6 HITS: Beautiful Practice Approaches of Minnesota and Wisconsin
handy circuit of practice approaches for a trip around Minnesota and Wisconsin

My colleague((and friend 😁)) Edward Abraham and I departed from California to Minnesota in N81034 to train for our CFI-I ratings.((You can read more about that trip in my upcoming post.)) We laid out a training program to test our CFI-I syllabus, including a day of practice instrument approaches.

These practice approaches were chosen for challenging variety, interesting destinations, and efficiency when stringing several together.

The Original Circuit

View the circuit on Skyvector
KSTCLOC RWY 31 -> Published missed, hold
KLXLRNAV RWY 31 (LPV) -> Full stop, ODP departure
KBRDILS RWY 34 -> Published missed, hold
KHZXRWY 14 (LNAV, Partial Panel) -> Missed
KDLHVOR RWY 3 -> Full stop, lunch
KDLHVOR/DME RWY 21 -> Published miss, hold
KSUWRNAV RWY 4 (LP) -> Circle-to-land, touch-and-go
KOLGRNAV RWY 19 (LNAV, Partial Panel) -> Full stop
KRPDRNAV RWY 19 (LPV) -> Published missed
3T3RNAV RWY 26 (LPV) -> Published missed
KSGSLOC RWY 34 -> Full stop

Choosing Airports and Practice Approaches

We started with just a rough idea for our route. We wanted to do 6 approaches in each direction, and we wanted to do lunch in Duluth (KDLH). How I designed this circuit is a Plausibly Useful Idea for other instrument instructors.

I first overlayed an airport approach plate on ForeFlight’s map to see the IAF and missed approach paths. By tapping on a plate in map view, you can quickly swap different approaches. Using this feature, I was able to find approaches that started and ended in a nice string.

Selecting practice approaches for the circuit using ForeFlight map overlay

The Pivot

While we were refueling in Little Falls (KLXL)((hometown of Charles Lindbergh, although he didn’t train at this field)), we spoke with a commercial candidate who strongly recommended lunch at Grandma’s in Duluth. She also strongly recommended we land and take a crew car from Sky Harbor (KDYT), instead of Duluth International Airport.

Leaning into the local tip was a great idea: Grandma’s food was delicious and Sky Harbor was incredible!

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