I recently heard a friend talk about having to do a missed approach at an airfield due to reported low reported runway visibility though he could easily see it was VFR. That triggered the question in my mind, what about a contact approach, or special VFR?
My rusty knowledge from flight school wasn’t coming up with good answers in a hurry, so I popped over to www.boldmethod.com for some clarity. Basically, from what I read here a contact approach will let you fly when the weather is reported worse than actual. From what I read here a special VFR approach will let a VFR only pilot file a flight plan for landing in weather worse than normal VFR minimums near an airport for a visual landing.
The key here is for a contact approach, you need one mile FLIGHT visibility. Who cares what the RVR is reported. If you have one mile visibility (aka contact) from the cockpit, you’re golden. For SVFR, you are using this as a last resort to get out of trouble in deteriorating weather without having to file IFR.
Keep in mind, I’m not a CFI, so talk to one to get the full story before using these tools in the air. And as always, don’t hesitate to declare an emergency if you’ve gotten yourself in deeper than you should have.