Is it legal for planes to takeoff and land in zero visibility? Is it safe?

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    $\begingroup$ Why the downvote, downvoter? This is a solid question and one which CFIIs cover during training. $\endgroup$ – egid Dec 22 '13 at 18:40

In the US, for general aviation flights, operating under Part 91 of the FARs, it is legal to take off with zero visibility (see page 2-2 of the IPH, PDF). In my opinion, it is not safe. If an emergency were to take place, you would be unable to return and land; under Part 91, it is not legal to land unless conditions are equal to or better than a runway's published approach minimums.

Unless you've got a great alternate nearby, conditions are improving rapidly, or you've got an extra engine or two, you probably shouldn't take off in conditions you couldn't land in.

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    $\begingroup$ You might want to clarify what "part 91" means in this context, it's not obvious to many people. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Dec 22 '13 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ The update is good, but what I was really thinking is that "part 91" is US only, so for many readers it might be clearer to just refer to "general aviation" instead? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Dec 22 '13 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ This is definitely a case of "What is safe is not always legal ; What is legal is not always safe!" -- There's a reason most pilots won't opt for a "zero-zero" takeoff. My instructors always drilled into my head that you don't take off unless you're darn sure you can turn around and land again in you get into an emergency situation. (And the stuff I fly in isn't equipped for Category IIIc ILS approaches :-) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Dec 22 '13 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Pondlife Actually it would be interesting if someone from another country/region could chime in and tell us if they have different requirements there (like "You can't take off unless you could legally make an approach to the field you just left") $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Dec 22 '13 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Pondlife rephrased to "for general aviation flights", which I agree is more useful. Also, I'd love to see non-US answers to this question. $\endgroup$ – egid Dec 22 '13 at 20:26

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