Pilot Guidelines - Visual Flight Rules (VFR)

For a VFR flight in real life, you do not have to file a flightplan. In our virtual world however, a flightplan should always be filed.

VFR stands for Visual Flight Rules. The pilot must fly and navigate with visual reference to the surface. Due to this, there are certain weather criteria that must be met for a VFR flight to take place.

VFR flights are not permitted in Class A airspace, so there are no criteria.

There is no Class B airspace within the UK, so we will not explain the criteria.

VFR Flight in Class C, Class D and Class E airspace:

At or above FL100:

  • 1,500 metres horizontally away from cloud
  • 1,000ft vertically away from cloud
  • In flight visibility of at least 8km

Below FL100:

  • 1,500 metres horizontally away from cloud
  • 1,000ft vertically away from cloud
  • In flight visibility of at least 5km

An aircraft is deemed to have complied with the below FL100 restrictions if the aircraft is not a helicopter and:

  • it flies at or below 3,000ft amsl
  • it flies at a speed which is 140KIAS or less
  • remains clear of cloud, with the surface in sight and an in flight visibility of at least 5km

If it is a helicopter, it is deemed to have complied with the below FL100 restrictions if:

  • it flies at or below 3,000ft amsl
  • it remains clear of cloud, with the surface in sight and an in flight visibility of at least 1,500 metre

The following is a transcript of a VFR flight, G-EYES, a Cessna 172 from Stansted to Manston via the FIR:

GBSEP:
Stansted, good morning, GBSEP, A Cessna 172 with Zulu 1004, request taxi for flight to Manston.

EGSS_TWR:
GBSEP, Stansted, good morning, taxi GB runway 22 via G, Q1004.

GBSEP:
Taxi GB runway 22 via G, Q1004, GES.

(The aircraft may request the QFE, make sure you have calculated it.)

EGSS_TWR:
GES, Correct, have your clearance.

GBSEP:
Ready to copy, GES.

EGSS_TWR:
GBSEP, Cleared to the southern zone boundary, Route Great Dunmow, Not above altitude 1,500ft, VFR, squawk 7052.

GBSEP:
Cleared to the southern zone boundary, Route Great Dunmow, not above altitude 1,500ft, VFR, squawk 7052, GBSEP.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, Correct, call ready for departure.

GBSEP:
Wilco, GES.

There are 2 ways to depart a control zone; A random route with a direction or a specified route. A random route may be something as simple as "Cleared to the southern zone boundary with a left turn out". In this case, the aircraft would turn left after departure and fly towards the southern zone boundary.

A specified route takes an aircraft from the airfield, along a route (which usually follows geographical features such as roads, railways and rivers) to a Visual Reference Point at the edge of the zone boundary.

In the above example, GBSEP has been cleared to leave the Stansted Control Zone via the route "Great Dunmow". If you look at the CTR and CTA chart for Stansted, you can see that the Great Dunmow route will take the aircraft along the B1256 road to the Great Dunmow VRP. At that point, the aircraft will leave controlled airspace into the open FIR.

Our flight continues:

GBSEP:
Stansted Tower, GES holding point GB runway 22, ready for departure.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, via GB, line up runway 22.

GBSEP:
Line up runway 22, GES.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, left turn out, runway 22, cleared for take-off, surface wind 240 degrees 12 knots.

GBSEP:
Left turn out, cleared for take-off, GES.

(Always specify the direction of turn after departure for a VFR flight.)

EGSS_TWR:
GES, Contact Essex Radar, 120.625.

GBSEP:
Essex, 120.625, GES.

---

GBSEP:
Essex Radar, Good morning, GBSEP not above altitude 1500ft, routing Great Dunmow.

EGEX_APP:
GBSEP, Essex Radar, hello, clearance now not above altitude 2000ft, VFR, report Great Dunmow.

GBSEP:
Not above altitude 2000ft, will report at Great Dunmow, GES

--

GBSEP:
GES approaching Great Dunmow.

EGEX_APP:
GES, roger, leave the zone to the south, Chatham is 1005.

GBSEP:
Leave the zone to the south, Chatham 1005, GES.

(Chatham is the Altimeter setting region when outside controlled airspace in the Stansted area.)

GBSEP:
GES crossing the southern zone boundary.

EGEX_APP:
GES, roger, squawk 7000, service terminates.

GBSEP:
Squawk 7000, service terminated, GES.

EGEX_APP:
GES, Flight Information is available with London Information, 124.600, report leaving the frequency.

GBSEP:
124.600, leaving the frequency, GES.

(London Information provide an enroute flight information service. More details on this can be found under Standard Procedures > FIS.)

---

GBSEP:
London Information, Hello, GBSEP.

EGTT_CTR:
GBSEP, London Information, pass your details.

