Visual Approach

Goose212 Guest


Newbie just done my first Visual Approach flight. Flew from Chicago O'Hare to Chicago Meigs. I followed an online tutorial and think that if I had to plan this trip myself I would REALLY struggle.

I did this without any navigation aid at all although I know another method is to use the VOR at Chicago Heights as an aid as well.

My question is with so many airports and runways how can you be sure you've landed in the right place when doing a Visual Approach without the aid of any navigation instrument other than compass? The map in my FS98 book is pretty naff really and not much help. Also how can you determine how many miles off you are so you can start a descent.

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Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

That is just a part of visual flying. Pilots learn to see airports and to use nearby landmarks to determine the airports location. Most airports, of the total in the country, don't have any navigational aids on or near them. Pilots also learn to judge distance through experience flying. Checkpoints determined by Time-Speed-Distance or landmarks are used to help determine when to descend. People were flying long before the VOR, GPS or the ILS was invented. 🙂

Goose4242 Guest

So in terms of using Visual Approach for flight simming it would be a struggle to fly from one airport to another for the first time. I suppose you could do some research but is it better to fly the route first and check it out recording information like landmarks. So the next time you fly it you know when to start descending etc? Is this what most experienced flight simmers do? Or do most flight simmers using navigational aids like ILS etc?

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

Navigation using landmarks in FS is harder than it is in real life simply because the landmarks are exactly as they appear on the sectional chart you have, and they are a lot clearer. Unless you have addon scenery that depicts the area you are flying in clearly, I would try using navaids.

Visual approaches are executed using the runway approach lights (PAPI / VASI) and visual cues such as a point on the runway. You can use instrument approaches (precision or non-precision) if the weather permits or you want the practice. If visual conditions permit, in the real world, a visual landing will probably be conducted, sometimes, even if an IFR flight plan is filed, but the instrument landing will be available.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Jon is correct. Most people use the GPS for enroute navigation and then the ILS approach to the runway. I like to use aids that require more skill from the pilot such as VOR, ADF, GPS and LOC approaches. ILS approaches become boring after awhile. Visual approaches are nice and require more skill than pushing the correct buttons so that the AP can fly the ILS. 🙂

Goose5454 Guest

Thanks for the feedback. I think a major problem I'm having is that I'm using FS98. There is no interactive ATC, you can request take off and landing but you just get a bare minimum yes you can take off.

I've just done a different flight plan from O'Hare to Meigs flying using the 350 radial of the Chicago Heights VOR as a guide. I took off from O'Hare 27R and turned to 143 heading until I intercepted the VOR. I then turned to heading 360.

Now came my problem, I saw a runway, is it mine... I landed no problem trouble it's difficult to read the marking on the runway and I can't tell if the airport is Meigs because, well, the scenery all kind of looks the same to me on FS98.

Will this be easier when using FSX with the interactive ATC? Plus more fun with other planes flying about?

Goose4343 Guest

In addition to the above I've just come across Shift-Z (I really must look through the manual more). Where I've just landed is:-

N42 * 7.35'

W87 * 54.41

649 FT

In my manual non of the airports coords and elevation match the above. The ones which are displayed that is. It is possible I suppose I've landed somewhere off course. Is it possible to find out which airport I'm at with the above coords?

Pro Member First Officer
PH First Officer

Based on the coordinates Google Earth puts you near Palwaukee municipal. Meigs is right on the lake...head due East from O'Hare then track the coastline down (South) you will see it.

Last edited by PH on Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

No offense to you but Flight Simulator 98 is almost impossible to navigate within, you should get Flight simulator 2004. Even Flight Simulator 2002 would be a huge improvement for you. You'll get a GPS, much better graphics and much better functionally. 🙂

The airport your asking about is KPWK Palwaukee.

Goose5454 Guest

WOW, KPWK Palwaukee isn't even on my Pilot's Guide map of Chicago.

No offense taken by the way I brought MS 98 years ago but never really got into it. It was only last month that I thought I'd have another go at understanding it. I'm just waiting now for FS X to come out later this month.

I did think it would be easier with the better versions but learning on this thing will make things easier when FS X arrives through my letterbox 🙂

I see Google Earth is a useful little tool.

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