Have you ever wondered how airplanes navigate around the world? It’s not like everyone can go wherever they want as it’s not a free for all. There are set air corridors, or navigation tracks, that must be followed when flying in controlled airspace.
There are two main sets of rules when you fly:
- Either you maintain visual meteorological conditions (VMC — clear of clouds); or,
- You fly under instrument conditions (IMC).
Most general aviation — privately owned and small planes — tend to fly visually, which is below 10,000 feet.
Airliners, private jets, large turboprops will always fly under instrument rules. Because clouds are mostly present at medium and high altitudes you need to be on flight instruments (Primary Flight Instruments – PFD) to fly through them.
Not to mention the thousands of airplanes flying at the same time crisscrossing the same airspace as others, making air traffic controllers (ATC) the policemen of the airways.