Learn about VFR and IFR Flying

When flying you’ve got two rules and it’s up to you to choose depending on your training and rating. You have VFR and IFR. What’s difference? Why is this relevant? What are your restrictions?

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First, what does VFR stand for, it stands for Visual Fligt Rules. Under VFR, Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) must be met, meaning you’re not allowed to enter a cloud, and must keep the distance of 2000 ft horizontally, your options are limited, and you’ve got more restrictions than IFR. You’re also responsible for detecting other aircraft, and keeping a safe distance in order to avoid collision.

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VFR rules are usually followed by smaller planes at low altitudes, but because you don’t have much dependability on your instruments, you have certain restrictions.

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While IFR on the other hand, which stands for instrument flight rules, is typically flown in a controlled airspace and filing a flight plan is mandatory. Only a pilot who received proper training skills and rating, and has a IFR enabled aircraft can fly when Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) are not met. Even though VFR flying has its restrictions towards visibility, IFR allows pilots to fly with zero visibility starting from takeoff to landing.

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Flying IFR a pilot knows that the route isn’t directly at their discretion, waypoints and airways have to be followed according to the previously sent flight plan, and flight altitudes are affected by multiple elements like minimum airway altitude, minimum radar vectoring altitude (MRVA) and air traffic.

Photo: Stephen Strathdee

Hopefully this article gave you a simple understanding of VFR and IFR. You can choose to fly as a hobby using smaller planes for knowledge, training or simply sightseeing following visual flight rules (VFR), and of course you can choose to work towards gaining a commercial license or instrument rating and fly under instrument flight rules (IFR) expanding your horizon and discovering more of the world one flight at a time.


VFR VS. IFR Flying

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