Circling at minimums can get you killed so know the minimums, raise those minimums when you can, and take advantage of the PlaneView cockpit.
The Circling Approach Rules of Engagement are fairly complex and are listed under Normal Procedures & Techniques / Circling Approach. There you will learn about approach categories, the circling approach area, required obstacle clearance, and a few math-based techniques. It also gives a few examples: KJFK, KMEM, KTEB and KMDW.
The approach categories, maximum speeds, clearance areas, and some of the procedures are different under ICAO. View International Operations / US versus ICAO Procedures under Approach Category, Maximum Speeds, Circle Area Radius, and Circling Missed Approach Procedures.
What follows on this page are the G450 Airplane Operating Manual procedures and a few techniques to stack the deck in your favor.
The G450 is either a Category C aircraft or a Category D aircraft, depending on the installation of ASC 007C. You cannot change your category from D to C without maintenance logbook action. You can, however, change from C to D as a pilot. See G450 Normal Procedures & Techniques / Approach Category.
I recommend you never circle this airplane using Category C minimums because a stable approach is impossible given Category C speeds and turn radii. See Normal Procedures & Techniques / Stabilized Approach for the math behind this.
[G450 Airplane Operating Manual §06-05-30]
Figure: Circling approach, from G450 Airplane Operating Manual, §06-05-30, Figure 2.
The circling maneuver may be initiated from either a precision or non-precision instrument approach procedure and must be conducted entirely by external visual references. A normal instrument approach is flown until visual contact with the runway environment or to the Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA). As the circling maneuver is not an instrument maneuver, sufficient visual references to maneuver the aircraft to a landing must be maintained at all times.
Maneuvering may begin once within 2.3 nm (Category D) or 1.7 nm (Category C).
If visual contact with the airport (or the landing runway, when below MDA) is lost during the circling maneuver, a missed approach must be initiated. The initial turn should be made, or continued, toward the runway until established on the published missed approach course, or as directed by approach control.
The initial turn is not always made toward the runway at all airports. See International Operations / US versus ICAO Procedures.
PlaneView gives you a few visual cues on the map display that can help with runway offsets.
By sizing the inner ring to 2 nm, you have a good idea where 2.3 nm from the airport boundary is:
Photo: Haskel simulator track, KMEM
If a perpendicular runway has an ILS, for example, varying the size of the inner display ring can be useful. The length of the ILS feather is equal to the inner ring for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 nm; it remains 5 nm up to a ring of 50 nm, after which time it is no longer in view.
Photo: Haskel pattern, KBED
Before you protest about the propriety of using an approach chart for navigation, allow me to offer two words: situational awareness.
Circling can get you killed and the dirty little secret is that everyone knows this. So what you end up with, in the "circling approach" classification, are three possibilities:
Gulfstream G450 Aircraft Operating Manual, Revision 35, April 30, 2013.
Gulfstream G450 Aircraft Service Change 007C, Maximum Landing Gross Weight, 58,500 pounds, Category C, Provisions, October 26, 2011
Gulfstream G450 Airplane Flight Manual, Revision 35, April 18, 2013
United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS), Federal Aviation Administration 8260.3B CHG 19, 5/15/02