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"Proceed Visually" vs. "Proceed VFR"


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Is there a difference between the terms "Proceed Visually" and "Proceed VFR" on the point in space approach plates. I understand that they will be stated differently based on public vs private plates. (Coming from the IFR Procedures Handbook)

 

My question stems from A021 VFR requirements. I would expect to adhere to them with the "VFR" but I can see that there may be a difference with the "Visually". Does anyone have any input or reference? Thanks...

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Proceed visually is still part of the IFR approach. Proceed VFR is not and requires VFR minimums. So as far as A021 if it says proceed visually you must adhere to the minimums on the approach plate. If it says proceed VFR you must adhere to A021 minimums.

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VFR is defined in the FARs. If it says VFR, then you have to adhere to those rules. The approach minima are also legally binding, since they're a Part of the FARs also. The reference you're looking for should be the definitions in the FARs, but there may be an FAA interpretation letter. I don't know about that, but the above interpretations have always gotten me through checkride orals.

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VFR is defined in the FARs. If it says VFR, then you have to adhere to those rules. The approach minima are also legally binding, since they're a Part of the FARs also. The reference you're looking for should be the definitions in the FARs, but there may be an FAA interpretation letter. I don't know about that, but the above interpretations have always gotten me through checkride orals.

 

I understand the "VFR" part and the applicable definitions, it's the distinction between that term and the "visually" term. I also understand that the terms are used based on public or private and the distance being greater or less than 2 sm or a turn greater than 30deg.

 

I was just looking to see if the "Visually" is still IFR and the need to meet A021 is not required.

 

I fly in the GOM and most of the approach plates say "Proceed Visually" but a large turn is required in a lot of instances. Flying HEMS it is very restrictive going into the bases. I was just hoping for a reference I could use to interpret the minimums.

 

Getting past a checkride is one thing, getting an audit from the Feds is another. Hence the reference request. I am aware of plenty of "opinions" on checkrides that vary from person to person.

Edited by C of G
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This should help;

 

10−1−3. Helicopter Approach Procedures to VFR Heliports

 

a. Helicopter approaches may be developed for heliports that do not meet the design standards for an IFR heliport. The majority of IFR approaches to VFR heliports are developed in support of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) operators.

These approaches can be developed from conventional NAVAIDs or a RNAV system (including GPS). They are developed either as a Special Approach (pilot training is required for special procedures due to their unique characteristics) or a public approach (no special training required). These instrument procedures are developed as either an approach designed to a specific landing site, or an approach designed to a point−in−space.

 

1. Approach to a specific landing site. The approach is aligned to a missed approach point from

which a landing can be accomplished with a maximum course change of 30 degrees. The visual

segment from the MAP to the landing site is evaluated for obstacle hazards.

These procedures are annotated:

“PROCEED VISUALLY FROM (NAMED MAP)

OR CONDUCT THE SPECIFIED MISSED APPROACH.”

 

(a) This phrase requires the pilot to either

acquire and maintain visual contact with the landing

site at or prior to the MAP, or execute a missed

approach. The visibility minimum is based on the

distance from the MAP to the landing site, among

other factors.

 

(B) The pilot is required to maintain the

published minimum visibility throughout the visual

segment.

 

© Similar to an approach to a runway, the

missed approach segment protection is not provided

between the MAP and the landing site, and obstacle

or terrain avoidance from the MAP to the landing site

is the responsibility of the pilot.

 

(d) Upon reaching the MAP defined on the approach procedure, or as soon as practicable after reaching the MAP, the pilot advises ATC whether

proceeding visually and canceling IFR or complying with the missed approach instructions. See paragraph 5−1−15, Canceling IFR Flight Plan.

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http://www.faa.gov/a...#aim1001.html.5

 

Out of the AIM

 

10-1-3

 

1.

1. Approach to a specific landing site. The approach is aligned to a missed approach point from which a landing can be accomplished with a maximum course change of 30 degrees. The visual segment from the MAP to the landing site is evaluated for obstacle hazards. These procedures are annotated: “PROCEED VISUALLY FROM (NAMED MAP) OR CONDUCT THE SPECIFIED MISSED APPROACH.”

(a) This phrase requires the pilot to either acquire and maintain visual contact with the landing site at or prior to the MAP, or execute a missed approach. The visibility minimum is based on the distance from the MAP to the landing site, among other factors. The pilot is required to maintain the published minimum visibility throughout the visual segment.

( b ) Similar to an approach to a runway, the missed approach segment protection is not provided between the MAP and the landing site, and obstacle or terrain avoidance from the MAP to the landing site is the responsibility of the pilot.

(d) Upon reaching the MAP defined on the approach procedure, or as soon as practicable after reaching the MAP, the pilot advises ATC whether proceeding visually and canceling IFR or complying with the missed approach instructions. See paragraph 5-1-15, Canceling IFR Flight Plan.

(e) At least one of the following visual references must be visible or identifiable before the pilot may proceed visually:

(1) FATO or FATO lights.

(2) TLOF or TLOF lights.

(3) Heliport Instrument Lighting System (HILS).

(4) Heliport Approach Lighting System (HALS) or lead-in lights.

(5) Visual Glideslope Indicator (VGSI).

(6) Windsock or windsock light(s). See note below.

(7) Heliport beacon. See note below.

(8) Other facilities or systems approved by the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division (AFS-400).

NOTE-

Windsock lights and heliport beacons should be located within 500 ft of the TLOF.

 

2. Approach to a Point-in-Space (PinS). At locations where the MAP is located more than 2 SM from the landing site, or the path from the MAP to the landing site is populated with obstructions which require avoidance actions or requires turns greater than 30 degrees, a PinS procedure may be developed. These approaches are annotated “PROCEED VFR FROM (NAMED MAP) OR CONDUCT THE SPECIFIED MISSED APPROACH.”

(a) These procedures require the pilot, at or prior to the MAP, to determine if the published minimum visibility, or the weather minimums required by the operating rule, or operations specifications (whichever is higher) is available to safely transition from IFR to VFR flight. If not, the pilot must execute a missed approach. For Part 135 operations, pilots may not begin the instrument approach unless the latest weather report indicates that the weather conditions are at or above the authorized IFR minimums or the VFR weather minimums (as required by the class of airspace, operating rule and/or Operations Specifications) whichever is higher.

 

I think this section clearly states the differences in having to maintain approach minimums and VFR minimums. Proceed VFR section clearly states having to have the minimums established in the op specs. Proceed Visually section clearly states having to have the approach minimums. Also you can note that for proceed visually they think of it the same as the "visual segment" from MAP to the runway on all approaches while proceed VFR you have to transition to VFR flight. A fun note is that if it is a proceed VFR segment and you are in controlled airspace you must get a SVFR clearance if below VFR minimums. Let me know if you need more.

 

edited for smiley faces that were put in because of ( b )

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Thanks, guys. I had read those references and the act of "Cancelling IFR" while between the MAP and landing makes me assume that you are then by default VFR and then the A021 may still apply. I also can see that it is look at as the transition from MAP to the runway, also, or even a contact or visual approach still being an IFR procedure. In all honesty most of the approaches don't meed the criteria of the "Proceed Visually" due to the alignment of the visual portion of the approach, nor are the bases marked with the visual cues, save for maybe the windsock.

 

Jimbo,

 

Thanks for the heads up on he SVFR, although I am aware, it never hurts to pass on that useful tip. None of these approaches I use put you in controlled airspace to the surface. But again, thanks for the tip!

 

And the smileys....

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Upon reaching the MAP defined on the approach procedure, or as soon as practicable after reaching the MAP, the pilot advises ATC whether

proceeding visually and canceling IFR or complying with the missed approach instructions. See paragraph 5−1−15, Canceling IFR Flight Plan.

 

C of G, the reason for canceling IFR is because the approach is being made to a heliport that does not meet the design standards for an IFR heliport.This one factor prevents ATC from providing IFR services past the published MAP (unless you go missed), hence the requirement for you to cancel IFR and “PROCEED VISUALLY FROM (NAMED MAP) OR CONDUCT THE SPECIFIED MISSED APPROACH.” and remember, obstacle or terrain avoidance from the MAP to the landing site is the responsibility of the pilot.

