IFR vs VFR questions...?

1) Do all commercial aircraft fly under IFR at all times?

2) Does VFR mean you fly wherever you want without permission? Or do you still have an assigned path.

3) You can only fly VFR under good-seeing conditions, but may fly under IFR regardless of the weather. correct?


2) Like do you need to request permission to turn for example while under VFR, or can you just do it?

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    1) Most airline flights are IFR flights because they will be above 18000 ft, and because the IFR flight plan provides a backup record for the airline's dispatcher log.

    There are times when commercial aircraft fly VFR, namely, charter and out-of-the-way scheduled flights in non-pressurized, but nonetheless commercial, aircraft that will not fly that high. Imagine the Alaska bush pilot, for example: that's a commercial flight, but may not fly higher than a couple of thousand feet, and not go near any controlled airspace.

    Occasionally jet airliners will fly VFR when ferrying or making short hops where it is more practical to remain at a lower altitude.

    2) In VFR flight, the pilot is responsible for all aspects of flight planning and execution, and, so long as the flight does not violate regulations, may do as he or she pleases. If a VFR flight enters controlled airspace, contact must be made and maintained with the appropriate air traffic control authority, and the instructions of that authority must be obeyed whenever able.

    3) You can file an IFR flight plan under any conditions.

    Source(s): retired airline captain
  • 1 decade ago

    (1) IFR is where the pilot is ultimately responsible for navigation, obstacle clearance and traffic separation using the see-and-avoid concept. The vast majority of commercial traffic (any flight for hire) and all scheduled air carriers operate exclusively under IFR. However, commercial aircraft providing sight seeing flights, aerial photography, or lift services for parachute jumping usually operate under VFR. So the answer is No.

    (2) VFR flight is not allowed in airspace known as class A, regardless of the meteorological conditions. Class A airspace begins at 18,000 feet msl, and extends to an altitude of 60,000 feet msl. However, CVFR flight is used in locations where aviation authorities have determined that VFR flight should be allowed, but that ATC separation minimal and guidance are necessary.

    (3) Meteorological conditions that meet the minimum requirements for VFR flight are termed visual meteorological conditions (VMC). If they are not met, the conditions are considered instrument meteorological conditions, and a flight may only operate under IFR. However, as mentioned in point (1) above, all class A flights are IFR regardless of the weather conditions. So that's correct.

  • 1 decade ago

    No VFR pilot can go above 17999feet if not IFR certified...not true, glider pilots can get a waiver to operate above FL180.

    Commercial flights encompass too much...a flight instruction flight is considered a commercial flight. Aerial mapping, sight seeing, banner towing are all commercial flights and they operate VFR. FAR 121 airlines, like Delta, NWA, United, SkyWest, ASA, Chautauqua, Comair and so on operate all flights under IFR at all times. Even test flights and repositioning flights. Some airlines that operate into certain islands in the Bahamas can depart VFR and once they are in radio reception range they request and receive an IFR clearance.

    IFR does not necessarily mean you are operating in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) you can be in IFR in VMC or IMC however you cannot operate VFR in IMC.

  • First ,I think you should put the Capt. back in your Yahoo ID

    for those that ridicule you because you are not Airline Capt.

    YET, and accuse you of being a fake, I say to the devil w/ them.

    Your profile clearly states who and what you are.

    To answer your questions....

    1. Commercial aircraft (airliners) will fly under IFR when there are paying customers aboard. . If they were to fly the plane to relocate it (empty of passengers)or for any other reasons depending on the op specs, they might go VFR.

    2.if you are under positive control w/ ATC

    (flying in class B,C, or D airspace), you must follow atc's instructions unless you deem it unsafe or above your or the a/c's capabilities, then you would inform them "unable" and work out another course of action. Once clear of their airspace you will be told to resume own navigation. At that point you can fly where you want as long as you adhere to the Vrf crusing altitudes/cloud clearance and stay out of TFR's Restricted airspace etc. No permission necessary.

    3a. there are VFR rules specific on where you are and depending on if you are a student or private (or above)

    see § 91.155 Basic VFR weather minimums. at:


    3b. IFR does not mean you can fly in ANY wx .There are rules like a prohibition to flight into known icing if not properly equipped or if the ceiling is too low for landing. and alot more that would be moot to discuss.

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  • 1 decade ago

    IFR flying is mainly done during bad weather of when the pilot is flying above 18'000 feet. No VFR pilot can go above 17999feet if not IFR certified.

    Commercial pilots fly almost everytime under IFR as they have to follow strict guideline set by any FLying organisation.

    You cannot fly without permission under VFR rules within a controlled airspace, meaning tower operated, radar operated. You must tell them your position, they will give you a unique Squak number and you must obey their every comman, if they say fly West, you fly west until they tell you to turn or climb or decend.

    There is a limit to VFR flight, you cannot fly unless you have 3 Miles visibility.

  • 1 decade ago

    1. All Commercial flights will be in controlled airspace at all times. this is why some really small fields will be class E airspace vs. class G, this is not IFR... class A is IFR only

    2. The Airspace that you are flying in basically determines the rules you must follow. Basically if you are in a controlled airspace you must follow ATC instructions other than that do what you want. Take Ground school it will be covered in depth.

    3. VFR rules are dependant on the type of airspace you are in, as far as miles of visibility. In IFR conditions you can fly basically in 0 miles of visibility, landing in IFR conditions still is based on a decision height. Basically you have to have the field in sight to continue the landing otherwise you must go around or go to your alternate landing airport.

    Source(s): a Realy good online source for airspace rules is. http://flytandem.com/airspace.htm.
  • 1 decade ago

    1) If the flight requires cruising altitude above FL180 Class A airspace.

    2) VFR is an opening to fly basically wherever you want. You only need permission for airspace transitions. Your only assigned path would be a flight plan but you don't need to follow it. FSS will ***** about your time en route if you don't call and cancel a flight plan.

    3) Basic VFR weather min. 5SM 3000ft ceiling, MVFR 3-5SM 1000-3000ft ceiling. IFR can be anytime

    Source(s): CFI
  • 1 decade ago

    1) No, not all commercial aircraft fly under IFR rules. If you fly higher than 18,000 feet, yes, all aircraft fly on an IFR flight-plan and are under ATC control. Below 18,000, it's optional. Many smaller aircraft (myself included) have never flown IFR, but yet everything I do is commercial

    2) Yes and no. As long as you're not within higher-use airspace, and staying out of any restricted or prohibited airspace, not posing a hazard to persons or places on the ground, and not presenting a risk to other aircraft, you can pretty much go and do as you want.

    3) Yes

  • 1 decade ago

    1. mostly IFR

    2. no, but u may need certian airspace transitions.

    3.IFR regardless, VFR in good weather conditions

  • 1 decade ago

    1) No not all , only if IMC conditions are current or if operating at or above FL180 Class Alpha airspace.

    2)VFR is visual flight regulations which means that you will maintain visual separation in airspace , and receive ATC separation (depending on what airspace you are operating in).

    3) You may fly VFR in airspace if the cloud separation is adequate and visibility is as regulations require...each airspace has different cloud clearances

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