It’s not unusual for airports to report instrument flight conditions, in which it’s legal to take off and land only if a flight is operated under instrumental flight rules. But it is unusual for the conditions to exist on an otherwise sunny day.
The smoke from the Saskatchewan wildfires came pouring into Minnesota today, closing several airports to flights operated under visual flight rules (VFR).
In the Twin Cities at the moment, VFR flight — landing and departing — is prohibited at downtown St. Paul, Flying Cloud, Anoka, and Crystal Airports where the smoke has lowered the visibility to a little more than a mile. Under FAA rules, pilots who aren’t instrument rated must have at least 3 miles visibility.
Visibility is barely at minimums at St. Cloud, Minn., Duluth, Red Wing, Minn., Lakeville and South St. Paul.
The smoke has no effect, however, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Airline flights are all operated under instrument flight rules.
Here’s what it looks like at the source: