Saturday, September 21, 2013

"We'd like the visual..."

Since the unfortunate landing short of Asiana 214 at KSFO on July 6th, there has been much comment on the difficulty that some heavy iron drivers may have when confronted with a visual approach (as opposed to a coupled instrument approach where the automation does the heavy lifting). This would seem not, however, to be a universal preference as the following exchange heard last night near Joint Base Andrews at about 21Z illustrates:

  • Air Force 1: "Potomac, Air Force One is 10 to the west at 10,000 on the FRDMM TWO arrival."
  • Potomac Approach: "Air Force One, descend and maintain 6,000 feet. Say approach requested.
  • Air Force 1: "Air Force One descending to 6,000...and we'd like the visual approach to 19 Right."

They had the boss on board, but with good Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) prevailing, I guess the crew of Air Force One felt confident about handling the visual approach at KADW.

And may I add that I'm proud to share the airspace with them.

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