Issues cancelling VFR flight plans

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by k9medic, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    k9medic
    On my two most recent trips to the Bahamas, I have filed a VFR flight plan rather than an IFR plan. The main reason for this is the routing that ATC wants me to take keeps me out over the water much further and longer than I really want to be.

    Both of these trips that I have completed have been met with issues closing my VFR flight plan. Twice now I have been admonished by ground control for not closing out my flight plan.

    My process is pretty simple - remain on the VFR flight plan with ATC flight following (out of Palm Beach btw) until I'm 20nm miles from the airport and cancel with ATC in the air. My verbiage is precise "N123xyz, I'd like to cancel my VFR flight plan." Both times, I have been responded to with "cancellation received, keep the code and switch to tower freq."

    This past trip (yesterday) I actually asked the controller to confirm that she received my cancellation request.

    It's been a while since I have filed a VFR flight plan so perhaps I'm missing something? Is the cancellation a sole function of the FSS? Should I be calling them instead in the air?
     
  2. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    5,515
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    It depends on the country, but normally you cancel a VFR flight plan with FSS.
     
    N1120A, Kenny Phillips and wayneda40 like this.
  3. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2019
    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Lander, WY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Carpenter
    As Clip4 said, normal ops would be to have all matters dealing with a VFR flight plan handled through Flight Service, phone, radio, or nowadays, Foreflight and other EFB apps have e-links to open/close VFR plans by e-mail, text, etc. In general, ATC knows nothing of any VFR flight plan, and, though theoretically, they can accept a flight plan closure and relay that to Flight Service, in your case it obviously didn't work. I always thought (strictly my personal opinion) that any ATC controller had better things to do with their busy time, and that it was best to stay within the FSS channel-band for VFR flight plans.
     
    MuseChaser and wayneda40 like this.
  4. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    k9medic
    This was with Palm Beach approach.

    Next time I’ll file IFR and just clog up the airspace I guess.

    I have tried to open and close my flight plan on ForeFlight several times but have no luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 18, 2015
    Messages:
    2,172
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Romeo
    Maybe approach is confusing flight following with a VFR flight plan? As in, you are asking to close a VFR flight plan and they are thinking you want off of flight following? Only suspect that because they told you to keep the code and switch to tower, which implies they may have had you switch to 1200 if that wasn't the case and stopped flight following?

    Dunno.

    But yeah I also agree with previous posters, IF I file a VFR flight plan (which is RARELY), I always begin and end it with FSS. The one time I thought tower had it covered was when I opened one coming back from KEYW later in the evening and I called FSS anyway on the drive home, turns out it was still open. VFR = your responsibility, IFR = ATC from my experience.
     
    wayneda40 likes this.
  6. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    10,667
    Location:
    Hoschton, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Let's Fly
    800-wxb-rief
     
    RDUPilot likes this.
  7. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    5,515
    Location:
    A Rubber Room
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    yes, in the US you must cancel with FSS.
     
  8. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    11,471
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    ATC can close out a VFR flight plan. I’ve done it several times working flight data. However, it’s not part of their responsibility to do so. I’d also make sure they’re not mistaking closing out a VFR flight plan with canceling FF.
     
    coma24 and wayneda40 like this.
  9. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2017
    Messages:
    587
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hang 4
    Agree on confusing closing out FF with flight plan. If you have a code, you are on FF and if you cancel, they are likely to think you mean FF. ATC does not have any visibility to your VFR flight plan. Can't remember if a VFR flight plan is required for travel to the Bahamas? If not, why not just use FF and don't file a VFR Plan?
     
  10. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    k9medic
    You have to file a DVFR flight plan coming back into the US.

    My frustration lies in the fact that I specifically requested to “cancel my vfr flight plan.”


    I completely get it if they are too busy to do so but my gosh don’t say that cancellation is received and then not do so.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  11. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    16,738
    Location:
    PUDBY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Richard Palm
    I agree, but ATC would have to relay the VFR-flight-plan closure to FSS. The more middlemen you insert into the process, the more chance there is for something to go wrong.
     
  12. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,823
    Location:
    El Paso, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    danhagan
    Eppy already put it earlier ... 1800wxbrief.com allows you to send and activate close plans via text on your phone. ATC closes IFR plans but I've never seen them do a VFR flight plan.

