is weather required for ATC to issue an approach clearance?

Bernoulli

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I was wondering if the weather is required at an airport for ATC to issue an IFR approach clearance to that airport. For instance, Lets say that airborn pilot reports indicate that the weather is clear and a million, however a non-towered airport's ASOS or AWOS is out of service. Can ATC clear a pilot for a precision or non precision approach to that airport? I don't think they can because there needs to be an altimeter setting... not to mention part 135 and 121 MUST have the minimum visibility reported on the field prior to passing the FAF. What are your thoughts on this...especially ATC guys. Any regs that spell this out would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for any serious answers.
 

radarlove

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For 135/121 operators, there must be an "approved" weather observation at the airport prior to beginning an instrument approach.

Back in the day, I was responsible for getting local weather observers trained and approved (generally the airport managers) at very small airports, so our scheduled little airplanes could shoot the approach.

Otherwise, we would simply request the lowest vectoring altitude and overfly the airport, in the hopes of gaining a visual.

If you're working part 91 (I don't know about the new fractional rules at all) you can shoot any approach you want to anywhere you want to without approved weather.
 

Hair-on-Fire

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ATC doesn't care what the weather is. They'll clear you for whatever you think you can do. You decide if you're legal or not.
 

Papa Woody

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ATC could care less about the weather. They'll clear you in 1/8SM FZRA VV100 for an NDB approach with 700' minimums.

It's the pilot's responsibility to ascertain that he has the required weather for the approach.

The local altimeter setting is an ATC responsibility, but it is only for A/C separation with other A/C, not with obstacles, trees, hills, etc.
 

2ndGenPSA

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Under 121, aren't we as pilots approved weather observers (considering we are responsible for determining whether we meet our minimums)?

Can we not overfly the field, observe the windsock, use a nearby altimeter, and fly the visual based on our weather observations?

IMC is a different story. I'm wondering if this would be legal VMC.

Difficult to find a clear answer in Ops Specs.
 

fischman

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The only thing ATC cares about is seperation.
 

regionalcap

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Under 121, aren't we as pilots approved weather observers (considering we are responsible for determining whether we meet our minimums)?

Can we not overfly the field, observe the windsock, use a nearby altimeter, and fly the visual based on our weather observations?

IMC is a different story. I'm wondering if this would be legal VMC.

Difficult to find a clear answer in Ops Specs.
No, we are not approved weather observers.
 

2ndGenPSA

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Scenario:
Destination is an uncontrolled field, with ASOS. Weather package before departure shows perfect weather, forecast shows perfect weather. Approaching the destination, the ASOS takes a crap. No official weather observer on the field. We overfly the airport, it's 15C, unlimited vis, dead wind sock. But no official weather less than an hour old.
What would you do?
 

FatesPawn

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What does your ops specs say?

C64
a 1-4?

I don't have "ops specs" issued to me any more, but from what I remember, those were the chapter and verse describing what you need to operate at an uncontrolled field. And one of those is a weather observation - and you don't cut it - to start an approach.
 

Sctt@NJA

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Scenario:
Destination is an uncontrolled field, with ASOS. Weather package before departure shows perfect weather, forecast shows perfect weather. Approaching the destination, the ASOS takes a crap. No official weather observer on the field. We overfly the airport, it's 15C, unlimited vis, dead wind sock. But no official weather less than an hour old.
What would you do?
Fly a visual approach and land. The weather is required to start an instrument approach, not a visual.
 

cksport

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If you are 121, contact your dispatcher. Chances are, you are required to have a valid weather observation until the aircraft lands. VMC does not relieve you of the required local weather observation. Ops Specs relief is required before supplementing nearby weather sources and OAT readings for local weather. Every airline's Ops Specs are different. I've personally never worked anywhere that allowed us to land without a valid weather observation.
 

ACL65PILOT

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You first need to know if the field is VMC. The FAA argument is radiation fog that you can see through from 3000 feet, but on roll out go to 0-0.

Per Op specs you need weather from an approved weather source. That could be a station agent that the FAA has signed off on, but it is in your Op specs. If it is not in there, then it cannot be used.
The FAA has also issued leeway with certain stations being used to substitute stations that are not reporting, again that would be in your Op specs.
 

ProFracPilot

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I don't know about 121, but under 135 you can get relief for the weather reporting requirement. If you're an Eligible On Demand Operator (EODO), relief from 135.225(b) is provided in Ops Spec A-057. Eligible on demand operators may file to, and begin an instrument approach procedure to, an airport that does not have a weather reporting facility but must file an alternate airport that has a weather reporting facility.
 

goodgig

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Scenario:
Destination is an uncontrolled field, with ASOS. Weather package before departure shows perfect weather, forecast shows perfect weather. Approaching the destination, the ASOS takes a crap. No official weather observer on the field. We overfly the airport, it's 15C, unlimited vis, dead wind sock. But no official weather less than an hour old.
What would you do?
For 135 at least, CANCEL the IFR, and land VFR. But you have to cancel first. If you go for a visual approach and asos is reporting 1/8, bad move. Cancel, and assure yourself it is indeed VFR (picked up the airport 10 out).
Of course, I'm no FAA lawyer/inspector/Richard Cranium. Just some dude on the internet.
 

TWA 2 ASA FO

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Fly a visual approach and land. The weather is required to start an instrument approach, not a visual.

The FAA will see things differently. You need to have a current weather report to LAND at a destination IFR part 121 unless you have an Ops Spec relief for that given airport.

I flew for PSA back in the day and the FAA watched us at RDG all the time. The approved weather observer left about 1 hour after our scheduled arrival time. We had several crews get in trouble with the FAA because they landed after the observer had gone home.

Part 135 is a totally differant storry, especially if you are an "eligible on demand" operator.
 

TAZ MAN

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This is a great discussion!

I wish more were just like this.
 

Sctt@NJA

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I have to admit I don't know 121. But 135 back in the day weather was required to shoot an intrument approach, not a visual. There was no need to cancel IFR. We would do as an earlier poster mentioned: get down to minimum vectoring altitude and if that got you below the weather do a visual from there.
 

Stifler's Mom

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Asa

At ASA (Part 121), we have the following in our Flight Operations Manual:

Whether it is VMC or IMC, pilots will not takeoff or conduct approaches to any airport without a valid report of the airport's weather conditions.

A valid weather observation must include all of the following:
  • Time of observation
  • Wind direction/speed
  • Visibility
  • Ceiling
  • Temperature/dew point
  • Altimeter setting
There is more to it than just what I added above, but you get the general idea.
 
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