GBSEP:
GBSEP, is a Cessna 172, Stansted to Manston, not above altitude 3000ft, VFR, Currently overhead Chelmsford tracking south-east bound.

EGTT_CTR:
GBSEP, London Information, roger, Flight Information Service, Chatham is 1005.

GBSEP:
Flight Information service, 1005, GES.

EGTT_CTR:
GES, Traffic Information, a Twin Squirrel last known to be operating in the vicinity of Haningfield Reservoir, not above altitude 2000ft, VFR.

GBSEP:
Roger, we will keep a look out, GES

---

GBSEP:
London Information, GES request weather information for Manston.

EGTT_CTR:
GES, Roger, latest weather is Tango timed 1020Z, would you like me to read it to you?

GBSEP:
Affirm, GES.

EGTT_CTR:
GES, Roger, Information Tango, timed 1020Z. Surface wind 260 degrees 8 knots, visibility greater than 10 kilometres. Clouds few at 3400ft. Temperature plus 15, dewpoint plus 7, QNH1007, landing and departing runway 28.

GBSEP:
QNH 1007, runway 28, GES.

GBSEP:
London Information, GES switching to Manston, 119.925.

EGTT_CTR:
GES, Roger, Service Terminated, goodbye.

GBSEP:
Service Terminated, GES.

---

GBSEP:
Manston Approach, GBSEP.

EGMH_APP:
GBSEP, Manston Approach, pass your message.

GBSEP:
GBSEP is a Cessna 172, inbound to Manston. Current position is 18 miles East of Manston, 2000ft, request pattern entry instructions.

EGMH_APP:
GBSEP, roger, enter the left hand downwind for runway 28, not above altitude 1,500ft QNH1007, report downwind.

GBSEP:
Enter Left hand downwind runway 28, not above altitude 1500ft, QNH1007, will report downwind, GES.

---

GBSEP:
GES, Downwind, runway 28.

EGMH_APP:
GES, Roger, you are Number 2 to a Boeing 747 on a 4 mile final. Caution wake vortex, recommended spacing is 8 miles. Orbit at the end of the downwind leg as necessary, report final.

GBSEP:
Traffic in sight, will report final, GES.

GBSEP:
GES, Final runway 28.

EGMH_APP:
GES, Roger, contact Manston Tower, 119.925.

GBSEP:
119.925, GES.

---

GBSEP:
Manston Tower, GBSEP, Final runway 28 to land.

EGMH_TWR:
GBSEP, Manston Tower, runway 28, cleared to land. Surface wind 260 degrees, 8 knots.

GBSEP:
Cleared to land, GES.

--

EGMH_TWR:
GES, Taxi TG Aviation via Alpha.

GBSEP:
TG Aviation, via Alpha, GES.

 

The following is a transcript of a VFR flight, G-EYES, a Cessna 172 remaining in the circuit at Stansted:

GBSEP:
Stansted, good morning, GBSEP, A Cessna 172 with Zulu 1004, request taxi for circuits.

EGSS_TWR:
GBSEP, Stansted, good morning, taxi GB runway 22 via G, Q1004.

GBSEP:
Taxi GB runway 22 via G, Q1004, GES.

(The aircraft may request the QFE, make sure you have calculated it.)

EGSS_TWR:
GES, Correct, have your clearance.

GBSEP:
Ready to copy, GES.

EGSS_TWR:
GBSEP, Circuits to the north, not above altitude 1500ft, squawk 7054.

GBSEP:
Circuits to the North, not above altitude 1500ft, squawk 7054, GES.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, Correct, call ready for departure.

GBSEP:
Wilco, GES

---

GBSEP:
Stansted Tower, GES holding point GB runway 22, ready for departure.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, via GB, line up runway 22.

GBSEP:
Line up runway 22, GES.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, right turn out, runway 22, cleared for take-off, surface wind 240 degrees 12 knots.

GBSEP:
Right turn out, cleared for take-off, GES.

---

GBSEP:
GES, Right hand downwind runway 22, for touch and go.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, Roger, number one runway 22, report final.

GBSEP:
Report final, GES.

---

GBSEP:
GES, Finals.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, Roger, runway 22, cleared touch and go, surface wind 230 degrees 8 knots.

GBSEP:
Cleared touch and go, GES.

---

GBSEP:
GES, right hand downwind runway 22, for a full stop.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, roger, you are number 2 to a Boeing 737 on a 3 mile final, caution wake vortex, recommended spacing is 5 miles, orbit at the end of the downwind leg as necessary, report final.

GBSEP:
Traffic in sight, will call final, GES.

---

GBSEP:
GES, Final runway 22.

EGSS_TWR:
GES, roger, runway 22, cleared to land. Surface wind 260 degrees 6 knots.

GBSEP:
Cleared to land, GES.

---

EGSS_TWR:
GES, taxi to the western apron via G.

GBSEP:
Western apron via G, GES.


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