Filing IFR for a VFR Flight?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by SkyHog, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Here's the situation. A VFR pilot files an IFR flight plan. The controller sees VFR in the altitude, reads it as a request for "VFR on top," and "clears" the VFR pilot, who misses the nuance of the word "cleared." Something happens to get the FAA's attention - accident, pilot deviation, whatever - and an enforcement action is started for the deviation and for improperly operating in the IFR system. (That's how it happens, not some post-flight ramp check.)

    The Goodish opinion says, in essence, "don't expect any slack from us," and, instead of treating it under the Compliance Philosophy, treats it as an intentional violation. Once violated, the FAA refuses to accept the pilots ASRS report in mitigation for the same reason and imposes the penalty.

    Do you think the NTSB, or the courts if it gets that far, will reverse the FAA's decision based in a "serious challenge?"
     
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  2. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ForeFlight allows you to open and close a VFR flight plan in the app.
     
  3. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That scenario isn’t particularly likely to happen. A VFR pilot isn’t going to get the readback correct and inadvertently accept an IFR clearance. In other words it’s pure lawyer fantasy. If your scenario fits the FAA’s intent then I can think of about a dozen ways to say it better than the Goodish letter says it. Inputting your info does save controller and the pilot time in the air. It does make flight following easier to establish which has safety benefits for local traffic in the system. The best thing to do is to say use the system but be careful that there is no misunderstanding that it is flight following and not a clearance.

    What would the NTSB or courts do? Dunno. I’d like to think that a district judge could recognize innocent intent vs deliberate violation. One of the reasons the judicial branch exists is to balance the other branches of government. This is type of thing, the FAA saying pilots are guilty before the fact, that needs to be balanced.
     
  4. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Not just ForeFlight. "EasyActivate/EasyClose" is a LockMart Flight Service function. File with them online directly and you get text messages with links to activate and close VFR flight plans. That's probably what ForeFlight is accessing.
     
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  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    You've been in this forum how long and think this is a fantasy? :dunno:

    I agree it is unlikely, but if it doesn't happen, then the issue of whether the FAA's viewpoint would be upheld doesn't even exist, does it?

    We are going to have to agree to disagree on whether going gaming the system provides any benefits. (You will disagree but I would call checking off IFR in the type of flight plan box when planning to fly VFR "gaming.")
     
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  6. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We can start by disagreeing that it is gaming the system. It is clearly a function built into the system. As previously stated all the FAA needs to do is reject flightplans with VFR in the altitude field if they didn’t want the method used.
     
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  7. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Here’s the deal. Doing what the OP proposes probably won’t trigger any issues from the controller, although their may be some confusion that you initiated a strip. as to whether it serves a benefit, it’s doubtful. If a controller has time to work you, he or she has time to create a strip for you. Using this “secret hack” won’t likely increase your chances of getting VFR radar services. Showing up on FlightAware is not a particularly good reason for doing it.

    If something happens and ATC sends over a report to the FSDO, you’ll have to explain why you used this secret hack. Assuming no metal was bent and the inspector truly believes you were not intending to break the rules, compliance philosophy kicks in and you are sent along with a warning.

    If something happened worth pursuing enforcement action, the enforcement attorneys are going to look at every potential violation that took place, not just whatever made the event go over to the FSDO. They’ll look at the Goodish interp, and they may consider pursuing a 61.3(e) violation since you filed an IFR flight plan.

    Point is, until the FAA sanctions filing ATC flight plans for VFR flights (other than within the DC SFRA), there is no valid reason to do so.
     
  8. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    I’m curious why having your track show in flightaware is so important?
     
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  9. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    Controller error; the entry for VFR-on-top is OTP. Assuming the pilot adheres to all the rules of VFR flight, what deviation could there be?
     
  10. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    ATC has been processing VFR flight data this way for over forty years.
     
  11. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Checking off a box that says "IFR" with intent to use it as an advantage to fly VFR is "gaming" in my definition, regardless of whether or not another field allows a text entry, just as much as advertising a low price without having any stock on hand just to get you in the store, is "bait and switch." And yes, we can disagree on that.
     
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  12. EminiTrader

    EminiTrader Cleared for Takeoff

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    I dont understand why filing IFR has anything to do with not liking VFR flight plans. I never file a flight plan either. All my VFR flight following flights always show up on flightaware now. Now ANY flight we do shows up on flightaware...
     
  13. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Steve and I are in agreement! The end of the world is near or something much less dramatic.

    To the folks who say there is no benefit, at a very minimum it saves significant radio time. That radio time is important when dealing with a busy approach controller. That time is also important in congested airspace when a pilot should be eyes out instead of thinking about what info the controller needs and then making sure the controller gets it right.
     
