VFR Over-The-Top - National Differences

National Differences

The rules for flying VFR OTT vary greatly from country to country. Some rules, such as those contained in the US Federal Aviation Regulations, are quite simple to understand and easy to comply with. Others, such as the Canadian VFR OTT regulations contained in the Canadian Aviation Regulations, are much more complex and more difficult to comply with.

The Canadian rules specify that an aircraft may be operated in VFR OTT flight during the cruise portion of the flight during the day, at a vertical distance from clouds of at least 1000 feet. When the aircraft is operated between two cloud layers, the vertical distance between the layers must be at least 5000 feet. The flight visibility at the cruising altitude of the aircraft must be at least 5 miles and that the weather at the destination aerodrome must be forecast to have a sky condition of scattered cloud or better, a ground visibility of 5 miles or greater with no forecast of precipitation, fog, thunderstorm or blowing snow, and that these conditions must be forecast to exist for one hour before to two hours after the estimated time of arrival when a terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) is available or from one hour before to three hours after the estimated time of arrival if a TAF is not available.

In Germany VFR OTT (Flüge nach Sichtflugregeln über Wolkendecken) is allowed and regulated in §32 LuftVO. The requirements are:

  1. minimum height of 1,000 ft (305 m) above ground or water, minimum weather requirements for airspace E met
  2. pilot is capable of keeping the planned course
  3. approach and landing at destination in visual meteorological conditions (VMC)
  4. pilot possesses radiotelephony license

Additionally the aircraft must be equipped with a VOR receiver or basic RNAV equipment.

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