Pilots flying VFR follow clearances like the "mall visual" or "east channel departure." These are based on features of the local area that are easy to identify.

Are procedures like this official? Where could a reference be found for these procedures?

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    $\begingroup$ Which airport are you referring to? $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ Alaska Supplement has many VFR departures like that, which are outlined in the section for an appropriate airport. Some TACs have preferred VFR routes (corridors) on them. $\endgroup$
    – alexsh
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


Yes, they are official, this is the KSEA MALL VISUAL RWY 34R/C/L approach plate:


I can't find a "East Channel Departure" but if you know what airport it belongs to, you can find it in the Terminal Procedures publication, either in paper form or online.

They are not VFR procedures, but rather visual IFR procedures. The MALL VISUAL would not be assigned to a VFR flight. Some airports do have special arrival/departure procedures which apply to VFR flights; these can be found in the Airport/Facilities Directory (A/FD) or on a website like http://www.airnav.com/ (for the US anyway).

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    $\begingroup$ In some cases these VFR arrival/departure routes are listed and mapped in the back pages of the A/FD. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot: The procedure is visual because it requires visual contact with ground and/or appropriate landmarks to be safely flown, but is IFR because it can be used for issuing IFR clearances. Most commercial flights always operate IFR from ground to ground even if weather would be visual. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 18:35
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    $\begingroup$ People use IFR/IMC and VFR/VMC very interchangeably, when they're not. This is an example of Instrument Flight Rules in Visual Meteorological Conditions. But, named departures aren't only IFR. I know of at least one airport, San Carlos Airport in California, that has named departures for VFR flights. $\endgroup$
    – Jungroth
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Jungroth The procedures you mention at KSQL are unofficial (as far as the FAA is concerned) noise abatement procedures, sponsored by the airport. They are not official FAA / National Airspace System terminal procedures, and not to be found in the TERPS or A/FD. A visiting Part 91 VFR aircraft would not be expected to know these procedures or be able to follow them. $\endgroup$
    – TypeIA
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot: IFR is not the same as IMC: IFR is a set of rules you fly under. IMC means you can't see out the window. It is entirely possible to be flying under IFR rules, but with perfect visibility. Hence, "Visual IFR" makes sense. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 20:40

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