Visual App but automated WX reports IMC

posller

Rookie
Jul 19, 2009
34
0
6
Florida
Situation: Airport with temporary control tower. When tower in operation, Class D up to X ft. No questions there.

When tower not in operation, airspace is G surface to 700AGL, then E above 700AGL - as usual.

ASOS/AWOS in operation.

Question: Tower NOT in operation. Automated wx shows IMC. Aircraft is thus vectored for instrument approach. Aircraft reports field in sight and requests visual...

Can you clear him for the VA?

Chapter 7 clearly says the field needs to be VFR for VA. I thought flight visibility trumps automated wx at uncontrolled airport, but cant find anything to support my previous assumption.
 

kcranger79

Rookie
May 13, 2009
55
0
6
Is it the hourly observation (that, by the .65, must be considered 'trend' information) or the minute weather the pilot received? The two could be very different.

The visibility requirements in 7-4-2 apply to vectors for the visual approach. If the a/c is on the flight plan route, those do not apply. However, 7-4-3b reads that you must ensure the airport is VFR (should be VMC?) or a reasonable assurance therof. If it's not VFR (VMC), a/c must stay on approach. He (or she...) can always cancel. ;)
 

jtomes

Senior Member
Mar 30, 2010
270
1
18
Memphis TN
If a pilot request VA pilot gets VA, i'm not going to shoulder the responsibility of what type of approach he wants to shoot. If someone just shot a full approach into that airport before him I'll present that information to him but i won't choose his approach. hope that helps?
 

xxDYxx

Junior Member
Jul 14, 2009
94
0
6
Kunsan
Is it the hourly observation (that, by the .65, must be considered 'trend' information) or the minute weather the pilot received? The two could be very different.

The visibility requirements in 7-4-2 apply to vectors for the visual approach. If the a/c is on the flight plan route, those do not apply. However, 7-4-3b reads that you must ensure the airport is VFR (should be VMC?) or a reasonable assurance therof. If it's not VFR (VMC), a/c must stay on approach.
100% agree! To piggy back off of that first part; If the ASOS/AWOS is set to update per minute (which uncontrolled airports should be) then it is not an official wx report. It is only for pilot SA. In that case, whatever the pilot requests is what you give him.

If it is officially IFR, then like he said... IFR flight plan + Instrument approach required, no ifs ands or buts. (unless its an Emergency... lots of things go out the window in an Em....)
 

Roddy_Piper

Resident Knucklehead
Jun 15, 2008
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or contact approach if requested.

the ASOS/AWOS is not a binding weather report to controllers. uncontrolled airports are just that...uncontrolled airports.

you ensure the pilot has the wx, you vector for an instrument approach. however, if the pilot subsequently reports the airport in sight then you can clear them for the visual approach. if the pilot accepts the clearance then your golden.
 

xxDYxx

Junior Member
Jul 14, 2009
94
0
6
Kunsan
AH!! CT approach forgot about that one, good call.

Disagree with the "if they report the field/clear them for visual " part though. If its IFR, it doesnt matter if they report the field or not, they have to continue the instrument approach, or request a CT.

7110 PCG:
VISUAL APPROACH− An approach~...~ under the
control of the appropriate air traffic control facility.
Reported weather at the airport must be ceiling at or
above 1,000 feet and visibility of 3 miles or greater
.

(Cut out some of it to reduce size... I hate massive quotes)
 

Roddy_Piper

Resident Knucklehead
Jun 15, 2008
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in the OPs scenario...do you (the controller) have access to the automated weather?

if not, how are you supposed to know what the real time weather is? how do you know the pilot has >3 miles flight visibility? why is it MUST instead of SHALL?

because these questions are difficult to answer, i clear the visual approach if the pilot reports the airport in sight and has the automated (or no wx available) for the airport of intended landing.

at airports with control towers and/or an official weather observer...then it becomes a different question.
 

rzulu

Junior Member
Dec 20, 2011
103
0
16
in the OPs scenario...do you (the controller) have access to the automated weather?

if not, how are you supposed to know what the real time weather is? how do you know the pilot has >3 miles flight visibility? why is it MUST instead of SHALL?

because these questions are difficult to answer, i clear the visual approach if the pilot reports the airport in sight and has the automated (or no wx available) for the airport of intended landing.

at airports with control towers and/or an official weather observer...then it becomes a different question.
Must means mandatory. Just like shall does. 1-2-1




Situation: Airport with temporary control tower. When tower in operation, Class D up to X ft. No questions there.

