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How to land "blind" in snow at KDCA?

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I have crashed the Howard 500 four times this afternoon, trying to land at KDCA, doing the river approach into rwy 19. It is murder! The vis is close to zero. I landed once successfully, but only just. Mostly I crash in heavy snow with FSMeteo 6.4 to provide real wx for me.Is there a technique for flying blind to landing an a/c such as the Howard 500 on this approach? If so, what do I do?Thanks!JS

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>>I have crashed the Howard 500 four times this afternoon,>trying to land at KDCA, doing the river approach into rwy 19. >It is murder! The vis is close to zero. I landed once>successfully, but only just. Mostly I crash in heavy snow>with FSMeteo 6.4 to provide real wx for me.>>Is there a technique for flying blind to landing an a/c such>as the Howard 500 on this approach? If so, what do I do?>>Thanks!>>JSI assume you are following the approach plates?RIVER VISUAL RWY 19: Weather minimums: 3500 foot ceiling and 3 milevisibilty.With vis close to zero the approach would never be assigned in real life.http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0501/00443RIVER_VIS19.PDFCheers,JohnBoeing 727/737 & Lockheed C-130/L-100 Mechanichttp://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/ng_driver.jpg

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I am following the moving map in FSNavigator and using my own knowledge of the way the approach is flown in real life. But yeah I guess you're right, the ceiling was 100 feet and vis was 1/8 mi.Stoopid me !?!!Thanks for posting.JS

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Hi Jonathon,Basic rules (FAA) for any visual approach:1. Wx reported on the field must be at least 3 statute miles and 1,000' (basic VFR weather).2. When cleared for the visual you must have the airport or the preceding aircraft (depending on which ATC dictates), or you cannot accept the clearance.Sounds like you had neither of these :). Bruce.

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True, true...another failure by me.On my first landing however, with vis of about 1/4 mi and snow falling, and with ATC and Ultimate Traffic active, there was a lot of departure and arrival activity which I found surprising. Although half an hour later, snow and vis conditions had gone from pretty difficult to unbearable and I don't know what activity if any there was since I just crashed repeatedly !JS

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One of the great things about FS is that we are in a virtual world and can make our own rules :) Bruce.

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Guest Peter Sidoli

While this approach would be no good I remember a challenge in MSFS to land at Heathrow EGLL in zero conditions on an Ils and this can be quite fun to try in MSFS.Real world it does occasionally happen especially with ferry flights where aircraft are running at low fuel and limited or nil alternatives.I know of one such Kingair ferry where the pilots were forced to fly a zero zero landing when headwinds increased after their point of no return and unforecast fog slipped over the airfield.With no where else to go they landed off an ILS.For fun I tried it real world in good conditions with a safety pilot acting as eyes to see whether under extreme emergency conditions I could land a Seneca five blind?The answer is YES if you have a radar altimeter set at 10 feet for the flair and use the trim wheel to control the aircraft on the glide close in where the needles are very sensitive and tiny finger touch movements for the localiser.Its nice to know it can be done and a fun challenge to try in MSFS.Peter

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Guest nattydread

Im not knowledgable about the complete Kingair situtation, but landing under known minimums is reckless. Unless there was no other airfield within range that could support its landing distance the Kingair would have been smarter to divert to an unfiled alternate. The only requirments in terms of landing would have been there abilty to descend VFR from their MEA to land clear of clouds. Losing a few hours and taking on some extra fuel at the alternate is a small price to pay compared to being a buring hulk w/passengers 100ft from the threshold.I was always taught that the leading killer of pilots is weather and haste. I understand in the real world of aviation commerce there is pressure to push the envelope but as, or soon to be, commerical pilots we need to put our foot down when it comes to adhereing to flight safety.Sorry for my rant, its a subject that hits home for me.

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Guest Peter Sidoli

CharlesI agree with your principals on normal flying and busting minima but as anyone who knows much about ferry work these guys do take huge risks in what they do and NO they do not have a choice of alternatives in places like Greenland or with long over water stretches.Very occasionally the odds stack against them with all the flight planning and precautions in place within the confines of what they do.I have always admired the guts of anyone who is prepared to ferry a single engine plane from The USA to Europe. Single engine over hundreds of miles of unhospitable freezing water with a ferry tank as his companion.Single engine is a huge risk in situations like that and not one that I or I am sure You would contemplate yet how do you imagine all these singles move from The USA and Back.I know another such pilot ferrying a Cessna 150 who ran dry near greenland. Broke cloud at 1000 feet ASL only to find a one in a million chance of a fishing boat below.He is now flying a Citation for the group that I fly for so had the luck of the devil.Many others are not so lucky. The result is that many do take a risk too far with dire consequences.Anyway this was a fun suggestion for MSFS pilots to try so please do Lighten up :-)Peter

