General resources


Rules of the air

VFR navigation

Navigation of VFR aircraft CAR 174D AIP ENR 1.1

The following apply to VFR flight AIP ENR 1.1:

  • The pilot in command must navigate the aircraft by visual reference to the ground or water, or by using any of the methods specified in AIP ENR 1.1, except that when operating at or below 2000 ft above the ground or water, the pilot in command must be able to navigate by visual reference to the ground or water.
  • When navigating by visual reference to the ground or water, the pilot in command must positively fix the aircraft’s position by visual reference to features shown on topographical charts at intervals not exceeding 30 minutes. When flying over the sea, visual reference features may include rocks and reefs and fixed man-made objects which are marked on suitable charts and are readily identifiable from the air.

  • When navigating by visual reference in controlled airspace the pilot must notify ATC if the aircraft’s track diverges by more than one (1) nautical mile from the track approved by ATC, or, if navigating by reference to radio navigation aids, by more than the tolerances given in AIP ENR 1.1; and
  • 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;
    • the pilot must meet, the visual position fixing-requirements or the other navigational requirements of AIP ENR 1.1; and
    • 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 (see notes).

  • 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 (see note 2 below).
  • VFR flights must not be conducted above FL200 unless:
    • the pilot in command or, if more than one pilot is required, each pilot:
      • is authorised under Part 61 to conduct a flight under the IFR in that airspace, and
      • complies with the recent experience requirements of Section 6.2.1 or 6.2.3 of CAOs as applicable to the particular flight, and
    • the aircraft is equipped for flight under the IFR and
    • the aircraft is engaged in an ‘IFR pick up’, ‘VFR climb/descent’ or ‘VFR on top’ procedure as published in AIP, and
    • the aircraft remains in Class E airspace (see ENR 1.1 and AIP ENR 1.4-2).

Time AIP ENR 1.1

During flight pilots must maintain a time reference accurate to within +/- 30 seconds.

Track keeping AIP ENR 1.1

Tolerances are applied to tracks to assess containment areas for the purposes of ensuring navigational integrity, separation from other aircraft, terrain and obstacle clearance, and avoidance of specified airspace. Although allowing for the errors inherent in the navigation systems used, these tolerances are based on the assumption that the pilot will maintain track as closely as possible.

The pilot in command must, at all times, take positive action to regain track as soon as a deviation from the correct track is recognised.

Avoiding controlled airspace AIP ENR 1.1

Unless an appropriate clearance has been obtained, the pilot in command of an aircraft operating in Class G airspace, or a VFR aircraft operating in Class E airspace, must not allow the aircraft to enter:

a. airspace for which ATC clearance is required; or

b. an active restricted area.


Back to top
New rules come into effect from 2 December 2021 that cover the general operating and flight rules. We are currently updating this guide to reflect the new rules. A new version will be available to download from 2 December.
This is default text for notification bar