IFR Filed - But Depart VFR

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by pilotrs, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. pilotrs

    pilotrs Filing Flight Plan

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    If I've flied an IFR plan, but I'd like to depart VFR, do a little local sightseeing around the airport and then get on with the IFR route. What would be the proper procedure? File IFR from a fix other than the departing airport and pick it up when in the air? or let Clearance know of what you'd like to do on the ground?
     
  2. Daniel Katz

    Daniel Katz Filing Flight Plan

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    I would say that it depends on how far out you’re going to be. If the sightseeing is off the end of the runway, I’d just file from the airport. Anywhere else and I’d recommend filing from a fix within the same airspace sector. You want to make sure that you know which departure controller to call.
     
  3. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I did this last time I left marathon in the keys. I wanted to fly up the island chain a bit to sight see and then head north. I filed starting at a fix about where I wanted and picked it up in the air when I was done messing around. Worked great.
     
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  4. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    We departed RIC once and the kids wanted to see Kings Dominion from the air (local theme park). I told CD what I wanted to do and they gave me a normal clearance. Departure just told me to report Kings Dominion in site and when I did they told me to let them know when I was ready to proceed on course.
     
  5. Pugs

    Pugs Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yep, although you don't have to talk to clearance on the ground. You can launch VFR give departure a call as you near where you want to start your IFR and ask for your clearance there.
     
  6. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Either method works. Personally, like Pugs stated above, I’d just depart VFR with the IFR off the airport on file. After my sightseeing was done and I was ready for my clearance, I’d call departure. There’s no need to tell CD or GD what you’re doing but they might see you’ve got an IFR in their strip board and query about that. Just tell them your plans.
     
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  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    :yeahthat:
    I think most pilots don't realize how flexible ATC can be with an IFR flight plan if you just ask. We did an IFR flight on a beautiful day a few years ago from my home base near Raleigh NC to Charleston SC. Airborne with outer clearance, we told TRACON we'd like to fly eastbound and follow the coastline down for the views. No problem at all.
     
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  8. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    I don't remember if the U.S. has this as well, but Canada, at least, has something called a "composite flight plan" where you can specify a point (e.g. a VOR) where you will stop flying VFR and call for your IFR clearance. I've never tried filing one.

    Another option for the U.S. might be simply to file an IFR flight plan that starts somewhere other than an airport. Do your sightseeing, arrive at waypoint XXXXX around the time filed, then call ATC and ask for your IFR clearance (remaining VFR until you get it, of course).
     
  9. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, we do. Not used that much because VFR flight plans are completely optional in the US except in certain special airspace where they want to be able to track you, such as the DC SFRA.
     
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  10. pilotrs

    pilotrs Filing Flight Plan

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    My plan is to file IFR from Chicago Midway to Indianapolis at night. But I'd like to see the Chicago Skyline at night over lake Michigan before heading south and joining the IFR Route. Perhaps I can file from KMDW to Indy, but request Midway Clearance that I'd like to fly north to see the city and then head south to Indy
     
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  11. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That’s pretty busy airspace. Just ‘popping up’ with Approach may not work out so well. You might be in a spot where the chances of getting a Clearance anytime soon may be about nil. @Radar Contact , whadda you recommend he do?
     
  12. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The SFRA VFR plan doesn't provide any real tracking. The whole procedure of filing a plan served only two purposes: security theater (can't have people flying around without flight plans) and the minor operational issue of greasing the squawk codes for people to have their "transponder observed." If you're getting radar services from PCT for other reasons all they do is ask if you have a plan or not just because they're told to do so.

    On the other hand the FRZ plans do convey a very specific authorization to allow you in that ring and it's not just the FAA that's watching.
     
  13. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There’s no need for a composite or file starting at an airborne fix. Your situation is similar as departing a non-towered field VFR and picking up your IFR clearance in the air. Doesn’t matter that you didn’t start the IFR portion at MDW. TRACON can clear you, then amend (if necessary) your present position direct your first fix. Seriously doubt they’d even take the time to amend it.
     
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  14. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I guess you could do this even at a field where you could pick up the clearance, just not pick it up until you wanted to in the air?
     
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  15. John Collins

    John Collins En-Route

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    Departing VFR and picking up your clearance along the route will usually work as long as you are not near center boundaries or don't cross center boundaries. The filing system only delivers a flight plan to a single center, so adjacent centers will not be able to find your IFR flight plan. Also, there are surface center boundaries that are not charted, so which center is going to get your flight plan if you file from a point within roughly 50 NM of a charted center boundary is not obvious. Not all filing systems will deliver the flight plan to the correct center and when that happens, the center rejects the flight plan. Safest is to file from an airport and pick up the clearance with the airport's departure frequency. Filing from a fix or navigation facility as the departure point will work in the majority of the cases, but not always because of the my previous discussion, that is your flight plan either gets delivered to the wrong center or you contact the wrong center.
     
  16. John Collins

    John Collins En-Route

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    Most US pilots are not trained how to file a composite VFR/IFR flight plan. ATC is not trained on how to handle them. If you file a ZFR (VFR first then IFR), the IFR portion will not be delivered to ATC if you don't first activate the VFR portion of the flight plan. You also have to specify where in the route the flight plan switches to IFR. Most pilots don't know how to do this. I don't recommend using ZFR or YFR in the US.
     
  17. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nor do I. I've never seen much use for them.
     
  18. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    @John Collins

    For me in busy airspace, e.g. North East or FL, I have found it is better to call and get clearance route even if planning to pick up from the air later (even a couple hours later has worked) when you will get a complicated full route clearance.
    Is this specific to these areas I fly or general.

    Oh ZFR and YFR both got me funny questions from ATC. So I never try them anymore. I just do flight following for the VFR portion.

    Tim

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  19. sarangan

    sarangan Pattern Altitude

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    Exactly. Even on a IFR flight plan, you can ask for a VFR detour. Most likely you will get something like "detour approved, maintain VFR at or below ...., let me know when you are ready to resume" or something to that effect.
     
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  20. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Why not do your VFR thing and get a pop-up when you're ready to head to indy? There's no requirement that the plan be filed prior to wheels up.
     
  21. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Same reasons one files in advance to begin with. Might be a complex route which is always better filing and having at least an "expected" clearance. Pop-ups, like VFR fight following, are workload-bases services, so you might be in busy airspace and get refused. I've heard it happen. OTOH, if you are somewhere where ATC isn't particularly busy and you figure the routing will be simple, no big deal to wait and pop up.

    My favorite pop-up story: I was returning VFR from the Western Slope to the Denver area. Beautiful VFR day in the mountains. Approaching the Denver area, I was surprised to find it was socked in (unusual and not forecast). I knew there was no way TRACON would accept a cold call popup. So I called Center and asked if they could work one out for me. They told me to hang on and eventually came back with, "proceed to the BJC VOR at or above XXX. Over the VOR, call Denver Approach. Your clearance will be waiting for you."
     
  22. Sean - TheFirePilot

    Sean - TheFirePilot Pre-Flight

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    Also not typical but if you are cleared on an IFR plan, then you want to do VFR sight seeing, you can temporarily request to suspend the IFR flight plan, do your sight seeing and then resume. It's not typical and adds more work to the controller, but an option as long as they can accommodate with their present workload.
     
  23. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled

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    thanks @midlifeflyer - I did not know that pop-ups were workload dependent. It seems counter intuitive, as if I WANTED to go VFR but needed a pop-up it would be different than a flight following request.
     
  24. Pugs

    Pugs Cleared for Takeoff

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    For this bring up the VFR fly-way chart (be sure and select TFRs in case the Sox or Cubs are playing) - Tell Midway what you're planning on doing and I'm sure they'll vector you over to the route. Follow the flyway north (and back south if you want) and pick up your IFR from the appropriate departure controller for Waukegan (KUGN) or Gary (KGYY) at either end which is what I would put as my initial point on my IFR FP.
     
  25. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    While rare for civilians, and I don’t recommend it in this case to the OP, military do composites all the time. Generally it’s going into a VR route but they do them into SUA as well. Filed several myself.

    906EF152-ABF8-4029-8B9D-799A8B558280.jpeg

    I’ve issued dozens of these clearances and their handling isn’t confusing at all. In fact, a simple couple of paragraphs in the .65 is all the “training” a controller needs. They’re quite easy to handle unless the pilot didn’t file properly (happens). When they’re IFR, controllers have seperation criteria /MVA policies to abide by. When they’re VFR, for the most part that criteria ceases. It’s not hard.

    6A467122-728E-4989-9DF7-C04D403CB178.jpeg
     
  26. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Here in Long Island, you’d have to be the luckiest pilot for approach to give you a pop up. I’ve even had them give me grief when there was unforecast fog and I had to shoot an approach into an airport. Maybe things have changed since Covid started.
     
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  27. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    First, a quick point of information on terminology. We are using ''pop-up" to denote a cold call to ATC asking for an IFR clearance which had not been filed. That's definitely its common usage by a long shot. But as used used in the "dot 65," the controller manual - it appears once - it refers to any VFR aircraft requesting an IFR clearance, even if previously filed. So really, it refers to both situations. That can be confusing in dcussions.

    When you ask for a cold call pop-up you are basically asking ATC to to do your filing for you. Simple enough if the flight is local and no other facilities are involved; more problematic when the flight is longer. Imagine cold-calling in the air in Kansas, asking for am IFR clearance to Montreal. It's really not their job to do your job.

    "Need" suggests to me some kind of a problem where a denial results in a problem - "Unable to maintain VFR" is a good one bound to get their attention..

    Personally, I've asked for cold call pop-ups maybe a half dozen times and never been denied. But I heard a denial. I was IFR climbing out of Denver. I heard another aircraft calling to open a flight plan they had filed. TRACON replied they couldn't find one on file, so the pilot asked for a pop-up. ATC's response was "unable. Suggest you contact Flight Service."
     
  28. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've heard of pilots not even being able to open filed flight plans in the air in the NY Approach region.
     
  29. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yea. They don’t like that. You pretty much have to always get your clearance on the ground or get way outside of JFK, EWR, and LGA airspace before you pick up your clearance. PHL approach is a lot more accommodating.
     
  30. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    My typical use of a pop-up is when I'm approaching destination VFR over the top and the forecast few/scattered have changed to broken/overcast during the few hours since my departure. I'll ask for a clearance to descend below the deck with an altitude restriction, with a promise to cancel if I'm in VMC by that altitude. It's never been a problem (because, as @midlifeflyer mentioned, there are no other facilities involved).

    I could try to spiral down through a hole instead, but that seems idiotic when I have a perfectly-safe/routine option available to me.
     
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  31. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    I have started to think that Boston has imported a few of those controllers from NYC. Not only do they talk a lot faster, they do NOT like people picking up clearance in the air; even previously filed.
    A few times, they have said fly X miles west to Bradly and pick it up there (I was headed east to the Cape). In those cases, I just stay VFR and fly right outside the bravo, probably causing them more issues then if they gave me a code.

    Tim
     
  32. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, I've had this happen where I was planning on departing VFR, called up CD to get my taxi clearance and they began reading off my IFR clearance with an unexpected SID and then a route alteration. I was not ready to copy lol, left me pretty flustered. Lesson learned, tell CD/Ground what my intentions are. They were so stinkin' busy that I didn't want to mess with trying to back all that out, just flew it out and clalked it up as a learning experience.