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"Going for the Visual"



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 9th 04, 07:31 PM
O. Sami Saydjari
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Default "Going for the Visual"

A while back, I was with an experienced pilot, IMC, descending to land
at my home airport. The airport is not in an environment where ATC will
give vectors to final. As we approached, ATC asked which approach we
wanted. He said that he was "going for the visual." The ceilings were
right at the Minimum Safe altitude (MSA)--3000. I think ATC said that we
could descend to 3000 and report airport in sight.

Is this request of "going for the visual" usual?

Is it the norm if ceilings are above MSA?

-Sami
N2057M, Piper Turbo Arrow III

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  #2  
Old April 9th 04, 07:33 PM
Jim Weir
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I don't know about the rest of ye all, but the real world out here is to be
vectored as low as the controller can give you, get the airport in sight, and
"cancelling IFR". That way the 1000 & 3 does not apply.

Jim




Roy Smith
shared these priceless pearls of wisdom:

-
-The MSA has little to do with it. The MSA is an emergency altitude with
-no regulatory meaning (at least in the US). What's important is that
-you've got the weather minimums for a visual approach (1000 & 3) and
-that ATC can issue you a clearance to descend low enough that you can
-see the airport (or the aircraft you're following).

Jim Weir (A&P/IA, CFI, & other good alphabet soup)
VP Eng RST Pres. Cyberchapter EAA Tech. Counselor
http://www.rst-engr.com
  #3  
Old April 9th 04, 07:44 PM
Roy Smith
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"O. Sami Saydjari" wrote:
A while back, I was with an experienced pilot, IMC, descending to land
at my home airport. The airport is not in an environment where ATC will
give vectors to final. As we approached, ATC asked which approach we
wanted. He said that he was "going for the visual." The ceilings were
right at the Minimum Safe altitude (MSA)--3000. I think ATC said that we
could descend to 3000 and report airport in sight.

Is this request of "going for the visual" usual?


It's pretty common to request a visual approach. It's usually the
simpliest and quickest way to get to the airport, if the weather
conditions allow it.

Is it the norm if ceilings are above MSA?


The MSA has little to do with it. The MSA is an emergency altitude with
no regulatory meaning (at least in the US). What's important is that
you've got the weather minimums for a visual approach (1000 & 3) and
that ATC can issue you a clearance to descend low enough that you can
see the airport (or the aircraft you're following).
  #4  
Old April 9th 04, 07:47 PM
Ron Rosenfeld
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On Fri, 09 Apr 2004 13:31:23 -0500, "O. Sami Saydjari"
wrote:

A while back, I was with an experienced pilot, IMC, descending to land
at my home airport. The airport is not in an environment where ATC will
give vectors to final. As we approached, ATC asked which approach we
wanted. He said that he was "going for the visual." The ceilings were
right at the Minimum Safe altitude (MSA)--3000. I think ATC said that we
could descend to 3000 and report airport in sight.

Is this request of "going for the visual" usual?

Is it the norm if ceilings are above MSA?

-Sami
N2057M, Piper Turbo Arrow III


It has nothing to do with MSA. Basically, weather needs to be at least
1000/3, and the pilot needs to have the airport or an a/c to follow in
sight.

AIM 5-4-20. Visual Approach

a. A visual approach is conducted on an IFR flight plan and authorizes
a pilot to proceed visually and clear of clouds to the airport. The pilot
must have either the airport or the preceding identified aircraft in sight.
This approach must be authorized and controlled by the appropriate air
traffic control facility. Reported weather at the airport must have a
ceiling at or above 1,000 feet and visibility 3 miles or greater. ATC may
authorize this type approach when it will be operationally beneficial.
Visual approaches are an IFR procedure conducted under IFR in visual
meteorological conditions. Cloud clearance requirements of 14 CFR Section
91.155 are not applicable, unless required by operation specifications.

b. Operating to an Airport Without Weather Reporting Service. ATC will
advise the pilot when weather is not available at the destination airport.
ATC may initiate a visual approach provided there is a reasonable assurance
that weather at the airport is a ceiling at or above 1,000 feet and
visibility 3 miles or greater (e.g. area weather reports, PIREPs, etc.).

=======================

Ron (EPM) (N5843Q, Mooney M20E) (CP, ASEL, ASES, IA)
  #5  
Old April 9th 04, 07:58 PM
O. Sami Saydjari
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Default



Is it the norm if ceilings are above MSA?



The MSA has little to do with it. The MSA is an emergency altitude with
no regulatory meaning (at least in the US). What's important is that
you've got the weather minimums for a visual approach (1000 & 3) and
that ATC can issue you a clearance to descend low enough that you can
see the airport (or the aircraft you're following).


OK. It just happened, in this case, that ATC was able to let us go down
to what was coincidentally that MSA for the area.

