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scbriml
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"Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:19 am

While on a recent trip to the US, listening in to the tower at both Phoenix (PHX/KPHX) and Las Vegas (LAS/KLAS), I often heard the tower clear planes to land that were 3 or 4 planes back in the queue (although fully established on the ILS). Some times the controller would tell them how many planes ahead, but other times they wouldn't.

AFAIK, in the UK, this would never happen. Only one plane at a time is cleared to land, all other are told to continue approach and then given their landing clearance when the preceding plane has cleared the runway. Sometimes this does result in very late landing clearance - especially at Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) in busy peaks.

It seems a very fundamental difference in approach (no pun!). Why?
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jetboy757
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:44 am

It's interesting to hear what they do in the UK. The best answer that I can come up with is that maybe in the UK they're a little bit more cautious than in the US. Keep in mind that air traffic control started in the US and that many of the rules and procedures from the US have been adapted to other countries.

I can say that in the US we try our best not to withhold a landing clearance, in fact it states that in our rule book (7110.65). Also, a lot of times in the US we have planes landing while another plane is still on the runway (CAT 1 & 2) and this is legal.

In the case of 2 airliners (CAT 3), both would be issued a landing clearance, and if the first one that lands does not exit the runway in time it is the controllers responsibility to tell the next aircraft to "go around." This is most likely why US controllers get paid the salary they do because they make important decisions and a lot of responsibility falls on them. In the case of the UK the pilot would have to go around on his own as well as the controller saying "go around" because he did not receive a landing clearance which I guess adds an extra layer of safety.
 
wilco737
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:10 am

It is not only in the UK, most countries in Europe clear you to land only when the runway is actually clear and nobody is on the runway anymore and nobody crosses it anymore.
In the US and many other countries, you call tower and you are cleared to land and I don't know the real reason behind it, but maybe the Tower guy gives away the responsibility to assure the runway is clear. So we as pilots have to check if all is well.
Same with the approaches in the US. You get all the time visual approaches, but the ILS is in the air. The APproach controller is then no longer responsible for the separation between the airplanes (only on final). Maybe it is the same for the landing...

wilco737
  
 
jgarrido
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:34 am

In the US tower controllers can use "anticipated separation" and clear a following aircraft to land when he knows by experience the preceding traffic will be clear of the runway prior to the following aircraft crosses the threshold.

Quote:
Landing clearance to succeeding aircraft in a
landing sequence need not be withheld if you observe
the positions of the aircraft and determine that
prescribed runway separation will exist when the
aircraft cross the landing threshold. Issue traffic
information to the succeeding aircraft if not
previously reported and appropriate traffic holding in
position or departing prior to their arrival.

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 2):
Same with the approaches in the US. You get all the time visual approaches, but the ILS is in the air. The APproach controller is then no longer responsible for the separation between the airplanes (only on final). Maybe it is the same for the landing...

I'm entirely clear on what you mean, but on even on a visual approach the radar controller is still responsible for separation unless the following aircraft has reported the preceding traffic in sight and has been told the follow it.
 
wilco737
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:43 am

Quoting jgarrido (Reply 3):
but on even on a visual approach the radar controller is still responsible for separation unless the following aircraft has reported the preceding traffic in sight and has been told the follow it.

Thanks for the info. I learnt that the pilot is responsible for it when on final. Then why do the US guys always clears us for a visual approach? I am flying the ILS anyway... But what is the point in it then? And how does the controller know what missed approach procedure I fly? If I am not flying the ILS, then I don't have a missed approach procedure... Very weird.

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jgarrido
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:29 am

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 4):

It's hard to know what the controller is thinking without more information. Do you tell him you have the field in sight? If I'm vectoring for or have cleared a pilot for an ILS approach and he tells me he has the field in sight then I take that to mean he probably wants a visual approach. If he's already established on a straight in and within 10 or so miles of the field I probably won't clear him for it unless he explicitly ask for it though. Also in the US there is no missed approach for a visual approach and you are not authorized to do one. In the event you cannot complete the landing you are handled as a go-around and would be kept in the tower VFR pattern. If you do not want that or the tower can't accept you in the pattern the tower would call the approach control up for climb out instructions and you would be vectored back around for another approach, or holding, etc.
 
