Clear of Clouds? An Assessment of Appealed 91.155 Enforcement Actions

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Trevor Simoneau
Tyler B. Spence


When flying under visual flight rules, pilots must remain clear of clouds. The exact distance varies by airspace class, and this is determined by specific regulatory requirements found within 14 C.F.R. Section 91.155. But there are important questions about the extent to which pilots comply with this regulation, as determining one’s exact distance from clouds is challenging. In this conference paper, we assess the decisions of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 20 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) legal enforcement actions involving a violation of cloud clearance requirements. Among these cases, we examine how 91.155 violations were discovered, the form of sanction imposed by the FAA, the timelines associated with appeals for these cases, and the vote composition of the NTSB in these decisions.      

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