Flight Plan Filed -- Told to Expect Different Route

SoCal 182 Driver

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SoCal 182 Driver
Friends - I'm a low-time IFR pilot (just received my IFR ticket in October). I filed a flight plan last night via Foreflight, and received two emails. The first confirmed the filing. The second told me to expect a different route than the one I filed. The updated route is literally 30 minutes longer. I would prefer to fly the route I filed, which is a route that ATC has cleared in the past.

Assuming my clearance isn't, "...cleared as filed," what are my options here? I can go VFR if I have to (but would prefer to be in the system). Is there any way I can request my original routing?

I'd appreciate any help and advice. Thanks!
 
You don't have to request IFR cancellation; just inform ATC that you're cancelling.
 
Take off, ask for a more direct route. If the weather is suitable for VFR, you can always cancel.
 
A few more thoughts...

At one point I flew a route where I would file through a waypoint at an altitude suitable for flying over the Appalachian mountains. It would always get rerouted. I realized that the waypoint and altitude was always used for arrivals into the nearby class B airport. I discovered that I could file the same route at a couple thousand lower and always get cleared as filed. Then, approaching the waypoint I would request higher. Point is, if you post your routing someone might have some insight into why you aren't getting cleared as filed.

Do you use flight plan.com? That site shows most recent planned and cleared routes between airports your planning on using.
 
I know what's "normal" in IFR flying varies from region to region so YMMV, but near Houston where I live, I don't think I've ever flown exactly the route I was initially given (whether or not it was the route I initially filed).

Over time I have learned where I am likely to get "shortcuts". Sometimes that's "direct destination" which, depending on the destination, might be the last clearance I receive or might just be the "shortcut" to my next complex airspace where I'd either get put on a STAR or vectored where ATC needed me (or more accurately, needed me away from hotspots). Sometimes that's just direct to some future point in my initial clearance that saves a few twists and turns and shaves off a couple of minutes. Sometimes I get those shortcuts from ATC without prompting, but if I don't, I've learned when to time my requests to achieve the highest likelihood of receiving them.

In my experience, flying IFR is almost always a tradeoff: VFR (with or without flight following) is almost always a more direct/faster flight. But I like the "comfort" of being in the system and accept the tradeoff that I mostly have to go where they tell me. Usually the difference between VFR and IFR for the flights I take is less than 15 minutes.

I bought the plane because I like to fly, so I just enjoy the extra time in the air. On the rare occasions I get an egregiously out-of-the-way routing, I just think about how much more enjoyable it is to fly vs. driving, regardless of how long it takes to get there.
 
@SoCal 182 Driver Might help to post what you filed and what you received as an amended route.

Assuming you're in SOCAL based on your username, there's likely some pilots that can explain what's up.
 
@SoCal 182 Driver Might help to post what you filed and what you received as an amended route.

Assuming you're in SOCAL based on your username, there's likely some pilots that can explain what's up.
My trip is KCMA to KPSP. As I'm looking at approved past routes, I think I was mistaken that my filed route had previously been approved. That said, what I want to do is fly the filed route as IFR to VFR on top at 9,500, and then either do a visual approach or cancel IFR at the end (after passing DEWAY). I also want to keep below the altitudes required for oxygen.

The route I filed was: GINNA V326 VNY PDZ V388 DEWAY.

The route I was told to expect was: FIM V186 ITSME V264 POM PDZ V186 V64 TRM

Thoughts and comments appreciated. Thanks, guys!
 
Generally now I just file for direct and then it comes back a certain route, not sure if it’s automated or if a person gives a designated route.

You basically never know until you takeoff and even then it can change in flight. If you are IMC and the route changes in flight, I would take it slow and say I need vectors until you have time to play with the gps. I’ve got spatial disorientation turning in the wrong direction before trying to manage too many things at once. And I was literally fighting that feeling for well over an hour until I decided it’s time to descend and continue under VMC conditions. The ceilings were at least a few thousand feet above the ground so I think it was a good practice experience with an easy way out.
 
I should add that the weather today is forecast for "severe clear." I want to file IFR for the experience of being "in the system." I can easily go VFR with flight following, and that option is looking more attractive as I get closer to departure.
 
I don’t know the answer for this routing, but these kinds of very indirect routings tend to be based on ATC needs in busy areas. Sometimes they just change with the winds. Or with the filed altitude.

And what the Center computer will accept is often different than what you can negotiate in the air.
 
I should add that the weather today is forecast for "severe clear." I want to file IFR for the experience of being "in the system." I can easily go VFR with flight following, and that option is looking more attractive as I get closer to departure.
You can file VFR, IFR or flight following. You are in the system for all 3.
 
You can file VFR, IFR or flight following. You are in the system for all 3.
I'm thinking that the best thing to do at this point is take off, and when I get handed-off from the tower to ATC, ask for flight following. Unfortunately, flight following can't be arranged on the ground at KCMA.
 
A VFR flight plan is not visible to a controller. So not really "in the system".
 
