Regulations: SVFR

scuzzer23

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I understand the purpose of special VFR is to be able to depart controlled airspace with class G weather minimums. This makes sense if there is a disparity between the minimums between controlled and uncontrolled airspace. For instance if it's 1sm vis. and you want to depart class D VFR and continue on through class G under 1200 AGL.

But the thing that confuses me is the regs on requiring an instrument rating for SVFR at night. What's the advantage to SVFR if the weather minimums in class G are no lower than the departing controlled airspace minimums? Why wouldn't you just depart regular VFR? Am I missing part of my brain here?
 

WMUchickenhawk

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Special VFR does not specifically reduce the minimums to Class G Minimums, it reduces them to 1 mile visibility and clear of clouds, even at night.
So if you were to depart a class D at night normal VFR would be 3, 500, 1000, 2000. It would be the same for Class G, however under Special VFR you could still depart at 1 mile and clear of clouds.

See FAR 91.157
 

midlifeflyer

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I also think you are misunderstanding the rule a little bit.

SVFR allows you to fly VFR "within the airspace contained by the upward extension of the lateral boundaries of the controlled airspace designated to the surface for an airport" with reduced VFR minimums .

I think it's a mistake that only leads to confusion to try to think of it as making Class E into Class G. (Maybe that's why you're confused?)

"the upward extension of the lateral boundaries of the controlled airspace designated to the surface for an airport" just means a Class E, D, or C or B area that runs all the way down to the ground.

Although we tend to think of more extreme scenarios, the rule can be used for more simple purposes: to allow VFR flightin and out of a Class E surface area when the ceiling is less than 1000' or allow you to fly a normal 800 AGL traffic pattern at a Class D with a 1200' ceiling.

My WAG is that the instrument flight requirement for night SVFR is there since 1 mile, clear of clouds in the dark is more likely to result in a navigational error or inadvertent entry into the clouds than during the day.
 

Singlecoil

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... or allow you to fly a normal 800 AGL traffic pattern at a Class D with a 1200' ceiling.

Have you ever tried to do that? I have and they wouldn't issue a special since it was VFR. They talked to me like I was crazy.
 

FLYHY

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I have used SVFR to do traffic pattern work both day and night when weather was below VFR minimums.
 

Singlecoil

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I have used SVFR to do traffic pattern work both day and night when weather was below VFR minimums.
Well, yeah, but he was talking about using special VFR when the ceiling was 1200 feet, or above VFR minimums.
 

midlifeflyer

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Have you ever tried to do that? I have and they wouldn't issue a special since it was VFR. They talked to me like I was crazy.
I wouldn't doubt it. Chances are that to a Class controller, the field is either VFR or not; no reason for them to understand that we need to also stay 500 below the clouds. That's our problem.
 

nosehair

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What's the advantage to SVFR if the weather minimums in class G are no lower than the departing controlled airspace minimums?
Once out of class e into class g, with an instrument rated pilot and airplane, you can proceed IMC in uncontrolled airspace with no clearance.
 

sleddriver71

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Well, yeah, but he was talking about using special VFR when the ceiling was 1200 feet, or above VFR minimums.
Even though the ceilings technically make it VFR, to stay legal you have to stay 500 feet below that which could put you lower than the traffic pattern altitude. In that case you would be required to get an SVFR clearance to stay legal.
 

Singlecoil

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Even though the ceilings technically make it VFR, to stay legal you have to stay 500 feet below that which could put you lower than the traffic pattern altitude. In that case you would be required to get an SVFR clearance to stay legal.
But you can't because the field is not IFR. Try it sometime.
 

Morettis

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No one is going to give you a Special VFR clearance to bounce around in the pattern, because you'll be tying up their airspace for any IFR traffic that wants to come it. SVFR is to get in or get out of an airport, not to be out there screwing off doing touch and goes.

The reason you need to be instrument rated for night SVFR is because if you've ever done it, you know that night SVFR is IFR. There's no way in hell you're staying clear of any clouds other than on accident.
 

scuzzer23

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Once out of class e into class g, with an instrument rated pilot and airplane, you can proceed IMC in uncontrolled airspace with no clearance.
That's a valid point that I hadn't thought of.

As far as doing touch-n-goes SVFR, I agree that it's pointless. It's doesn't teach good weather decision-making habits. You'll most likely be flying at a lower altitude which doesn't help learning normal traffic pattern approaches. And you'll be tying up IFR traffic, because they must legally separate you to the same degree as other IFR traffic.
 

Fearless Tower

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But you can't because the field is not IFR. Try it sometime.
Exactly....and it doesn't matter whether you ask for SVFR to stay in the pattern or just depart. I asked for a special VFR once just to depart when the ceiling was around 1100' AGL and was given 'the field is VFR' response.
 
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