If you’ve ever listened to Air Traffic Control in the United States, you’ve probably heard them say “Maintain Visual Separation with that aircraft”.
According to Chapter 7 Section 2 of the FAA 7110.65, pilots may accept the responsibility to maintain visual separation with another aircraft under these following conditions:
- The procedure is being conducted under FL180
- Weather conditions allow for the traffic to remain in sight of the pilot at all times
- The following distances allows for adequate wake turbulence separation (Currently not an area of concern in Infinite Flight)
In this picture above, Fedex 121VA is 3 Nautical Miles in trail of N473CC.
Here’s what the controller would do to initiate the visual separation procedure:
Step 1: Drag the Magenta Line from Fedex 121VA to N473CC.
Step 2: A button titled “Visual Separation” will appear. The controller will press that button.
Step 3: When the message is sent to the Fedex 121VA, it will read out:
“Fedex 121VA, traffic at your 11 o’clock, 3 miles, a CRJ700 at 4,000 feet. Report traffic in sight”
Step 4: Once Fedex 121VA can visually see N473CC through the cockpit windows, he will tell ATC, “Traffic in Sight”
(Step 4.5) If Fedex 121VA cannot see N473CC through the cockpit windows, he can have the option to reply “Traffic not in sight”
Step 5: ATC will respond with “Maintain Visual Separation with that traffic”
Prior to an aircraft accepting responsibility of maintaining visual separation with another aircraft, they mustalready have proper IFR separation of 3 Nautical Miles laterally and/or 1,000 feet vertically if they haven’t already been cleared for a visual approach.
Here’s an example of what shouldn’t happen:
In this picture above, Fedex 121VA does not have the minimum IFR separation with N473CC. If they were 3 Nautical Miles apart, then yes, it would be perfectly fine, but in this case it is not.
This will allow for the more efficient flow of arrivals, since separation will lay in the hands of the pilot, and the need for standard vertical separation on the final approach course won’t be needed.
Some pilots may not have the knowledge/know how to handle this procedure, making it harder for ATC
The “Traffic not in sight” command may be abused
Some pilots may simply ignore the ATC request
If I have made an error, please do correct me. I am not completely versed on this procedure. Leave a vote if you want this to be added, and if you have an additional ideas that can be added to the request, feel free to list them below!