Filing IFR for a VFR Flight?

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

  1. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    14,923
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    The Goodish letter is confusing because after it says this:

    [​IMG]

    it later says this:

    [​IMG]

    Those two paragraphs seem to contradict each other. :dunno:

    There is also the following, which was posted on the AOPA board [emphasis added]:

    "[A guy at a FSDO] said it's a muddy water if the VFR pilot takes off and attempts to get ATC to immediately amend his filed IFR flight plan because asking the controller to accept the request for VFR FF could be construed as illegally accepting an IFR clearance/modified IFR clearance. You can argue it but again, can you argue with the FAA when there's no procedure to quote which allows you to do what you just did? Many pilots have been busted for similar. He said he's aware of a pilot who is currently going through enforcement action due to 'trying this technique' and it didn't work."​

    https://forums.aopa.org/showthread.php?t=88933&page=13 (Requires AOPA membership.)
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Harold Rutila

    Harold Rutila Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Harold Rutila
    It has everything to do with VFR flight plans because that's what you asked us about.

    Original post:
     
  3. Harold Rutila

    Harold Rutila Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Harold Rutila
    The issue addressed in Goodish has to do with the legality of accepting an IFR clearance, even if the flight is not flown. There are some situations in which a flight that has an IFR clearance will not actually fly IFR, such as when a pilot cancels the clearance, or fails to meet a condition of the clearance like a requirement to climb to a specific altitude.
     
  4. azure

    azure Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    7,631
    Location:
    Vermont
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    azure
    You're right that filing this way doesn't provide any special SAR benefit, but I don't think anyone who does this expects that. The times I did it, it was when overflying Canada before I was instrument rated. I did it to be in compliance with the reg that says you have to be on an active flight plan as well as in two-way communication with ATC. In that situation VFR flight plans can be a real pain as you need to manage to reach FSS to activate the plan before crossing the border. That sounds easy, and it might be easier today than it was, but with the number of RCOs that were OTS at the time, it was a definite hassle. The method Nick was asking about works like a charm, and ATC never closed out the plan when I needed it, which is while I was outside of US airspace.

    @mscard88 : "Unable" is your friend. Unless you accept the IFR clearance, you're not IFR. I was offered such a clearance once or twice when doing this, and never had any difficulty turning it down.
     
  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    8,341
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    It says two different things because they are two different things. Goodish does not say filing an IFR flight plan is a violation of anything. Goodish only says it is evidence of an intent to violate 61.3. There is no "intent to violate" or "attempted violation" in the FAR, as in criminal law. There's no FAR which prohibits even a nonpilot from filing an IFR flight plan. Either you violated 61.3 by operating IFR improperly or you didn't.

    Goodish is more about the pilot who does violate 61.3, and then says in mitigation, "Gee, but I didn't mean to. I meant to fly VFR. It wasn't intentional." The FAA's response, says Goodish, would be, "don't tell us you didn't mean to. You put the whole thing in motion by filing that IFR flight plan." It's not about doing the deed. The deed was done. It's about what led to the deed and the pilots level of responsibility for it.

    A child breaks a vase. That's the offense. He did it. Period. Subjectively, the child didn't mean to break the vase and says so. Is what the child was doing which led to the breakage part of your decision on what to do about it, or does it not matter at all?

    That's pretty much fits the blurb you copied from AOPA. Pilot tries the technique. If it works, no harm, no foul. It doesn't work because for some reason, miscommunication or what not, it ends up being treated as IFR. Pilot deviation is noted and the FAA enforcement team is deciding how to handle it. Is checking off a box saying "this is an IFR flight plan" the least bit relevant to that decision? Goodish says it is. Others would argue it's not.
     
    Palmpilot likes this.
  6. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    8,341
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    Just an observation: I think you and @SkyHog are talking past each other. He doesn't care about SAR or even Flight Following. I think his issue is about other people being able to track his flights. For example, when I fly to visit friends or family, I like them to be able to track the flight. At its most basic, it gives them a good idea when to leave home for the airport to pick me up. That's a big part of what flight tracking, even for airline flights, is about

    He feels filing IFR increases the chances of getting that tracking and wants to take advantage of it.
     
  7. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7,242
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steven P McNicoll
    Flight plans with an altitude entry of VFR, OTP, and a block altitude (nnnBnnn) will process.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  8. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7,242
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steven P McNicoll
    There's no cause for uncertainty, an "IFR strip" would not have "VFR" in the altitude block.
     
  9. azure

    azure Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    7,631
    Location:
    Vermont
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    azure
    True, but controllers, being human, have apparently gotten confused by this on occasion. As I said, I was offered an IFR clearance a time or two when filing this way. (Which does not, of course, make it any kind of an "issue"...)
     
  10. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    14,923
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    Thanks for the analysis.
     
  11. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,257
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon

    Eh? there's no need to amend anything. The thing that gets transmitted to ATC is not an indication of an IFR plan. Even if the pilot didn't initiate it, if they requested a VFR departure, for example, from a class B airport, the same thing gets input into the computer.

    The FAA opinion is baseless in what the actual meaning of such a filed plan is both in practice. If some non-IFR pilot was going to fake an IFR plan, why would they put a key in the altitude block that marks it as a VFR operation. They'd pick an instrument altitude and leave off the VFR notation.
     
  12. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    They might at an approach facility but they DO NOT process at the Center. OTP will actually process because its an IFR clearance to climb on top and obviously block altitudes will too because they are IFR. If you file a VFR flight plan off one of my airports, there will not be a proposed departure strip in the bay that says VFR on it and there will not be any way to pull up your flight information. VFR flight plans are handled by flight service, and it doesn't guarantee flight following (that is based on controller work load). The only way to get a VFR flight plan to process and activate is for a controller to do a VP message and manually type one in.
     
    KA550 likes this.
  13. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    I think you are unaware of the volume of aircraft that VFR and IFR flight plans would generate. That would slow down the whole system. It would degrade the services provided to IFR planes at the expense of someone wanting to track their flight of Flight Aware. Just file IFR (file a low altitude so you dont get assigned departure procedures) and then ammend it to a VFR flight when you check in with ATC.
     
  14. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7,242
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steven P McNicoll
    Are you sure about that? I spent nine years at Chicago Center, flight plans with an altitude entry of VFR processed just fine every year I was there. If such flight plans were not processed at Centers (which is where all flight plan processing is done) then automated handoffs on VFR traffic between Center and approach would not be possible, but it's done every day. Can you provide something to support your position?
     
  15. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    11 yrs at Kansas City Center. They process in the system when a controller types it in but if you file on you Ipad or DUATS a VFR flight plan, it does not come into the center.
     
    KA550 likes this.
  16. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,845
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dmspilot
    They weren't talking about VFR flight plans.
     
  17. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,374
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Everything Offends Me
    Sigh. Read the thread and then try again. This has nothing to do with a duats vfr flight plan
     
    dmspilot likes this.
  18. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    14,923
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    They're talking about checking the "IFR" box on the flight plan, but putting "VFR" in the altitude block.
     
  19. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7,242
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steven P McNicoll
    But if you file on you Ipad or DUATS an IFR flight plan with VFR as the altitude, it does come into the center.
     
  20. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    Dude, I'm trying to help you. WTH are you filing your flight plan through? All I can say is try it and you will see. I understand you are trying to (for whatever reason) file an IFR flight plan with VFR in the altitude section. It will not generate a departure proposal. I stated earlier that "VFR or a three number altitude that isn't an assignable IFR altitude will not show up as a proposal strip" The reason for this is the computer does not know where to send the flight plan to since the airspace is three dimensional. This is very complicated and I don't expect non controller to get it. I currently am at work and checked into this for you. Flight data, military with a FIDO and an air traffic controller are the only ones that can pre-load a flight plan with a proposal time and a VFR altitude. The only time I've ever seen departures with VFR on them were the military aircraft and it because Boeing has a direct phone line to the sector or called the Flight Data line. My advice is just file IFR?
     
    KA550 likes this.
  21. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    Yeah, that wont work. That's what I'm saying. Think about it. The flight plan would have to process through many different facilities 3 dimensioally but it doesnt know what altitude to push the FLT PLN onto. Could be any altitude up to FL175.
     
  22. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,257
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Eh? You put the altitude along with the VFR.
     
  23. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7,242
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steven P McNicoll
    Yes it will.

