Author Topic: Contact vs Visual  (Read 4923 times)

Offline Jonathan_tcu

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Contact vs Visual
« on: August 22, 2005, 06:55:08 PM »
I just wanted something clarified after doing a lot of online research.  A visual approach is when a pilot has both any traffic and the field in sight and IS on radar for his approach.  And the contact approach means the pilot will maintain ground 'visual' contact while navigating along the ceiling bases until about 5 miles in and begin his descent after navigating within 500 feet of his last assigned altitude.  Am I right?


FSS wannabe, just curious about stuff, that's all.

Offline davolijj

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Contact vs Visual
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2005, 07:39:56 PM »
A visual approach is conducted on an IFR flight plan and authorizes a pilot to proceed visually and clear of clouds to the airport. The pilot must have either the airport or the preceding identified aircraft in sight.  Reported weather at the airport must have a ceiling at or above 1,000 feet and visibility 3 miles or greater.

A contact approach may be requested by the pilot if they are clear of clouds and have at least 1 mile flight visibility, and can reasonably expect to continue to the destination airport in those conditions.  Unlike with a visual approach ATC cannot initiate a contact approach, it must be requested by the pilot.  The reported ground visibility at the destination airport must be at least 1 statute mile.
Regards
JD

Offline Wolfala

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Contact vs Visual
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2005, 12:21:57 PM »
Contact Approach:

It can be used to command, as in "Cactus 1354, contact approach with that request." Its real value is as a procedure. Most controllers are familiar with the contact approach but often hesitate to even recal the particulars. It is like a visual approach, except there must be a published IAP at the airport and the pilot must request the contact approach. You need not have the airport in sight, just one mile is visibility. You're still IFR mind you, even though you might be sucking sparrows from their nests. A contact approach has no final approach course, no FAF, no MAP, or missed approach procedure. Once cleared, all terrain clearance is your responsibility. "Cactus 1354 cleared contact approach, radar service terminated, change to advisory frequency approved, report survival, er, cancellation. Godspeed."

References: 7110.65 (Controllers bible)7-4-6
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Offline Jonathan_tcu

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Contact vs Visual
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2005, 06:28:20 PM »
Ok.  So the IFR is still active during a contact approach.  I've heard pilots up here request to cancel IFR, keep the alerting service ( obvious search and rescue purpose) and Center controllers ask pilots to cancel w/ local advisory notification and still proceed contact or visual.   I'm beginning to hear some pilots requesting a visual approach well before they're asked to call 20 DME from the field and controllers approve it.  Some other pilots HAVE actually been requesting contact approaches.  I thought the contact approach meant you must remain within 500 feet of previously assigned altitude until you're only a few miles from the field to your final landing.   Or is that the rule?  :?:
FSS wannabe, just curious about stuff, that's all.

Offline davolijj

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Contact approach
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2005, 08:10:21 PM »
Quote from: Jonathan_tcu
 I thought the contact approach meant you must remain within 500 feet of previously assigned altitude until you're only a few miles from the field to your final landing.   Or is that the rule?  :?:


Not the rule.  As soon as the controller clears the aircraft for the contact or visual approach, the altitude is at pilot's discretion.  However, sometimes controllers will issue altitude or speed restrictions concurrent with the approach clearance.

Ex.  "...cleared visual approach runway 28 Right, maintain 3000 until 5 DME inbound..."
or   "...maintain 170 knots until crossing Neville Island..."

But there is no standing altitude restriction assigned with a contact approach other than one which insures terrain and obstruction clearance and is clear of clouds.
Regards
JD

Offline Jonathan_tcu

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Contact vs Visual
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2005, 08:14:19 PM »
Ok.  That's why I always hear that it's 'virtually' the same or just as good as a visual approach.   Obviously, if the conditions were marginal (between non visual and ILS approaches) and the ceiling is between one and four thousand feet, the pilot could fly with the ceiling/cloud bases until his discretiionary descent to the runway.  Now I know why it's almost the same.  Thanks guys  :)
FSS wannabe, just curious about stuff, that's all.