    Years ago I couldn't get FSS airborne to close mine as they were concerned if I crashed during landing, so I called on the ground and cancelled. Spent the night and was opening up the flight plan for the return leg when they indicated the plan from the day before was still open. I told them I called, it shouldn't be open, and if it WAS why were they not in search and rescue mode ... response was "current flight plan activated have a good day ...click".
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  13. n2230b

    n2230b Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Messages:
    130
    Location:
    SouthFlatistan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    fast eddie
    Flying in and out of airports within El Presidente's TFR here in SOFLA is becoming much more frequent, (KPMP). This requires a flight plan and I have been filing VFR lately, now with the required ICAO format. So far no problems CLOSING (not cancelling) VFR flt plans with either FSS or ATC/App ctrl. I was derisively and condescendingly admonished re closing v. cancelling a flt plan by a female ATC controller many years ago and have never forgotten. Just wish KPMP had a TFR "cutout" like KFXE when the PBI/presidential TFR is in effect.
     
  14. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    k9medic
    Funny thing is the TFR is why I have switched to the VFR flight plan. On an IFR plan they will not route me to BLUFI when there is a TFR. On a VFR plan they don't care.
     
  15. Jmcmanna

    Jmcmanna Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    254
    Location:
    Southern WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jmcmanna
    You are talking about two completely separate things here. Closing your VFR flight plan is not an ATC function, it is an FSS function. ATC has zero knowledge and does not have access to your VFR flight plan. ATC has the same access to FSS that you do....through the telephone.

    When you are in flight following and say you want to “cancel your VFR flight plan” they are taking that as you want to cancel your flight following because that is what they are providing. It is like calling the gas company to complain about your electric bill. Two completely different functions.

    You don’t have to file IFR as a workaround. You simply have to call FSS and close your VFR flight plan.
     
    KA550 likes this.
  16. John Collins

    John Collins Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,279
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    John
    Requesting ATC to close your VFR flight plan in theory should work, but it is not reliable. They have other things to do and if they call FSS and the phone just rings, well how long are they going to pursue it?
     
    denverpilot and Palmpilot like this.
  17. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    11,471
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Never used a phone when calling FSS while working flight data. Dial line but it’s not the same as a pilot 1800-wxbrief line. Took only a few seconds for a briefer answer.
     
  18. Jmcmanna

    Jmcmanna Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    254
    Location:
    Southern WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jmcmanna
    When was this? We have a dial line, but I regularly cannot get ahold of them. They have given us the ability to complete most of the functions we would call them (inputting pireps, getting NOTAMs, mainly), but not the ability to access VFR flight plans.
     
  19. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    11,471
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Oh, only 20 years ago. :D I asked my brother at ABI and he said they use a dial line. Didn’t say if they have a long wait or not. Usually his complaint is the wait in calling the DEN. My point being though, it’s not the same line that pilots use. If they’re making a controller wait, well things have changed then.
     
  20. Jmcmanna

    Jmcmanna Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    254
    Location:
    Southern WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jmcmanna
    It got bad after Lockheed Martin took over. They consolidated to the point that I think they were overworking their briefers. On a nice VFR day they are generally reachable quickly. On a day with MVFR or IFR, I have let the line ring for 10 minutes and given up.

    Because we put in our own PIREPs now, get our own NOTAMs at my large TRACON, it’s rare we need to call. The last 5 times I have called was because someone didn’t cancel their IFR and I was hoping FSS had a cell phone number on file so I could call the pilot directly.
     
    Velocity173 likes this.
  21. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    11,471
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Yeah, I remember on the pilot end in 2006-2007 timeframe they were horrible. 30 minute wait times. I remember one briefer who said he was new and didn’t know how to get winds aloft for me.

    Part of the problem was they let go a lot of FAA experience in the LM conversion process. It was a blessing on disguise for my brother because he was able to jump ship from AFSS to ATC.
     
  22. C-1 PILOT

    C-1 PILOT Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    NYC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    C-1 PILOT
    To the OP, how did you file your VFR flight plan? I rarely file, but the past few times I have, I’ve used Fore Flight, easy peasy, file or cancel/close. Is it different flying outside the US, to the Bahamas?
     
  23. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    7,265
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    It’s all in the thread title. You do not ‘cancel’ VFR Flight Plans, you ‘close’ them. You do not ‘cancel’ Flight Following, you ‘terminate’ it. You ‘cancel’ IFR. This fire started with you using the wrong word. The Controller poured gas on the fire by just accepting it leading you to thinking it had been done. She should have known better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
  24. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    k9medic
    Filed with foreflight. Opened with Freeport since I evidently can’t open a dvfr plan with the ForeFlight app.

    Attempted to “close” with Palm Beach approach.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk