Ceiling, in aviation terms, refers to the height from the ground to the base of the lowest clouds. A luxury jet charter operator will use this information to ensure a safe flight. When referring to the base of the lowest clouds, it should be clarified that this does not mean the cloud base, which has a different and specific definition. The base of the clouds must also cover more than half of the sky to give an accurate ceiling measurement. When a ceiling is listed as “unlimited,” that simply means that the clouds are high enough that they don’t impede Visual Flight Rules (VFR) operation, or that there are very few clouds in the sky.
The Different Ceiling Signifiers
The ceiling is typically reported as either broken (BKN) or overcast (OVC). If a minus sign is present before either designation that would signify that the cloud cover is relatively thin. If clouds are present, but indistinguishable, the ceiling is reported as obscured (X). The minus sign designation here would signal a partially obscured ceiling.
Ceiling and a Luxury Jet Charter Operator’s Visibility
Ceiling plays a large role in a pilot’s visibility. According to most VFR operation guidelines, an operator requires a minimum of three miles visibility with a ceiling of at least 1000 feet.