Visual Flight Rules
Visual flight rules (VFR) are guidelines that allow pilots to fly in clear weather without the full reliance on instruments or an assigned route or altitude from air traffic control. Pilots who fly under visual flight rules must employ strict “see and avoid” procedures to remain at a safe distance from obstacles and other aircraft.
In 2009, a mid-air collision occurred over the Hudson River in New York City when a small private airplane struck a tour helicopter. This disaster highlighted several safety issues with VFR, raising questions about the government’s duty to warn as well as the responsibility of air traffic control in regard to how they communicate with pilots and the controller’s ability to properly gauge a pilot’s intention.