Flying the LOC RWY 27 into KSAN
The LOC RWY 27 approach chart is linked in the Required Materials at the bottom of this page. Open it up in another window or print it out, and let's get started.
This is a non-precision approach. It provides lateral guidance, using a localizer as the primary navaid. Unlike the more commonly encountered ILS, there is NO glideslope component associated with this approach.
The full approach starts at the RYAHH intersection, proceeding to DOUGA at or above 5000, then to VYDDA at or above 4000. A right turn onto the localizer at VYDDA takes us to OKAIN, at or above 3600. Continuing on the localizer to CIJHI at or above 2400, then REEBO at or above 1800, we can then descend to the Minimum Descent Altitude for this approach. For runway 27, this would be 640 MSL. If we do not have the field in sight upon reaching the Missed Approach Point (MAP), we execute the missed approach procedure.
When approaching from the west, however, ATC will vectors to final approach course, having you join the localizer a few miles prior to OKAIN or VYDDA. For example, after one or vectors from MZB, you may hear "4 from OKAIN, fly hdg 240, maintain 3800 until established on the localizer, cleared localizer runway 27 approach."
In this case, you should maintain the altitude assigned in the approach clearance (3800) until established on the localizer. It is at this point that many online pilots fly straight and level all the way to KSAN, never leaving the last assigned altitude. Once cleared for the approach, and established on a published segment of the approach (in this case, on the localizer just east of OKAIN), you can descend to cross OKAIN at or above 3600, then the rest of the fixes as described earlier. Do NOT expect to receive further descent instructions from ATC. Equally important, do NOT expect to see a glideslope indication on a localizer approach.
Flying the approach with GPS (/G or /F)For GPS-equipped aircraft, you can use the GPS to identify the fixes listed above. As you cross each fix on the localizer, commence the descent to the next published altitude. The missed approach point, however, does not have a named fix. You must use the DME from the localizer to identify the missed approach point, or use the timing published on the chart (2min 33 sec for 120kt groundspeed, 2min 2sec for 150kts, etc). The timing is based on the Final Approach Fix (identified by the Maltese Cross), which is REEBO.
Flying the approach with DME (/A)Each of the fixes along the localizer can be identified using DME. OKAIN is 12.3 DME, REEBO is 6.5, and the missed approach point is 1.3 DME.
Flying the approach without DME or GPS (/U)It's not for the faint of heart, or weak of bowel, but it can certainly be done. The VYDDA, OKAIN, CIJHI and REEBO intersections can be identified by the intersection of the localizer, and certain radials of the PGY VOR. VYDDA is on the PGY 018 radial, OKAIN is on the 351 radial, CIHJI is the 314 radial, and REEBO is on the 304 radial. Your NAV1 radio should be tuned to the localizer. Your NAV2 radio should be tuned to PGY. As you pass each fix, reset the OBS on the NAV2 radio to identify the next fix. Start a timer at REEBO so you can determine when you have reached the Missed Approach Point (see the GPS section above for more information).
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