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?

  • $\begingroup$ 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, 2014 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, 2014 at 8:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ATC: "N1234 State intentions." $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 15, 2014 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger "yeah, umm, im gonna land right here, would you send a bus please?" :) $\endgroup$
    – falstro
    Jan 15, 2014 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Lnafziger, That is verbatim what ATC said (this scenario has happened to me). $\endgroup$
    – fbynite
    Jan 17, 2014 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


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.

  • $\begingroup$ The 7110.65 includes a paragraph on this exact topic. There is a lengthy note, the upshot of which is: The pilot is the authority as to flight visibility; if they deem that FV is less than 1SM they should declare an emergency and ATC should allow them to proceed inbound to land. The note references 14 CFR 91.3 (PIC emergency authority). $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Oct 26, 2021 at 5:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .