VFR Crusing Altitudes

Minuteman

“Dongola”
Law.

§ 91.159 VFR cruising altitude or flight level.

Except while holding in a holding pattern of 2 minutes or less, or while turning, each person operating an aircraft under VFR in level cruising flight more than 3,000 feet above the surface shall maintain the appropriate altitude or flight level prescribed below, unless otherwise authorized by ATC ... blah blah blah
 

pavelump

Well-Known Member
Well, since were in the technical talk zone...

Technically, it's not a law, it's a regulation.

You're not going to jail for flying Westbound at 5,000 MSL.

Maybe "required" would be the better word.


Dave
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
Captain Obvious will add -

Regulation, required, etc. above 3,000ft. AGL.

Below that you can legally fly any old altitude you want.

Arguments can be made, either way, as to whether or not you should fly the hemispheric rules below 3k, however.
 

Minuteman

“Dongola”
OK, you called me on it ...




On the FAA's website they have effectivity and amended dates for each section of each part.

For 91.159 they indicate an effectivity date of 09/30/1963 ... the original "delivery" date of Part 91 (pardon my high-powered legalese). However they add the comment, "The historical amendments of Part 91 are not included at this time. Part 91 was entered as of Amendment 91-255." I take it to mean that this section, pertaining to VFR cruising altitudes, could have been amended to mandate the east-west convention sometime prior to 91-255 (issued Dec 1997), and, maybe ... possibly ... sometime after 1963.

But you'll have to tell me what was in use before the current convention to convince me of that.


(And I'll never apologize for being "that guy")
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
Was flying yesterday and ATC questioned (actually interegated and told him he was at an improper VFR atlitude) a VFR pilot why he was at 6000' he replied that he needed 6000' to stay between layers, ATC approved it and told him to resume proper VFR altitude asap and advise them when he could do so. They worked it out but I think the pilot would have been better off requesting a deviation (proper term) for cruiseing at an IFR Altitude.
 

sixpack

New Member
Any guidelines pertaining to how long you must hold a course, before these regulations apply?

FOR INSTANCE: If I'm traveling at 3500' on a course of 005, and then I turn to 355 for 5 nm, and then back to 005. Should I really try to climb to 4500 for that short duration where my course is 355?
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
Also I was westbound on a VFR night flight... the MEA was 9000'; we were VFR but it was reeeeeally mountainous terrain so we wanted to stay at the MEAs, but 10500' is hypoxic day or night, worse at night. So we just flew the thing at 9000', ATC asked us to verify that we were VFR and that was about it.

Technically I suppose we were busting the regs on that flight... though it was with safety in mind... what's a pilot to do...
 

Eagle

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Also I was westbound on a VFR night flight... the MEA was 9000'; we were VFR but it was reeeeeally mountainous terrain so we wanted to stay at the MEAs, but 10500' is hypoxic day or night, worse at night. So we just flew the thing at 9000', ATC asked us to verify that we were VFR and that was about it.

Technically I suppose we were busting the regs on that flight... though it was with safety in mind... what's a pilot to do...


[/ QUOTE ]

you may have been fine remember it is 3000ft AGL that they apply, so unless the MEA was 3000ft over AGL, you were ok.
 

Tired

New Member
ATC doesn't care what alt you are at. The reason they ask is to make sure they are not making a mistake. When they see you at an IFR alt they just want to make sure you're strip is correct. This typically happens right after a handoff.
 

sixpack

New Member
Tired:
Today I was heading towards a class-C, flight follow with a rebuilt transponder. I got radar contact at 3500, and they told me to fly under shelf at 1700 feet. About three minutes later, they asked my airplane type again (C-152). Turns out, my mode-C was suddenly high (and I mean on drugs). I was descending through 2200, but mode-C was reporting 6000. Needless to say, they were wondering how I got up there so fast, and how I was going to descend to 1700 before entering Charlie.
 
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