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glen
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:42 am

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 4):
I learnt that the pilot is responsible for it when on final. Then why do the US guys always clears us for a visual approach? I am flying the ILS anyway... But what is the point in it then?

That's how I learnt it as well - but sometimes wrong information is forwarded from pilot to pilot if no one knows the exact details...
From my experinece this happens most times when there are 2 close parallel runways where they can't conduct independent parallel ILS approaches. But this can be by pure chance as this are most time busy airports anyway where they have to bring in as many planes as possible. So I don't know if it has to do with the parallel situation.
I know there are some US controllers out here in the forum and it would be intersting to know the exact reasoning and ruling behind the procedure with the visual approaches.
"The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view." - Albert Einstein
 
Gofly
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:44 pm

The closest thing that you're going to get in the U.K. is a 'land after' clearance. This is a clearance that permits an aircraft to land before a preceding landing aircraft, which has already landed, has vacated the runway. It can only be issued providing that certain conditions are met; given the number of conditions to be met the clearances tend to be fairly rare. A 'land after' clearance can be issued if the following circumstances prevail:

  1. The runway is long enough to allow safe separation between the two aircraft and there is no evidence to indicate that braking may be adversely affected.

  2. It is during daylight hours.

  3. The preceding landing aircraft is not required to backtrack in order to vacate the runway.

  4. The controller is satisfied that the flight crew of the landing aircraft will be able to see the preceding aircraft which has landed, clearly and continuously, until it has vacated the runway.

  5. The flight crew of the following aircraft is warned.

Interestingly, the responsibility for separation lies with the commander of the following aircraft.
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PGNCS
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:02 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 4):
I learnt that the pilot is responsible for it when on final. Then why do the US guys always clears us for a visual approach? I am flying the ILS anyway... But what is the point in it then? And how does the controller know what missed approach procedure I fly? If I am not flying the ILS, then I don't have a missed approach procedure... Very weird.

It's in the controller's best interest for you to be on a visual and not an instrument approach. If you are on a visual approach wake turbulence and separation are YOUR PROBLEM in the US; he wants to be done with it and give you the responsibility. That's why they will advertise the ILS on the ATIS and keep pestering you about whether you have the airport or preceding aircraft in sight; as soon as you say yes, you have a visual approach clearance and you are on your own. It reduces their workload, and it's as simple as that. In the event of a go around they will give you vectors. I don't blame them for wanting to offload work, but I'm not going to accept a visual clearance unless I really do see the airport and the relevant traffic and think I can keep it all in sight until landing.
 
wilco737
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:27 pm

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):

So I wasn't totally wrong then. Thanks for the information.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):
I'm not going to accept a visual clearance unless I really do see the airport and the relevant traffic and think I can keep it all in sight until landing.

I almost never accept the visual approach in the US. So if there is an ILS on the ATIS and and ILS is working I am requesting the ILS and fly the ILS... Of course there are cases where I can accept the visual approach as well. But only under certain conditions.

wilco737
  
 
P3Orion
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:57 pm

In the US, A Visual Approach is an IFR clearance. In the event of a go around the Local controller will issue heading and altitude assignments. It is extremely rare, here in the States, that you will fly the published missed at a towered airport in the event of a go around.
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jgarrido
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:55 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):

I'm sorry but you are mistaken.

From the 7110.65 where we controllers get our rules from:
http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/atc/

Quote:

7-4-3
c. Clear an aircraft for a visual approach when:
1. The aircraft is number one in the approach
sequence, or
2. The aircraft is to follow a preceding aircraft and the pilot reports the preceding aircraft in sight and is instructed to follow it, or
NOTE The pilot need not report the airport/runway in sight.
3. The pilot reports the airport or runway in sight but not the preceding aircraft. Radar separation must be maintained until visual separation is provided.

