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I posted this in general discussion because the topic spans both ATC and pilot side clients. A pilot transited my airspace today (legally somewhat, sans the wrong altitude for direction under VFR flight) with SVFR as his "flight rules" category. This is not the first time I've noticed this. The conditions in my airspace were actually less than SVFR (<1 mile), but it isn't important here.

 

My question is, as SVFR is procedural in nature and limited to the airfield surface area, then why is it a valid flight rules option in the flight plan. I know SVFR, and I also know it isn't anything one files a flight plan under. ICAO flight planning (which the US falls under now) dictates that aircraft is either IFR, VFR, IFR with change to VFR, or VFR with change to IFR. There is no such thing as SVFR or DVFR flight plans for that matter.

 

Now, this is a US mindset speaking. I realize Vatsim is global, so do SVFR flight plans exist elsewhere in the world? Would a pilot actually file a SVFR flight plan outside the US? I know these options have been on the pilot clients forever, but I've actually just come to wonder why.

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This might clear things up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_visual_flight_rules

 

SVFR is just VFR as far as flight plans and airspace cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es are concerned, and you file it as such. SVFR simply means that you get to fly VFR in IMC. You don't file a flight as SVFR, because you don't know what exactly the meterological conditions will be; instead, you just file VFR, and if the weather is such that you can't fly VFR, but you still meet the requirements for SVFR, you can request SVFR from ATC. The exact requirements vary per country, but you generally need to still be able to navigate visually, and you have to be flying in controlled airspace.

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This might clear things up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_visual_flight_rules

 

SVFR is just VFR as far as flight plans and airspace cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es are concerned, and you file it as such. SVFR simply means that you get to fly VFR in IMC. You don't file a flight as SVFR, because you don't know what exactly the meterological conditions will be; instead, you just file VFR, and if the weather is such that you can't fly VFR, but you still meet the requirements for SVFR, you can request SVFR from ATC. The exact requirements vary per country, but you generally need to still be able to navigate visually, and you have to be flying in controlled airspace.

 

Thank you, and I'm fully aware of what SVFR is, and again know that it's procedural and not a flight plan following. My thoughts going into this post were:

 

1.) Do other countries actually file SVFR/DVFR flight plans. I doubt this as ICAO is the standard, and does not afford this option (nor should it).

 

2.) If the answer to 1 is no, then it shouldn't be an option to file such in the flight planning system on Vatsim.

 

To that, I agree with Robert's point that it should be removed, or at least memo'd to not file those flight rules until such time as future clients and/or updates can reflect this. Also to Robert's point, I don't think there necessarily needs to be an amendment by ATC. It just becomes subject to the procedural rules at that time. Although, SVFR conditions are rare enough as is, and a pilot actually requesting it on the network would be even more rare.

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re 1.: My understanding is that you *never* file SVFR anywhere. You file VFR, and then you request SVFR from ATC at some point during your flight (most likely clearance delivery).

 

re 2.: Technically, you are right. If we want realistic flight planning, then we should follow ICAO rules, and just file VFR. But in practice, some aspects of virtual aviation can never match reality, and I think it's OK to deviate from real-world procedures in some cases. And this may be one of those, because ATCO workload is a bit different from IRL (one controller manning several positions top-down, and not necessarily being trained for special situations), and because unlike real-world pilots, we can change the weather if we like, so we can more easily predict that we will be using SVFR when filing our flight plans.

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Why would you want to set a status in a flightplan that does no exist?

ITEM 8: FLIGHT RULES AND TYPE OF FLIGHT (1 OR 2 CHARACTERS)

Flight Rules

 

ENTER one of the following letters to denote the category of flight rules with which the pilot intends to comply:

 

I if it is intended that the entire flight will be operated under IFR.

V if it is intended that the entire flight will be operated under VFR.

Y if the flight initially will be operated under IFR, followed by one or more changes of flight rules.

Z if the flight initially will be operated under VFR, followed by one or more changes of flight rules.

For controllers it is important whether someone has filed VFR or IFR, basically. SVFR is just a clearance of local controller that accepts a VFR flight in weather conditions that are below VFR-minima within controlled airspace and this clearance is needed for flight in controlled airspace only. Once a pilot under SVFR has left controlled airspace he'll be back in airspace GOLF and then he will be flying VFR legally. If the weather requirements for GOLF are not met then nobody in his right mind will be flying there at all.

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Why would you want to set a status in a flightplan that does no exist?

 

Which is why I question why SVFR and DVFR exist as "flight rules" in the flight planning fields of the pilot clients. While rare, people are wrongly filing with those selected.

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Yes, as it does everywhere else anyone in this thread so far has mentioned. The discussion is not whether or not it is a thing, but whether it should available as an item in the Flight Rules-dropdown in the VATSIM clients. And IMO (and everyone else's it seems, happily), it shouldn't. SVFR is a clearance you get on the spot when your VFR flight is halted by less than VFR conditions, specifically to enter/exit the controlled airspace around an airport (CTR, Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D, etc). It's not a set of rules you plan an entire flight under. We don't need that option, but Y and Z would be nice.

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