Aviation News

Can you fly VFR "On Top"

Flying over weather, be it low cloud or smoke haze, is ok as long as;

  • VFR flight on top of more than SCT cloud is available provided that:
  • VMC can be maintained during the entire flight, including climb, cruise and descent;
  • For VFR flight on top of more than SCT cloud the pilot must meet, the visual position fixing-requirements or the other navigational requirements of AIP ENR 1.1; and
  • Before flying VFR on top of more than SCT cloud, the pilot in command must ensure that current forecasts and observations (including available in-flight observations) indicate that conditions in the area of, and during the period of, the planned descent below the cloud layer will permit the descent to be conducted in VMC.

The position at which descent below cloud is planned to occur must be such as to enable continuation of the flight to the destination and, if required, an alternate aerodrome in VMC.

  • When navigating by reference to radio navigation systems, the pilot in command must obtain positive radio fixes at the intervals and by the methods prescribed in AIP ENR 1.1.
  • The pilot in command of a VFR flight wishing to navigate by means of radio navigation systems or any other means must indicate in the flight notification only those radio navigation aids with which the aircraft is equipped and the pilot is qualified to use under CASR 61.385

So what does that really mean? Can you use GPS to fly over the top of cloud that is more than scattered?  The short answer is "maybe".  If you can get a visual fix every 30 minutes, you're ok.  Easy!

If you can't get a visual fix every 30 minutes, you may be able to use a GPS.  The GPS needs to be a TSO 129/146 GPS, such as the Garmin 430s in our Archers DDM and RCR, the Arrows PAR and WOI, Cherokee 6 UST and the larger LFS planes.  But, you also need to be qualified to use it!  You can be deemed competent to use the G430 for primary navigation by one of the LFS instructors - and this will be certified in your logbook.  (However, you cannot do this in an RA-Aus aircraft nor do the Garmin 296s in the Jabirus and Warriors meet the TSO standards above).  Contact the LFS desk if you wish to arrange a training session and G430 signoff.

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