Most Interesting Visual Approaches (by waypoint course)

In the following topic @deltaoutofdca brought up DCA in relation to an approach tied closely to natural terrain:

@KPIT also included the rwy 19 river visual approach:

The experience of the dense waypoint turns is enhanced by the clear terrain course you can see below.

It’s a bit like a train on steep mountain curves, a bit of a rollercoaster.

Question: what are the best other such waypoint approaches worldwide? Any others that exciting?


Paro is a great one, especially the one turning to the north for runway 15


Thanks for giving me credit, you didn’t need too:)but thanks

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I just did one of those wild circling approaches. Talk about faith in the system, threading the altitude steps down between the many valleys! I was humbled by a bit overly aggressive speed and had to hand tighten some of the turns. I’ll just say I need to try that one again (though I took the landing credit).

One of the better ones definitely!



Palm Springs

Kai Tak

La Guardia




Ronald Reagan

Those are some of my favorite


While I certainly like:

It doesn’t have any procedures listed, so no waypoints with step down altitudes.

I usually get close and hand fly the last part of Kai Tak, and maybe use the few waypoints in the area to make my own ad hoc approach.

Queenstown and Innsbruck make sense (some of the others I know less well).

I want to go back and check for the ones that have procedures in place - a bit like they have your wild ride already set (except of course, you’re the pilot!)

When you go down the list of procedures for Paro, for example, one thinks: “you must be joking!”

Thank you for the list! I’ll check them out.


Have you ever seen this?


I’ve glanced at perhaps that one in the past, but didn’t look at it in detail. I’ll look at it! Thanks!


As @Prestoni mentioned, the PARK visual into LGA is pretty good


One of my personal favorite approaches is the Stadium Visual to Runway 29 at EWR. This approach isn’t as interesting as the others mentioned, but it’s neat flying the final turn and coming low over the NJ turnpike. Plus the excitement is real when flying a heavy jet on this approach as Runway 29/11 is about 6,800ft long if I’m not mistaken. Don’t want to float too much!


KEAT is coming next update! It has one of my favorite approach procedures where you do somewhat of a 270 then once you see the river you follow it until you’re on final for 30! Also a similar “270” approach for runway 12.


Yes KEAT is one of my favorite approaches to fly into cant wait for it to be 3D!!


The approach to 13 in particular? I tested a last minute ils intercept on the tight turn. Almost made it. But needed to hand fly last moments to get it properly settled. Exciting stuff! Especially also hand flying much of the earlier parts carrying a bit of extra speed before the final turn.

The circular one at Palm Springs also very scenic though without the feeling of threading a needle hazard like at Paro…

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I started this in the scenery topic but I think it’s better here, as far as mentioning the approach (RedWolf’s comments about KEAT).

You said: “I just disengage only the heading A/P and turn it slowly around smoothly intercepting each waypoint.”

I’ll do that on my next try, because I want to do the full approach plate (I didn’t have the opened plate next to me at the time).

You said you disengage only the heading. You don’t fly the altitudes? Because you are on a visual approach perhaps? (My mind was in a “Paro” kind of mode, where even visually I didn’t think I could judge the attitude down steps on that one.)

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KDCA rwy Anacositca Visual 19 - a very, very rare approach. Instead of flying the Potomac in you come in on the Anacostia river, cut over the stadium to the otherside, and make your base to final turn over Gravelly Point. No waypoints in game so you’ll have to reference the video below
Check out this link:

CYLW rwy 34 - a little unknown in my opinion, really fun, lots of a220 flights from all over canada

LPMA rwy 05 - everybody knows about this one already


No I do the altitudes as well 😂. Whatever works for you is fine but the approach procedure for runway 30 is in the IF database.


Ok thanks. I think I missed something. I’ll go back and have a look.


For RNAV (RNP) 30 at KEAT you should be following everything on that plate including altitudes because it isn’t a visual approach.

As for the arcs there isn’t a known turn rate to make them, they are like the 21st century equivalent of a DME arc, except minus a DME station. They are called RF or Radius to Fix Arcs. Note the RF required in the approach notes. These aren’t really a general aviation thing so this is getting a touch out of my depths because we barely touched on this if at all in my instrument training, but basically the aircraft is using an imaginary point and drawing arcs of a certain radius around them. You won’t be able to see the point anywhere, only the aircraft’s systems would know that. This isn’t like a DME arc where you can easily fly it in just about any instrument capable aircraft, RF arcs are almost exclusively seen on RNAV RNP approaches, but they are seeping into some RNAV GPS approaches. Since IF doesn’t currently support anything nearly that sophisticated it is really nearly impossible to follow these approaches accurately in IF. RF turns are just not represented in the sim. DME arcs are doable, and you could do a DME arc like procedure if we knew what or where that point was, but unfortunately we do not, so that isn’t really possible either, and even that would be at best tedious and not accurate to how the approach would be flown.


Thanks for the informative answer. It’s definitely driving me to further reading, in particular trying to understand the role of technology vs other considerations in PBN (performance-based navigation).

You touched on the differences for instrument training in general aviation. And I was curious about what factors determine the current and evolving dividing line for the “instrument environment” between general aviation and, say, airline operations. Like what part of that difference is technology, vs equipment cost, vs factors in training(?) etc.

Part of my challenge is decoding what this means:

“PBN is a concept that reshapes the navigational ability of an aircraft from sensor-equipment-based to performance-based. It’s a move from a limited statement of required performance accuracy to a more comprehensive set of requirements.”

And I’ll shortly go back and practice some of the new strategy considerations for KEAT…


Regardless of the which approqch, the KLAX approach from the west is simply spectacular. So many interesting things to see. Also any approach from the West is beautiful