IFR into KGAI (Gaithersburg)

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by sarangan, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    GAI only has one published arrival, which is from the south. I'll be coming into DC from the northwest, so I am not sure what fix to file. I've never flown into the SFRA, and would prefer not to get re-routed at the last minute to unfamiliar fixes. One possibility is to file through one of the SFRA gates, LUCKE or WOOLY. But as I understand, these are VFR gates, so I am not sure if that would work for IFR. Any wisdom from pilots who have been there?
     
  2. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    EMI is an IAF for the GPS-A. That's where I always filed in the past as my last fix before GAI coming from the North. You'll get vectored if necessary. There is a frequency to call on the ground to clear the airspace if IFR, else cancel in the air if good VFR on breakout. I almost always use GAI when traveling to the DC metro area.

    Very friendly airport. I based there temporarily when I was working at NIH and commuting to CNY. File IFR if you can...much easier in the SFRA.
     
  3. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-Flight

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    From the NW just file to LUCKE (it's also on a fix on low IFR as well as a gate VFR fix) and then TRISTAN for the RNAV14 if you want to arrive IFR or LUCKE Direct to the airport if you're going to be able to get in VFR and cancel with the field in sight (and approach will remind you to keep your squawk inside the TFR)

    Outbound VFR is easy, file on Foreflight to a gate fix (LUCKE again if you're going back out that way) and be sure and select SVFR on flight plan type. Call Potomac on the ground and they will give you a squawk and dep freq. IFR is a way to get out but there is a lot of traffic most days at GAI and sometimes release is a painful wait. I've filed SVFR out and picked up IFR at EMI or MRB to avoid the wait.
     
  4. mcdewey

    mcdewey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You can take the SFRA course here (https://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/ALC/courseLanding.aspx?cID=405). While required only for VFR pilots, I'd recommend it for any pilot flying into the area. First, to know what the SFRA is and second to cover yourself if you go VFR within 60nm of the DCA VOR/DME or you're asked for your SFRA completion-of-course certificate.
     
  5. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    That's good to know that one can cancel IFR and keep the squawk. That part wasn't clear to me from the SFRA course.
     
  6. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You should never be in SFRA airspace with 1200 in the box. Even if you are going into GAI IFR take the course.
     
  7. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    I might be doin it all wrong....but IFR in the SFRA is transparant. VFR, however, requires an understanding of the system and fences.
     
  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    “...select SVFR on flight plan type...” How do you do that?
     
  9. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Not SVFR, but I assume you either filed VFR to a gate and then picked up an IFR flight plan starting at EMI or MRB, or filed an IFR from GAI and advised the controller you'd do a VFR departure and pick up IFR when able. The latter is what I do nearly all the time coming out of VKX since DCA traffic makes it difficult for PCT to clear airspace for an IFR departure from the uncontrolled field.
     
  10. Allen Epps

    Allen Epps Filing Flight Plan

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    Sorry. Meant to say the correct type is VFR DC SFRA In ForeFlight it’s a pull down option on the flight plan type.
     
  11. Allen Epps

    Allen Epps Filing Flight Plan

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    Yep. My fault for not looking. VFR DC SFRA to a gate and when the tell me clear I ask to pick up my IFR over wherever I started it. Should have looked at ff before I typed!
     
  12. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Ah. I wonder exactly what ForeFlight does with that. IFR, VFR and DVFR are the only options on an FAA Flight Plan. You select IFR for an SFRA filing.
     
  13. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    When you ‘file VFR to a gate’ don’t you select IFR as the type of Flight Plan?
     
  14. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    To file VFR in or out of the SFRA you file IFR to or from a gate— this generates a squawk and the gates lets Potomac know it’s a SFRA plan vs actual IFR. I was based in the SFRA at Manassas for 12 years. It’s really pretty simple. If you file over the phone with FSS you tell’em you want to file a DC SFRA flight plan and give them the gate info as your origin or destination just as you would online.