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C of G, the reason for canceling IFR is because the approach is being made to a heliport that does not meet the design standards for an IFR heliport.This one factor prevents ATC from providing IFR services past the published MAP (unless you go missed), hence the requirement for you to cancel IFR and “PROCEED VISUALLY FROM (NAMED MAP) OR CONDUCT THE SPECIFIED MISSED APPROACH.” and remember, obstacle or terrain avoidance from the MAP to the landing site is the responsibility of the pilot.

 

Thanks. I agree on the obstacle/terrain clearance. My concern is that if you are not operating IFR, then you are operating VFR. A021 has some very high VFR ceiling and vis requirements. I'm just looking for guidance on using them for a Copter approach with a "Visual" vs "VFR" segment is all.

 

Really just looking for some wiggle room. Those requirements are very restrictive, and not really designed for the profile I operate in, I would suspect.

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You are still IFR until you cancel your IFR clearance, regardless of flight conditions. You are not VFR until you cancel IFR. If you cancel IFR, you must then adhere to VFR minima. But until you cancel IFR, the VFR minima prescribed in AO21 do not apply, because you have an IFR clearance, which is in effect until you cancel it. Therefore, you don't want to cancel until you land, or are certain that you can maintain VFR minima.

 

If you are IFR in VFR conditions, approaching an airport, and are cleared for a visual approach to a runway, you're still IFR. If you reach the MAP on a copter approach, and then proceed visually to a heliport, you're still IFR. That clearance is still in effect until you land or cancel IFR.

Edited by Gomer Pylot
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Thanks, Gomer.

 

The AIM references provided say to "cancel IFR at the MAP or as soon as practical after the MAP or conduct the missed."

 

 

Are you suggesting to keep the IFR until on the ground? Is that the leeway in "as soon as practical after the MAP"?

 

Thanks...

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If you reach the MAP on a copter approach, and then proceed visually to a heliport, you're still IFR. That clearance is still in effect until you land or cancel IFR.

 

I just want to make sure you guys understand the following is a requirement for the type of approach being discussed and understand your no longer an IFR flight once you report proceeding visually on this type of approach. This type of approach is setup simply to facilitate transistion from IFR conditions to point in space that provides the opportunity for the pilot to visually spot the landing area and then proceed visually within a defined set of parameters, such as those established in A021 or through an LOA.

 

Upon reaching the MAP defined on the approach procedure, or as soon as practicable after reaching the MAP, the pilot advises ATC whether proceeding visually and canceling IFR or complying with the missed approach instructions.

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Did some more research c of g. Looks like the faa knows it isn't well defined but haven't fixed it yet.

 

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2010/10/12/2010-24862/air-ambulance-and-commercial-helicopter-operations-part-91-helicopter-operations-and-part-135

 

Search the page for 135.611.

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For me, it isn't practical to advise ATC of anything until I'm sure I can land at my intended heliport. They can wait for a couple or five minutes until I call them. I would never call visual at the MAP unless the weather was well above minumums. If it's at all dicey, I would wait until I get on the ground, or at least on short final. Talking to ATC while scud running at IFR approach minimums is not high on my list of priorities, and the distance from the MAP to the landing point isn't that great. I'll get to them when I get to them.

 

"As soon as practical" has little concrete meaning. Think about the aircraft emergency procedures, where a caution light may call for landing as soon as practical. That generally means whenever it's convenient, not as soon as you can possibly do it, which is, duh, land as soon as possible.

Edited by Gomer Pylot
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The proposed 135.67 makes sense, if I understand the thrust of it correctly. It would allow operations that can't be done now in many cases. If a hospital has no instrument approach, but there is one to an airport nearby, you could fly the route IFR, fly an instrument approach to the airport, and then proceed visually to the hospital at lower minima than the AO21 requirements. That would probably be safer in the long run, because the flight from the MAP at the airport to the hospital would be relatively short, have the obstacles surveyed, and the lower ceilings wouldn't be that dangerous, whereas flying the entire trip VFR, because there is no approach to the hospital, would be more dangerous because nothing has been surveyed, and you have little idea what the weather really is along the way. If I could, I would fly every flight IFR, both because I enjoy flying IFR, and because it's safer. But the reality is that in EMS you can't do much actual IFR the way things are now. Changing the regulations makes a lot of sense, and many of us have been trying to get them changed for a long time.

