Circling Approaches Lesson Plan



  • Research a mishap case study:
  • Discuss how the initial conditions developed into an incident/accident/mishap
  • Relate similar personal experience of the same type of incident/accident/mishap



Circling Approaches:
Review (quiz):
Case Studies:
Total Ground Time:

Required Materials:

  • Paper, Pen, Marker, Whiteboard

Instructor Actions:

  • Review Airman Certification Standards

Student Actions:

Instrument Rating - Circling Approach Lesson Plan:

  • To determine the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with performing a circling approach procedure
  • References: 14 CFR parts 61, 91; FAA-H-8083-15; IFP; AIM

Circling Approach Knowledge:

The applicant demonstrates understanding of:

Circling Approach Risk Management:

The applicant is able to identify, assess, and mitigate risk associated with:
  • IR.VI.D.R1:

    Failure to follow prescribed circling approach procedures
  • IR.VI.D.R2:

    Executing a circling approach at night or with marginal visibility
  • IR.VI.D.R3:

    Losing visual contact with an identifiable part of the airport
  • IR.VI.D.R4:

    Failure to manage automated navigation and autoflight systems
  • IR.VI.D.R5:

    Failure to maintain an appropriate altitude, airspeed, or distance while circling
  • IR.VI.D.R6:

    Low altitude maneuvering, including stall, spin, or controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)
  • IR.VI.D.R6:

    Executing an improper missed approach after the MAP while circling

Circling Approach Skills:

The applicant exhibits the skill to:
  • IR.VI.D.S1:

    Comply with the circling approach procedure considering turbulence, windshear, and the maneuvering capability and approach category of the aircraft
  • IR.VI.D.S2:

    Confirm the direction of traffic and adhere to all restrictions and instructions issued by ATC or the evaluator
  • IR.VI.D.S3:

    Demonstrate SRM
  • IR.VI.D.S4:

    Establish the approach and landing configuration. Maintain a stabilized approach and a descent rate that ensures arrival at the MDA, or the preselected circling altitude above the MDA, prior to the missed approach point
  • IR.VI.D.S5:

    Maintain airspeed ±10 knots, desired heading/track ±10°, and altitude +100/-0 feet until descending below the MDA or the preselected circling altitude above the MDA
  • IR.VI.D.S6:

    Visually maneuver to a base or downwind leg appropriate for the landing runway and environmental conditions
  • IR.VI.D.S7:

    If a missed approach occurs, turn in the appropriate direction using the correct procedure and appropriately configure the airplane
  • IR.VI.D.S8:

    If landing, initiate a stabilized descent. Touch down on the first one-third of the selected runway without excessive maneuvering, without exceeding the normal operating limits of the airplane, and without exceeding 30° of bank



  • Advise students that this lesson will be used as a starting point for the next lesson
  • Assign study materials for the next lesson