Angel Flight East News

Surprise at IFR Destination – Charlie Haubrich

Photo by Tadeu Jnr on Unsplash

The Moral of this story is to ALWAYS review all IAP’s at your destination BEFORE you depart.

I am fortunate to have a wife (not a pilot) who enjoys flying and taking vacation trips in small airplanes. In the early 90’s, we decided to take a trip to the Southwest in our Bonanza to check out the Grand Canyon, Four Corners, etc. We departed Cross Keys airport in VFR conditions on an IFR plan to South Bend, IN. South Bend was IMC when we arrived, but the ILS was operational and we landed in moderate rain. I had held an Instrument rating for around 25 years and was current and proficient. The airplane navigation equipment was dual VORLOC, GS, and ADF. I did not have an HSI or RMI.

I called FSS after landing at KSBN and told the briefer we were looking for an airport west of the IMC to stay overnight. The briefer suggested that Columbia, MO was forecast VFR by the time we would arrive and that we shouldn’t have a problem obtaining accommodations since it was a college town. I filed IFR and launched. I didn’t check the approach plates other than to note that KCOU had an ILS.

We were in and out of IMC (no T storms or ice) all the way and the ATIS at KCOU, when we got in range, indicated that the field was IFR with 600/2 and ILS 2 was in use. I was now heading westbound for the HLV (Hallsville) VOR. Center then called and said “Radar service terminated, contact Columbia Approach on ***.**”. At the time, I thought I might be too low for Center’s radar and Columbia Approach would pick me up in a couple of miles on their radar. Actually, in the early 90’s Columbia Approach did not have radar and the Jeppesen plate I had indicated this. I was anticipating vectors to the ILS 2 approach. What I got when I contacted Columbia Approach was “Cleared to the BOVEN intersection via the Hallsville transition to hold as published. Expect LOC Back Course 20 Approach. Expect further clearance at **, time  now **”.

Well, that was a surprise, but the biggest surprise was that BOVEN intersection was made up of a localizer back course and an NDB bearing. The saving grace was that without radar, Approach didn’t know where I was holding either, although I’m pretty sure I was reasonably close to BOVEN. Approach had a jet on the ILS to 2 and I was cleared for the approach after 1 1/2 turns. I suppose that since wind wasn’t a factor, the controller felt he was doing me a favor by saving me time because I was arriving from the Northeast. Columbia today is handled by Mizzu Approach, but BOVEN is still there, although it is now defined as a LOC DME or GPS fix. Below is the current IAP. The NDB has been decommissioned. DME was not required at the time. There was no LOC DME then.