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Thanks Jimbo for continuing to look, and thanks Gomer and Tracon for your input as well.

 

I know this is a grey area and really, like I said, I'm just looking for flexibility in the operations I find myself in.

 

Gomer,

 

What is the advantage of staying IFR on a visual portion if you loose VMC? There really isn;t a procedure to get you back safely into the IFR environment? (That's a legitimate question, btw, not rhetorical. I know printed word is hard to interpret for sarcasm, etc)

 

Tracon,

 

That is the way I see it. The AIM recommends canceling IFR at the MAP and I understand why, I think (see above question). So it's not like going to a runway straight in, where you cancel on the ground or in clear view.

 

 

My biggest hiccup is that the approches I fly the most are in uncontrolled airspace so I can't get a special, or even use anywhere near the approach minimums if I'm not in my local area.

 

Thanks to everyone looking into this. Much appreciated.

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The approach plate should give you the procedure for loss of visual reference with the surface, and if not, you either fly the published missed or climb and call approach, depending on your position and the approach configuration. The real reason for maintaining the IFR clearance is so you can proceed visually with less than VFR minima, but if it all goes to hell in a handbasket along the way, you do what you have to do to stay alive. You're still IFR, so call approach and ask for something that will get you on the ground safe - clearance to your alternate, or to somewhere else you can complete an approach.

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The real reason for maintaining the IFR clearance is so you can proceed visually with less than VFR minima, but if it all goes to hell in a handbasket along the way, you do what you have to do to stay alive. You're still IFR, so call approach and ask for something that will get you on the ground safe - clearance to your alternate, or to somewhere else you can complete an approach.

 

Sorry it doesn't work that way with A021.

 

Gomer,

It's the PILOT REQUIREMENT prior to the MAP to make a PIC Decision to either proceed visually or go missed.

 

clearly stated in 10-1-3:

"This phrase requires the pilot to either acquire and maintain visual contact with the landing site at or prior to the MAP, or execute a missed approach."

 

ATC is unable to provide IFR services any farther than the MAP unless your going missed. So let me ask you at what point do you feel you can proceed visually yet still maintain IFR under 10-1-3 should you choose to proceed another mile and then call atc attempting to maintain or regain an IFR clearance, guess what your out of luck and your going to hear "unable IFR service your below IFR MSA at this time maintain VFR until x#feet" since we are unable to insure IFR terrain & obstacle clearance. So who's fault is the mess you just got into, it's not atc's you've made a PIC decision the weather was acceptable at the MAP to proceed visually and atc can't help because your below the controllers mva, plus your unable to safely perform the missed approach procedure all because you chose to scud run below minima.

 

But let me take your advise to CofG and expand on what'll happen should he follow your senario and doesn't advise ATC "proceeding visually".

 

Controllers are required to observe and maintain contact with all aircraft under his/her control insuring safe IFR operations and since this approach has a predefined point in space, that once you pass the controller can no longer provide ATC services (unless going missed), which in this senario is the MAP. The controller will notice you've crossed the MAP (it's marked on our scope) and ask "helo123 confirm proceeding visually" you'll reply affirmative at which point you'll hear "IFR clearance canceled maintain vfr squawk 1200 good day" or I could simply leave you on the current squawk providing VFR flight following since your lifeflight.

 

Now you'll want to respond by saying I'll just ignore ATC because I'm to busy flying the aircraft, so should you choose not to respond to ATC we'll simply call you up on Guard asking you to ident, you'll ident and at that point I'll call you again on Guard confirming your proceeding visually, to confirm ident, you'll ident yet again and then I'll state on Guard "helo123 IFR clearance canceled maintain vfr squawk 1200 also be advised your radio appears to not be transmitting good day"

 

Here's a couple of examples why your weather minima is so important and scud running below minima is so dangerous.

 

In a 2004 Pyote, TX, accident in which a helicopter air ambulance transporting a patient crashed into terrain while maneuvering in reduced-visibility conditions, the pilot was not aware of expected thunderstorm activity in the area because he did not obtain a weather briefing before departure.

