I received a document where it it specified that the flight relevant for such document can only take place in "Day VFR" conditions undear EASA regulations.

Is this connected to VMC? What does EASA defines as "Day VFR"?


2 Answers 2


It's by opposition to Night VFR (NVFR) which allows to fly by night in visual meteorological conditions. So the answer will focus on NVFR, rather than on day VFR.

EASA harmonization over EU countries is done by enforcing Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA). SERA states that a night flight must be conducted in IFR, and therefore the crew must hold an Instrument Rating.

Prior to SERA, some countries did not allow VFR at night for security reasons (aircraft not visually identifiable, and no transponder), but other did, that's the case for the UK that I'll use as an example here.

When implementing SERA, EU countries can use acceptable means of compliance, as described in ED Decision 2013/013/R and its annex.

  1. NVFR is implemented (or denied) in EU country by country. So rules may differ between countries. UK example:
    • UK license can be extended for NVFR.
    • More for UK NVFR: Safety Notice: SN-2012/007.
    • In practice, VFR at night is permitted in accordance with SERA requirements. Aircraft leaving the vicinity of an aerodrome must maintain 2-way communication with ATC and file a flight plan. The process of 'booking out' is still accepted as an alternative method to filing a formal paper or electronic flight plan in certain circumstances. Similarly, abbreviated flight plans filed in flight are still permitted. There are also more restricting weather minima:
      • Minimum cloud ceiling of 1500 ft AMSL
      • Flight visibility of 5 km, or 3 km in the case of a helicopter flying outside controlled airspace
      • Maintain sight of the surface when flying at 3,000 ft AMSL or below
      • Minimum height of 1000 ft (or 2000 ft if over high terrain) above the highest fixed obstacle within 8 km of the aircraft except when taking off or landing

  2. Night is defined for this purpose:
  3. Aircraft must be compliant for NVFR, e.g. this equipment is required:
    • artificial horizon
    • Instrument Lighting
    • Landing Light
    • Position and Anti Collision Lights

In countries where NVFR is not allowed, IFR applies at night.

  • $\begingroup$ That sounds like a much more practically useful definition of 'night' than the one we have in Sweden (and I'm not commenting on the half hour specifically; that could be any amount of time). I'm not really up to digging out the exact definition right now, but it goes something like "highest point on the sun's disk lower than six degrees below the horizon" or some such. Perfectly scientifically valid, but almost impossible to apply in practice! $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jan 23, 2018 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling: Ah yes indeed :-) Seems something more practical for ships using a sextant. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jan 23, 2018 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ Would even having a sextant help, though? Because when the highest point on the sun's disk is below the horizon, there would be nothing to aim the sextant towards... $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jan 24, 2018 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling: Oops, read "above" instead of "below". Then your comment is twice right :-) $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jan 24, 2018 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, yes, then your comment makes more sense. Maybe I should have written "more than" instead of "lower than" in my initial comment, but the grace period for editing that comment has long since passed now and I'm not 100% sure what I wrote is the exact definition anyway (though it's close), so... Maybe I'll dig out the actual definition later. (The exact definition is unlikely to be very relevant to me, since for the time being I'm only aiming for VFR in a VFR-only aircraft type.) $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jan 24, 2018 at 9:21

VFR @ night in Germany requires a HG and DG, VSI, - a standard IFR panel plus a VOR receiver, lights and License. The funny description for the beginning of night applies here too. The German Weather Service makes these times public for selected airports. Choose the one closest to yours. See this link (in German).

Else a flightplan is required and communication to radar. IMHO all overly too many requirements. VFR @ night is not so much more demanding as VFR/day on a hazy day. Considering it IFR because of the "lack of a horizon" shows that these rules are made by folks who never flew at night, or even never flew.


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