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Author Topic: "Maintain Visual Separation" question  (Read 7640 times)
buzzin77
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« on: March 06, 2012, 10:38:34 PM »

Is "maintain visual separation" an ATC term that must be read back verbatim? I hear this occasionally when there is an aircraft on the runway and I get a "cleared to land" in the same sentence. Apparently "Traffic in sight" is not enough.





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sykocus
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 06:37:57 AM »

The direct answer is no. However if you are told "maintain visual separation from the traffic, cleared visual approach runway 5" and you read back "roger" or "cleared visual 5" it's very likely the controller will reissue the clearance. If you are told maintain visual separation it's very likely that the controller is anticipating a that standard separation may be lost. If your read back leaves doubt as to if you understood that the responsibility to avoid the traffic is yours then the controller will reiterate it.

Now I don't really understand the example you gave. It sounds like you are in the air and are being cleared to land and told to maintain visual separation from a departing aircraft still on the runway. This is a rather unusual application of visual separation.
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RonR
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 12:13:15 PM »

Maybe he was number 2 for the runway and he was told to "maintain visual separation" from the traffic landing in front of him?  That seems to make more sense.  Just a thought...
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w0x0f
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 01:13:22 PM »

Here is a link to the ATC handbook pertaining to visual separation.

http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/ATC/atc0702.html#atc0702.html.1

w0x0f
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buzzin77
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2012, 10:38:59 PM »

THANK YOU for the helpful answers.

You understood the situation as I intended it, Sykocus:

I was on downwind, number 2, behind another plane past the numbers. There was a King Air on the runway in use, cleared for takeoff. The tower controller told the plane ahead of me to maintain visual separation with the king air, and then gave me the same command, to maintain visual separation. I thought it was odd because I was number 2.

W0x0f, thanks, Reading the handbook will help, especially because I train foreign students. It will help me to play the role of approach and tower controller more accurately.
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w0x0f
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 12:50:34 AM »

@buzzin77, I think that you may have had a controller apply paragraph 3-9-7, b, 3, to you in this case.
 
http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/ATC/atc0309.html#atc0309.html.6

This is technically considered an intersection departure if the small arrival aircraft will do a stop and go or touch and go, with a small aircraft weighing more than 12,500, or a large aircraft departing from the same runway .  If the controller can't provide a 3 minute interval, then he must have the pilot of the arriving small aircraft maintain visual separation from that departing aircraft.

I know it sounds a little crazy but read that paragraph closely and you'll see what I'm talking about.

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eltors0
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2012, 07:43:31 AM »

@buzzin77, I think that you may have had a controller apply paragraph 3-9-7, b, 3, to you in this case.
 
http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/ATC/atc0309.html#atc0309.html.6

This is technically considered an intersection departure if the small arrival aircraft will do a stop and go or touch and go, with a small aircraft weighing more than 12,500, or a large aircraft departing from the same runway .  If the controller can't provide a 3 minute interval, then he must have the pilot of the arriving small aircraft maintain visual separation from that departing aircraft.

I know it sounds a little crazy but read that paragraph closely and you'll see what I'm talking about.

w0x0f

Quote from: buzzin77
Is "maintain visual separation" an ATC term that must be read back verbatim? I hear this occasionally when there is an aircraft on the runway and I get a "cleared to land" in the same sentence. Apparently "Traffic in sight" is not enough.



He wasn't issued a touch and go/stop and go, so there was no need to issue the maintain visual separation.
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w0x0f
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 01:06:54 PM »



buzzin77 said in his second message that he was #2 behind an aircraft who was told to maintain visual separation from a departing King Air.  He didn't say what the #1 aircraft was doing, (full stop, touch and go, etc) but you are correct, the controller didn't need to make that transmission to buzzin77 making a full stop.  But this was the rule that would apply in this situation if #1 was not full stop.

This was one of those situations where it was applied excessively, but it didn't hurt.  I have seen controllers apply runway separation, visual separation, and diverging courses between successive IFR departures.  Excessive, yes, but their legal butt was covered.  When it's all said and done, that is all that really matters anymore.

w0x0f
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 01:08:45 PM by w0x0f » Logged
buzzin77
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 08:56:37 PM »

w0x0f, thanks for the reference.

So, there might be less than 3 minutes of time between when the King Air begins his roll and I land, so it makes no difference if I'm number two. The controller can waive the 3-minute rule so long as I can maintain visual separation. Since I was not stop-and-go (and therefore not an intersection departure), the controller did not necessarily need to apply the rule in 3-9-7-b3, but he did anyway.

I talked to another instructor today and he said there was a meeting about a month ago, before I started here, about the "maintain visual separation" instructions. The controllers talked about the instructions as they pertain to wake turbulence, and used the King Air as an example, since its gross weight is 12,500, so those wake turbulence rules apply to the King Air. I'm learning. Slowly.
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StuSEL
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 08:19:44 PM »

Controllers have been getting harped on by quality assurance for not saying "maintain visual separation" at certain towers. There were a bunch of FAA memos that went out regarding its use last year. If you're at a Class D tower, and you're VFR, except in cases of wake turbulence separation requirements, there exists no legitimate (by the book) reason for a controller to say "maintain visual separation." But it has lately become a "cover my butt" sort of phrase.
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2012, 02:02:22 AM »

maintain visual for a bird in the downwind or cleared number 2 for the visual is moreso putting separation into the pilots hands, if we cant maintain ifr separtation and we have other priorities to attend to we can fall back on having the pilot maintain visual to turn their own base for anticipated runway separation etc.
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drFinal
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2012, 11:10:29 AM »

As an approach controller in a busy sector I never rely on pilots getting aircraft in sight. Altitude has always been my best friend. However if I do use visual separation if somebody "offers" up an aircraft in sight after a traffic call or the pilot volunteers the preceding traffic in sight I will always reiterate the clearance if the pilot doesn't read it back to my liking.

On those really beautiful VFR days where everyone has everything in sight I like to vector to final really tight using altitude and get a nice line of VAPs going until the tower starts to squirm.

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