"I wouldn't accept a visual approach if I did not have the runway in sight, or if I knew I couldn't make a safe landing from my present position."
I didn't make my question clear. What I was asking, let's say you're a 747 approaching the Point Reyes VOR at 11,000 ft. You've got the ATIS telling you SFO
is landing runways 1. You contact approach and they offer you a choice:
vectors to the approach to runways 28, circle to land runway 1R (like everyone else is doing), or
vectors to the straight-in visual to 1R (which will also entail an earlier descent from 11000).
So at that point you're not accepting a visual approach to the airport, you're accepting vectors to one approach or the other. How do you decide?
(This all sounds pretty implausible, doesn't it? And I've never seen anybody fly straight in to 1R, but the guy says he has.)
"There are certain airports which require special training to fly into. San Francisco appears to be one of them."
But not usually, right? Aside from the side-by-side landings, the usual approaches to runways 28/19/10 are run-of-the-mill, aren't they? Maybe the approach to runway 1 is special-- so, do all Part 121 pilots have to be qualified for that, even though odds are at least 500 to 1 they won't land on runway 1?
If so, would possession of the qualification chart be enough? Or do BA
pilots have to go to classes on SFO
before they're allowed to fly here?