  14. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’m glad we can disagree, thankyeweversomuch. In this case it’s not an advantage but it is a benefit which has been deliberately built into the system and its use is specified by the FAA for certain airspace.
     
  15. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Yewrverywelcome ;)
     
  16. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    I would file this in the "unnecessary extra complication" folder. Little to gain, possible confusion, long-winded explanations on freq, etc. Just my opinion.
     
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  17. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Everything Offends Me
    It’s more for having my wife track me so she can come pick me up on landing.
     
  18. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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  19. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In practice there has been no confusion nor long-winded explanation. There certainly is no complication. The gain is that the controller has all required info on the strip so the freq isn’t tied up giving that info.

    If ya don’t wanna do it then don’t. If ya wanna make up objections to doing it well then that’s another story entirely.
     
  20. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    The other option is to get a SPOT.
     
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  21. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    aaahhhh......so the very reason why some of us DON'T want our track showing up on flightaware!
     
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  22. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It’s a common usage. It’s nice to have anytime folks are meeting you.
     
  23. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why wouldn’t you want Nick’s wife to meet you?
     
  24. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    Sometimes.....I've never been able to successfully do either.
     
  25. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    if she was wearing sectional yoga pants, I just might....



    I KID, skyhog, I KID......
     
  26. LT4247

    LT4247 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    IF the FAA would make it acceptable to file IFR for a VFR flight following trip it would cut down on radio traffic and mistakes by ATC (they always mix up my N number). They would already have all the info needed for the flight. If they dont want to offer FF, ATC could always say unable and have a nice day. Maybe that would be too easy,,,or hard. I dont know.
     
  27. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You could just buy a SPOT.

    For what you're trying to do, I'd probably just get a spot.
     
  28. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What's a SPOT?
     
  29. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  30. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  31. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    Whatever. Knock yourself out, chief.
     
  32. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Boss, call me boss thankyewverymuch.
     
  33. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Everybody in the FAA with the exception of certain managers and the legal counsel understand that the IFR/VFR checkbox in the electronic filings isn't so much flight rules but how the flight plan is handled. "Handle as if IFR". (Don't get me started on the FAA ATC management who hadn't a clue about that and the FRZ, Oh helll, I'll tell it. I was one of the first cleared to fly in the FRZ. At the meeting at one of the local highschools Marty (ATC mgmt) was making a big thing about getting the flight plans from the Leesburg AFSS to Washington Approach. I ask him why they don't just put them in as IFR. He pops over to the FSS guys and asks them that question. They say "of course we're putting them in as IFR...how else would it work.")

    That's not what the VFR entry means. I'm not sure why a controller would think that.
    There's much more to an IFR clearance, even one to VFR on top, than just the word cleared.
    It's hardly secret. It's been used by the FSSs and various ATC outlets for decades. I knew about it well before 9/11 or else I'd not have been able to suggest it to the FAA. And in actuality, it does help. In fact, there was a time that Oakland asked VFR pilots to file exactly that way.

    The biggest "secret" is coding your departure point so that the strip pops out at the right ATC position. This sometimes can be non-obvious and it was the laughable DC ADIZ disaster that led to the "gates" for the SFRA. These exist for no other purpose than to give the flightplan a defined place to pop out of the computer. One of the earliest "how to fly in the ADIZ" was laughably screwed up (and I have no idea why the FAA showed the video to us local pilots other than to show that they didn't understand things, let alone the average pilot) when they set their entry point to EMI which is in New York Center's airspace and not (then) Baltimore or Dulles approach.

    Prefiling also helped get me out of being perennially called Navajo by Dulles Approach (figured out why that was happening, another silly story).
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  34. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    The FAA has made it acceptable.
     
  35. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Like this?
    960A45E2-DDBB-4F01-81DB-9AAA85DAF6C9.jpeg
     
  36. EminiTrader

    EminiTrader Cleared for Takeoff

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    Wasnt there a guy a few years ago that was changing his tail number so his wife couldn’t track him?
     
  37. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    I'd put in remarks: "VFR flight following"
     
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  38. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    It's a secret insomuch that there is no official guidance from the FAA on instructing pilots to obtain VFR radar advisory services by filing an IFR flight plan. Not saying it isn't known or it can't be done, but in 40 years it's never been officially sanctioned by FAA air traffic.
     
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  39. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ehh, because having the Feds and your wife mad at you is so much better lol

    Easier ways to go from A to B without broadcasting it.
     
  40. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup, pretty much like that. I just use ‘VFR’ instead of ‘VFR/xxx’. Of course around Denver the altitude is frequently a negotiation.