Special VFR for Sport Pilot?

Paul Hamilton is one of the first persons to become a DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) for sport pilots. As a full-time author and sport pilot expert, he writes books and produces DVD's for Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA). Now Paul has graciously agreed to answer your questions here. Thanks Paul! For more information about Paul, please visit www.Paul-Hamilton.com and www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com.

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bryancobb
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Ignorance

Postby bryancobb » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:41 am

3Dreaming wrote:Bryan, I am not stating FACT by experiencce. The facts come from the regulations that the pilots and controllers have to follow. With automated weather reporting and audio recordings of the communications you don't think a controller would let someone in VFR if the weather is reporting IFR without asking for a SVFR do you?


Yes... actually I DID (incorrectly) think that. I thought a tower controller could possibly, at their discretion, allow a VFR plane to enter if there were no IFR aircraft in the vicinity, and the PIC FELT he could maintain SVFR cloud clearance, and had the runway in sight.

Just ignorance. I am always learning. I would have sworn that was taught in Army Flight school in the 80's?? Guess my memory sucks, huh?
Bryan Cobb
Sport Pilot CFI
Commercial/Instrument Airplane
Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter
Cartersville, Ga
bryandcobb@att.net

3Dreaming
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Postby 3Dreaming » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:01 pm

Boy things have changed since then. I got my PPL in 1980 at the begining of my senior year of high school. I worked at the local airport full time that year while going to school. One Saturday morning I walked in and they said take the Cherokee Six up to MTO and bring back the Tomahawk. I had never flown the Six, but I jumped in and went. My first sole cross country I went into what is now a class"C" airport No radio, SVFR, flight of two. I can't imagine doing things like that now. Back before automated weather I have landed in what I thought was below VFR minimums only to have the controller call the field IFR after my landing. This was before automated weather, so the contrlloers had to take the observations. If the weather was changing they could delay taking the observation until the VFR aircraft had landed. Also the observations were done by humans, so errors were possible.

bryancobb
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3D

Postby bryancobb » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:19 pm

Really it hasn't dawned on me the implications of Automated WX. The last IFR flying I did was in 1997 when I was getting my fixed-wing instrument rating. That was the early period of automated WX while all the OLD procedures were still being used.

I was using my term "what was FACT by your experience" to mean the same thing as "prior case-law."

Thanks for bringing me up to speed.
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net

Jim Stewart
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Postby Jim Stewart » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:31 pm

Keep in mind that automated weather can lie. You are still responsible for a safe flight and maintaining minimums based on your judgment.

bryancobb
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Yes

Postby bryancobb » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:07 pm

Yes Jim,
But undoubtedly, automated WX is the ABSOLUTE when it comes to the FAA.
* Is the field below minimums?
* Do I need to file to an alternate?
* Is the approach legal?
* Am I going to get violated by the Feds?
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net

3Dreaming
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Re: Ignorance

Postby 3Dreaming » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:01 pm

bryancobb wrote:
3Dreaming wrote:Bryan, I am not stating FACT by experiencce. The facts come from the regulations that the pilots and controllers have to follow. With automated weather reporting and audio recordings of the communications you don't think a controller would let someone in VFR if the weather is reporting IFR without asking for a SVFR do you?


Yes... actually I DID (incorrectly) think that. I thought a tower controller could possibly, at their discretion, allow a VFR plane to enter if there were no IFR aircraft in the vicinity, and the PIC FELT he could maintain SVFR cloud clearance, and had the runway in sight.

Just ignorance. I am always learning. I would have sworn that was taught in Army Flight school in the 80's?? Guess my memory sucks, huh?


Bryan, re-reading this your thinking is not to far off, the pilot does have to ask for the special VFR though. It's kind of like going into class"B" airspace you have to have a clearance. The SVFR is your clearance into controlled airspace that is under IFR conditions.

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Paul Hamilton
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Postby Paul Hamilton » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:36 pm

Not sure if it is understood or not, and not that I like it or think it is right/safe, but sport pilots and private pilots flying as sport pilots are restricted from flying if the flight or surface visibility is less than 3 statute miles. This means SVFR for sport pilots for cloud clearance relief. The 61.315 c (12) regulation is pretty clear and overrides any other regulation.

Hopefully this is understood.
Last edited by Paul Hamilton on Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
Paul is a Sport Pilot CFI/DPE and the expert for ASA who writes the books and produces the DVD's for all pilots flying light sport aircraft.
See www.SportAviationCenter.com www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com and www.BeASportPilot.com to Paul's websites

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Paul Hamilton
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Postby Paul Hamilton » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:44 pm

I should have mentioned that my above comments are based on the regulations. Safety of flight is a different matter. It might be smart for a sport pilot to ask for SVFR in some safety related situations and the controller would not really know if it is a private or sport pilot. But it is important for us all to understand the regulations as we pass these on to the public so there is no misunderstanding.
Paul is a Sport Pilot CFI/DPE and the expert for ASA who writes the books and produces the DVD's for all pilots flying light sport aircraft.