When tower not in operation, airspace is G surface to 700AGL, then E above 700AGL - as usual.

ASOS/AWOS in operation.

Question: Tower NOT in operation. Automated wx shows IMC. Aircraft is thus vectored for instrument approach. Aircraft reports field in sight and requests visual...

Can you clear him for the VA?

Chapter 7 clearly says the field needs to be VFR for VA. I thought flight visibility trumps automated wx at uncontrolled airport, but cant find anything to support my previous assumption.
I wouldn't give it to him. If the weather I'm getting says IFR and its clearly states it in the book that the field needs to be VFR, then that's pretty black and white. If he really wants a "visual", wait until he asks for a contact approach.

I don't see how it matters if the tower is operational or not. For instance, if the tower was operational and the field was IFR and the pilot wants a visual with field in sight, you still wouldn't clear him, because its IFR. The method you used to obtain the weather, operational or not, is the same.
 

WatchThis

Trusted Contributor
Apr 29, 2010
561
0
16
Arizona
I think 4-7-10 b 1, 2, 3, and the note supports the idea that a visual approach can be granted on pilot request. That reference specifically puts responsibility on the pilot going in to an uncontrolled airport to decide and inform the controller his intentions based on actual conditions the pilot observes. As others have pointed out, the weather broadcast would be considered trend information only.

I would also point out we are talking about class G airspace in this example when the tower was closed. I wouldn't consider any weather report as binding. Without a surface area in effect, anyone could fly through there regardless of reported conditions.
 

StuSEL

Moderator
Aug 23, 2009
1,014
10
38
You know where.
When he gets to 700 AGL, he could just cancel IFR if he really wants to shoot the approach visually. Class G requires 1SM visibility and clear of clouds to fly VFR. Most pilots should understand when flying IFR there are greater requirements than that to shoot a visual.
 

BigBOSS

Gotta Keep 'em Seperated!
Aug 24, 2008
140
0
16
Austin, TX
or contact approach if requested.

the ASOS/AWOS is not a binding weather report to controllers. uncontrolled airports are just that...uncontrolled airports.

you ensure the pilot has the wx, you vector for an instrument approach. however, if the pilot subsequently reports the airport in sight then you can clear them for the visual approach. if the pilot accepts the clearance then your golden.
This is accurate.
 

BigBOSS

Gotta Keep 'em Seperated!
Aug 24, 2008
140
0
16
Austin, TX
Are y'all telling me that you go to the FDIO and weather request these uncontrolled airports and decide whether or not you will clear them for a visual? That is retarded.. Just vector them for the instrument approach and if they say they have the field in sight, clear them. They are not supposed to take the visual approach clearance if they don't think they can keep the field in sight the whole time.

We are controllers, not cops.
 

xxDYxx

Junior Member
Jul 14, 2009
94
0
6
Kunsan
Only when weather info is not available does the pilots request for a visual mean that he can have the visual. Most uncontrolled airports that have an ASOS/WOS aren't adapted to give METAR type reports.

If you do have access to a METAR format weather report then yes, it is absolutely your responsibility to use that info... That would be like closing your eyes and saying "not in sight, rwy 34 cleared to land" when all you had to do was open your eyes to ensure safe conditions.

I'd rather explain why I withheld a VA clearance into a known IFR field than; "Yes Mr. NTSB, I could have seen the weather conditions at the airport. But I didn't want to, so I just cleared him for the Visual." That's just me though.
 

atcbrownie

Trusted Contributor
Jun 14, 2008
661
9
18
Warrenton Va
Out of section 4-7-10

2.Controllers will consider the long−line disseminated weather from an automated weather system at an uncontrolled airport as trend information only and must rely on the pilot for the current weather information for that airport

If the pilot tells me he has the airport in sight and wants the visual per this section I would clear for the visual approach.
 

mbalunda

Epic Member
Jan 31, 2009
2,867
15
38
If the pilot tells me he has the airport in sight and wants the visual per this section I would clear for the visual approach.
This is how I handle it as well. The pilot knows more about the current conditions than I ever could.
 

BigBOSS

Gotta Keep 'em Seperated!
Aug 24, 2008
140
0
16
Austin, TX
Out of section 4-7-10

2.Controllers will consider the long−line disseminated weather from an automated weather system at an uncontrolled airport as trend information only and must rely on the pilot for the current weather information for that airport

If the pilot tells me he has the airport in sight and wants the visual per this section I would clear for the visual approach.
Boom! Nailed it.
 

kcranger79

Rookie
May 13, 2009
55
0
6
I'd like to hear from Posller about which "automated weather" he's talking about. Aren't both the hourly reading and minute updates "automated"?

