Real Answers from Real Pilots

Kden approaches

Hi Chris,
Yesterday I was listening to atc live and heard atc giving aircraft visual approaches in Denver. Now i figured out you have probably landed there yourself so why do you think they where doing them and how often do they…taking into account in most major airprots do ils
Thank you,


Controllers will offer visual approaches to IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) aircraft when the conditions allow (ie, the pilot can see the airport, the runway and any traffic). The reason for this is because it relieves the controller of IFR separation requirements which a) makes their jobs easier (the pilot is now responsible for separation) and b) increases traffic flow due to the reduced separation. It’s also better for the pilot because they can often make a bee-line straight for the field and possibly cut out some turns and flight time. That said many airlines require the pilots back up the approach with an actual Instrument approach if there’s one available.


Thanks for the reply, and do you guys do downwind approaches?:grinning:

Sometimes. Why not?

Couple of things to add, you have to have the runway and previous aircraft (if more than one A/C on approach) in sight to get the reduced separation, otherwise ATC retains both separation and wake vortex separation responsibility.

Also, technically the IFR missed approach goes out the window if you accept the visual, so be prepared to get alternate instructions if you go missed.

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