SVFR Clearances 91.155 91.157 / VFR Conditions - Need Help Please

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  1. #1
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    SVFR Clearances 91.155 91.157 / VFR Conditions - Need Help Please

    Hello all,

    I'm a helicopter pilot with about 20 years of flying and for years I've been told many opposing answers from controllers/ pilots/ DPE's / colleagues. I recently got into a very spirited debate with some co workers on SVFR/VFR and interpretation of 91.155 91.157. I've also scoured the ATC handbook for an answer but no real specifics. As with many things it's interpretation and somewhat gray sometimes. The scenario:

    We are a part 91 operator. I am a helicopter intending to transition through a Class D airspace area (Not land) at say 2000 feet. ATIS reports the field IFR (let's say 900-2). I can see that the airport is obscured under that layer, but the other half of the airspace is clear VFR. This is a plausible scenario at some airports where the airport might have a blanket of clouds over it, but only on half of the airspace area. I have 20 miles vis and can see the ground below and blue sky above and can maintain that (in compliance with 91.155 cloud clearance and vis). 91.155 also references 1000-3 which only implies operating BELOW a ceiling and taking off, landing, or entering the pattern (which I'm not doing, just transitioning).

    The question is do I require a SVFR clearance? Of course when I make the initial call, the controller will report IFR conditions and ask my intentions (they do not know the weather I see and can't offer the SVFR) If I as the PIC clarify I am VFR and have cloud clearance and vis (as required by 91.155), does the controller still require a SVFR clearance to allow the transition? (SVFR 91.157 only applies when the weather does not meet the required 91.155 criteria)Can the controller legally allow the VFR transition without the SVFR if the pilot is obviously in VFR conditions though the airport reports the 900-2?

    This has been granted me before once I've stated I was VFR, without getting the SVFR. After reading 91.155 and 91.157 closely, it seems to be my interpretation no SVFR clearance is required if the PIC states he/she is VFR and only transitioning the airspace without the intent to land and is not operating underneath any ceiling.

    In closing, if the controller does not grant the VFR transition, then of course you comply with ATC instructions and either stay clear or request the SVFR, but at times requesting the SVFR clearance adds delay and controller workload etc.. More importantly again is, can the controller legally allow me through without the SVFR.

    Please help and give me your opinions and reference any additional FAR's or pubs if you can. Much appreciated.

    THANK YOU

  2. #2
    Senior Analyst

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    Re: SVFR Clearances 91.155 91.157 / VFR Conditions - Need Help Please

    This was answered....where did all the posts go?

  3. #3
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    Re: SVFR Clearances 91.155 91.157 / VFR Conditions - Need Help Please

    Quote Originally Posted by j_time41 View Post
    This was answered....where did all the posts go?
    He posted it twice in 2 different forums. This is not the post you're looking for.

  4. #4
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    Re: SVFR Clearances 91.155 91.157 / VFR Conditions - Need Help Please

    Yeah sorry guys I accidentally posted it twice. Actually found all the answers I needed from an earlier thread on here in 2013. Thanks again.

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