ATC KBOS - Runway choice

Hey guys,

long time since I’ve posted something here, good to be back!

Just wanted to quickly reach out and give a shout-out to the controllers at Boston, great work!

However with the visibility of 0SM, runway 04L for arrivals does not work. You don’t see a thing up until 30 feet. An ILS approach is absolutely necessary.
I know these traffic levels don’t allow for a one runway landing operation, but it’s almost impossible to land visually with these conditions.

Maybe include an ILS approach for 33?

Just a thought…

Keep up the great work!


I think you guys could solve this in a private conversation directly with ATC in control. I don’t think the forum is the right place to discuss this in this way.


Not appropriate to bash to controller. This naturally happens. Please reword your topic to be nicer as this is after all just a volunteer job!


Excuse me if I get upset, it’s that some controllers have demanded a lot of good work from me and I work to do the right thing on an “expert” server and not getting it from them makes me feel bad, my flight should be Toulouse-Toronto-Boston-New York-Bogotá but when this happened I felt I shouldn’t let it go, I appreciate your time and I hope I didn’t make you feel bad, I understand your point of view and surely the controller had an excessive load, I will leave KOWD after solving the fuel emergency heading to Boston to continue with my respective itinerary.
I already had a cordial response from Approach and Torre, I consider the topic closed for me :D

IF you were not able to land on a visual approach I think its a skill issue because I was able to do it just fine.

In the exact same conditions.

This is NOT a skill issue. If the VIS was 0SM, an ILS CATIIIC APPR would’ve been required. A visual APPR would have been unsafe, and unprofessional to fly in these conditions.


How exactly? If you are following instruments then it is an instrument approach, all be it an informal, and likely illegal irl, approach. You need at least 3 SM and 1,000 ft callings for a visual approach if I am not mistaken, so that is far from legal conditions for a visual approach. By definition on a visual approach you find and navigate to the runway visually, how exactly did you do that without being able to see the runway? I think you may be getting confused on what is a visual approach.


Or, Mr. KPIT, consider that you may just have a skill issue and he’s just better than you.

I suppose (in game) this may be feasible by using your ETA destination and doing some quick math until you hit the rectangles/runway, but yeah I don’t think any of this is going to fly (ha) IRL.


I mean tbh very basic instrument approaches aren’t entirely different from this. Approaches that only have lateral navigation usually just have you start descending at a known point and a standard rate. There is obviously more to it but it isn’t exactly an invalid strategy. But that is not a visual approach.

Quite the comedian lol

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Hello, I wasn’t one of the controllers at Boston, but here’s what I’ve seen.

First, there is no way 4L was used for visual approaches since it was below VMC conditions (that would go against the manual and well common sense).

It was used for Radar Vectors though, which is very similar to the Visual Approach, except instead of the whole Report Airport in Sight, you just get handed off, and then Tower will give a pattern entry, sequence (if applicable), and clearance.

Boston was packed that day, so controllers wanted to use 4L even if it wasn’t very realistic.

Personally, I’m very against the fact that 4L was used, and I question how Radar Vectors are even allowed there (it seems very questionable & I’m sure other controllers would agree with me), but I guess when push comes to shove, Boston needed the extra runway cause of the traffic load, so using RV kinda as a loophole (in my opinion) was the strategy. It did lead to a heck of a lot of GAs, so IDK if it was even worth it. I don’t blame them though, it must’ve been crazy managing those traffic loads, overall they were doing a great job.

A controller who was controlling Boston Radar can probably give something more insightful, this is just from what I’ve seen.

PS: A trick to see is to go into night time, then you can actually see the runway due to the runway lights

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How is that even supposed to work? I understand infinite flight is not the real world but for all the time and effort put into making procedures realistic that seems sort of insane to me. In real life radar vectors would only ever get you on to an approach intercept course. Intercepting and tracking the approach course is the responsibility of the pilot because radar vectors simply can not give you that sort of precision.

No KPIT, any approach can be a visual approach if you’re brave enough.


I received Radar vectors, that’s correct. It was just easier for me to explain what I meant, since at the end of the day, it’s just a technicality.

I agree that one runway landing operations would not have been enough. Using the ILS approach of runway 33 could have been a good option though.
It requires some extra work, but it will pay off since your GAs are reduced significantly.
In my old days we used to operate PHNL that way with 200+ arrivals during Covid. We used 04R and 08L for arrivals while departures were sent out on 08R. It required extra work for the 08/04 spacing, but it works quite well if you manage speeds.

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I’d argue any approach can be blind if you are brave enough, a visual approach requires visual. Maybe this situation requires the coining of a new term, a blind approach lol

You have visual? You can see the fog.


I mean I guess I can’t argue facts like that

I was splitting Boston approach with someone else and we never used 4L. We used 4R and 33L, which caused some complications because they are intersecting runways but in the end, we managed. 4L would have definitely been used for visual and RV approaches if the weather conditions allowed for it

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Yeah, though I think OP landed at a time when 33L wasn’t in use and 4L was in use (different controllers). You guys definitely killed it though with using the intersecting runways, even though it had some complications, but for a good portion of the day intersecting runways were just not in use and/or 4L was in use.

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I was judging on where planes were on 4R vs 4L to calculate where I could have to be to land safely