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AIM

10/12/17

5

−5−6

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)
diverge.

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
other.

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
altitude.

NOTE

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.

REFERENCE

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
information.

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.