VFR on Top is a strange combination of an IFR clearance and a VFR clearance, where a pilot can climb through a layer of clouds and then continue a flight in VFR conditions, but still on an IFR flight plan. A pilot on a VFR on Top flight plan follows both VFR and IFR rules, such as maintaining an altitude at or above the minimum enroute altitude, but also at an appropriate 1000-foot increment plus 500 feet, and assuming responsibility for traffic avoidance.
But how do you obtain a VFR on Top clearance?
When can a VFR-On-Top clearance be assigned by ATC?
- Only upon request of the pilot when conditions are indicated to be suitable.
- Any time suitable conditions exist and ATC wishes to expedite traffic flow.
- When VFR conditions exist, but there is a layer of clouds below the MEA.
Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, OH.