You'll find the wake turbulence requirements in chapter 5 (Radar), Section 5 (separation) paragraph 4 (minima).

I also looked up visual approaches in the AIM to see what it had to say.

Quote:
d. Separation Responsibilities. If the pilot has the airport in sight but cannot see the aircraft to be followed, ATC may clear the aircraft for a visual approach; however, ATC retains both separation and wake vortex separation responsibility. When visually following a preceding aircraft, acceptance of the visual approach clearance constitutes acceptance of pilot responsibility for maintaining a safe approach interval and adequate wake turbulence separation.
 
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glen
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:37 pm

Quoting jgarrido (Reply 11):

PGNCS is right indeed, according your own quoting.
He said clearly that you need to have airport and the preceding aircraft (if there is one) in sight. Then the pilot is responsible for the separation.
As far as I understand the rules you quoted, radar separation is required only as long as you don't have the preceding aircraft in sight. Once following visually the preceding aircraft it is pilots responsibility - your own quote!
"The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view." - Albert Einstein
 
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scbriml
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:14 pm

Thanks for the responses. It seems, to a non-pilot, that the US approach has the pilots doing more 'flying', but the European approach seems 'safer' in that planes are not cleared to land until they really can.

And, yes, I do appreciate that both systems are actually very safe.   
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:27 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 4):
Then why do the US guys always clears us for a visual approach? I am flying the ILS anyway

First let me say I'm not an ATC controller so this is only my experience. If you are given a visual app, separation is your responsibility and as far as Wilco737's question re: a MAP it's strictly straight ahead to pattern altitude (1500'agl). Let's face it how many times in VFR weather do you ever fly the published MAP. Even in CDG in very low IFR wx I was issued "in the event of a miss turn right to 360 climb 3000;" completely voiding the MAP. Personally I've never seen the real issue about getting cleared to land 5 mi out or 1/2 mi out. You can argue the point all day long and it's really a mute point. Regardless of when you're cleared to land, you must always be vigilant that a miss is a possibly at any point in the app and landing. Therefore if the US controller is looking at the standard historical flow and good weather, clears you to land 5 miles out OK it's done; I'm cleared to land; does that mean that the potential to go around now goes away? No. Let's go to Europe there's a jet on a 1/2 mile final and I'm at 5 miles. Does waiting until the jet is completely clear of the runway and clearing me to land at 500' make me any more comfortable? No. I'm worried about not being cleared to land and being violate so as we get closer and closer I'm saying come on clear me!! I just don't see the real argument. Thanks for reading this. CC
 
jgarrido
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:57 pm

Quoting glen (Reply 12):

Yes, you need both to have the preceding traffic in sight and have been told to follow to remove the responsibility for separation from the controller. It isn't until both those things happen the controller is providing radar separation.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):
That's why they will advertise the ILS on the ATIS and keep pestering you about whether you have the airport or preceding aircraft in sight; as soon as you say yes, you have a visual approach clearance and you are on your own.

To me it sounds like PGNCS was under the impression that you only need to have either: 1. the airport or 2. the traffic in sight for the controller to alleviate himself of responsibility for separation. If that's not what PGNCS meant then I'm sorry for misunderstanding.

It is fairly a pretty regular occurrence for a pilot to tell me they have the the field in sight but not the traffic or even to say that don't think they can keep the traffic in sight. At which point I continue to provide vectors to ensure separation until the the traffic isn't a factor or until the pilot advises they can follow it. No big deal.
 
HAL
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:33 am

The biggest difference for doing a visual approach is time saved for the pilot. We will quite often get a clearance for a visual approach while on downwind at a relatively non-busy airport. That allows us to choose our own flight path, which can be considerably shorter than going all the way out to the initial approach fix for an ILS. Being cleared for the visual while already on a straight-in also means you have the latitude to deviate as necessary; you aren't tied in by law to the absolute crossing altitudes as published in the approach. What it really does in the end, is allow you more leeway to make the approach as comfortable and easy as you wish.

