Visual Flight Rules

Visual Flight Rules, commonly called VFR, are a set of rules that apply to planes flying by visual reference. This is in opposition to IFR (Instrument Flight Rules), flown without visual references.

This set of rules allows a pilot to fly in most airspace without a flight plan, clearance, or ATC communication.

VFR flying requires constant vigilance for other traffic and reliance on oneself for navigation.

When you are flying VFR you must be in VMC.

Of course, while flying VFR you may choose to use air traffic control services to:

  • Get help in an emergency
  • Get directions
  • Get traffic advisories
  • Get clearance through airspace or to land

How do I know if I’m flying VFR?

Did you file and open an instrument flight plan? If not, then you are flying VFR. You must comply with all VFR regulations including visibility and cloud clearance minimums.

Class B Airspace

Class B airspace surrounds large, busy airports.

Its shape is generally an upside-down wedding cake but it can vary quite a bit. The main idea is that there are layers that get progressively wider and have a higher floor than inner layers.

For example, in St. Louis (pictured below) the inner ring extends from the surface up to 8000 feet MSL. Continue reading “Class B Airspace”