    On a side note, flying around the DC metro area don’t expect a Class B clearance even when IFR. SFRA yes, which is transparent when IFR, but Class B no.
     
  15. Allen Epps

    Allen Epps Filing Flight Plan

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    No. If you select VFR DC SFRA then I suspect that FF takes your data and puts it in an ICAO flight plan and sends
     
  16. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    I don’t use FF so defer to your expertise. However, it appears that’s just how FF functions. What it is doing behind the scene is sending an IFR flight plan to the ATC computer even though its user interface is giving you a DC VFR SFRA label.
     
  17. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    If what I read was right, on an ICAO Flight Plan you select ‘I’ as the type. I guess ForeFlight checks that your destination aerodrome is one of the gates before accepting it and then filing it with the FAA with ‘I’ selected in the 8. Flight Rules box.
     
  18. Allen Epps

    Allen Epps Filing Flight Plan

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    The backend is all PFM to me but it works really well to keep me out of trouble.:) Well, mostly. :D

    Once you do it a couple times the DC SFRA isn’t hard and Potomac Approach is used to peoples first time and always helpful.
     
  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    I filed from KGAI to KTHV on ForeFlight. Selected VFR (DC SFRA). Route was Direct. It accepted it. Seems to me it shouldn’t unless you make a ‘Gate’ the destination.
     
  20. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    When you do it, file VFR (DC SFRA) on Foreflight , do you make a Gate the destination?
     
  21. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Well, to be completely accurate, you'd never get a specific class bravo clearance because your IFR clearance is your bravo clearance, but I think that's what you meant. In order to facilitate separation with traffic, they do tend to keep you in class E under the Bravo, but it depends on where you are and what sort of operations are going on. I've gotten clearances through the class bravo airspace, both VFR and IFR, particularly when traffic is light. I spend most of my time on the east side of the airspace, so it might be different for other sectors.
     
  22. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-Flight

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    I do use a gate but the training course covers they are an arc of places you can exit not a single point but if I’m VFR then the fix that the gate is named after is often on the way so I use it as my destination. If I’m going to go down the VFR corridor by BWI though I usually pick something else if we go to the shore as that gate fix (PALEO) is north of the course I usually want so often plug in Easton as the exit and go over their airspace.
     
  23. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    I tell the Washington Center controller on the phone that I'm going VFR to a specific gate. He/she enters it directly into their computer.

    If I wasn't going to or from an FRZ airport, I'd select the DC SFRA option in ForeFlight.
     

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  24. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    last couple times by the north side of the bravo I was cleared thru the SFRA & Bravo....with no flight plan. But, mostly we fly around the SFRA. ;)
     

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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  25. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    @Brad Z . I see you fly out of VKX. Do you file with Foreflight?
     
  26. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The Foreflight SFRA plan just implments what the FAA tells you to do: Select IFR (otherwise ATC never sees the plan), put VFR in the ALT block, and put DC SFRA in the remarks.
     
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  27. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    No. We're required to file flightplans with Washington Center when going in and out of VKX.
     
  28. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Ok, it’s an FRZ airport. Here’s what I’m trying to figure out. An SFRA Flight Plan (forget foreflight for now) is filed with a Gate as the destination airport and IFR selected as type of Flight Plan. It is self opening by contact with ATC and self cancelling upon leaving the SFRA. If you want to have the SAR benefits of a VFR Flight Plan you must file a separate one and you must open it. Having the SFRA Flight Plan and talking with ATC on the SFRA Flight Plan does not somehow open your VFR Flight Plan for you. Now what is Foreflight doing with VFR (DC SFRA) where you have a destination airport somewhere out yonder and a ‘Gate’ isn’t part of your route of flight? Are they generating one SFRA Flight Plan to Potomac Approach and one VFR Flight Plan to FSS? Does it pick the logical Gate to send to Potomac or does Potomac not really care. The later is my guess, they can figure it out and tell you which gate to use. @flyingron ?
     
  29. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    VFR plans have nothing to do with ATC. They are handled exclusively by FSS. If ATC manages to open or close one for you, they do so by calling FSS as a courtesy.

