« Last post by Baradium on November 13, 2015, 03:39:03 PM »
Years ago now, I was coming into Fairbanks International (Fairbanks, Alaska PAFA) one afternoon. The skies were crystal clear and we had the airport in sight from nearly 100 miles out. We start talking to approach and call the field in sight and they respond "Understand you have the airport, however the field is now IFR showing visibility of 1/4 mile, Runway 1L RVR variable 1200 to 1800, tower visibility is greater than 10 miles."
We're sitting there looking at the airport and ATC just told us that they down right to bare minimums for us to even shoot an ILS approach in the best case (1800 is minimums so if they didn't stabilize there by time we were on the approach we would have to divert). We start getting vectored for an ILS. Meanwhile Everts Air Cargo is coming in with a DC-6, they hear the conversation and promptly request and are given a contact approach, which lets them fly a normal traffic pattern and land. As a side note, this is the only time I have ever heard a contact approach requested or given in person. As far as I know all Part 121 and probably Part 135 fixed wing passenger operations are prohibited in their ops specs from contact approaches.
We get vectored in a wide traffic pattern for an ILS coming the opposite direction. As we are on our downwind leg, flying alongside the runway with the runway to our right, we can't even see anything affecting visibility. We inquire again on the weather and now it is up to 1800 RVR, but still showing 1/4 mile. We shake our heads, figuring the weather station is busted, and continue to an ILS approach for our landing.
All the way down the approach the entire airport is in sight, as we get lower I can see what looks like a very light haze layer, but that is all and it looks incredibly light. I go through the landing and the moment my main landing gear touch down everything just vanishes. I had better than 10 miles visibility until I was already on the ground and then I can barely see a couple centerline stripes down the runway. That landing remains one of the most disorienting experiences I've ever had in an airplane. I've never seen another fog layer like that where you could seemingly see completely through it from just above it but inside it and probably only up to an altitude of maybe 8-10' you could hardly see anything.