Visual flight rules

As a VFR ( visual flight rules english, VFR ) refers to a flight that after sight from the pilot - is carried out - that is, in accordance with applicable visual flight rules. Contrast, the IFR ( instrument flight rules engl., IFR).

Visual flight is mainly used in general aviation at lower altitudes, in light aircraft and air sports equipment, but also in military low-altitude flights. Commercial air flights with larger commercial aircraft are carried out as an instrument flight.

In visual flight, the pilot controls the position of his aircraft in the space visually and assessed as to its location relative to other aircraft. For the attitude in the room he used clues outside the aircraft, usually by looking at the horizon. Prerequisite to visual flight is thus that the weather permits certain minimum visibility and the pilot flies through no clouds, so that the necessary evidence outside the aircraft can be seen. Furthermore, they must comply with collision avoidance some horizontal and vertical minimum distances to clouds. Where these conditions (Visual Meteorological Conditions, VMC ) can not be complied with, no visual flight may occur. The principles of the process of visual flights are in the so-called visual flight rules (Visual Flight Rules VFR ) set. Typically, the flight is under VFR place without an air traffic controller makes a graduation from other air traffic - it is the principle of See and Avoid ( " see and avoid "). In accordance with the visual flight rules also place alternative for rules, similar to the way rules on the road. In certain airspaces but also VFR traffic is controlled by air traffic control ( controlled visual flight, CVFR ) and separated from IFR flights. Visual flight under certain conditions, also closed above cloud cover ( "on top" ) or at night ( NVFR ) allowed a control zone in unfavorable visibility conditions with the appropriate approval even after special visual flight rules ( SVFR ) fly through. Is crucial in any case, that the horizon is visible and the visual flight rules ( obstacle detection, cloud distances ) can be met depending on durchflogenem airspace.

In the air the right visual flight is defined by the application of visual flight rules. This write certain minimum conditions that must be met for visual flight. Valid in German airspace visual flight rules are defined in the Air Traffic Regulations ( LuftVO ).


Under visual meteorological conditions (VMC ) is valid for all participating aircraft - regardless of whether they fly VFR or IFR - " see and be seen " the basic principle. Consequently, the observation of airspace is in front of him one of the most important tasks of every pilot. Although air traffic controllers stagger the IFR traffic among themselves, but not IFR from VFR traffic, especially since the flight path of the VFR traffic is usually not known and also not notifiable in most airspace the pilot.

Other security measures for all aircraft are defined way rules and the so-called half -circular cruising level. These fixed altitudes ( flight levels ) are valid in Germany above 1500 m (5000 ft) MSL and are adapted to each other in the cruise oncoming aircraft, ideally, a vertical distance of at least 150 m (500 ft) apart from each other.

In darkness and night VFR flights in Germany only allowed from / to specially approved airfields (except for emergency services ). For the implementation of night flights under visual flight rules a night qualification is required.