    Screenshot of DUAT flight plan.JPG Scan of strip produced by DUAT flight plan.jpg
     
    Gmonnig likes this.
  24. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7,242
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steven P McNicoll
    Dude, you're all over the place on this. First you said it couldn't be done. Then you said it could, but only by controllers. Now you say the computer can't process VFR because the computer doesn't know what altitude to use. But if that was the case it would be true even for flights entered by controllers.

    The ARTCC FDP computer processes an altitude of VFR at whatever altitude was locally adapted, at ZAU the altitude was 15,500 MSL.
     
  25. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    You are mistaken. The whole thing stems around this guy wanting his flight tracked from departure. That is what I’m getting at. No VFR departures process at a Center. Does ZAU get a proposal slip for a VFR flight off any airports? Probably not. Read the post! I knew the second you told me VFR process from center to approaches that you didn’t know what we are talking about. Of course VFRs can be handed off to other facilities when a controller starts a flight following VP message and track. This guy wants that from the surface, so his thinking is to use an IFR flight plan and just put VFR in the altitude box. Which probably won’t work. Stop trying to mix this up, it’s confusing to others. I know how the system works because I work it 6days a week and fly in it on my day off. What facility are you at now?
     
  26. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    So that’s not a Center strip. Looks like an approach can do that then. We can do a test. I work at 5:45am tomorrow. Put in a flight plan the same way with KVIH to KCGI at 1200Z for the proposal. I’ll print the strip off at the Center when I get on sector. I’m curious now
     
  27. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    Do a second flight plan with 115 in the altitude box and VFR in the remarks. I think that may work.
     
  28. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    7,242
    Location:
    De Pere, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steven P McNicoll
    I am correct.

    They do.

    If properly entered, yes.

    You're saying something that's been done countless times, for years, cannot be done. Your statements indicate you're unfamiliar with flight plan processing. Logic indicates you're fibbin' about being a controller.
     
  29. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    Put in the flight plan, and we will see. I’m not afraid to say I’m wrong. If I see the strip, then I’ll post the picture at 7:00am when my trainee comes in (I’ll take a short break to do it).
     
  30. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,374
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Everything Offends Me
    I'm not instrument rated so I'm not going to file it right now (no offense but you could turn around and hand this one off easily enough)

    I would love to see someone do it who has the instrument rating so we can see what it looks like on the center side.
     
  31. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    Understood. Maybe our old friend roncachamp will do it. I am curious myself because I too have noticed that a lot of my flights don’t show up in Flight Aware. I’m not being disrespectful or rude about this. I’m certainly not trying to “catch” someone in an IFR violation. I will use my aircraft call sign and try both methods, then print the strips off. If I can get special permission, I’ll take a picture of the departure list directly off of the screen (you can’t take pictures in the control room but might be able to for learning purposes).
     
  32. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    I did several flight plans and here’s what I got. The only way I could get a departure proposal was to file IFR and put a VFR altitude in as a 3-digit altitude. I could not get logged into Duats because I haven’t used it in over 10yrs. So there is no way for me to type VFR into a IFR flightplan. It appears as an IFR strip with 125 in the ALT block. This is not normal for a controller to see and may be mistaken as an IFR clearance with a mistyped altitude. Of the five controllers this morning, 3 are pilots and think this is a weird issue. Their solution was get ADS-B in the plane and put an antenna at your house (one of the controller/pilots has that very setup). It may be cheaper than the FAA going after you for filing an IFR flight plan improperly:) The TEST strip was manually typed in at the sector by myself. This is what we have to do whenever we test new F-18s that Boeing launches. They call directly and we type in their flightplan at the sector for them. I did not receive a proposal from N83289. So either that test failed using DUATS or he didn’t put it in.
     

    Attached Files:

  33. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,505
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    This has been an interesting thread to follow. My takeaway so far is that the ATC system is a little more complex than perhaps any of us realize, particularly how "the computer" handles various flight plans as they get assigned to various centers and Tracons. I sense a fair amount of frustration from the OP, but I think the simple issue is that flightAware is simply set up to track IFR flights, and using an IFR flight plan to spoof the system to track a VFR flight contains unnecessary confusion and risk. Like I've said before, even if something DID happen and there was an investigation, it is highly unlikely that the FAA would pursue enforcement action because it's pretty clear that the OP has no intention of flying IFR. That said, doing what he proposes may cause confusion for the Controller, the ATC computer, and....might still not result in a flight getting tracked on FA.