See www.SportAviationCenter.com www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com and www.BeASportPilot.com to Paul's websites

zdc

Postby zdc » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:14 pm

Paul Hamilton wrote:I should have mentioned that my above comments are based on the regulations. Safety of flight is a different matter. It might be smart for a sport pilot to ask for SVFR in some safety related situations and the controller would not really know if it is a private or sport pilot. But it is important for us all to understand the regulations as we pass these on to the public so there is no misunderstanding.


That regulation does not prohibit a Sport Pilot from requesting and receiving a SVFR clnc if the visibility is at least 3 SM.

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Paul Hamilton
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Postby Paul Hamilton » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:11 am

That regulation does not prohibit a Sport Pilot from requesting and receiving a SVFR clnc if the visibility is at least 3 SM.[/quote]

Huh. I may stand corrected here. It would be the cloud clearances and not the 3 statute mile visibility for sport pilot SVFR. I am running this buy the FAA now to clarify. Makes sense.
Paul is a Sport Pilot CFI/DPE and the expert for ASA who writes the books and produces the DVD's for all pilots flying light sport aircraft.

See www.SportAviationCenter.com www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com and www.BeASportPilot.com to Paul's websites

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Paul Hamilton
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Postby Paul Hamilton » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:06 pm

Just got off the phone with the FAA and there is no regulation prohibiting sport pilots with an airspace endorsement and 3 miles visibility from requesting SVFR per 91.157 to get around the 1000/500/2000 cloud clearances per 91.155 to fly right next to the clouds and be clear of clouds per SVFR 91.157 :)
Paul is a Sport Pilot CFI/DPE and the expert for ASA who writes the books and produces the DVD's for all pilots flying light sport aircraft.

See www.SportAviationCenter.com www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com and www.BeASportPilot.com to Paul's websites

bryancobb
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Location: Cartersville Georgia

Real question

Postby bryancobb » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:37 pm

MY real question Paul, was... On the 3 miles Vis. requirement, IS AUTOMATED WX THE ABSOLUTE DETERMINANT OF 3 MILES, or is the controller's judgement or pilot's judgement, a factor?

I know the ROBOT visibility machines are not very accurate sometimes.

Scenario:
I am a Sport Pilot approaching my home airport (no extra fuel on board), an uncontrolled field inside the surface area class e of a towered airport. Weather has quickly gotten worse and the class D airport has just went IFR. I can clearly see my runway though because visibility WHERE I AM is pretty good (I feel 3 miles). The Vis at the class D airport is worse and automated WX is saying less than 1/2 mile.

Can MY JUDGEMENT on the 3 miles VIS allow ATC to honor my SVFR request and allow me to land on the runway I can see, or is automated WX God?

If automated sensors, 2 miles away from ME, say I shouldn't be able to see my runway, and are "running the show", then the only way for me to land and not run out of gas would be to declare an emergency.
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net

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Paul Hamilton
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Postby Paul Hamilton » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:00 pm

Title 14 Part 1 or FAR 1.1 clearly states:
Flight visibility means the average forward horizontal distance, from the cockpit of an aircraft in flight, at which prominent unlighted objects may be seen and identified by day and prominent lighted objects may be seen and identified by night.

Since the FAA defines "from the cockpit of an aircraft" as the basis if flight visibility it appears the pilot is the best judgement of flight visibility, not a WX machine.
Paul is a Sport Pilot CFI/DPE and the expert for ASA who writes the books and produces the DVD's for all pilots flying light sport aircraft.

See www.SportAviationCenter.com www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com and www.BeASportPilot.com to Paul's websites

bryancobb
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Location: Cartersville Georgia

It is so.

Postby bryancobb » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:04 pm

Now we can flush all the chat in this thread and boil it down to the following:

1) Day SVFR IS available for Sport Pilots, if needed, to enter controlled airspace when marginal weather is present.
2) While flying under Sport SVFR, 3 Miles of in-flight Visibility and Clear of clouds must be maintained.
3) The pilot must request SVFR from ATC. ATC will not offer it.

Crystal clear.
Bryan Cobb

Sport Pilot CFI

Commercial/Instrument Airplane

Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter

Cartersville, Ga

bryandcobb@att.net

Jim Stewart
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Postby Jim Stewart » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:48 pm

I hate to be a hanger lawyers, but I still question whether Sport Pilots can legally fly SVFR.

FAR 91.157 (the SVFR reg) provides an exception to FAR 91.155 (the private pilot visibility reg). If 91.155 were applicable to Sport Pilots, it should also provide an exception to 61.315, the reg that specifies Sport Pilot visibility requirements and it doesn't.


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