Operations resources


General information

Visual flight rules

Visual Flight Rules (VFR)

VFR flight may only be conducted (CAR 172, ENR 1.2):

  • in VMC
  • provided that, when operating at or below 2000 ft above the ground or water,  the pilot is able to navigate by visual reference to the ground or water
  • at sub-sonic speeds
  • in accordance with the speed restrictions identified at ENR 1.4

Unless the pilot in command is authorised under CASR Part 61 to conduct a flight under IFR or at night under VFR and the aircraft is appropriately equipped for flight at night or under the IFR, a VFR flight must not:

Special VFR

By day, when VMC do not exist, the ATC unit responsible for a control zone may issue, at pilot request, a special VFR clearance for flight in the CTR, or in controlled airspace next to the CTR for the purpose of entering or leaving the CTR, providing
(AIP ENR 1.2):

  • the special VFR flight will not unduly delay an IFR flight
  • the flight can be conducted clear of cloud
  • the visibility is not less than
    • 1600 m for aeroplanes
    • 800 m for helicopters, or
    • for balloons, not less than 100 m below 500 ft AGL and 1600 m at and above 500 ft AGL
  • a helicopter is operated at such a speed that the pilot has adequate opportunity to observe any obstructions or other traffic in sufficient time to avoid collisions
  • the flight can be conducted in accordance with the requirements of CAR 157 regarding low flying.

Determination of visibility for VFR CAR 174

Flight visibility shall be determined by the pilot in command from the cockpit of the aircraft while in flight.

Subject to CAR 257, the pilot in command of an aircraft operating under the VFR  is responsible for determining the visibility for the take-off and landing of the aircraft.

In determining visibility for the purposes of this regulation, the pilot in command shall take into account the meteorological conditions, sun glare and any other condition that may limit his or her effective vision through his or her windscreen.

Aerodrome meteorological minima CAR 257

CASA may, in respect of an aircraft operation, determine the meteorological minima for the landing or taking off of an aircraft at an aerodrome. This information must  be published in AIP or NOTAMs.

If an element of the meteorological minima for take-off or landing is less than that determined for the aircraft operation at the aerodrome, the aircraft must not take-off or land at the aerodrome.


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New rules came into effect from 2 December 2021 that cover the general operating and flight rules. This website is now out of date and will be switched off in the new year. A PDF copy of the VFRG is available for download.
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