@SoCal 182 Driver Given the time on the west coast, it may be a bit early for the pilots with specific experience to chime in. If you're looking for experience in the system, I'd go with your IFR plan and try to amend it in the air. SOCAL is very complex and I suspect the routings are spit out by computer like the NorthEast. You're going to run into things like this all the time, best to get used to it and see what ATC can do for you in the air. One suggestion would be to ask if there's a better altitude to get a more direct route. That can work in the NE trying to get over JFK vs being sent way west to PA.
 
Filing VFR will not put you in “the system” if you mean ATC.
That's been my experience. I filed a VFR flight plan for a long flight from NorCal to KCMA, and when I contacted ATC after taking off from a non-towered airport, they did not see the flight plan. I ended up asking for, and receiving, flight following.
 
That's been my experience. I filed a VFR flight plan for a long flight from NorCal to KCMA, and when I contacted ATC after taking off from a non-towered airport, they did not see the flight plan. I ended up asking for, and receiving, flight following.
That's been everybody's experience. Unlike IFR flight plans, VFR flight plans are not forwarded to ATC. They only have a search and rescue function.

(special VFR fight plans like for the DC SFRA are discrete exceptions).
 
I should add that the weather today is forecast for "severe clear." I want to file IFR for the experience of being "in the system." I can easily go VFR with flight following, and that option is looking more attractive as I get closer to departure.
With good VMC, you have another option.

Depart with the re-route then try to negotiate a shorter route. If they are not able to do that, ask if you can get the routing you want if you go VFR-ON-TOP for the segment that they can not approve. You'll fly at a VFR altitude but remaining with ATC with handoffs. That removes the IFR separation requirement from ATC which should let them authorize the more direct routing. Once past the area that was preventing the IFR routing, request an IFR altitude to resume IFR.
 
My trip is KCMA to KPSP. As I'm looking at approved past routes, I think I was mistaken that my filed route had previously been approved. That said, what I want to do is fly the filed route as IFR to VFR on top at 9,500, and then either do a visual approach or cancel IFR at the end (after passing DEWAY). I also want to keep below the altitudes required for oxygen.

The route I filed was: GINNA V326 VNY PDZ V388 DEWAY.

The route I was told to expect was: FIM V186 ITSME V264 POM PDZ V186 V64 TRM

Thoughts and comments appreciated. Thanks, guys!
What altitude did you file?
 
Friends - I'm a low-time IFR pilot (just received my IFR ticket in October). I filed a flight plan last night via Foreflight, and received two emails. The first confirmed the filing. The second told me to expect a different route than the one I filed. The updated route is literally 30 minutes longer. I would prefer to fly the route I filed, which is a route that ATC has cleared in the past.

Assuming my clearance isn't, "...cleared as filed," what are my options here? I can go VFR if I have to (but would prefer to be in the system). Is there any way I can request my original routing?

I'd appreciate any help and advice. Thanks!
 
Friends - I'm a low-time IFR pilot (just received my IFR ticket in October). I filed a flight plan last night via Foreflight, and received two emails. The first confirmed the filing. The second told me to expect a different route than the one I filed. The updated route is literally 30 minutes longer. I would prefer to fly the route I filed, which is a route that ATC has cleared in the past.

Assuming my clearance isn't, "...cleared as filed," what are my options here? I can go VFR if I have to (but would prefer to be in the system). Is there any way I can request my original routing?

I'd appreciate any help and advice. Thanks!
Are you flying at rush hour? ATC may be unable to give you the clearance you want at the time of the day you are planning.
 
Are you flying at rush hour? ATC may be unable to give you the clearance you want at the time of the day you are planning.

0900.

So, here's what I've decided to do: I'm going to get my clearance on the ground. If it's not "as filed," then I'm going to ask if there's any way I can get "as filed" with an IFR to VFR on top at 9,500. If the answer is "yes," great. If the answer is "no," I'm going to cancel IFR and just go VFR with flight following.

I'll report back on my return. I greatly appreciate everyone's comments and advice. Very helpful.
 
you can do a vfr departure and then pick up your plan somewhere further along the way. They still may route/re-route you as well. And in busier airspaces, they may not let you file a pop-up, so best to have one in there.

In the northeast - in the busy NYC corridor it can get a bit tricky as well. Ive seen and spoke to some pilots and found a loop hole to a certain extent as well. For example - leaving out of teterboro, you can sometimes be on a wait for 2 hours for IFR departure. Apparently what some do (not jets but pistons and turboprops) is to just get clearance to depart vfr and fly the hudson. Then keep vfr as long as you want or pick up your clearance later (though that can get tricky inside to pick up), but once outside - isnt to difficult.
 
During my IFR training on the west coast I never once got the route I filed. I quickly learned that every IFR flight was "NAP" - not as planned.

And on almost every flight, the clearance I was given on the ramp was not the route I ended up flying with once in the air.

Honestly, this never-ending changes drove me crazy when trying to learn IFR. I think this had a lot to do with me not continuing with it after I got my ticket. That, and an aircraft that had the bare minimum of IFR equipment and redundancy.
 
So, here's what I've decided to do: I'm going to get my clearance on the ground. If it's not "as filed," then I'm going to ask if there's any way I can get "as filed" with an IFR to VFR on top at 9,500. If the answer is "yes," great. If the answer is "no," I'm going to cancel IFR and just go VFR with flight following.
Clearance Delivery, at your departure airport, is not going to know what a TRACON or Center will be able to do down the road. Depart IFR then negotiate in the air. Cancel if you can't get what you want.
 
This flight is best filed under the heading of, "Man Plans, and God Laughs..."

The forecast of "severe clear" gave way to a pretty persistent cloud deck that extended several miles inland. I was unable to depart VFR. So, I accepted the updated clearance and flew that route.

It was unfamiliar to me, and fun. Uneventful, except ATC turned me inbound inside TRM, which meant I had to lose a bunch of altitude FAST, which I did. ATC cleared me for the visual approach into KPSP 31L Done.

Thanks, everyone, for your help and suggestions. Very much appreciated.
 
Initial routing spit out of the system for FLIBs is generally going to route you out of the way of congested traffic areas, and/or keep you within certain airspace until radar contact. Details will vary depending on your departure airport and nearby traffic. Once in radar contact, you may often get re-routed more direct if traffic allows.

In my neck of the woods, I nearly always get routed north toward the SYR VOR even if I am headed west or south, so I can stay within Syracuse Approach airspace until I'm radar contact then I get sent on my way with a more direct routing. In the days of yore, we had a navaid (GGT VOR) due west of me which was more convenient as an initial fix, nice and out of the way of Syracuse or Utica/Griffis traffic, but alas that VOR was decommissioned due to MON. Usually, when I file IFR, I am cleared on my way before I am 10 nm from departure and still climbing to my initial altitude.
 
Fly IFR a bunch more. Even when it's clear. Occasionally it'll take you a bit longer, but you'll learn the system. Often in NorCal, SoCal, and NE, you'll get some convoluted updated route back from ATC. Great, plug that in and start flying. Often they'll trim much of it off, saving you time. Sometimes they won't and you'll get practice.

Stay in the system the whole way. Get a hard IFR altitude, and shoot the approach at the other end even if clear. Learn to negotiate when you can get direct to an IAF for the approach you have selected. Have that approach IAF loaded but not activated in the navigator. When cleared to the IAF, just activate the approach and off you go.

Sounds like the flight in question went well and you learned a bit more of the system and how to manage it. Remember you can say "unable" if needed, though there's the risk of delay vector or whatever (for example, if they slam you down faster than you are comfortable).

Keep practicing on those IMC days to keep and increase your proficiency IFR. IR is the most perishable of all ratings/skills. Later you can practice the proper ratio of VFR to IFR, but for now, err on the side of IFR filings and flights.

In much of the country you file direct and go direct.
 
^^^^^This^^^^^

If you fly some routes enough, you will learn the preferred routings and can ask for them. IFR is rarely going to be a straight shot anywhere. And some routings you are never going to get no matter how many times you ask for it.
 
This flight is best filed under the heading of, "Man Plans, and God Laughs..."

The forecast of "severe clear" gave way to a pretty persistent cloud deck that extended several miles inland. I was unable to depart VFR. So, I accepted the updated clearance and flew that route.

It was unfamiliar to me, and fun. Uneventful, except ATC turned me inbound inside TRM, which meant I had to lose a bunch of altitude FAST, which I did. ATC cleared me for the visual approach into KPSP 31L Done.

Thanks, everyone, for your help and suggestions. Very much appreciated.
I wonder if you could do that thing that every instrument pilot learns, few understand and even fewer ever use: VFR-on-top?
 
I wonder if you could do that thing that every instrument pilot learns, few understand and even fewer ever use: VFR-on-top?
That's what I had hoped to do, and in fact asked ATC at one point if I could do VFR-On-Top on my desired route. ATC refused. I suppose I could have cancelled IFR and flown VFR at an altitude above the cloud deck, but I wanted the experience of flying "in the system," so I just went with the flow, so to speak.
 
That's what I had hoped to do, and in fact asked ATC at one point if I could do VFR-On-Top on my desired route. ATC refused. I suppose I could have cancelled IFR and flown VFR at an altitude above the cloud deck, but I wanted the experience of flying "in the system," so I just went with the flow, so to speak.
I was thinking something more akin to this, "IFR climb to VFR-on-top":
 
To the OP:
Since you're using Foreflight, if you desire to read/hear the words "cleared as filled" then learn to use the Suggested Routes feature.
Pick one that matches the type of aircraft you fly (eg turboprop, piston etc) and file.

Goes straight through, like corn through a cow.
 
To the OP:
Since you're using Foreflight, if you desire to read/hear the words "cleared as filled" then learn to use the Suggested Routes feature.
Pick one that matches the type of aircraft you fly (eg turboprop, piston etc) and file.

Goes straight through, like corn through a cow.
And if you do this, as an additional bonus, you will be able to get a more true to life fuel burn.
Filing direct, then getting a roundabout routing, can gum that up a bit.
 
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