    The GATE is only there to make sure INBOUND SFRA VFR flights call on the frequency where the plan will be routed. You don't have to worry about gates on exit of the SFRA. You can just use your ultimate destination.
     
  30. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    The gate is to aid the controller in knowing which way you're heading.

    There have been threads galore about filing IFR flight plans for VFR FF, which is essentially what you're doing when you put a destination other than a gate. It does not create a VFR flight.

    Caps lock for emphasis: VFR FLIGHT PLANS ARE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM IFR FLIGHT PLANS! They go into a separate non-FAA system from IFR flight plans. The only thing they share is the name "flight plan". It is handled solely by Leidos. The only way way a controller can open, close or file a VFR flight plan is by picking up the phone and calling Leidos...essentially the same way your grandma would do it if you asked her to do the same. ATC has no access to the VFR flight plan system.
     
  31. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    All that I know. Do you know exactly what Foreflight does with it’s VFR (DC SFRA) option?
     
  32. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I told you above. It puts it in as IFR, with VFR in ALT and a DC SFRA in the remarks. There's nothing else for it to do. There's no filing type other than VFR, IFR, or DVFR. Only IFR will get the plan to the right place.
     
  33. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I am at a different SFRA uncontrolled field. Outbound I just file IFR. When I call for my clearance and the weather is VMC, I tell them that 'I am able to depart visually'. They give me an aexpected route, a fix and an altitude and instruction to remain clear of class B. When I depart, I contact PCT and usually receive a heading to fly and 'expect clearance in 5min'. Once they give me the clearance I climb into the class B .
     
  34. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    The SFRA training doesn't mention anything about SFRA flight plans. It says to check the IFR box and then put the gate name as the arrival or departure point. I suspect they handle it exactly the same as a regular VFR Flight Following.

    On that note, I wonder if I can file GAI -> Gate name-> Destination airport, depart VFR from GAI and once clear of the gate get an IFR clearance to the destination from the same controller.
     
  35. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The moment you get to the SFRA boundary the controller hits the 'close' button and tells you bye-bye. It'll create a back+forth on the radio until he finds your now closed plan and enters a new one.

    Just file IFR to where you want to go.
     
  36. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The SFRA training doesn't know or care what Foreflight misrepresents to you. As stated, the foreflight SFRA plan option just preloads an IFR flight plan with the info I mentioned.

    As I stated, there's no real reason to file a "gate" on an SFRA exit. Once you're in the system with an SFRA plan, it's trivial for ATC to convert you to IFR on request. However PCT is busy (or just cranky) at times and won't do that.
     
  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Gotcha. What I'm wondering about is using Foreflight to file it. Foreflight gives you the option of VFR, IFR or VFR (DC SFRA) as type of flight plan. Forefights instructions tell you to put one of the Gates as destination airport and VFR for altitude. In other words, no different than if you selected IFR instead of VFR (DC SFRA). VFR (DC SFRA) would put the remark in for you I guess and save you a couple of keystrokes. But what has me scratching my head is I filed one. But I didn't follow the instructions. I put the destination airport as somewhere a hundred miles away. Just direct for the route, no Gate. I expected it to reject it. But it didn't, it took it. So I'm wondering what it sent to FAA. Did it pick the most logical Gate to send to Potomac? If not would Potomac even care?
     
  38. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Ok. Think you answered my question. Thanks
     
  39. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    IFR from the northwest into GAI, file MRB V166 EMI...you won't go all the way to Westminster but 9 times out of 10 that's what they'll put you on. They can hook you onto the GPS from BEGKA, or if it's a visual day you can do the visual without any issues. There's a good dedicated frequency for Potamac clearance on the ground to cancel/pick up your outbound.

    Just be aware of the international flight school that's based there...they're dangerous and there are a lot of them doing really silly things around that airport and most of the local ones pretty much all day every day. Also the FBO terminal smells like a porta potty.
     
  40. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-Flight

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    Truth.
     
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