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Say I have requested a special VFR to enter Class D airspace. Approach acknowledges and clears me into the Class D airspace. After entering the Class D airspace the airport visibility drops < 1 mile.

Am I required to exit the airspace or can I continue as normal?

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  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't it be your job to remain in suitable visibility conditions? I mean, if the visibility is better outside the delta, you need to go there, if it's not, you'd be flying around there illegally as well, so you might as well bite the bullet and declare emergency :) $\endgroup$ – falstro Jan 15 '14 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ @roe, Weather, at times, can deteriorate quickly leaving the pilot in less than desirable flight conditions. Declaring an emergency may be the only "proper" way to get back to the airport. $\endgroup$ – fbynite Jan 15 '14 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ ATC: "N1234 State intentions." $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jan 15 '14 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger "yeah, umm, im gonna land right here, would you send a bus please?" :) $\endgroup$ – falstro Jan 15 '14 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger, That is verbatim what ATC said (this scenario has happened to me). $\endgroup$ – fbynite Jan 17 '14 at 20:47
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The clearance comes with the catch that you need to maintain the minimum visibility requirements and sky conditions, if you're not able to, you have no clearance, it's pretty much as simple as that. Either you need to navigate in such a way that you avoid the weather (which might require you to leave the airspace) or you can do one of two things

  • Request an IFR clearance if you're rated and equipped
  • Declare an emergency and land in the nearest suitable spot, assuming you can still see the ground

If it is deteriorating so quickly that you cannot go back to where you came from (i.e. the weather is not better outside the D), you'd be flying illegally outside the D as well, so no point in going there really, but more importantly, if the weather is deteriorating that dramatically, you don't have much time before you'll be completely blind, and by that time you'll want to be on the ground with as little injuries as possible, no matter where or the condition of the aircraft.

Note that the minimums are different depending on where you are (jurisdiction) and type of aircraft.

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