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What is a VFR and IFR flight?

In the world of aviation, two terms stand out for their importance in flight planning and execution: VFR (Visual Flight Rules) and IFR (Instrumental Flight Rules). These rules are not only crucial for safety in the air but also for categorizing and analyzing the feasibility of drone operations. If you want to know more about these terms read on. But if you want us to help you with any drone related issue please contact us.

What is a VFR flight?

VFR flight, or Visual Flight Rules, is a mode of air navigation that relies on visual contact with the terrain. This means in this case that the drone pilot must always maintain a clear line of sight to his aircraft and the surrounding environment, which is essential to avoid obstacles such as trees, buildings and other drones. Under the Air Traffic Regulations, these operations are conducted in favorable weather conditions.In VFR flights, the drone must always fly at a height of less than 120 meters to ensure visibility of the aircraft and line of sight, and ensure that it does not enter controlled airspace without authorization, nor affect other aircraft, infrastructure, etc. These rules are ideal for daytime flights over land or water, and mandatory in operations near towns, cities or inhabited places, always maintaining a safe flight level that avoids the highest obstacle located in the flight area and taking into account the permitted areas for flying drones.

What is an IFR flight?

On the other hand, IFR or Instrument Flight Rules, refers to the ability to fly aircraft exclusively through navigation instruments, without relying on external sight or visual contact. This mode is especially useful in adverse weather conditions or during night flight, where visual contact with the ground is not possible, alluding to manned aviation operations.

IFR flight requires specific aeronautical training and licenses, as it involves knowledge and handling of navigation instruments and air traffic control regulations. This mode allows aircraft to operate at minimum altitudes prescribed by the competent ATS authority, ensuring safe and efficient navigation.

Differences between VFR and IFR flight

The main difference between VFR and IFR flight lies in the conditions under which the flights can be conducted and how the airspace is navigated. While VFR relies on direct observation of the environment, IFR relies on the use of instruments for navigation. This implies that VFR is more suitable for clear weather conditions and daytime flight, while IFR allows operation in a wider variety of conditions, including night flight and poor weather conditions.

What do I need to do VFR flights with drones?

To perform VFR flights with drones, the pilot needs to know the visual flight rules, including minimum altitudes, limitations, controlled, uncontrolled and surrounding airspace, as well as the appropriate weather conditions.

Controlled and uncontrolled airspaces: How do they affect drones?

Airspace is classified as controlled and uncontrolled, being crucial for VFR and IFR flight planningControlled airspaces (Classes A, B, C, D, and E) require prior authorization for a drone to operate within them, as they are intended to ensure the safety of air traffic with manned flights and the correct separation between aircraft. Here, knowledge of air traffic control regulations is fundamental, through obtaining the RTC-Radiophonist Certificate.

On the other hand, uncontrolled airspaces (Class F and G) allow greater flexibility for VFR flights with drones, as they do not require authorization to operate. However, it is still mandatory to respect safety regulations.

I hope it is clear to you what is VFR and IFR flight. Both VFR and IFR flight are essential for safe and efficient operation, each with its own requirements, limitations, advantages and disadvantages. Knowing and understanding these flight modes not only allows us to comply with current regulations, but also to know the feasibility or not of an operation according to its constraints by location and environment.

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