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Pilots’ world is full of acronyms and sayings to help memorizing critical facts, procedures and flows. Some of them are neutral and even make sense in the usage context like IMSAFE self check:

Illness, Medication, Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue, External Pressure

Some lack much sense, like pre landing check list:

Brakes off
Undercarriage (down and locked)
Mixture rich

Propeller pitch
Fuel pump on and sufficient
Instruments (D.I, altimeter)
Switches (carb heat, landing light, etc.)
Harnesses and hatches secure

Some are just funny, like TOMATO FLAMES (required VFR equipment list):

Tachometer for each engine
Oil Temperature for each air-cooled engine
Magnetic Compass with Deviation Card
Airspeed Indicator
Temperature gauge
Oil Pressure gauge
Fuel gauge for each fuel tank
Landing gear position indicator
Altimeter
Manifold pressure gauge
ELT, if required
Safety belts and harnesses

While preparing for the FAA written exam I found it’s difficult to remember VFR weather minimums. See yourself, this table is not memory friendly http://www.faa.gov/ATPubs/AIM/Chap3/aim0301.html#tbB190ROBE. So I decided to come up with the way to memorize all those numbers by classifying and creating a smaller table.

First, we have three levels of visibility and three levels of clouds clearance.

Visibility (odd numbers):

-         Low: 1 mile

-         Medium: 3 miles (Low + 2)

-         High: 5 miles (Medium + 2)

Clouds clearance:

-         Low: Clear of Clouds

-         Medium: 500, 1000, 2000 (progression: 500, 500*2, 500*2*2)

-         High: 1000, 1000, 1 mile (three ones)

There are total 5 different combinations of these requirements:

 Level Visibility Cloud Clearance Airspace Weak Low Low Low G (0-1,200AGL) day Relaxed 1 Low Medium Middle G (1,200AGL-10,000MSL) day Relaxed 2 Medium Low B Medium Medium Medium C, D, low E(<10,000MSL), G night Strict High High High E (>10,000MSL), high G(>10,000MSL)

Essentially, we have four levels of weather minimums with two variations of Relaxed. To avoid confusion with “Relaxed” levels think that it’s important to see the traffic and ground in Bravo airspace (medium visibility over the low cloud clearance) as it is more congested than Golf (low visibility and medium cloud clearance).

Although it does not look as simple as GUMPS after making this table I remembered those numbers well. I guess working on your own mnemonic system (even a lousy one) is the best way to memorize things. J

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Comments on this post: Those VFR Weather Minimums

# re: Those VFR Weather Minimums
hey, thats easy to remeber thanks,,
Left by mini on Jan 22, 2008 7:15 PM

# re: Those VFR Weather Minimums
Studying for my Private Pilot check-ride. VERY useful. Thanks for posting.
Left by Jeremy on Jun 17, 2009 11:00 AM

# re: Those VFR Weather Minimums
Thanks for the effort. This is what I was looking for. Working on rotorcraft/helicopter category/type rating in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii.
Left by John H. on Jul 06, 2009 12:40 PM

# re: Those VFR Weather Minimums
That's very easy to remember!Thanks for for posting.
Left by FAA Test on Oct 04, 2009 10:07 AM

# re: Those VFR Weather Minimums
I agree that inventing your own system helps you remember.
Here's my system. Most airspace follows the rule of 3 miles vis, 500 1000 2000 clouds. I remember the exceptions to this rule using acronym BUGG:
B class B clear of clouds
U Up High >= 10k vis 5 miles, clouds 1000ft vert 1mi horiz
G class G daytime high >1200 agl vis 1 mile
G class G daytime low =< 1200 agl vis 1 mile, clear of clouds

Other systems help you on your test, but I think this system is better for real flying. Ask where am I? If you are in 'exceptional' airspace, note what the exception is.
Left by flatbill on Mar 06, 2010 8:58 AM

# re: Those VFR Weather Minimums
I was taught this:

BELOW 10,000':

Class B*, C, D, E: 3 - 152 (think, three Cessna 152s).
3 miles vis
1,000' above, 500'below, 2,000' to the side
*Class B is clear of clouds and 3 - 152

Class G: NIGHT is same as above. DAY is 1 - 152 (think there's not many Cessna 152s to worry about in Golf airspace, hence ONE Cessna 152 (1 mile vis, 1,000', 500', 2,000'). Note, Class G <1,200' is 1mi vis, clear of clouds

ABOVE 10,000':

Class E&G: "F - 111" (think, at this elevation there are the F111 fighter jets). F(five miles visibility), 1 mile to the side, 1,000 above and 1,000' below clouds.
Left by Mark Burkhard on Sep 09, 2010 5:25 PM

# re: Those VFR Weather Minimums
Sorry, i meant in *Class B it is clear of coulds and 3 mi vis (don't apply "152")
Left by Mark Burkhard on Sep 09, 2010 5:27 PM