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Pilot/Controller Roles and Responsibilities

4. Continue flight following and traffic in-

formation until the aircraft has landed or has been

instructed to change to advisory frequency.

5. For all aircraft, inform the pilot when the

preceding aircraft is a heavy. Inform the pilot of a

small aircraft when the preceding aircraft is a B757.

Visual separation is prohibited behind super aircraft.

6. When weather is available for the destination

airport, do not initiate a vector for a visual approach

unless the reported ceiling at the airport is 500 feet or

more above the MVA and visibility is 3 miles or more.

If vectoring weather minima are not available but

weather at the airport is ceiling at or above 1,000 feet

and visibility of 3 miles or greater, visual approaches

may still be conducted.

5−5−12. Visual Separation

a. Pilot.

1. Acceptance of instructions to follow another

aircraft or to provide visual separation from it is an

acknowledgment that the pilot will maneuver the

aircraft as necessary to avoid the other aircraft or to

maintain in-trail separation. Pilots are responsible to

maintain visual separation until flight paths (altitudes

and/or courses) diverge.

2. If instructed by ATC to follow another aircraft

or to provide visual separation from it, promptly

notify the controller if you lose sight of that aircraft,

are unable to maintain continued visual contact with

it, or cannot accept the responsibility for your own

separation for any reason.

3. The pilot also accepts responsibility for wake

turbulence separation under these conditions.

b. Controller. Applies visual separation only:

1. Within the terminal area when a controller

has both aircraft in sight or by instructing a pilot who

sees the other aircraft to maintain visual separation

from it.

2. Pilots are responsible to maintain visual

separation until flight paths (altitudes and/or courses)


3. Within en route airspace when aircraft are on

opposite courses and one pilot reports having seen the

other aircraft and that the aircraft have passed each


5−5−13. VFR-on-top

a. Pilot.

1. This clearance must be requested by the pilot

on an IFR flight plan, and if approved, allows the pilot

the choice (subject to any ATC restrictions) to select

an altitude or flight level in lieu of an assigned



VFR−on−top is not permitted in certain airspace areas,

such as Class A airspace, certain restricted areas, etc.

Consequently, IFR flights operating VFR−on−top will

avoid such airspace.


AIM, Paragraph 4−4−8 , IFR Clearance VFR−on−top

AIM, Paragraph 4−4−11 , IFR Separation Standards

AIM, Paragraph 5−3−2 , Position Reporting

AIM, Paragraph 5−3−3 , Additional Reports

2. By requesting a VFR-on-top clearance, the

pilot assumes the sole responsibility to be vigilant so

as to see and avoid other aircraft and to:

(a) Fly at the appropriate VFR altitude as

prescribed in 14 CFR Section 91.159.

(b) Comply with the VFR visibility and

distance from clouds criteria in 14 CFR Sec-

tion 91.155, Basic VFR Weather Minimums.

(c) Comply with instrument flight rules that

are applicable to this flight; i.e., minimum IFR

altitudes, position reporting, radio communications,

course to be flown, adherence to ATC clearance, etc.

3. Should advise ATC prior to any altitude

change to ensure the exchange of accurate traffic


b. Controller.

1. May clear an aircraft to maintain VFR-on-top

if the pilot of an aircraft on an IFR flight plan requests

the clearance.

2. Informs the pilot of an aircraft cleared to

climb to VFR-on-top the reported height of the tops

or that no top report is available; issues an alternate

clearance if necessary; and once the aircraft reports

reaching VFR-on-top, reclears the aircraft to

maintain VFR-on-top.

3. Before issuing clearance, ascertain that the

aircraft is not in or will not enter Class A airspace.