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Assigned Approaches Question


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Nope! You can fly any approach that you want, any time at any airport.

Just make sure if you're flying a "non-standard" approach that you actually know how to fly it! Otherwise the controller won't be too happy 😀

Tom Szczypinski
VATSIM Primary Operations Inspector
VATSIM VA Audit Manager

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To be precise: if ATC is active at the airport that you are planning to land at, they will let you know what runway and what type of approach is in use at this (via ATIS and also when you call up the respective ATCO). But don't be shy to ask for another type of approach, e.g. if ATC assigns ILS approaches to runway XY, but you would like to shoot an NDB, VOR or RNP approach to that runway, just request it: "request RNP approach runway XY". ATC will usually approve it, but don't count it, especially if the sector is busy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Certainly don't take it as degrading if a controller offers you a visual approach though.  I'll hand out visual approaches like candy if conditions permit and it has nothing to do with pilot quality.  Actually, I've found newer pilots tend to struggle more with the visual approaches than ILS ones because it removes the automation component.  Visual approaches significantly reduce the controller and the pilot workload.  They don't take nearly as long to execute, and we can slide more traffic in.  They really are a good thing.

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30 minutes ago, Robert Shearman Jr said:

Visual approaches *are* harder -- you actually have to fly the airplane yourself rather than let Otto Pilot do all the heavy lifting!

Not necessarily! There are not many black or white situations in aviation, but there are rather many, many shades of grey.

When you fly a visual approach you simply navigate on your own to intercept the final approach track to some runway, no matter whether it is an ILS (most common), a VOR-radial, NDB-QDM or an RNP-procedure. Even if you choose to not use any of those navigation aids, you'd built an extended centerline on your FMC+NavDisplay to help you keep situational awareness.

On top of it all, nobody dictates that you HAVE TO fly such a maneuver manually until you get closer to the runway! I personally prefer flying manually, but I know a lot of colleagues who rather use the autopilot in HDG and VS/PATH mode to have more capacity to scan the airspace for other traffic and to cross-check their navigation (height vs. distance to runway). Everyone as he or she likes.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
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