Visual Flight Rules - VFR Cruising Altitude Rules in The US

VFR Cruising Altitude Rules in The US

In the US, there are specific VFR cruising altitudes, based on the aircraft's heading, to assist pilots in separating their aircraft while operating under visual flight above 3,000 ft but below 18,000 ft Mean Sea Level (MSL). Unofficially, most pilots use these rules at all levels of cruise flight. FAR 91.159 states that any aircraft:

  • On a magnetic course of 0-179 degrees shall fly at an odd thousand ft MSL altitude +500 feet (e.g. 3,500, 5,500, or 7,500 ft); or
  • On a magnetic course of 180-359 degrees shall fly at an even thousand ft MSL altitude +500 feet (e.g. 4,500, 6,500, or 8,500 ft).

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