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Features August 2015 Issue

How Far Can You See?

The regulations require the requisite flight visibility in order to land, and that might be better than reported visibility. The first step is knowing how to determine your flight visibility.

Three simple conditions must be met to land from an instrument approach: being in a position to land, having the runway environment in sight, and possessing the required flight visibility. The first requirement is straight-forward and the second is thoroughly articulated in the regs. The third requirement, though, is a little thorny. Unlike commercial operations, which are restricted from conducting approaches with reported weather below minimums, GA pilots can take a peek no matter what the AWOS is blabbering. If you land with reported weather below minimums, an FAA inspector might ask you about the visibility. The answer is simple—you had the required flight visibility. The regulations only require you to have the flight visibility printed on the approach plate. The ol’ Pilot/Controller glossary defines flight visibility as:

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