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Guest 737_Pilot

My god, have a look at the ATIS reports for the time you posted this, ya barely meet the vis requirements for an ILS.DCA 221859Z 12005KT 1/8SM R01/1600V2200FT +SN FZFG VV002 M06/M07 A2983 RMK AO2 PRESFR P0002KDCA 221855Z 10005KT 1/16SM R01/1800V2200FT +SN FZFG VV003 M06/M07 A2984 RMK AO2 PRESFR P0001KDCA 221851Z 08005KT 1/4SM +SN FZFG VV003 M06/M08 A2984 RMK AO2 PRESFR SLP104 SNINCR 1/1 P0009 T10611078 RVRNOKDCA 221838Z 00000KT 1/4SM SN FZFG VV004 M06/M08 A2987 RMK AO2 P0007 RVRNOKDCA 221817Z 00000KT 1/4SM SN FZFG VV008 M06/M08 A2990 RMK AO2 P0003 RVRNOKDCA 221800Z 00000KT 3/4SM R01/4500VP6000FT -SN BR VV011 M06/M08 A2990 RMK AO2 P0001KDCA 221751Z 00000KT 1/2SM R01/4000V4500FT SN FZFG BKN008 OVC022 M06/M08 A2991 RMK AO2 PRESFR SLP127 P0004 60005 T10611078 11056 21078 56064KDCA 221740Z 00000KT 3/4SM R01/3500VP6000FT -SN BR SCT010 BKN022 OVC031 M06/M08 A2993 RMK AO2 P0002KDCA 221738Z 00000KT 3/4SM R01/6000FT -SN BR FEW012 BKN022 OVC031 M06/M08 A2993 RMK AO2 P0002KDCA 221732Z 00000KT 1SM R01/6000FT -SN BKN022 OVC029 M06/M09 A2993 RMK AO2 P0001KDCA 221729Z 00000KT 1 1/2SM -SN BKN022 OVC029 M06/M09 A2993 RMK AO2 P0001KDCA 221708Z 15006KT 2SM -SN SCT018 BKN029 OVC050 M06/M09 A2993 RMK AO2 P0000KDCA 221654Z 14007KT 2 1/2SM -SN SCT018 OVC050 M06/M09 A2994 RMK AO2 PRESFR P0000KDCA 221651Z 15007KT 3SM -SN SCT018 OVC050 M06/M09 A2995 RMK AO2 SNB01 PRESFR SLP140 P0000 T10611094KDCA 221624Z 14007KT 3SM -SN OVC050 M06/M10 A2998 RMK AO2 SNB01 PRESFR P0000I think I would have chosen this approachhttp://www.fltplan8.com/AppCharts/GIFCHARTS/00443I1_0001.gif

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Hi Peter,As a part of my IR training I did some CTD simulator work, "weather" was 1/8 sm and 0VV. My CFII started failing systems on the way in, then an "engine failure". He paused the sim and said "now what"? I thought and all I had in the most unfortunate situation was a runway in fog ahead of me within gliding range- not too bad! As you said, all you can do is try and get down and take a chance, that's all you have at that moment!Bruce.

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Guest CYYJ1968

1/16SM? Wow. You can barely see the tip of your nose in those conditions! Screw the ILS approach, divert to somewhere warmer ... like the Philippines.

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Not a real-world pilot myself, I agree with 737Pilot, who I believe IS a real-world 737 pilot, that the ILS 1 would have been, barely, a much better option. Why would anyone select a visual approach in 14 mi vis...lol..I know, I know, its flightsim, but you can't see ANYTHING! Anyway.......Before I moved from Minneapolis to Baltimore, One of my quick-fix FS flights was from Minneapolis Int'l KMSP to Duluth Int'l, KDLH in the winter. The typical weather was similar to what you experienced at DCA yesterday, and I would mostly fly there at night, usually in a 777! (Big runways, oth places!) Anyway there most definitely is a way to do this in flightsim, as I would engage APP HOLD mode and as long as the crosswinds were reasonable, if you set everything up properly and WAY IN ADVANCE, like 18-20 mi final, She will take you right down to the numbers on autothrottle. Try it at DCA....I'm going to to try it now, and if I get a nice screnshot, I'll repost here later.http://www.2decker.com/media/solent1-2.JPAlex ChristoffN562ZBaltimore, MD

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Guest

yup, it happened.In WW2 Mustangs and Spitfires were ferried across as well as other singles.In TCA we have (or had, not sure if he's still active) a guy who flew for Mooney ferrying aircraft across the Atlantic on a regular basis.Just a fueltank, a handheld radio (the final kit was fitted in Europe to confirm to European regulations) and a lunchbox for company. Select your food carefully as there's no toilet between Newfoundland and Scotland...

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Now hold on just a sec: I appreciate this thread and the many comments, but I specifically selected the River Approach because it is, well, ....challenging. If I'd wanted to do a blind ILS landing (as I experienced in a BEA Trident in real life at EGLL as early as 1967), I'd've selected that.What I was trying to figure out what a way to fly in around the river to Rwy 19. I did tune my Nav 1 to the KDCA VOR but it didn't serve me much use because I was struggling with orientation so much I didn't get to glance at it. For e.g., when I thought I was straight and level, I was in fact descending at 3000 fpm. When I thought I'd come out of a turn, I was in fact banked at 45 degrees. And so on (eeek!)Perhaps this whole gig was just an exercise in idiocy on my part. But I am sure there are pilots out there who have negotiated and who can fly fairly much blind turning and descending approaches and not mash the plane and themselves up, no?JS

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Sure pilots can fly turning and winding aproaches in near zero conditions, but they of course would require some sort of navigational signals (VOR, ILS, NDB, DME etc) to fly by.In your case, you're flying the River Visual. Notice Visual being in the name of the approach. It requires visual contact with the river at all times. In 1/4 mile visibility, low ceilings and snow it is completely impossible to fly this approach real world or sim (which you found out through your 4 crashes obviously). In such conditions the only option you have to get that plane on the runway is an ILS, be it "boring" or not.I can understand that you were looking for a something refreshing and challenging, but I'm afriad you picked an approach that is completely impossible.That said, the River Visual is hard enough to fly in clear skies. I would try flying it at the published minimums for the approach that someone else mentioned above, I beleive 3 miles vis and ceiling 3500 feet. That way you'll be "legal" to fly it, while with the 3 mile vis you still won't be able to see much in front of you down the river. Or, you can try it at night (I have, and it was very intresting).JoeStudent Pilot - 50 hours - KPNE

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