w0x0f, obviously based on the last explanation, I'm not reading too much into this... in the air control world there is very specific phraseology for everything, and if cleared visual approach and cancel IFR, were one and the same (or one implied the other) then there wouldn't be two different phraseologies for them and people wouldn't be doing it one way at a controlled airport, and another way at another... Montreal and Quebec City are both controlled airports, both with their own terminal controls, and both within the same Montreal control centre, so they use the same procedures and phraseology (albeit in french or english... pilot's choice...)
I never said that "cleared visual approach" and "cancel IFR" were one in the same. Your first post in this thread put them together. Your original question confused several different things 1. Whether a pilot is on an ILS,GPS,NDB, VOR or visual approach to a tower controlled airport
, his IFR flight plan cancels automatically when he lands. He does not have to close the flight plan. Jason gave a very good explanation of how this works.
Then KSYR-pjr added this post which confuses matters more.
In the US, a pilot accepting a visual approach also relieves the controller of protecting the airspace, as the pilot becomes responsible for terrain and traffic separation. This is same as if the aircraft were VFR. I also suspect (based on what I have seen with my IFR flightplans on FlightAware.com) that the approach controller will cancel the IFR flight plan upon acceptance of a visual approach, however I cannot confirm this. Perhaps a controller here will....
Edit: One other point: At least in the US, I don't believe there practically is the option to request a "visual approach" for an IFR aircraft landing at an uncontrolled airport. Perhaps there is technically, but in reality, the pilot would simply cancel IFR with the approach controller if he desired a visual approach into an uncontrolled airport, then proceed visually just as a VFR aircraft would.
1. Approach controllers do not cancel IFR flight plans. Pilots may request to cancel as zla_ms states in his post in the air at controlled airports without radar
This does create an operational advantage since the tower cannot provide radar separation between the IFR arrival and IFR departure. Another option here would be for the approach controller to say "visual separation approved" between the IFR arrival and IFR departure which would not require the IFR arrival to cancel.
2. A visual approach most certainly is an option at an uncontrolled airport. The pilot does not have to cancel IFR to receive a visual approach clearance into an uncontrolled airport as stated in the above quote. The pilot could actually wait until he landed and called FSS or used a remote frequency to cancel IFR.
I agree with you about the cancelling bit, but if they cancel automatically on the ground, then there must be a reason why they're cancelling early in the air.... and if they cancel early in the air, then if they execute a missed approach, they've already cancelled, so your post doesn't really make any sense...
Now that we know the radar at the tower was not working, this helps to explain a lot. zla_ms gave an excellent explanation of why an aircraft would cancel into a nonradar tower
My earlier post about missed approaches did not say anything about a prior cancellation of IFR. I was attempting to answer your question about what happens on a missed approach. If he did not cancel, then his IFR flight plan is still active and depending upon traffic would either be worked by the tower into the sequence or handed off to approach control. If the pilot had cancelled IFR and then did a go around (there is a difference between a missed approach and a go around) then if he could maintain VFR conditions, then he would not need his IFR flight plan. If he was unable to maintain VFR conditions, then he would need to be given an IFR clearance back to the airport.
So if you go back to the original post, you will see how your original question was confusing several things together. It then morphed into a few other items as we attempted to separate the different items from your question and give you some answers. I hope you have a better understanding of how this all works. Knowing that the tower was nonradar helped to explain why things were happening as you said they were.