Visual approach phraseology

Josh Nunn

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Visual approach phraseology
« on: January 01, 2018, 02:51:33 pm »
I hear exchanges like this from time to time on inbound for visual approach:

ATC: "DAL123, airport at your 10-o'clock in 12 miles, report the field in sight"
DAL123: "Roger, we will report the field in sight, DAL123"
ATC: "DAL123, did you say you do have the field in sight?"
DAL123: "negative, we will let you know when we have the field in sight"

I think "We will report the field in sight" sounds too similar to "we have the field in sight" leading to inefficient communication during critical phase of flight.

My question is:

When a pilot is asked to call the field in sight, what is the correct way to communicate that "we don't have the field in sight yet but I'll let you know when we do"?

Daniel Hawton

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 03:04:28 pm »
I hear exchanges like this from time to time on inbound for visual approach:

ATC: "DAL123, airport at your 10-o'clock in 12 miles, report the field in sight"
DAL123: "Roger, we will report the field in sight, DAL123"
ATC: "DAL123, did you say you do have the field in sight?"
DAL123: "negative, we will let you know when we have the field in sight"

I think "We will report the field in sight" sounds too similar to "we have the field in sight" leading to inefficient communication during critical phase of flight.

My question is:

When a pilot is asked to call the field in sight, what is the correct way to communicate that "we don't have the field in sight yet but I'll let you know when we do"?

Say "Roger" or "Wilco".  Don't repeat that back, just acknowledge that you received it and will comply (roger is acknowledge, wilco is will comply).
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Robert Shearman Jr

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2018, 03:10:44 pm »
{...} "We will report the field in sight" sounds too similar to "we have the field in sight" leading to inefficient communication during critical phase of flight.
Yes, it's one of my own personal pet-peeves, too.  I generally respond to a call to report field-in-sight with "looking for the field, {callsign}."

From VATSTAR's guide on IFR communications:
Quote
"Negative Contact" is actually the standard response to a request to report the airfield (or traffic, if applicable) in sight.  However, I tend to prefer the more concise "looking" because "negative contact" takes longer to say and also sounds like you looked once, didn't see it, and gave up.  Whichever you choose, you don't want to say "not-in-sight" because that can be misheard as "got it in sight".  I even recommend NOT reading back the instruction as "will report field in sight," because your message might be heard as "{something something} field in sight."  If a pilot responds in the negative, i.e. that they don't see it, the controller will continue to provide heading and altitude adjustments to get them closer until they do.
Hope that's helpful.

Nickolas Christopher

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 03:40:22 pm »
I like “negative contact.” The word negative is pretty clear.

“Roger” or “wilco” is good, also. “Wilco” is better because there are a number of pilots who use “roger” incorrectly in place of “affirmative.”

Reading back “airport/field not in sight” is difficult to understand. It results in me querying the pilot again or having the temptation to clear for the visual approach, especially when it’s busy.

Use the phrase “in sight” only when it’s affirmative.

Derek Vento

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2018, 07:37:10 pm »
Keep it short, sweet and simple...

"We're looking"

Mark Hubbert

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 11:21:00 pm »
That's is usually what I use "Looking"
Mark Hubbert

Matthew Kosmoski

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2018, 01:30:52 am »
Keep it short, sweet and simple...

"We're looking"

Same as I use with traffic calls!  There's little to no ambiguity there versus "we have the traffic."
Matthew Kosmoski (MK)
Air Traffic Manager | ZHU ARTCC
atm@zhuartcc.org
www.zhuartcc.org


Jonathan Voss

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2018, 01:33:56 am »
Same as I use with traffic calls!  There's little to no ambiguity there versus "we have the traffic."

Same but I follow it up with "traffic in sight" versus "we have the traffic" to ditch all the ambiguity.
Jonathan Voss (JV)
Houston ARTCC


Josh Nunn

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2018, 09:54:15 pm »
awesome guys thanks for the great responses

Ian Fisher

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Re: Visual approach phraseology
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2018, 10:59:45 pm »
Keep it short, sweet and simple...

"We're looking"

Same as I use with traffic calls!  There's little to no ambiguity there versus "we have the traffic."

You’re not even instrument rated, why are you taking visual approaches? (;