VFR Guide

VFR GUIDE

The following section contains a simplified guide to Visual Flight Rules (VFR) taken from Visual Flight Rules Guide published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK. This guide represents the basic requirements when flying VFR in the MEBAR. A complete UK VFR Guide is available from the NATS AIS web site at the following link CAA VFR Flight Guide (pdf download)

VFR flights, by both day and night, are conducted in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). VMC requirements vary depending on the class of airspace and altitude. The following VMC will be used as a standard for the MEBAR.

Above 3000 feet AMSL:

Minimum Flight Visibility - 5000 metres (2.7 nautical miles);
Minimum Distance from Cloud, Horizontal - 1500 metres (0.8 nautical miles); and
Minimum Distance from Cloud, Vertical (above and below) - 1000 feet;

When at or below 3000 feet AMSL or 1000 feet AGL, whichever is the higher:

Minimum Flight Visibility - 5000 metres (2.7 nautical miles);
Minimum Distance from Cloud, Horizontal - clear of cloud and in sight of ground or water; and
Minimum Distance from Cloud, Vertical - clear of cloud and in sight of ground or water.

VFR Navigation.

must navigate by visual reference to the ground or water, or by using any of the IFR methods;
when operation at or below 2000 feet above the ground or water, must navigate by visual reference to the ground or water; and
when navigating by visual reference to the ground or water, a positive fix of the aircraft's position by visual reference to features shown on topographical charts must occur at intervals not exceeding 30 minutes.

Note: Flight above more than 4/8 of cloud, or over featureless land area and over the sea, may preclude visual position fixing at the required intervals and may, therefore, make visual navigation impracticable.

VFR flight on top of more than 4/8 cloud is available provided that:

VMC can be maintained during the entire flight, including climb, cruise and descent;
for VFR on top, the visual position fixing requirements or the other navigational requirements must be met; and
prior to conducting a VFR flight on top, current forecasts and observations must be checked to ensure that conditions in the area of, and during the period of, the planned descent below the cloud layer will permit the descent to be conducted in VMC.

Cruising Levels

magnetic track 0 to 179 degrees - odd 1000s + 500 feet, e.g. 3500, 5500, 7500;
magnetic track 180 to 359 degrees - even 1000s + 500 feet, e.g. 4500, 6500, 8500;
when a VFR flight is conducted at a height of 5000 feet or more above mean sea level, the cruising level of the aircraft must be appropriate to its magnetic track; and
when a VFR flight is conducted at a height less than 5000 feet above mean sea level, the cruising level of the aircraft must be appropriate to its magnetic track whenever practicable.

Aerodrome Procedures

General Left-hand circuits must normally be made. Right-hand circuit requirements are listed specifically in the MEBAR Flight briefings if required.
An aircraft is permitted, however, to execute a turn opposite to the circuit direction on to a course if it has climbed straight ahead to 1500 feet above the aerodrome elevation, or it is at least 3 nautical miles from the aerodrome.
By convention, the circuit heights flown for piston prop aircraft is 1000 feet AGL. The turn on to final approach must be completed by a distance that is not less than 500 metres from the runway threshold.

Circuits and Landing

An aircraft approaching an aerodrome for landing must join on the upwind, crosswind or downwind leg of the circuit unless conducting a straight-in approach.

When approaching for landing, and within 3 nautical miles of the aerodrome, all turns must be to the left except where right hand circuits are specified or when entering the upwind, crosswind or downwind leg.

Aircraft conducting a straight-in approach must conduct all manoeuvering to establish the aircraft on final approach outside a 5 nautical mile radius from the intended landing runway threshold.

When executing a missed approach, refer to the Missed Approach procedures in the Aerodrome and Procedures Charts or climb to circuit altitude and re-enter the circuit on the crosswind leg.

Take-Off and Outbound

An aircraft must maintain the departing runway heading and must not change direction on to a course until it has climbed straight ahead to 1500 feet above the aerodrome elevation, or it is at least 3 nautical miles from the aerodrome.

Here's to another MEBAR! And getting lost, trimming hedges and ending up in the middle of the highway...again. Yup, bring it on!

MEBAR Pilot