So, my question becomes, at what point do you abort the attempt to go
visual and transition to an IFR approach. Say, you have a GPS and ATC
cleared you down to 2000 ft AGL and you are 10 miles from the airport.
Do you continue at that altitude to the airport until you are right on
top of it (controller permitting), notice that you are still not out of
the clouds, and then ask for an IFR approach at that point? Just trying
to see how the transition from "going for visual" to "err, no can
do...need an instrument" happens. Does the controller force the
decision at some distance out?

-Sami

  #6  
Old April 9th 04, 08:14 PM
Roy Smith
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Default

In article ,
"O. Sami Saydjari" wrote:
So, my question becomes, at what point do you abort the attempt to go
visual and transition to an IFR approach.


If you get as low as the controller can get you and you still can't see
the airport. Just say something like, "negative contact, request ILS"
and the controller will give you a new clearance for the instrument
approach.

Say, you have a GPS and ATC
cleared you down to 2000 ft AGL and you are 10 miles from the airport.
Do you continue at that altitude to the airport until you are right on
top of it (controller permitting), notice that you are still not out of
the clouds, and then ask for an IFR approach at that point?


That sounds like one reasonable way of doing it. Of course, it pays to
get whatever weather info is available. If there's an AWOS/ASOS that's
reporting 1500 overcast and the controller says he can only get you down
to 2000, there's not much point.

Just trying
to see how the transition from "going for visual" to "err, no can
do...need an instrument" happens. Does the controller force the
decision at some distance out?


It's not the job of the controller to tell you what to do. You make
requests and as long as he's able to, he'll issue you clearances.

If you're north of the airport and instrument approach is the ILS-36,
you've got to go over the top of the airport to get to the appoach.
Assuming no conflicting traffic, you could ask the controller to vector
you onto downwind for 36 at the MIA to see if you can see the runway.
If you do, you can request the visual (or contact) right then and there.
If you don't see anything, you just keep going out to the IAF and fly
the approach normally.

On the other hand, if you're already pretty much lined up for an
instrument approach, you really don't gain anything by asking for a
visual.
  #7  
Old April 9th 04, 08:28 PM
Steven P. McNicoll
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Default


"Jim Weir" wrote in message
...

I don't know about the rest of ye all, but the real world out here is to

be
vectored as low as the controller can give you, get the airport in sight,

and
"cancelling IFR". That way the 1000 & 3 does not apply.


It does if your destination is in a surface area.


  #8  
Old April 9th 04, 08:34 PM
David Brooks
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Default

"Ron Rosenfeld" wrote in message
...

It has nothing to do with MSA. Basically, weather needs to be at least
1000/3, and the pilot needs to have the airport or an a/c to follow in
sight.

AIM 5-4-20. Visual Approach

a. A visual approach is conducted on an IFR flight plan and authorizes
a pilot to proceed visually and clear of clouds to the airport. The pilot
must have either the airport or the preceding identified aircraft in

sight.
This approach must be authorized and controlled by the appropriate air
traffic control facility. Reported weather at the airport must have a
ceiling at or above 1,000 feet and visibility 3 miles or greater. ATC may
authorize this type approach when it will be operationally beneficial.
Visual approaches are an IFR procedure conducted under IFR in visual
meteorological conditions. Cloud clearance requirements of 14 CFR Section
91.155 are not applicable, unless required by operation specifications.


This tells you when you can commence and continue the visual approach. I
think the question was more on the lines of the appropriate communications
with ATC when you think there's a visual in your future, but you can't be
certain yet.

-- David Brooks


  #9  
Old April 9th 04, 08:47 PM
Newps
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Default



O. Sami Saydjari wrote:

A while back, I was with an experienced pilot, IMC, descending to land
at my home airport. The airport is not in an environment where ATC will
give vectors to final. As we approached, ATC asked which approach we
wanted. He said that he was "going for the visual." The ceilings were
right at the Minimum Safe altitude (MSA)--3000. I think ATC said that we
could descend to 3000 and report airport in sight.

Is this request of "going for the visual" usual?

Is it the norm if ceilings are above MSA?


MSA plays no role whatsoever in any altitude assigned by ATC. We don't
know or care what the MSA is. If you have to go by the airport to get
to where you would start an approach ask ATC to bring you down to the
MVA at the airport as you go by. If you see the airport you can get the
visual, if you're still in the clouds you're headed for the approach
anyways.

  #10  
Old April 9th 04, 08:49 PM
Newps
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Default



Ron Rosenfeld wrote:



It has nothing to do with MSA. Basically, weather needs to be at least
1000/3, and the pilot needs to have the airport or an a/c to follow in
sight.


While the 1000/3 applies because you have to have VFR to get a visual
the ceiling needs to be higher than that because there are no MVA's that
are even as low as 1000 feet. So practically speaking the ceiling needs
to be higher than the MVA for that area.

 




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