Section 5. Terminal Area VFR Route Program
- The Terminal Area VFR Route Chart Program has been developed to assist pilots operating under VFR who do not wish to communicate with ATC to avoid airspace requiring such contact.
- Pilot adherence to Terminal Area VFR Routes, and the recommended altitudes associated with them, is strictly voluntary and in no way relieves pilots from requirements to comply with all applicable Federal Aviation Regulations.
Terminal Area VFR Routes are specific flight courses depicted on the chart(s), which may include recommended altitudes, and described by reference to electronic navigational aids and/or prominent visual landmarks for optional use by pilots to avoid Class B, Class C, and Class D airspace while operating in complex terminal airspace. An ATC clearance is not required to fly these routes.
Use the following criteria for establishing Terminal Area VFR Routes:
- Recommended routes should avoid the flow of IFR traffic.
- Recommended routes must, to the maximum extent practical, reference prominent landmarks that can be readily identified from the air.
- The course must be described by magnetic compass headings and latitude/longitude. Radio aids to navigation may be used as supplemental course guidance when feasible.
- Recommended Altitudes: Each segment of a route must have recommended minimum/maximum altitudes.
- Recommended altitudes must avoid airspace requiring prior ATC authorization or contact to enter.
- Recommended altitude must be in accordance with VFR cruising altitudes.
- Recommended altitudes must avoid areas of expected wake turbulence from large aircraft.
- Altitude changes should be based on climb/descent rate of 250-350 feet per nautical mile.
- Recommended altitudes beneath the floors of Class B and Class C airspace, require careful evaluation to avoid compression of uncontrolled traffic.
- Military considerations: Avoid establishing routes which conflict with military ground control radar approach paths. Recommended routes which cross or are close to MTR should include communication instructions to allow pilots to determine MTR status.
- Terminal Area VFR Route Development: Terminal Operations Service Area Directors are responsible for determining the need for recommended routes and for compliance with the following:
- Initial action: Terminal Operations Service Area Directors desiring to establish recommended routes must form a task group consisting of local air traffic, FSDO, military, and other interested parties.
- Justification: Recommendations for routes must include as a minimum:
- Background information including composition of the task group.
- Airspace areas, proposed routes, recommended altitudes, and other pertinent considerations.
- The task force must develop descriptions of the recommended routes which must include as a minimum:
- Arrival/departure airports.
- Latitude/longitude of each turning point on the route. The description must include a sufficient number of points to establish the desired turn radius. NAVAID data may be included if appropriate: e.g., VOR radials.
- Recommended altitudes for each route segment and flight status: i.e., level, climbing, or descending.
- A list of recommended VFR checkpoints (including latitude/longitude) may be included, if appropriate.
- Route Review: Terminal Operations Service Area Directors are responsible for reviewing recommended VFR routes and for ensuring that they comply with all prescribed criteria. Terminal Operations Service Area Directors must submit route descriptions to the System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) in a tabular format suitable for publication in the National Flight Data Digest without additional processing.
- Annual Review: Terminal Operations Service Area Directors must as a minimum, on an annual basis, review routes and submit revisions to System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Services in format described above.
- Route Revisions: The System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Services office, must ensure that route descriptions/revisions submitted by Service Area offices are published in the National Flight Data Digest/28 day NASR Subscription for the use of chart makers and other interested parties.