You are approaching a tower-controlled airport. You are 10 miles south of the airport. The airport is using Runway 27 for takeoffs and landings. The tower controller tells you to make straight-in for Runway 27 and report 3 miles. Here’s your question:
Given your position 10 miles south of the airport, which of the following does the tower controller expect you to do?
A. Enter the downwind followed by a base leg that leads you to a 3-mile final approach, or,
B. Fly directly to a base leg entry so as to end up on a 3-mile final approach, or,
C. Turn to the northeast now and then maneuver to join a 3-mile final approach, or
D. Fly directly towards the threshold of Runway 27 and report 3 miles out.
The correct answer is C.
From the Pilot/Controller Glossary of the AIM:
“Entry into the traffic pattern by interception of the extended runway centerline (final approach course) without executing any other portion of the traffic pattern.”
Take Tower’s words: “straight-in” and mentally substitute the words, “final approach” and you will never be confused again.