Does being issued a visual approach clearance supersede speed instructions from ATC under FAA rules?

Here's an example. Let's assume an aircraft is being vectored for landing at a large class B airspace airport like KATL and has been instructed to maintain 210 knots. About 5 miles from the final approach fix on the ILS the aircraft is cleared for the visual approach. Does the visual approach clearance supersede the instruction to maintain 210 knots?

This is assuming the visual approach clearance didn't include an additional speed instruction along with it.

Please include the regulation or FAA-published guidance.

  • $\begingroup$ I need to research to give the official links, but the answer is Yes, any approach clearance cancels any speed restrictions, unless restated in or after the approach clearance. $\endgroup$
    – slookabill
    Sep 8, 2017 at 18:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sounds like there's a story behind this question. Not gonna ask you to tell it, though... :) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Sep 8, 2017 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


The AIM 4-4-12 says that an approach clearance cancels a speed restriction, but ATC can explicitly restate the restriction if needed:

Approach clearances supersede any prior speed adjustment assignments, and pilots are expected to make their own speed adjustments as necessary to complete the approach. However, under certain circumstances, it may be necessary for ATC to issue further speed adjustments after approach clearance is issued to maintain separation between successive arrivals. Under such circumstances, previously issued speed adjustments will be restated if that speed is to be maintained or additional speed adjustments are requested. Speed adjustments should not be assigned inside the final approach fix on final or a point 5 miles from the runway, whichever is closer to the runway

The ATC orders 5-7-1 give the controller guidance:

c. At the time approach clearance is issued, previously issued speed adjustments must be restated if required.

d. Approach clearances cancel any previously assigned speed adjustment. Pilots are expected to make their own speed adjustments to complete the approach unless the adjustments are restated


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .