VFR Cloud Clearances - Gray Area???

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Sinistar, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    For this question, lets restrict it to:
    • ASEL
    • Daytime
    • Below 10,000msl
    • Above 1,200agl
    • No SVFR
    • Not within a Bravo, Charlie or Delta airspace.
    So 14.CFR.91.155 indicates 500ft below, 1000ft above, 2000ft horizontal.

    Can a pilot then fly in the locations A,B,C,D in the diagram?
    VFRCloudQuestion.jpg
     
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    W T F
     
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  3. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    Then what is the answer?
     
  4. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    2895D93F-A4E0-4C93-9837-94C0B2EBE56C.gif
     
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  5. Lon33

    Lon33 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The answer is “yes.”
     
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  6. wayne

    wayne Line Up and Wait

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    Depends. :)
     
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  7. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    Now I am even more confused!
     
  8. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    A literal reading suggests the answer is yes. Unless someday we get the advisory circular that decides the answer is no. Now for a fun exercise, contact your local FSDO with the question!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Too much time on your hands?
     
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  10. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Nah. Write the FAA and ask for the Chief Counsel's opinion, that will clear it up for everyone.
     
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  11. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Even better. Does seem a legit grey area.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    Man, I should do that one day over lunch. They already know me :)

    What I find weird is that especially in areas C,D descending IFR big guys could be descending at speeds up to 250kts and you could be right by that cloud and be "technically" legal. Stupid - yes. But legal.
     
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  13. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    They will conclude you need to be Y above within the X lateral area and X to the side within the Y vertical area even though the reg doesn’t literally say it. That’s my bet.
     
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  14. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    What if a hypothetical pilot, operating under VFR flight rules wanted to use some go pro video from one of these gray areas.
     
  15. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Wait for a ruling methinks... and in practice it’s hard to actually fly in those areas, clouds are too irregular...


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  16. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've only been doing this for about a year and half so I have no idea how old the VFR cloud clearances are. Perhaps they are rather old. It would seem if they were written today and intended for those areas to be off limits they might have said: "Remain clear of the volume surrounding a cloud defined by...." and then have each of the various clearances for day, night, class G, Class E, etc.
     
  17. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  18. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man Pattern Altitude

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    Oh dear god, it's going to be the approach quiz all over again.
     
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  19. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    At points A,B,C and D in the picture, you are less than 1000 feet above, less than 2000 feet horizontal and less than 500 feed below. How is that a yes?
     
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  20. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    According to your diagram that is clearly not a gray area. It is a white area.
     
  21. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Better yet, let Bryan ( @SixPapaCharlie ) do it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  22. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    In those regions, there is not a cloud less than 1000' directly below you, there is not a cloud less than 500' directly above you, and there is not a cloud less than 2000' directly beside you.

    Technically legal, I suppose, but a bad idea.
     
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  23. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    Most clouds are grey areas.
     
  24. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Sorry, I guess I don
    't understand your drawing. The altitudes aside, it looks like your definition of "lateral" only encompasses two directions. Remove the vertical and I see this...
    upload_2018-11-5_11-52-1.png
     
  25. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude

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    Why wouldn't the distances be curves around all edges not square?
     
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  26. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude

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    Both typing at the same time. Good diagram
     
  27. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    Okay I added a couple key reference points as I guess my diagram was not clear regarding up and down :)

    VFRCloudQuestion2.jpg
     
  28. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Because that would mean applying logic and good sense to the regulations, and I'm pretty sure that sort of thing is prohibited.
     
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  29. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    You are right! But as you can tell I already suck at drawing :)

    Now given your drawing, how could I ever get within 2000ft horizontally of a cloud to be able to fly under it by 500ft. It doesn't matter if its a cloud shaped like a rectangle or like the much better example you gave. The regs don't seem to mention them all being combined (volume) so technically once you are in a corner area (albient 3D) that area seems to not be covered by the FAR's.
     
  30. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The reg does not say "distance from clouds directly below" it says "distance from clouds". And if you got your tape measure out then you would find that the distance from where you are at to the cloud is less than 1000 vertically AND less than 2000

    untitled.jpg .
    A literal reading of the regulations says that's a no-go zone.
     
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  31. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    So I was going to post a "loophole" meme...but I learned a new one today, and just a word of caution: be careful googling the word "loophole"...
     
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  32. davidgfern

    davidgfern Filing Flight Plan

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    In my opinion, I would say "no". The "500 below, 1000 above, 2000 feet horizontal" defines a cylinder with a "cloud shaped hole" drilled through the center of it. All the airspace contained within the body of the cylinder surrounding the cloud is verboten under VFR.
     
  33. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Even though a cloud is not a uniform geometric shape, it is better to view the no go area as a single three dimensional cylinder than four two dimensional squares.
     
  34. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    1. Unless you're flying with a measuring tape, this is ALL academic.
    2. How comfortable are you next to that cloud knowing there's a possibility something may pop out of it, straight at you, head on, doing 200 knots?

    As far as videos and picture posting: I've had a few videos that were WELL clear of clouds that look worse during review and the opposite as well. Most of my stuff gets recorded with the phone.
     
  35. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    Draw the buffer zone around the airplane, instead of around the cloud, and it should be easier to visualize.
     
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  36. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I thought that would be applying logic and good sense to reading the regulations.
     
  37. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I knew from the numbers which were up and down and which were lateral.
     
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  38. Sinistar

    Sinistar Cleared for Takeoff

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    I figured that but I just wanted my drawing to have a McDonald's and a Walmart so I knew everyone was on the same page :)
     
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  39. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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  40. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    The moral of this thread is to be careful flying ti walmart and Mickey D's!
     
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