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12/2/21 

Pilot/Controller Glossary 

VISUAL APPROACH

 An approach conducted on 

an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan which 
authorizes the pilot to proceed visually and clear of 
clouds to the airport. The pilot must, at all times, have 
either the airport or the preceding aircraft in sight. 
This approach must be authorized and under the 
control of the appropriate air traffic control facility. 
Reported weather at the airport must be: ceiling at or 
above 1,000 feet, and visibility of 3 miles or greater. 

(See ICAO term VISUAL APPROACH.) 

VISUAL APPROACH [ICAO]

 An approach by an 

IFR flight when either part or all of an instrument 
approach procedure is not completed and the 
approach is executed in visual reference to terrain. 

VISUAL APPROACH SLOPE INDICATOR 
(VASI)

 

(See AIRPORT LIGHTING.) 

VISUAL CLIMB OVER AIRPORT (VCOA)

 A 

departure option for an IFR aircraft, operating in 
visual meteorological conditions equal to or greater 
than the specified visibility and ceiling, to visually 
conduct climbing turns over the airport to the 
published “climb

to” altitude from which to proceed 

with the instrument portion of the departure. VCOA 
procedures are developed to avoid obstacles greater 
than 3 statute miles from the departure end of the 
runway as an alternative to complying with climb 
gradients greater than 200 feet per nautical mile. 
Pilots are responsible to advise ATC as early as 
possible of the intent to fly the VCOA option prior to 
departure. These textual procedures are published in 
the ‘Take

Off Minimums and (Obstacle) Departure 

Procedures’ section of the Terminal Procedures 
Publications and/or appear as an option on a Graphic 
ODP. 

(See AIM.) 

VISUAL DESCENT POINT

 A defined point on the 

final approach course of a nonprecision straight­in 
approach procedure from which normal descent from 
the MDA to the runway touchdown point may be 
commenced, provided the approach threshold of that 
runway, or approach lights, or other markings 
identifiable with the approach end of that runway are 
clearly visible to the pilot. 

VISUAL FLIGHT RULES

 Rules that govern the 

procedures for conducting flight under visual 
conditions. The term “VFR” is also used in the 
United States to indicate weather conditions that are 

equal to or greater than minimum VFR requirements. 
In addition, it is used by pilots and controllers to 
indicate type of flight plan. 

(See INSTRUMENT FLIGHT RULES.) 
(See INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL 

CONDITIONS.) 

(See VISUAL METEOROLOGICAL 

CONDITIONS.) 

(Refer to 14 CFR Part 91.) 
(Refer to AIM.) 

VISUAL HOLDING

 The holding of aircraft at 

selected, prominent geographical fixes which can be 
easily recognized from the air. 

(See HOLDING FIX.) 

VISUAL METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

 

Meteorological conditions expressed in terms of 
visibility, distance from cloud, and ceiling equal to or 
better than specified minima. 

(See INSTRUMENT FLIGHT RULES.) 
(See INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL 

CONDITIONS.) 

(See VISUAL FLIGHT RULES.) 

VISUAL OBSERVER (VO)

 A person who is 

designated by the remote pilot in command to assist 
the remote pilot in command and the person 
operating the flight controls of the small UAS 
(sUAS) to see and avoid other air traffic or objects 
aloft or on the ground. 

VISUAL SEGMENT

 

(See PUBLISHED INSTRUMENT APPROACH 

PROCEDURE VISUAL SEGMENT.) 

VISUAL SEPARATION

 A means employed by 

ATC to separate aircraft in terminal areas and en route 
airspace in the NAS. There are two ways to effect this 
separation: 

a. 

The tower controller sees the aircraft involved 

and issues instructions, as necessary, to ensure that 
the aircraft avoid each other. 

b. 

A pilot sees the other aircraft involved and upon 

instructions from the controller provides his/her own 
separation by maneuvering his/her aircraft as 
necessary to avoid it. This may involve following 
another aircraft or keeping it in sight until it is no 
longer a factor. 

(See SEE AND AVOID.) 
(Refer to 14 CFR Part 91.) 

VLF

 

(See VERY LOW FREQUENCY.) 

PCG V