I have been instrument rated for more than 10 years, but I haven't used the ticket much at all. I'm trying to start using it more, and have a handful of questions that I've been wondering about that are probably obvious to people with more experience. Instead of breaking them into individual threads, I thought I’d just compile them here. 1) Is there such a thing as "VFR under the top"? My thought would be in mountainous areas or underneath an icing layer, maybe you want to be able to maintain your IFR clearance, but you want to (and the weather is conducive to) fly by visual flight rules at an altitude that's lower than the MEA/OROCA/MOCA, could you ask for this? If you can, it’s not VFR on top, because that involves complying with minimum IFR altitudes, so how would you do it? 2) Relatedly, let's say I have a 500 mile trip, and it makes sense to fly the first 400 miles VFR because it's mountainous and the MEAs are unrealistic (and the weather is good) and then pick up an IFR clearance for the last 100 miles to the destination. How would you best file this? Composite plan? Can you just pick some random fix (RNAV or VOR) and file from there to your destination or does it have to originate at an airport? If I file from my actual origination point to the actual destination, but pick up the clearance in the air, is ATC going to be surprised that I'm 400 miles away from the actual origin point (and at this point the flight plan is probably 3 hours old and already been discarded)? What's the best way to do this? 3) Let's say you're flying a victor airway and you request a deviation or ATC vectors you off the airway, and then gives you "own nav”. Would you be expected to go back and intercept the airway or go direct from your present position to the next fix? 4) I know you're allowed to fly ODPs at your own discretion, but if ATC gives you an instruction that contradicts the ODP ("after departure right turn 123 direct XYZ"), I assume you can't just elect to fly the ODP? What about in a non-radar environment? 5) My instructor always used to recommend filing “No STAR/No SID,” and I think that’s just because he didn’t want to lug around the extra charts. Is this still a “thing”, or since it’s so easy with foreflight, is it more common to just fly the STARs/SIDS in light GA now? 6). On a visual approach, can you navigate to the runway any way you want? The AIM says “normal procedures,” but I’m curious how that plays out in the real world. For instance, let’s say you’re 10 miles out on a 45 degree to the runway. Are you expected to go straight to the numbers from that position, or track to intercept the final approach course? What if you’re on the upwind side of the airport - intercept the VFR traffic pattern? If you have to go missed, what are you expected to fly (short of vectors)? 7). In the event of Lost Comms, if no approach has been discussed and an IAF is not part of the flight plan, are you expected to fly to the destination airport first and then to an IAF of your choosing? I know you can pick any approach, but the question is more about how you get from your enroute segment to the IAF - you’re cleared to the airport, not the IAF, so do you go to the airport first and then to an IAF, or do you make a transition from the enroute segment to the IAF directly? I assume you would not descend until at the IAF, but if you’re way over the approach’s altitude for that segment, would you descend in a hold there? Which direction inbound? Probably over-thinking this one... 8). What are the real-world reasons to request a contact approach and not just fly a published approach? It seems like the only reason I can think of is expediency, but at the sacrifice of some safety.