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Visual Flight Rules

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Visual Flight Rules (VFR) apply when an aircraft is not being flown under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Under VFR, the pilot generally controls the attitude of the aircraft by relying on what can be seen out the window, although this may be supplemented by referring to the instrument panel. A pilot flying under VFR is required to stay at least a specified distance away from clouds and must stay in areas where the visibility meets minimum requirements. There may be other requirements which vary from one country to another, such as not flying over a solid layer of clouds, or not flying at night. The pilot is responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft, terrain, and obstructions such as buildings and towers. Being in contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) is optional in most airspace, and the pilot is usually allowed to select the course and altitude to be flown even when in contact with ATC. The pilot may navigate either visually, or by reference to instruments and electronic aids to navigation.

If the minimum requirements for VFR are not met, then the pilot must have an instrument rating and meet recency of experience requirements pertaining to instrument flight, the aircraft must be equipped and type-certified for instrument flight, and the flight must be flown under instrument flight rules.

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