Also, as a pilot from America that has flown into Australia quite a bit, I find it distracting waiting for the tower to clear us while in the last 1000 feet or less of the descent. I want to know well in advance that it's okay for me to land and not be sitting there thinking 'am I going to have to go-around now?' Yes, on an approach in the US I'm still primed for a go-around, and yes, I know that if something happens to a plane in front of me I'm going around too. But getting the clearance earlier means it's one less worry for me since I won't be wondering if the tower is going to clear us in time.

HAL
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tower
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:36 am

Quoting scbriml (Thread starter):

We are anticipating that the runway will be clear when you get there. Why with hold the clearance if it should be clear? Plus you are adding more transmissions with the initial contact and then going back to clear then. Wasted time if you're at a super busy airport, or just busy for the time being.

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 2):

It is my responsibility to make sure it is clear. If an aircraft or vehicle is still on the runway, then we will initiate a go around and give you further instructions.

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 9):

Most controllers will have zero problem giving you the ILS if you request it. We have some guys fly into our airport from across the pond and they want to be on the ILS almost all the time. Regardless of weather. Even if we are advertising visuals.
 
sccutler
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:08 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):
I don't blame them for wanting to offload work, but I'm not going to accept a visual clearance unless I really do see the airport and the relevant traffic and think I can keep it all in sight until landing.

If you're not comfortable with the visual, by all means do not accept it; that is your discretion.

But I surely do appreciate visual approaches (where appropriate) and timely landing clearances - both improve operations and increase airport capacity, without compromising safety one whit.

Heck, I was cleared to land once when I was a good ten miles out... and darned glad, too, as the airport was scheduled to close for runway striping. They could not close while an aircraft had a landing clearance. Nice controller.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
wilco737
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:08 am

Quoting Tower (Reply 17):
It is my responsibility to make sure it is clear. If an aircraft or vehicle is still on the runway, then we will initiate a go around and give you further instructions.

Thanks for the info.

Quoting Tower (Reply 17):
Most controllers will have zero problem giving you the ILS if you request it. We have some guys fly into our airport from across the pond and they want to be on the ILS almost all the time. Regardless of weather. Even if we are advertising visuals.

Of course a visual approach can be fun if it is really like I did it at flight school, joining the traffic pattern, then base, then final, landing... But these days you get a vector until you have the field insight and then you just adjust the heading to align with the landing, so not really a visual approach per se. As the ILS is in the air and I follow it anyway.
Long haul flight have the problem, you are usually tired when reaching the destination, so the autopilot does a lot of flying and the autopilot can easily follow an ILS  

I never had trouble getting the ILS approach when we requested it. So no problem at all.

wilco737
  
 
bond007
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:22 am

Quoting Tower (Reply 17):
We are anticipating that the runway will be clear when you get there. Why with hold the clearance if it should be clear?

Well, the point is it 'should' be clear ... when you give the clearance, it most likely was not clear. That is the fundamental difference between the US and Europe.

Not saying one way is right or wrong, but there is a fundamental difference, both with valid arguments. The European system being arguably more cautious.

Jimbo
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swiftski
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:33 am

Quoting jetboy757 (Reply 1):
The best answer that I can come up with is that maybe in the UK they're a little bit more cautious than in the US. Keep in mind that air traffic control started in the US and that many of the rules and procedures from the US have been adapted to other countries.

In my experience the US also has the most non-standard phraseology of anywhere I've flown or heard comms from. I can't stand how 'chatty' it is.
 
wilco737
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:45 am

Quoting swiftski (Reply 21):
In my experience the US also has the most non-standard phraseology of anywhere I've flown or heard comms from

   This is because they can speak English and can be a little sloppier... Problem in many not English countries, the controllers simply ONLY know the ATC phrasiology and this is it...

