Yea it is possible as a civilian.. Wait, what is a PAR approach? PAR stands for Precision Approach Radar and to skip all the technical details, it’s just an approach where the controller guides you in for landing with nothing more than radio commands. Controllers at Miramar have to stay current in PAR approaches so they allow GA aircraft to shoot them on some Sundays from 2 to 4pm. Unfortunately, they don’t publish exactly when they’re available so you just have to call up and ask.
We departed Gillespie Field and headed out toward San Vicente; we requested a frequency change and called up 124.35 and just asked, “SOCAL approach, Skyhawk 5291E just off Gillespie field at 3000, request.” SOCAL came back and we requested, “do you know if Miramar is doing PAR approaches today?” They had to call over to Miramar etc and sure enough, they were so we got a squawk code, cleared into the bravo, and vectors toward Miramar.
Eventually we were handed off to Miramar where they reiterated a few times that we could only do a low approach (you cannot touchdown!). Once we got through the intro, and were established, the controller said “no further transmission necessary” which means that the controller just speaks and you correct but you do not acknowledge their transmissions. It goes something like this:
- On glide slope
- Below glide slow (you would add power here to get back up to it)
- Left of centerline (go right)
- On centerline, on glide slope (you’re golden)
- At Decision Height
In case you missed it before, do not touchdown! It’s a low approach which means you stay at least 10-15’ off the runway.
The following is a video of us shooting it a few Sundays ago, sadly we didn’t think to record the audio as well. I was stationed at Miramar (the Fighting 111 Sundowners!) way back when it was a Naval Air Station so it was good to be back after all these years..