP) practicing the pattern.  Is AIM 4-3-12 referring to just an IFR approach, or would a "VFR final approach" be included?

The wording can be interpreted in different ways I would say.

yes, there can be some confusion between an IFR approach, and a VFR approach. if we refer to the Pilot/Controller glossary, we see that a missed approach is a "maneuver conducted by a pilot when an instrument approach cannot be completed to a landing."

and, it says that a low approach is a "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"

I think that it is pretty clear that a go-around is "allowed" in the "option" clearance, but we have to remember, that a go-around is ALWAYS an option on an approach, so it really doesn't matter whether the controller clears you for it or not.
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martyj19
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2014, 08:42:56 AM »

I'd rather you just say something like "going missed" instead of "going around". If I hear "going around", I immediately look at the runway again to see what you may have seen that I didn't (like wildlife running around or a flock of birds in your flight path), even if I know you were cleared for the option. Maybe I'm more lax than other tower guys, but I don't get too specific as long as you don't turn off course into my arrivals/departures.

Could you comment on whether "going missed" is something you can reasonably expect a VFR pilot to report, and whether that's accurate for a VFR pilot who is not on an instrument approach?  The average low time VFR pilot may not even know what a "missed approach" is if they have not been exposed to IFR procedures?  In my experience the report for a VFR go-around is "on the go" or "going around".  And we do appreciate you checking the runway since there may in fact be something there that caused the go-around.
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Rick108
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 10:28:41 AM »

If I heard a VFR pilot say he's "going missed" I would assume he really means he is "going around" - i.e. aborting his landing attempt - and will fly the pattern and attempt another landing.  At a controlled airport usually the tower will then issue either left or right traffic, or other instructions, depending on what else is happening.  No matter if the pilot has been cleared for the option or cleared to land, at ANY time he may decide to discontinue the landing and "go around" - something on the runway, unstable approach, too fast, too high, a warning light, or just a bad feeling, it doesn't matter.  Although I would try to add a reason if I weren't too flustered - "N123 going around, turtles on the runway" or whatever.

If an IFR pilot on an instrument approach says he's "going missed", I would expect he means he's aborting his landing and beginning the published missed approach procedure for the IAP he was flying, NOT entering the pattern.  Tower usually then hands him back to departure control for further negotiations.  However, if I were IFR on a visual approach, I would say "going around", not "going missed", and expect to enter the pattern for another try.

To me, "going around" means I'm planning on flying the pattern, and "going missed" means I'm planning on flying a missed approach procedure - at least until ATC changes my plans. But I'm a pilot, not a controller - that's just my opinion.
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InterpreDemon
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 11:27:13 AM »

All dispute aside as to whether a low approach is actually a go-around and such, it seems to me that the issue is whether the pilot intends to remain in the pattern or not, and "go around" clearly suggests that intent where the "option" does not. Though it's been a long time for me, my recollection is that to stay in the pattern to do T&G's, S&G's, missed and low approaches and such I always had to advise the tower my intentions ("Closed traffic, touch and goes", etc.). I would also have to advise if I intended to then leave the pattern after one or more approaches while maintaining closed traffic. If I then flew to another airport and upon arrival simply asked to execute a T&G, low approach or option, the tower would assume I was either departing, departing, or perhaps landing (respectively) and not remaining in the pattern, which could screw him up if the pattern was already full and he was sequencing arrivals and departures. If this particular pilot had already been flying the pattern with multiple approaches and then chose the "option", the tower could not assume he intended to remain in the pattern even if he was operating out of a school on the field and this type of stuff was going on all day.

I am particularly sensitive to this because on my very first solo, which was at busy White Plains in the early 80's, after my nervous instructor inhaled a cigarette and hopped out on the tarmac with his walkie-talkie, I took off neglecting to advise the tower I intended to make closed traffic and on climb out they promptly instructed me to depart and remain clear of the ATA, my instructor monitoring on the ground simultaneously lighting up again and popping a nitroglycerin tablet under his tongue as I disappeared from view, and I had to orbit the Croton Dam for a few minutes before they let me back into the pattern to do my work.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 12:12:18 PM by InterpreDemon » Logged

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Rick108
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 11:59:37 AM »

Thinking about this some more, I'm not sure why a pilot (without an instructor in the right seat) would ever request "the option".  I always thought "the option" was just a tool for flight instructors to allow them to not divulge their intentions to the unsuspecting student at the controls.  If there is no CFI barking instructions at the last second, why would a pilot NOT know how he intends to terminate his approach (barring an unexpected go around, of course, which is always permitted).  To me, it's kind of like saying to the tower "I'm not going to tell you what I am going to do, so deal with it".  If I want to fly a low approach, I would just "request low approach".  Or a T&G, or S&G - whatever I was planning.  I would only request "the option" if I really didn't know what I was going to do, and the only reason I can think of for that would be flight instruction.
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InterpreDemon
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 12:14:21 PM »

Sans an instructor in the right seat, you would request an option so that you can get close enough to the FBO to see the prices on the pumps...
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martyj19
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 01:05:27 PM »

That's a very good point Rick108 makes about what happens next.  If I am VFR and report going around, the implication is that I am going to be instructed to make left or right traffic and stay in the pattern.  If I am on an IFR approach, be it practice or real, and report going missed, the implication is that I am going to at least start the published missed, and the controller will ask intentions and give me a vector, or hand me back to approach, or whatever it takes from there to get a diversion or get another approach.

A cleared for the option on a sleepy day is a great time for an instructor to give a student a go around from the flare to simulate that animal jumping out onto the runway.

Also, can anyone think of a use for a stop and go that isn't for night currency.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 01:07:56 PM by martyj19 » Logged
Rick108
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 01:10:51 PM »

Sans an instructor in the right seat, you would request an option so that you can get close enough to the FBO to see the prices on the pumps...
Hillarious!  grin
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swa4678
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2014, 01:50:00 PM »

If I am VFR and report going around, the implication is that I am going to be instructed to make left or right traffic and stay in the pattern.
... or just continue whatever traffic you were already doing. If the tower said "make left closed traffic" at some point earlier, I don't see why a "going around" call should or needs to be met with any more than a "roger" from tower.

Personally, I'm not even sure why the pilot would bother with the "going around" transmission anyway. Your flight path will likely resemble either a low approach or a touch and go. The tower already cleared you for both operations.

Also, can anyone think of a use for a stop and go that isn't for night currency.
LAHSO practice?
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martyj19
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2014, 04:43:51 PM »

... or just continue whatever traffic you were already doing. If the tower said "make left closed traffic" at some point earlier, I don't see why a "going around" call should or needs to be met with any more than a "roger" from tower.

Well, yes, no argument there.  In the original poster's scenario you were already in the pattern, and had asked for the option on one landing.  I'm off into a side trip along with Rick108 on the distinction between "go around" and "go missed" in the usual case, where you are intending to make a full stop after coming from a distant airport.  Sorry for the confusion.

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