On this same thought: If the pilot tells you the minute weather and reports airport in sight but the weather is NOT VFR.....is a visual approach legal?
 

xxDYxx

Junior Member
Jul 14, 2009
94
0
6
Kunsan
I can tell I'm the odd man out here... so I'm gonna touch on this, then I think I'm done.

This quote is great and all....
Out of section 4-7-10

2.Controllers will consider the long−line disseminated weather from an automated weather system at an uncontrolled airport as trend information only and must rely on the pilot for the current weather information for that airport
...except for that little bit there.

I hate it when things get taken out of context; Long-line vs. Local dissemination.

Long-line dissemination is weather that's disseminated outside the service area of the observation equip, and transmitted Regionally or Nationally. FAA/ICAO/Aviation Regions/FIR's are massive, weather it be an ARTCC controlled area or the area within a given Sectional. And the reason that we use this info as "trend information only" is because when data is being sent that far it can/will lag behind. So, where there's a Long-line dissemination there also has to be a Local dissemination, which is why if we (controllers) only have the Long-line, then we "must rely on the pilot" to be able to access the Local dissemination (from the broadcast/FSS/apt mngr/etc... or if it's all OTS, just make a PIC decision) and not worry about the info being old.

I can tell you for a FACT that if you get your weather info from an AUX/WX or NTFS or AFAS or equivalent system... then you have a Local Dissemination and that para does not apply to you. Other than that, there are a few other tell tail signs as to if this para does not apply; if the station identifier has other than a letter only identifier, or if there's an AUTO in the METAR... maybe one or two more I cant think of right now. But I guess to know for sure you'd have to check with your automation guys/airport managers/equipment maintainers for your particular Local vs. Long-line setups...

Bottom Line: If you provide Approach Services into an airport, and you have access to the METAR, odds are you have a Locally Disseminated observation.
 
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BWER

Rookie
Feb 8, 2009
46
1
8
I can tell I'm the odd man out here... so I'm gonna touch on this, then I think I'm done.

This quote is great and all....

...except for that little bit there.

I hate it when things get taken out of context; Long-line vs. Local dissemination.

Long-line dissemination is weather that's disseminated outside the service area of the observation equip, and transmitted Regionally or Nationally. FAA/ICAO/Aviation Regions/FIR's are massive, weather it be an ARTCC controlled area or the area within a given Sectional. And the reason that we use this info as "trend information only" is because when data is being sent that far it can/will lag behind. So, where there's a Long-line dissemination there also has to be a Local dissemination, which is why if we (controllers) only have the Long-line, then we "must rely on the pilot" to be able to access the Local dissemination (from the broadcast/FSS/apt mngr/etc... or if it's all OTS, just make a PIC decision) and not worry about the info being old.

I can tell you for a FACT that if you get your weather info from an AUX/WX or NTFS or AFAS or equivalent system... then you have a Local Dissemination and that para does not apply to you. Other than that, there are a few other tell tail signs as to if this para does not apply; if the station identifier has other than a letter only identifier, or if there's an AUTO in the METAR... maybe one or two more I cant think of right now. But I guess to know for sure you'd have to check with your automation guys/airport managers/equipment maintainers for your particular Local vs. Long-line setups...

Bottom Line: If you provide Approach Services into an airport, and you have access to the METAR, odds are you have a Locally Disseminated observation.
The difference here that I am seeing is terminal vs enroute controller mentality. As an enroute controller if the pilot asks for a visual and has the field in sight, he gets the visual no questions asked from me. If I have a guy pop up looking for his IFR below my MIA, I clear him as filed...again no questions asked. Now if a pilot wants the visual but cant see it, or wants to go below my mia, then no I am not going to give it too him.

Really, as long as a pilot has the field in sight I could care less what the metar says. Automated weather reporting is just that...automated with no one reading it and looking outside to see if the conditions are correct.

Also, center guys seem to be less worried about asking questions we don't have to ask. Like on the dep looking for IFR, if I ask him if he could maintain terrain and obstruction clearance through XXX and he said no that only makes more work for me. Pilots are required to know and abide by lots of regs just as we have. As someone said before we are not cops, why treat pilots like kids. If they want the visual give it to em. If they did not have the field in sight its their butt on the line...not ours.

atcbrownie hit it on the head.