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DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?  
User currently offlineStormin From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 60 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9046 times:

Of the top of the head question... I got to enjoy my first River Visual Approach as a passenger on DL last week. I knew it was quite a ride but boy the pilots sure did seem to enjoy flying the MD88 like they were back in their military days! So... Do pilots enjoy flying that approach into DCA? A chance to fly a little crazy with big bird versus hot-dogging on their days off in a private plane? And there is always the thrill of skirting restricted airspace. What do you think?



Disclaimer: I know they take their jobs seriously, especially into a sensitive area like downtown DC, but still, you know it must bring a smile to their faces! I know it did mine, one of the reasons I fly into there versus IAD. Although with the new mesuem there, I might have to fly into IAD one day and be late to work...

I'm done rambling...
Later!

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 1, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9048 times:

It could be a lot of fun except that it is pretty tight and takes focus and discipline that keep you from enjoying it much. It is like, when it is over and you are parked at the gate you think: "That was really cool!" Really not a lot of time for sightseeing though. Maybe from the jumpseat.






Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 11
Reply 2, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9042 times:

I know it's fun to watch from the ground!

I flew into Leesburg(JYO) last week and when you are in the ADIZ around DC there isn't much joking around. While the controllers seemed more than friendly and helpful, things got way serious when anything got out of the ordinary or somebody didn't call up fast enough for their liking.



DMI
User currently offlineUSAIRWAYS321 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1847 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9007 times:

While I'm not a pilot myself, I can say that my dad (US Airways DCA-based A320 Captain) absolutely loathes that approach. He gets really uneasy knowing that one mistake could result in him being disciplined, perhaps fired, or in an extreme case, shot down.

Brett


User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 9001 times:

Les Abend made it sound relaxing and fun in a recent Flying Magazine article...

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8977 times:

Stormin:
I enjoyed Les' story in Flying as well, gave a pretty good insight, I believe he said he flew a 757 into DCA from MIA. The article was in either the October or November, 2003 issue.



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
User currently offlineGr325 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2002, 715 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8979 times:

Sorry to be a pain, but as I live in Europe and never been to DCA, can somebody tell me what the approach is like? What are the procedures? Thank you


"You should have gone to specsavers"
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 7, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 8935 times:

It is a visual approach that is charted like an instrument procedure. Basically one can begin the "visual" after breaking out on the LDA approach or, weather permitting, fly down the middle of the Potomac River from about six miles north of the airport until very short final.

The last turn to align with runway 19 is made very low above the river. In fact there is a VASI (lighted Visual Approach Slope Indicator) aligned 20 degrees west of the runway 19 centerline and another aligned with it. The first is for use just before turning to align with the runway, the other for use after you line up to land. The weather required for the approach is 3500' ceiling and 3 statute miles visibility. Seems like good weather, but if you only see the airport for the first time three miles out you are only about 70 seconds from touchdown. You are working pretty hard at it all the way down.

The obvious thing here is that we are threading our way down a narrow, twisting corridor between some serious no-fly zones. Probably this procedure would not be permitted anywhere else in the country but the people who make those decisions are regular passengers here and do not want the long limo ride in from Dulles.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineGr325 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2002, 715 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 8838 times:

Sounds fantastic, thanks for that


"You should have gone to specsavers"
User currently offlineSocalatc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 527 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (10 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 8798 times:

I enjoyed it a lot more pre 9/11. Both crew members are usually very stressed out at the fact that one little mistake and that will be the end of your flying career. It is a fun approach however, you actually get to fly the aircraft all the way down.

User currently offlinePSAjet17 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 335 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 8695 times:

It is a visual approach that is charted like an instrument procedure. Basically one can begin the "visual" after breaking out on the LDA approach or, weather permitting, fly down the middle of the Potomac River from about six miles north of the airport until very short final.
What SlamClick left out of the description is that the approach is a set of left and right turns to avoid the restricted flight zones in and around Washington DC.


User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 8692 times:

if it helps: I'D LOVE TO DO IT!!



"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineStormin From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8632 times:

PSAJet17:
All the restricted zones are on the east(?) side of the river. The west side is protected by noise NIMBYs. If conditions don't allow the visual, they fly a straight shot to the short final on 19 over the residential areas. I remember seeing an approach plate that showed this from an FAA website somewhere....


Enjoy!


User currently offlineGoboeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2694 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (10 years 7 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 8644 times:

Since these are .pdf files, you need to copy and paste it into the browser yourself.

River Visual 19
http://www.myairplane.com/databases/approach/NorthEast/DCA_RIVER%20VISUAL%20r19.pdf

Rossyln LDA 19
http://www.myairplane.com/databases/approach/NorthEast/DCA_ROSSLYN%20LDA%20r19.pdf

Nick


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