Monday, January 18, 2010

Visual Flight Rules operations while in Airspace A

Most pilots think it is not possible to operate under Visual Flight Rules in Airspace A. However if you experience loss of communications while in Airspace A, provision to operate under VFR is found in 12.4.1 of the USA Aeronautical Information Publication. You can download or refer to all 798 pages of it on the internet at:

12.4.1 says: "If the failure occurs in VFR conditions, or if VFR conditions are encountered after the failure, each pilot shall continue the flight under VFR and land as soon as practicable.
This procedure also applies when two-way radio failure occurs while operating in Class A airspace. The primary objective of this provision in 14 CFR Section 91.185 is to preclude extended IFR operation by these aircraft within the ATC system. Pilots should recognize that operation under these conditions may unnecessarily as well as adversely affect other users of the airspace, since ATC may be required to reroute or delay other users in order to protect the failure aircraft. However, it is not intended that the requirement to “land as soon as practicable” be construed to mean “as soon as possible.” Pilots retain the prerogative of exercising their best judgment and are not required to land at an unauthorized airport, at an airport unsuitable for the type of aircraft flown, or to land only minutes short of their intended destination."