A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard
this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer
statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of
"there are no old, bold pilots.") It's part of what makes aviation
so exciting for all of us... just when you think you've seen it
all, along comes a scenario you've never imagined.
Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner,
master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us
-- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators, and as
representatives of the flying community. Some of them, you may have
heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we
might never have considered before, or something that didn't
"stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for
the practical test.
It is our unabashed goal that "Aero-Tips" will help our readers
become better, safer pilots -- as well as introducing our
ground-bound readers to the concepts and principles that keep those
strange aluminum-and-composite contraptions in the air... and allow
them to soar magnificently through it.
Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you
through the Aero-News Network. Suggestions for future Aero-Tips are
always welcome, as are additions or discussion of each day's tips.
Remember... when it comes to being good pilots, we're all in this
You’re completing an IFR flight when you get this call:
“November 329PT, you’re cleared for the visual
approach.” What are the implications of the visual
A visual approach is an
instrument procedure, and accepting “the visual” does
not cancel your instrument clearance or flight plan. If conditions
are right, replacing a sometimes-ponderous instrument approach with
a quick, visual landing frees up controlled airspace quicker by
expediting your arrival. Here are the requirements for ATC to
assign a visual approach:
- Conditions at the arrival airport must be VFR, meaning at least
three miles visibility and a ceiling no lower than 1000 feet.
- The pilot must report either the airport or an aircraft
preceding him/her to the airport in sight.
Once you accept a visual approach clearance, you’re
responsible for terrain separation and traffic avoidance. (Note: if
you do not report seeing a preceding aircraft, ATC retains
responsibility for separation and wake turbulence avoidance). You
may descend to traffic pattern altitude at your discretion. You
still need to (eventually) “cancel IFR” at nontowered
A visual approach is not an “instrument approach
procedure,” and therefore does not have a stipulated missed
approach. Remember, you’re in good VFR conditions “on
the visual” -- if you need to go around you must to remain in
visual conditions until receiving an updated clearance.
If you feel at all uncomfortable with terrain separation or any
other aspect of a visual clearance, especially at night, or if you
simply want to fly the instrument approach, you can always decline
the visual clearance.
For more see www.faa.gov/ATPubs/AIM/Chap5/aim0504.html#5-4-21.
Aero-tip of the day: Understand and
observe the nuances of accepting a visual approach