Special Restriction Visual Approaches

So not too long ago I posted a question about non-movement areas on the ground because I care about little things in realism lol. Here’s a slightly bigger one though. With airports like KDCA and KLGA having no-fly zones or airspace they need to avoid, they have visual/GPS approaches that don’t follow the normal straight-in approach path whatsoever (River Visual RWY 19 and Expressway Visual RWY 13 respectively, as well as the GPS for RWY 19 at DCA). I know it varies depending on the controller, but what should I expect as a general rule? A straight-in vector or a vector to line me up for the real-life approach, which would pretty much be a RWY 15 approach at DCA or a RWY 04 approach at LGA? And should I follow the procedure or the straight-in once they clear me for the approach? Or, if there is no approach controller, should I enter it on a straight-in as not to confuse Tower or the procedure approach for realism and professionalism sake. Sorry if that was hard to understand - I can elaborate more if needed. Also apologies if this is in the wrong category.

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I wouldn’t do a special approach unless NOTAMs state they are using one.

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If you are asking about what to do whenever you want to do a special arrival like the River Visual then I personally would not recommend to try doing any of those special approaches as it is nearly impossible for you to tell the controller that you want a special arrival procedure. The only time I would think it is fine is if you message the controller and request permission prior to your arrival into your airspace so that they know what you plan to do. Even then the controller may deny you from doing the arrival because of certain restrictions like busy airspace.


For no-fly zones and restrictions like KDCA for example where you should not fly over the white house below FL180, (If I remember correctly) those may be hard. Controllers don’t exactly always know or try to avoid these areas so it might be hard to get vectors away from these zones. I personally would not worry about those no-fly zones when in an active ATC airfield.

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I feel like IFATC should be trained to know or to atleast use these special approach plates in the sim in the future! Because if they are trying to make it as reaslistic as possible they need to know some of these stuff atleast. Like when you are controlling have skyvectors out so you know the approach fixes and what’s not when aircraft come in for approach or departure same thing SID’s and all that! I dont know if you find it off-topic but It relates because its part of them know the special approaches or basiaclly the regular approaches into the everyday airport!

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Yeah I agree. If I was IFATC I would definitely be doing that, but then I would get a bunch of complaints when someone that doesn’t understand what I’m doing got lined up for “the wrong runway” or just a “horrible intercept”

I often use SIDs and Stars and it would be great if I would actually be able to use them other than to just simulate realism.

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Contrary to what is being said on here you should call Visual approach. These approaches are called visual for a reason and FDS included the option to request one in a relatively recently update. While it may be up to the ATC to grant you visual permission if they do you have the permission to do those types of visuals you mentioned. It would be the same thing with VHXX (Kai Tak) as that approach is also a visual approach.

Here is a tutorial that was done by Mark on how to request and properly communicate with ATC for a visual approach.

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Okay I think I got what I need and just to prevent confusion I won’t request GPS approaches if it’s a weird flight path similar to a published visual approach. This can be closed now. Thanks everyone!

The community would benefit from and Approach Plate grouping under Live for just this purpose, That way you can include plates under atis instructions. It is a great discussion to have as a recommendation for improving realism without a software modification.

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As IFATC we will often look at charts and make approaches as accurate as possible. Of course this is not always the case as we can often have unrealistic amounts of traffic etc. I try to spend a couple of minutes finding and looking at charts before opening to make it as realistic as possible but equally for times like FNF charts go out the window and we just try to get people in as quickly and safely as we can.

Hope that answers your question to some degree

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Adding to what Matt said, some critical waypoints found in charts may not exist in IF itself, and as a result we will not be able to follow RW procedures at some airports.

It also largely depends on amount of traffic and the skills of the pilot himself. So for eg. the approach to Rwy 19 at KDCA requires the pilot to intercept the localiser at about 1-2NM from the runway:

  • if the pilot is unable to intercept the localiser that close to the runway; or
  • if the pilot somehow doesn’t report airport in sight, since these unique approaches are classified under Visual approaches,

he will get a missed approach and may then be converted to ILS/GPS approach which means not following RW procedures. Sometimes we may give them another chance at it, but it really depends on traffic and the controller’s workload.


In the meantime @Dillon_Lewis has been annoying me every now and then (😡) about tagging at KDCA and using the River Visual approach (it will depend on the amount of traffic too), so you may see us on a few days when there’s ATC coverage in the region.

Cheers :)

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The TFRs in place only restrict VFR operations to a certain airspeed at least in DCA

There are other TFRs listed not under DC but USA that address the no fly zones in the US. They are separate NOTAMs that affect all recreational and general aviation flights. I have linked one of them below.

http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_6_1117.html

Here is the airspace restrictions of aircraft types from the TFR NOTAM

  1. THE FOLLOWING OPERATIONS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE DC FRZ: A. FLIGHT TRAINING. B. AEROBATIC FLIGHT. C. PRACTICE INSTRUMENT APPROACHES. D. GLIDER OPERATIONS. E. PARACHUTE OPERATIONS F. ULTRA LIGHT, HANG GLIDING. G. BALLOON OPERATIONS. H. TETHERED BALLOONS. I. AGRICULTURE/CROP DUSTING J. ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL FLIGHT OPERATIONS. K. BANNER TOWING OPERATIONS. L. MAINTENANCE TEST FLIGHTS. M. UAS (INCLUDING MODEL AIRCRAFT, CIVIL, AND PUBLIC OPERATIONS). N. MODEL ROCKETRY. O. FLOAT PLANE OPERATIONS. P. AIRCRAFT/HELICOPTERS OPERATING FROM A SHIP OR PRIVATE/CORPORATE YACHT. 6. TRANSIT FLIGHTS ARE PROHIBITED EXCEPT FOR APPROVED OPERATORS LANDING OR DEPARTING AIRPORTS WITHIN THE SFRA ON 1610120301-PERM END PART 4 OF 10 FDC 6/7196 ZDC PART 5 OF 10 SECURITY…SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS, ESTABLISHED ATC PROCEDURES.

That TFR you listed above applies not to transit flights (which are restricted to approved operators, ie approved airlines) but for those landing at an airport or structure within the DC FRZ (GA or recreational flights landing at KDCA

Would you have another link? The one you listed refers to UAS ops only.

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