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What is a "racetrack to ILS"? LFAT ILS13 (and is OKPEM a hold or not?)

I got this today at LFAT. IFR flight due to a bit of low cloud about. Talking to Lille Radar.

Normally I route EGKA – TUKVI to intercept the LOC as usual.

Today, due to a TBM arriving, about 20nm to go to TUKVI and still at the 5000ft cruise I got a DCT OKPEM. No “hold” instruction though. So a bit of this.

So, before I got there, I asked what I am supposed to do at OKPEM; enter the hold perhaps? The ATCO said “fly the racetrack to ILS13”. I don’t have the sound recorded since I run the recorder only when making videos, or wanting ammo against a bust So I asked “do you want me to enter the hold at OKPEM and then fly back to OLMAV and then to TUKVI?”. I suspect her ELP was << 4 since I got silence (the usual method in this case). So I flew the route shown in magenta, and nothing was said.

Maybe I was supposed to go around the hold completely.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

In the US, we have holds in lieu of a procedure turn (HILPT) located at an IAF which is used to allow joining an approach from a random direction. When these are utilized, the hold fix is crossed twice, once on entry and the second time when inbound. In the FAA charting standard, there is also an arrival hold which is primarily used to lose altitude or reorient the aircraft to fly the procedure from a direction on an airway that is not conducive to direct entry to the procedure because of the angle involved. The HILPT is depicted with a bold line font (same width as other IAP procedure legs) and the arrival hold is a line with the width equal to half of the HILPT line. In the US, an HILPT is required to be flown if charted unless one of 4 exceptions apply (1 -VTF, 2 – NoPT charted, 3 – Cleared Straight in, 4 – timed approaches). An arrival hold requires ATC approval. This hold appears to me that it is an arrival hold, due to the thinner line. Coming from your depicted direction, I would have flown a parallel entry rather than the tear drop, but for slower aircraft such as our piston singles, either is acceptable.

KUZA, United States

before I got there, I asked what I am supposed to do at OKPEM

Big mistake… the correct way is to be ready for anything (…) then approaching (say 2 NM out at your slow speed) OKPEM state “Nxxxx approaching OKPEM”. Depending on the answer reply “confirm to join the hold at OKPEM Nxxxx”. If the word racetrack is issued by ATC, ask to specify which approach, if no racetrack, point the problem out

Last Edited by Dan at 03 Mar 20:09
ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

I would have done a parallel “entry”, looks better, thereafter right turn towards OKPEM and then…depends, if I am cleared for the approach then I’d proceed as you did.

Maybe racetrack means the form of the approach track? OKPEM, OLMAV, TUKVI, ARP looks like a racetrack..


the correct way is to be ready for anything

I thought I was They didn’t say “hold at OKPEM” so OKPEM is just a waypoint (which just happens to be the holding fix for a holding pattern).

Is “racetrack” proper aviation language? Not heard it in 22 years. It seems ambiguous in that you can use that published hold as a course reversal (which I think was the intention, to make a bit of time) or fly the hold all the way round once (which is what “hold” usually means in the airliner context (“hold at ALKIN” etc which means “hold until we let you out, or until you declare a low fuel mayday”).

These controllers do not understand any form of “conversational English”.

I admit I find the various hold entries hard to remember but I don;t think that’s the main issue here. I’d like to know the correct way for “racetrack”.

One gets very few holds in GA but all those I’ve had were quite obvious i.e. the hold was depicted with the arrows in the direction one was already flying into it.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Racetrack is a specific kind of circuit, similar to a hold but has to be completely run. It’s a bold line like hold in chart, and there are none at lfat, but there may be still one at LFTW on NDB18. It’s old stuff of course.

Last Edited by greg_mp at 03 Mar 21:28
LFMD, France

The proper French word for racetrack is “hippodrome” (means racetrack, no surprise there, litterally horse-drome). I know because I ran into recently flying the 1908s style approaches at LFMC Le Luc. HOwveer a “hippodrome” isn ot the same a s anormal oval-shaped hold.

Of course hippodrome can mean literally a racetrack, for example at Arcachon where the circuit requires you to fly overhead a physical racetrack on the ground. I guess it could be confusing.

Last Edited by johnh at 03 Mar 22:05
LFMD, France

Is “racetrack” proper aviation language?

Racetrack is not only proper aviation language, but a specific procedure in itself, quite different from a holding…

LEIB Ibiza ILS Y rwy 24 as an example, with a hold and a racetrack:

In your example, since no racetrack is published, if ATC really told you "fly the racetrack to ILS13”, this needs clarification in the vein of “no racetrack published on the approach, confirm direct OKPEM holding and then cleared for the approach 13 via OLMAV TUVKI?”

This kind of stuff is of utmost importance and any doubt must be cleared before commencing an approach.

ain't the Destination, but the Journey
LSZF, Switzerland

I would have done a parallel “entry”

That’s the proper one arriving from this sector

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

since no racetrack is published

So why did ATC ask for that? ATC are supposed to be a professional service, and France is a 1st World country.

Even if I had asked, how is ATC going to describe an unpublished procedure in broken English?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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