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Visual Meteorological Conditions

Visual Meteorological Conditions

Visual meteorological conditions are a set of minima for conditions like clouds, ceilings, visibility, and other atmospheric conditions that can affect a pilot’s ability to fly the aircraft safely from point A to point B. These minima are set by the FAA for all phases of flight, including IFR and VFR approaches, IFR flight, VFR flight, and what airports you can and cannot land at.

The rules governing what visual meteorological conditions you can and cannot fly in are defined in FAR part 91 for both IFR and VFR flight. If the visual meteorological conditions at an airport are below the minima, a flight to an alternate is required. The visual meteorological conditions at an airport are perhaps the first most important thing pilots consider when flying a charter flight. Whether the jet can land at the airport due to weather will determine if the charter is even possible. Charter jets tend to be smaller and lighter in weight than airliners, thus giving them higher weather standards.

The term "visual meteorological conditions" may be thought to just involve actual conditions seen from the eye. However, they apply to much more than that. Information from devices like radar screens and precipitation recording equipment allows for the detection of weather, giving pilots more information pertinent to the flight. In effect, the term does not only apply to the physical meteorological conditions present, but also to the meteorological conditions detected within and beyond the visual range.

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