 

In the 2003 Salt Lake City, UT, accident in which a helicopter air ambulance crashed into terrain when weather conditions were below part 135 minima, the operator's dispatcher encouraged the pilot to accept the flight in spite of the fact that another company had refused it because of low visibility conditions. The NTSB stated that a flight dispatcher with specific knowledge of flight requirements would likely have been able to more fully comprehend the importance of the other company's refusal, independently gathered and correctly interpreted pertinent weather information from all available sources, and provided appropriate advice to the pilot.

 

In a 2004 accident in Newberry, SC, a helicopter air ambulance collided with trees in poor weather conditions. Three flightcrews had declined the mission based on their awareness of unsafe weather conditions, specifically the presence of fog. A 911 dispatcher that communicated with the pilot did not inform the pilot that the other three flightcrews had declined the mission because of fog.

 

A helicopter air ambulance that crashed into mountainous terrain in 2004 in Battle Mountain, NV, was not reported overdue until approximately four hours after its departure. The flight crossed from one county to another, and 911 dispatch centers from the two counties were not required to communicate with each other directly. Responsibility for initiating communications when crossing into another county dispatch center was placed on the pilot. Because the aircraft was not reported missing in a timely manner, the opportunity for potentially life-saving search and rescue operations was lost.

 

Gomer, is it possible your thinking a "visual approach clearance" which provides IFR services to the ground is the same as "Proceed Visually" - if so you need understand they are two very different procedures.

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You are still IFR until you cancel your clearance, regardless of weather conditions. "As soon as practical" gives the pilot the discretion to determine when it is practical. ATC has no idea where I am, or when I reach the MAP. I will cancel IFR when I am certain I can land at my intended landing area. The weather minimums for the transition from the MAP to the landing area are clearly the minimums for the approach, not those in AO21. Weather conditions can change quickly, and I've had to make a missed approach after nearly reaching my heliport, even though I had it in sight until within a quarter of a mile or so. At night, you can't see every cloud that might be around, or all the fog in the area. If you've never been in the cockpit on an approach, and it's glaringly obvious you haven't been, you have no business trying to tell me how and when to make radio calls.

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Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.

Gomer Pylot

 

Is right about communicate being the last priority. I don't like doing it, but sometimes I just wait till I'm on the ground. If it takes me out of radio contact, I'll find a way to call on the phone.

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ATC has no idea where I am, or when I reach the MAP.

 

Amazing quote for an IFR pilot to make.

ATC is who YOU rely on during all IFR operations and to make such a statement shows a lack of knowledge on your part or an ego so large that at some point in your career you'll just become another scud running statistic.

 

The facts are the facts and if this discussion has educated and opened the eye's of even one pilot then I've accomplished more than enough.

 

Gomer, open your eye's and try this simple task next time your shooting an IFR approach, after receiving your approach clearance ask the controller how far is the MAP from your current position, or to advise when over the MAP or heck even ask him the exact mileage to the threshold from your current position as a crow flys and watch how quick he responds with the correct info. Not flying IFR then try the following during VFR flight following ask ATC to give you an exact compass heading with exact mileage to an airfield you as PIC can't see on a hazy day when your VFR.

 

I know it might be difficult for you to understand how we're miles away in a dark room and still able to give you all the exact info you've requested but it's what we do, after all we have that little thing we're sitting in front of called a radar scope and it's got all kinds of cool little tools & features that allows us to provide the kind of service that insures the safety of you and your passengers everyday.

 

Gomer good luck with the scud running, because at some point in your career your going to need a lot more than luck.

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He obviously has none. I fly in flat Iowa and I can say that we are off radar at our altitudes a large portion of the time. Tracon, you can fly IFR without radar contact. It is done every day. Many of these helicopter approaches are in the middle of nowhere and there is no radar coverage at the MDAs of the approaches so approach will not know when you are at the MAP. If you are lucky they might know when you are at the FAP.

 

Also as Gomer mentioned it is as soon as practical. As far as I am concerned when I break out and have less then 10,500ft before my intended landing area I am using that time to transition to visual flight, setting up my approach, and flying the helicopter. I am not worried about talking to someone who at that point in time can not help me in any way.

 

Go for a ride along with an IFR helicopter. You will be amazed at how little you know.

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