What are VFR conditions

Special flights according to visual flight rules

Special VFR (Abbr. SVFR; en. Special VFR) is a procedure that enables VFR flights to take off or land at an airport within a control zone even if the minimum weather conditions required for the airspace are not met.

Special VFR is in Germany Also allowed in the control zone during the night.

In principle, circular flights would also be possible, but these would seriously impair the flow of traffic - see the section on staggering.

If special flights are carried out according to visual flight rules, the following conditions must be met.

The pilot must

  • always stay clear of clouds and maintain visual contact with the ground (earth view),
  • have a flight visibility of at least 1,500 m (800 m are sufficient for helicopters),
  • do not fly faster than 140 kt IAS.
Subject to the above conditions, a flight in airspace G (in / below 3000ft MSL / 1000ft AGL, whichever is higher) is also permitted. However, this is then not an SVFR, but a normal VFR flight under reduced weather minima.

The pilot may only give clearance if

  • there is a view of the ground (according to METAR) of at least 1,500 m (800 m are sufficient for helicopters),
  • the main cloud base is at least 600 ft.

If the ground visibility is less than 1500 m (=> thus under S-VFR conditions), a clearance to cross the control zone may still be given, provided the pilot reports that his flight visibility is at least 1500 m (or 800 m for helicopters) amounts.


The controller must take into account that - unlike "normal" flights under visual flight rules - a Graduation obligation for IFR flights exists because the pilot might not be able to identify surrounding IFR traffic in good time due to the poor visibility and be able to react accordingly. The graduation is normally achieved by using the radar graduation, unless at least one of the requirements for the application of the wake vortex graduation is met. Traffic in the traffic area applies to other traffic on the runway base line ("RWY centerline") Not as staggered.

In any case, consultation with the sector above is required.

In the case of a clearance for special VFR, the controller must take into account that the pilot may not always be able to comply with the clearance in order to comply with the conditions required above. Therefore it does not make sense to work with heading rates. Recommendations are possible and, depending on the situation, even helpful. The same applies to instructions to maintain a certain altitude; here the assignment of height bands is suitable.


For the radio procedures to be used, see the special VFR radio example.