Stormin
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2001 1:20 am

DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:21 pm

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!
 
SlamClick
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:26 pm

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.
 
pilotpip
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:27 pm

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
 
USAIRWAYS321
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 4:31 pm

RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 3:52 pm

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
 
USAFHummer
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 3:56 pm

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

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
Tiger119
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:08 pm

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!
 
gr325
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:28 pm

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"
 
SlamClick
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:33 pm

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.
 
gr325
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Tue Jan 20, 2004 8:57 pm

Sounds fantastic, thanks for that
"You should have gone to specsavers"
 
socalatc
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:16 pm

RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:32 am

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.
 
PSAjet17
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:15 pm

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.
 
cancidas
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RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:30 pm

if it helps: I'D LOVE TO DO IT!!
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
 
Stormin
Topic Author
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2001 1:20 am

RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 7:37 am

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!
 
goboeing
Posts: 2430
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 5:31 am

RE: DCA River Visual Approach - Do Pilots Like?

Thu Jan 22, 2004 10:49 am

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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