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You are flying on a VFR flight in VMC in a controlled airspace. Suddenly, you realize you are unable to maintain VMC. What are your actions according ICAO Annex 2?
  • A
    Request a special VFR clearance if flying in a control zone.
  • B
    Continue in IMC and land on the next suitable airport.
  • C
    Continue in IMC and land on the next airport which is equipped for instrument approaches.
  • D
    Continue to fly in VMC as best as possible and land at the nearest suitable airport immediately.

Learning Objective 010.05.04.01.01: Describe the VFR as contained in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 923/2012. Source: SERA.5001 VMC visibility and distance from cloud minima; SERA.5005 Visual flight rules; SERA.5010 Special VFR in control zones


Special VFR (SVFR)

Special VFR is defined by ICAO as a VFR flight cleared by ATC to operate in controlled airspace in conditions that are less than VMC. SVFR is only applicable to flights entering or departing the control zone. The minimum visibility prescribed by ICAO is 1500m, lower than the 5km (or 3km in certain cases) required for VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions).

When outside of a suitable control zone then, the procedure for loss of VMC is to do an immediate 180º turn (or whatever is best) and remain VMC, finding a VMC airfield to land at. Inside a control zone, however, there is an option to accept worse meteorological conditions, SVFR.

A special VFR clearance allows an aircraft to depart from or arrive at a controlled aerodrome via a control zone, but is subject to many restrictions, including the amount of aircraft in the control zone, etc. It is also very low visibility, so must be flown carefully, and slowly where possible to give a good time to spot obstacles.

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