Special Considerations for Over-the-top Flying

  • VFR OTT is only permitted during the day.
  • Weather briefings prior to flight are legally required and are critical for flight safety.
  • The weather minimum requirements for VFR OTT apply to both the destination airport and the “cruise” portion of the flight.
  • At all times the aircraft must be operated at least 1000’ vertical distance from cloud, and the flight visibility must be at least five miles.
  • When operating between two layers, those layers must be at least 5000’ apart.
  • On the basis of a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) or a Graphic Area Forecast (GFA), the weather at the destination airport must be scattered or clear, with no forecast of precipitation, fog, thunderstorms, or blowing snow.
  • Where a TAF is used, these conditions must be forecast for a period no less than 1-hour before and 2 hours after the ETA.
  • Where a GFA is used, these conditions must be forecast no less than 1-hour before and 3 hours after the ETA.
  • Keep in mind the aircraft equipment requirements for VFR OTT, as specified by Canadian Aviation Regulation 605.15.  In addition to the normal equipment requirement of Day VFR, the following items are required for VFR OTT:
    • a sensitive altimeter adjustable for barometric pressure;
    • a means of preventing malfunction of the airspeed indicating system caused by icing;
    • a gyroscopic or stabilized magnetic direction indicator;
    • an attitude indicator;
    • a turn and slip indicator or turn co-ordinator (or a slip-skid indicator when equipped with a second standby attitude indicator capable of 360° attitude indications);
    • when operated in Northern Domestic Airspace, a means of establishing direction not dependent on a magnetic source;
    • two-way radio communication;
    • radio navigation adequate to permit safe navigation.


  • In accordance with Canadian Aviation Regulation 602.60-62, when operating VFR OTT the aircraft must have all necessary charts and publications for the route flown, including any probable diversionary route; the charts and publications must be current.

Further Readings:

Transport Canada's Think Again Before Attempting a Cloud-breaking Procedure