I was surprised that they changed the "taxi into position and hold" to "line up and wait"...

wilco737
  
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:30 am

Hey Wilco737, We take the visual apps on a regular basis BUT we always use the ILS for nav. All it's really done is give you more freedom for joining the LOC and as I said earlier deletes the MAP. If you're on a hdg to join the LOC and given a visual no one will have a problem if you maintain that hdg or if you so desire take a cut at a shorter intercept.
 
wilco737
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:00 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 23):
We take the visual apps on a regular basis BUT we always use the ILS for nav.

That's what I do as well when on a visual approach and the ILS is in the air. Not stupid to "remove" the ILS from my eyes when I can use it anyway.

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 23):
no one will have a problem if you maintain that hdg or if you so desire take a cut at a shorter intercept.

Yeah, I know... thanks

wilco737
  
 
tower
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:30 pm

Quoting Wilco737 (Reply 19):
Of course a visual approach can be fun if it is really like I did it at flight school, joining the traffic pattern, then base, then final, landing... But these days you get a vector until you have the field insight and then you just adjust the heading to align with the landing, so not really a visual approach per se. As the ILS is in the air and I follow it anyway.
Long haul flight have the problem, you are usually tired when reaching the destination, so the autopilot does a lot of flying and the autopilot can easily follow an ILS

For the long haul flights, this makes a lot of sense. We handle a decent amount of long haul cargo carriers coming from across the pond. So that is why I figure they want the ILS.   Glad to help answer your questions. Any more, feel free and i'll do my best. I'm sure SOMEONE here has an answer. lol
 
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scbriml
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:48 pm

Quoting bond007 (Reply 20):
Well, the point is it 'should' be clear

TBH, that was my only 'issue' with the US approach. Having been told you're clear to land, that clearance might be revoked. At least in Europe when told, there's a very good chance it won't be revoked.

Quoting Tower (Reply 17):
Wasted time if you're at a super busy airport, or just busy for the time being.

Doesn't seem to be an issue at LHR (arguably one of the busiest there is). However, I acknowledge that some planes only get clearance when they're over the lights! Most times in those cases, they've already been advised to expect late landing clearance.


OK, I have a supplemental question for the pilots who've said they always want the ILS available. How does/will MLS change things for you? My understanding of MLS is that it will allow the pilot to fly a more optimised approach (possibly curved) rather than a long and straight path.
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PGNCS
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RE: "Clear To Land" In USA Vs UK

Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:33 am

Quoting jgarrido (Reply 11):
Quote:
d. Separation Responsibilities. If the pilot has the airport in sight but cannot see the aircraft to be followed, ATC may clear the aircraft for a visual approach; however, ATC retains both separation and wake vortex separation responsibility. When visually following a preceding aircraft, acceptance of the visual approach clearance constitutes acceptance of pilot responsibility for maintaining a safe approach interval and adequate wake turbulence separation.

Hey, thanks for the correction. I actually had intentions to write "That's why they will advertise the ILS on the ATIS and keep pestering you about whether you have the airport and preceding aircraft in sight" but what I actually wrote was "That's why they will advertise the ILS on the ATIS and keep pestering you about whether you have the airport or preceding aircraft in sight." It's a subtle but important difference and I am glad you straightened it out.

Quoting jgarrido (Reply 15):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):
That's why they will advertise the ILS on the ATIS and keep pestering you about whether you have the airport or preceding aircraft in sight; as soon as you say yes, you have a visual approach clearance and you are on your own.

To me it sounds like PGNCS was under the impression that you only need to have either: 1. the airport or 2. the traffic in sight for the controller to alleviate himself of responsibility for separation. If that's not what PGNCS meant then I'm sorry for misunderstanding.

No problem, I re-read my post and it wasn't well written. You are correct and I appreciate you clarifying that for all of us.

Quoting sccutler (Reply 18):
Quoting PGNCS (Reply 8):
I don't blame them for wanting to offload work, but I'm not going to accept a visual clearance unless I really do see the airport and the relevant traffic and think I can keep it all in sight until landing.

If you're not comfortable with the visual, by all means do not accept it; that is your discretion.

That's what I said I would do.

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