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  1. #1
    UGApilot Guest

    VFR Cloud Clearances And Visibility

    I'll bet you thought this was another thread like "how the heck do you remember all that stuff?!?" Nope. I was just doing some studying for my IR and reviewing some airspace stuff when I though back to my PPL and remembered seeing eleventy million different formats and charts to "simplify" the VFR cloud clearances and visibility requirements. I would memorize it and forget it after a few days. Well, for those of you who struggle as I did, here is what finally got me there. Individual results may vary as you may learn differently. The following is a simple little table that helped me actually LEARN it, not just have a nice little reference chart. Naturally, the prior understanding of the following is needed: 3 152's means 3SM Visibility, 1000ft above/500ft below/2000ft horizontal from a cloud. F111 means 5SM Visibility (F for Five), 1000ft above/1000ft below/1SM horizontal from a cloud. The 1 152 means only 1SM visibility.

    Class A - Need IFR
    Class B - 3SM/Clear
    Class C - 3 152's
    Class D - 3 152's
    Class E - 3 152's (Below 10,000MSL)
    - F111 (Above 10,000MSL)
    Class G - 1 152 (Day, Below 10,000MSL)
    - 3 152's (Night, Below 10,000MSL)

    - 1SM/Clear (Day, Below 1200AGL)
    - 3 152's (Night, Below 1200AGL)

    - F111 (Anytime, Above 10,000MSL)

    Most of it is logical. Above 10,000MSL you will need F111 whether it is class E or G. Simple enough. 3 152's is the norm for most operations. Aside from the Clear of Clouds in B, G is 3 152's as well, but only at night. In the daytime, you only need to see a mile with the 152's unless you are real close to the ground, where you still need only a mile (since it is day, but just clear of the clouds). I truly feel that this is the kind of thing that just has to be learned. Memorizing a table usually won't allow you to recall that information in the flight environment, as is true when needing to reference it on your kneeboard. It has really helped me to comb over all of this again in my Instrument Training to get a refresher on airspace. To any new student pilots who are struggling with all of this, just understand that it is actually pretty logical once you know it, and not to accept a simple understanding of all of this. Your instructor might feel you know it well enough because you can answer the questions on paper or get through their questions about it (maybe you really had to think about it). I personally got a 97 on my PPL written, and the only one I missed was on a Class G Day airspace question. I would recommend asking your instructor to spend a solid hour of ground drilling you on this stuff, including things like him/her pointing to a spot on a sectional and saying, "tell me about this airspace from the surface up." Truly wrapping your head around the concepts is the only was you won't lose that memorization a few months down the road once you haven't thought about it for a while. Good luck.

  2. #2
    blake Guest
    Funny, I was just looking at this last night...same thing, for the IR. I decided it was easier to memorize the 5 different possibilities instead of one for each airspace class, i.e...

    3 clear of clouds, for class B
    1 clear of clouds, for day G < 1200 AGL
    1 512, for day G low > 1200 AGL
    5 111, for E/G high
    3 512, for everything else.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Louis/Omaha
    Posts
    4,972
    Quote Originally Posted by UGApilot
    I'll bet you thought this was another thread like "how the heck do you remember all that stuff?!?" Nope. I was just doing some studying for my IR and reviewing some airspace stuff when I though back to my PPL and remembered seeing eleventy million different formats and charts to "simplify" the VFR cloud clearances and visibility requirements. I would memorize it and forget it after a few days. Well, for those of you who struggle as I did, here is what finally got me there. Individual results may vary as you may learn differently. The following is a simple little table that helped me actually LEARN it, not just have a nice little reference chart. Naturally, the prior understanding of the following is needed: 3 152's means 3SM Visibility, 1000ft above/500ft below/2000ft horizontal from a cloud. F111 means 5SM Visibility (F for Five), 1000ft above/1000ft below/1SM horizontal from a cloud. The 1 152 means only 1SM visibility.

    Class A - Need IFR
    Class B - 3SM/Clear
    Class C - 3 152's
    Class D - 3 152's
    Class E - 3 152's (Below 10,000MSL)
    - F111 (Above 10,000MSL)
    Class G - 1 152 (Day, Below 10,000MSL)
    - 3 152's (Night, Below 10,000MSL)

    - 1SM/Clear (Day, Below 1200AGL)
    - 3 152's (Night, Below 1200AGL)

    - F111 (Anytime, Above 10,000MSL)

    Most of it is logical. Above 10,000MSL you will need F111 whether it is class E or G. Simple enough. 3 152's is the norm for most operations. Aside from the Clear of Clouds in B, G is 3 152's as well, but only at night. In the daytime, you only need to see a mile with the 152's unless you are real close to the ground, where you still need only a mile (since it is day, but just clear of the clouds). I truly feel that this is the kind of thing that just has to be learned. Memorizing a table usually won't allow you to recall that information in the flight environment, as is true when needing to reference it on your kneeboard. It has really helped me to comb over all of this again in my Instrument Training to get a refresher on airspace. To any new student pilots who are struggling with all of this, just understand that it is actually pretty logical once you know it, and not to accept a simple understanding of all of this. Your instructor might feel you know it well enough because you can answer the questions on paper or get through their questions about it (maybe you really had to think about it). I personally got a 97 on my PPL written, and the only one I missed was on a Class G Day airspace question. I would recommend asking your instructor to spend a solid hour of ground drilling you on this stuff, including things like him/her pointing to a spot on a sectional and saying, "tell me about this airspace from the surface up." Truly wrapping your head around the concepts is the only was you won't lose that memorization a few months down the road once you haven't thought about it for a while. Good luck.
    The way to really get your head around this is to understand why those visibility and cloud clearance requirements exist. I won't go through all of them here (exercise for the student), but here's a simple one: why do the numbers essentially double above 10,000 MSL? Simple - the speed restriction is gone (in Class E), so you need more time to see and avoid. Why'd the speed restriction go away up there? Generally not a lot of 90 knot traffic above those altitudes.

  4. #4
    MarkyMarc Guest
    UGAPilot, thanks man. Your "method" did the trick for me!

    marc


 

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