Section 3. Charted VFR Flyway Planning Chart Program


VFR flyways are general flight paths not defined as a specific course, for use by pilots in planning flights into, out of, through, or near complex terminal airspace to avoid Class B airspace. An ATC clearance is NOT required to fly these routes.


Use the following criteria for establishing VFR Flyway Planning Charts:

  1. Flyway Course: The flight paths used to describe VFR flyways, must, to the maximum extent practicable, reference ground objects that can be readily identified from the air. If necessary, and if an operational benefit can be derived, radio NAVAID references may be used.
  2. Flyway Altitudes: Each segment of a charted VFR flyway should contain recommended altitudes.
  1. Recommended altitudes must avoid airspace requiring prior authorization or clearance to enter.
  2. Care should be exercised to avoid recommending altitudes which could cause the aircraft on a flyway to encounter inflight wake turbulence generated by large aircraft.
  3. When altitude changes are required, they should be based on a descent rate of 250-350 feet per nautical mile.
  1. Altitude Compression: Charted VFR flyways established under the floors of Class B airspace require careful evaluation to avoid compression of the airspace and the altitudes available for VFR operations.
  2. Military Considerations: Avoid establishing VFR Flyways which would conflict with military ground control radar approach paths. When charting VFR flyways which cross or are in proximity to an MTR, include communications instructions for pilots to determine the status of the MTR.
  3. Once a flyway is charted, it will only be moved when it significantly interferes with other operations.
  1. Flyway Development: The facility air traffic manager develops requirements for VFR flyways charting. All actions leading to the development of a VFR Flyway Planning Chart should be initiated by the facility air traffic manager.
  1. Initial Action: The requesting facility air traffic manager must establish a task force of air traffic, FSDO, military, and local aviation interests, as appropriate, to recommend where the charted VFR flyways should be located.
  2. Flyway Justification: As a minimum, the facility air traffic manager must address in writing the following pertinent factors:
  1. Background information pertaining to the development of the chart, such as the composition of the task group.
  2. The major areas examined.
  3. Special VFR procedures.
  4. Recommendations by the task group.
  5. Reasons supporting the establishment of a VFR Flyway Planning Chart for the area.
  1. Charts and Description: A narrative description of the flyway and the appropriate VFR Terminal Area Chart or a drawing must depict the following data:
  1. VFR flyway flight paths with named visual checkpoints, NAVAID magnetic radials, and altitudes;
  2. Any large turbine-powered aircraft arrival/departure routes that cross the charted VFR flyway;
  3. Procedural notes positioned on the drawing or the VFR TAC; and
  4. The communication frequencies if frequencies are recommended for advisories. Indicate the flyway segment/s associated with each frequency.
  1. Flyway Approval: Terminal Operations Service Area Offices are responsible for approving the proposed VFR Flyway Planning Charts and ensuring that they comply with the prescribed criteria. If approval is granted, the Terminal Operations Area Offices must forward the proposal to System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Office at least 9 weeks prior to the planned implementation date. The planned implementation date must coincide with a publication date of the respective VFR TAC.
  2. Annual Review: Terminal Operations Area Offices are responsible for reviewing existing VFR Flyway Planning Charts on an annual basis to determine their continued need.
  3. Revision to Flyways: In order that System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Office can meet its responsibilities, revisions to VFR Flyway Planning Charts must be submitted to System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Office at least 9 weeks prior to the publication date of the respective VFR Terminal Area Chart. Revisions may be initiated by the facility air traffic manager or the Terminal Operations Area Office. The following are considered sufficient justification to warrant revision:
  1. Changes, additions, or deletions to VFR flyways or altitudes, frequencies, procedural notes, or changes to airport status; i.e., name, closed, abandoned, etc.
  2. Changes in large turbine-powered aircraft arrival/departure routes.
  3. Additions or deletions to checkpoints/NAVAIDs.
  1. Publicity: The facility air traffic manager must seek the cooperation of the FSDO in informing aviation interests about the VFR Flyway Planning Chart Program. Special emphasis should be placed on:
  1. Pilot adherence to flyways and recommended altitudes is voluntary.
  2. Flyways are not devoid of IFR or military traffic. They represent flight paths that are believed to have the least IFR or military activity.
  3. A “see and avoid” environment must be maintained and emphasized.