    I know this because I file SFRA and FRZ VFR arrival and departure flight plans, which are essentially IFR flight plans hacked to work for the special airspace. Sometimes the flights show up, sometimes they do not, and there doesn't seem to be a consistent reason why it does or does not. The only thing that does get consistently tracked is when I arrive or depart IFR. Good luck.
     
    Gmonnig likes this.
  34. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    14,923
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    The reportedly unpredictable results and the fact that it apparently confuses some controllers is why I don't plan on trying this procedure unless or until it gets documented in the AIM and the controllers' manual.
     
    mscard88 likes this.
  35. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,257
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    I am largely unconcerned about FlightAware. FA seems to work randomly decently with regular "pop up" VFR FF (though it has quirks). When I'm out solo and I want my wife to track me, I just fly "real" IFR.

    I have not heard word one (even from our naysaying ATC guy) that ATC is confused by it. All he says is it won't work (despite obvious demonstration to the contrary).

    If you know how the system works, it works fine to get a VFR flight preloaded into the system. In fact, there was nothing particularly necessary to support the SFRA/FRZ as far as the ATC system is concerned. Of course, that's limited to the old DC-area TRACONS (IAD/BWI/DCA/ADW and then PCT). However, I have used it with ZTL and ZDC and despite protestations to the contrary, it does work.
     
  36. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    14,923
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    From various threads on the subject, I've gotten the impression that it works in some parts of the country better than others.
     
  37. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,257
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Don't know. It seems to work in most of the populated areas. Perhaps the great empty areas of the country have problems, but frankly those are areas where ATC is pretty easy to deal with anyhow:

    ME: Indy center, looks a bit cloudy ahead, how about IFR at 9000.
    ZEN: Navion 5327K cleared direct to Culpeper climb and maintain 9000.

    around here that sort of request gets you bounced over to FSS to file.
     
  38. azure

    azure Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    7,631
    Location:
    Vermont
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    azure
    Then you must have me on ignore or something. ;)

    I've said, more than once (and at least once in this thread I think), that when I used to do this in Detroit airspace, before I had my instrument ticket, a couple of times a controller with Detroit Approach offered me an IFR clearance that I had to refuse.

    I've also said that this was not a big deal, there was never an extended back-and-forth over it, the controller quickly came to understand what I was trying to do, and everything went smoothly from there. I still maintain that, apart from VFR in the SFRA/FRZ where there is no alternative, there are situations where it makes sense to do this and the Goodish opinion wouldn't deter me if I was in those situations again. That said, trying to get my flight to show up on FlightAware isn't one of them. The main use for this technique that I'm aware of is when overflying Canada or Mexico, to satisfy the twin requirements to both be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan, and to be in continuous two-way communication with ATC. It avoids having to go off-frequency to try to raise FSS to activate a VFR flight plan, or to struggle to raise two facilities before crossing the border.

    It's also useful at SOME towered fields as a way to get flight following set up on the ground, with a squawk code punched in before getting your takeoff clearance in a quasi-IFR fashion. I did that once departing KCMH and was surprised at how smoothly it went - but again, the only reason I was interested to do it is because I was headed north to overfly Lake Erie and Canadian airspace.
     
  39. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    17,745
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Display name:
    Interesting perspective. I would not consider using this method to cover my butt when required to be on an active flight plan. Obviously ATC won't care since enforcement of this type of rule is not their main concern and they can't "see" VFR flight plans. I doubt that active US VFR flight plans get transmitted to Canada since that would be an administrative problem. Prolly difficult to determine if compliance is a problem until well after the fact of the flight.
     
  40. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    15,257
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    I don't have you on ignore. It clearly works with every approach control that I've ever seen. In fact, despite protestations, we've had one guy say it doesn't work in centers, though Steve disagrees and I've certainly used it with several of the east coast centers. I was addressing that aspect.

    I still think the FCC opinion is silly and disconnected with just about every operational aspect of the system. If I wanted to "FAKE" IFR, I'd not write VFR in the alt box, I'd just file what appeared to be an entire legitimate IFR plan (nothing stops you).