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UK NDB only timed approaches

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UK NDB only timed approaches

Old 15th Nov 2020, 19:38
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UK NDB only timed approaches

Hi all,

Hoping someone can help with a query.

Are there an NDB only approaches left in the UK? In other words where the approach does not have a co-located DME and therefore timing must be used for a missed approach point rather than a range.
I'm just curious as I used to practice them during my IMC and subsequent IR training using the CT NDB at Coventry, but that was over a decade ago.

Thanks,
Rich
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 20:05
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Excuse me for not having a real answer. Only in the margin:
On the general trend, NDB's are a thing of the past. In Europe at least, and probably elsewhere too, they are being phased out quite rapidly.
The UK is of course a somewhat peculiar place - by which I mean nothing negative! - but sooner or later the NDB's will be going there, too. Fazit: even if some remain today, don't count on them being there tomorrow. The future is all for SatNav (called "GPS" by some) which is cheaper both for operators and for users, and more accurate.
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 20:34
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Originally Posted by Obs cop View Post
Hi all,

Hoping someone can help with a query.

Are there an NDB only approaches left in the UK? In other words where the approach does not have a co-located DME and therefore timing must be used for a missed approach point rather than a range.
I'm just curious as I used to practice them during my IMC and subsequent IR training using the CT NDB at Coventry, but that was over a decade ago.

Thanks,
Rich

St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly EGHE has one for RW 32 & 27
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 21:32
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As mentioned earlier,

EGHE St Marys on the Isle of Scilly

Also;
EGNC Carlisle
EGJA Alderney

Links to the AIP and aerodrome approach plates
https://www.aurora.nats.co.uk/htmlAI...dex-en-GB.html
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 21:44
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Bloody death traps. Shame on any airport that even has a published approach chart.

Before all the heroes come along, yes I can fly one. But they are dangerous by design. We can do far better in this day and age.
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 22:53
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Quite agree. the NDB should have gone the way of the dodo decades ago.
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 23:19
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NDB? Luxury. The RAF was still carrying out QGH letdowns into grass airfields in the 1990s. We had to, we had fly above and in cloud to instruct in SEP aircraft with no radio nav aids at all and no radar service. Looking back, madness. We used to ask for true bearings from two airfields to keep ourselves out of an airway adjacent to our local flying area.
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 23:51
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Most published procedures include an alternative timed procedure without DME.

Bloody death traps. Shame on any airport that even has a published approach chart.

Before all the heroes come along, yes I can fly one. But they are dangerous by design. We can do far better in this day and age.
What a strange thing to say. Follow the procedure in accordance with the design and above all comply with the published minima. If they weren't safe they wouldn't be there.
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Old 15th Nov 2020, 23:55
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Originally Posted by Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP View Post
Bloody death traps. Shame on any airport that even has a published approach chart.

Before all the heroes come along, yes I can fly one. But they are dangerous by design. We can do far better in this day and age.
Coastal refraction flying the NDB into Honiara was very noticeable.

That being said, design and certification would have taken that into account. So as some poster said above, any NDB approach flown as published shouldn’t be unsafe.
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 05:44
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If they were designed i.a.w. the required standards and flown that way then they were no less safe than any other approach designed to the same standard(s).

But to address the original question, Scatsta in Shetland only had an NDB approach and an SRA approach. That airport recent lost all its customers so it may not have them published anymore. But when I was based in Shetland the NDB approach was just a normal thing.

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Old 16th Nov 2020, 07:33
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Originally Posted by Fl1ingfrog View Post
Most published procedures include an alternative timed procedure without DME.



What a strange thing to say. Follow the procedure in accordance with the design and above all comply with the published minima. If they weren't safe they wouldn't be there.
That’s exactly the attitude I expected. Perhaps you should do a bit of research on the accident statistics of non precision approaches compared to precision approaches. I’ve flown thousands of both over the years and I know what I would prefer.

Do you think that those NPA’s that ended up in an accident we’re just being flown by people that didn’t know what they were doing? They woke up in the morning and set off flying to have an accident or incident. The simple fact is that a timed NDB is dangerous. Try flying one near a thunderstorm. Needle swinging around 10 to 20 degrees all the time. They also encourage the “dive and drive” type of approach.

