Auburn Airport's new GPS instrument approach

Auburn Municipal Airport (S50)

Auburn Municipal Airport (S50) finally received its long awaited GPS instrument approach. The approach is from the south, with waypoints CIDUG and ORTIN as the IAFs. Coming from the south is less than ideal considering that instrument conditions favor a north arrival. Most low pressure bad weather in Seattle moves in from the north, which translates to a southerly wind (air moves from high to low pressure). This means that approaching from the south requires a circle to land to runway 16.

The MDA is only 1320 feet MSL, which isn't all that low. You could almost make a case for shooting Renton's NDB approach from the north, which has an MDA of 880 feet, then cancel IFR and proceed VFR to Auburn. VFR in class D and E airspace requires 500 feet below the clouds, so a ceiling of 1380 feet (880+500) is needed. This is only 60 feet higher than Auburn's MDA. Furthermore, Auburn's GPS approach is not authorized at night. This of course only works if you're positive that VFR can be maintained after canceling IFR. The worse case would be land at Renton and wait for VFR conditions to Auburn.

I'd be curious to hear from pilots who have flown Auburn's GPS approach in real instrument meteorological conditions. Drop me an email (address on homepage) if you have comments on this approach.

Instrument Approach Procedure charts
May not be current, not for navigational use
Auburn RNAV (GPS)-A (PDF file)
Renton NDB RWY 15 (PDF file)

Other Links
My photos from flying in the Pacific Northwest
Browse and Search NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)
Auburn Municipal Airport offical website
Valley Fliers flying club at Auburn Municipal Airport

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