They are not fit for purpose in this day and age. The world has moved on.
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 08:55
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Originally Posted by Jan Olieslagers View Post
Excuse me for not having a real answer. Only in the margin:
On the general trend, NDB's are a thing of the past. In Europe at least, and probably elsewhere too, they are being phased out quite rapidly.
The UK is of course a somewhat peculiar place - by which I mean nothing negative! - but sooner or later the NDB's will be going there, too. Fazit: even if some remain today, don't count on them being there tomorrow. The future is all for SatNav (called "GPS" by some) which is cheaper both for operators and for users, and more accurate.
I read somewhere recently that the UK CAA require licensed airfields to have a notified means of location even for VFR airfields; the most basic of these means is to have an NDB on the airfield with or without DME or alternatively VDF, however some airfields have decided to de-commision their NDBs where they have a VOR/DME located not too far away, having discussed it with operators and found that very few actually use the NDB for its original purpose plus you have to pay for a license and regular maintenance or repairs (many are getting quite old) and VDF cannot be used effectively at FISO airfields as the AFISO cannot pass QDMs, only QDRs.

Last edited by chevvron; 16th Nov 2020 at 10:03.
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 09:20
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Scatsta in Shetland only had an NDB approach and an SRA approach. That airport recent lost all its customers so it may not have them published anymore.
Scatsta is no more, closed on 30 June
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 10:17
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Originally Posted by Fl1ingfrog View Post
..... Follow the procedure in accordance with the design and above all comply with the published minima. If they weren't safe they wouldn't be there.
Agreed re Safety. However, not so convinced on their usefulness particularly given some MDAs necessary to preserve Safety!! And following the needle rarely gets you to where the bit of paper suggests - certainly, via the nice straight line indicated on the chart. Recall one OPC using an NDB. ATC even asked where we were going - to which the Examiner instantly replied on my behalf and in my defence with more than a hint of tetchiness "We are following your NDB!"
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 14:32
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Sometimes I'm asking myself if it's not better to make the NDB approach to the opposing runway by default, and then do a circle to land. Once you reach minima it seems like with a circle to land there's a lot less manoeuvering required than with a supposedly straight-in NDB. And you've got more time for that as well. And it's not going to make a practical difference to the minima anyway.

With NDBs routinely positioned on the airfield itself, your MAPt is also above the airfield itself so if you become visual just before MAPt there's no way you'll be able to land from there so you'll need to fly a full circuit...
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 15:02
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I read somewhere recently that the UK CAA require licensed airfields to have a notified means of location even for VFR airfields;
No they don't.

so if you become visual just before MAPt there's no way you'll be able to land from there so you'll need to fly a full circuit...
You can plan or opt to do this always if you wish, a cloud break has always been the main purpose of an NDB let down..

With NDBs routinely positioned on the airfield itself,......
Most airfields dispensed with their off field 4nm NDB many years ago. The cost of maintaining and paying rent to a farmer for an off field piece of land became surplus to need. An NDB beacon sited on your own airfield land is a relatively cheap piece of kit to buy and with only a minor associated cost to licence and maintain. GNSS approaches will in time replace all land based expensive systems of course but meanwhile the NDB is a great backup for initial positioning.
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 15:28
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Originally Posted by Obs cop View Post
Hi all,

Hoping someone can help with a query.

Are there an NDB only approaches left in the UK? In other words where the approach does not have a co-located DME and therefore timing must be used for a missed approach point rather than a range.
I'm just curious as I used to practice them during my IMC and subsequent IR training using the CT NDB at Coventry, but that was over a decade ago.

Thanks,
Rich

Although I believe it's not a published procedure, Leicester used to have one, not sure if it's still there. Might be worth giving them a ring.
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 15:47
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Great for training spatial awareness!
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 16:16
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I remember spending time, and much more importantly a lot of money learning how to do these on my IR course 20 years ago. NDB holds too, gate angles, all that stuff. Nonsense really in a light aircraft because if the crosswind is too strong flying the racetrack is impossible due to the low speed of the aircraft. Having said all that I can't remember ever doing one in "real life" afterwards, holds at RNAV waypoints by FMS, and approach, everywhere we went sans an ILS had at least VOR/DME or localiser or LNAV and later LPV of course. Some places though you just have to look out of the window(!) eg Samedan. A relic from the 50's and the world has moved on.

Last edited by Private jet; 16th Nov 2020 at 16:28.
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Old 16th Nov 2020, 16:17
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
I read somewhere recently that the UK CAA require licensed airfields to have a notified means of location even for VFR airfields; the most basic of these means is to have an NDB on the airfield with or without DME or alternatively VDF, however some airfields have decided to de-commision their NDBs where they have a VOR/DME located not too far away, having discussed it with operators and found that very few actually use the NDB for its original purpose plus you have to pay for a license and regular maintenance or repairs (many are getting quite old) and VDF cannot be used effectively at FISO airfields as the AFISO cannot pass QDMs, only QDRs.
My local licensed (grass) airfield has never had an NDB, or any other method of location. It’s been there since the 1930s. I can think of another that used to have an NDB just outside it’s boundary (I always dialled it up while transitting close by) but it went off line without much warning a few years ago and seems that it’s gone forever.
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