VFR to IFR Cleared To Land

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Ventucky Red, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. Ventucky Red

    Ventucky Red Cleared for Takeoff

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    The other night me and my instructor were doing some approaches in actual conditions, and something happened that neither of us had experienced before..

    Taking off, we filed to the VFR on top, did a few air-work things, partial panel, made up holds the usual stuff for an IPC... When it was time to head to the barn I had asked for a pop-up clearance to XXXX RNAV-Y full stop. I never received a clearance with a route, clearance limit, altitude etc... but instead was vectored around.. In ATC's defense, they were pretty busy as the fog rolled in pretty quick and there was a lot chatter on the frq for folks getting in and out of one of our nearby airports.. and they let us know this.

    All of a sudden I hear Cessna YYY turn left heading 010 to YYYYY, maintain VFR until established, contact XXX tower. We go tower and hear Cessna XXX cleared to land ###.... we flew the approach.. hit the clouds at about 1500 and popped out at 800 and landed... As I was cleaning up the airplane for taxi I had noted that we never revived an actual clearance.... nor did we get the dreaded Cessna XXX are you ready to copy a number? So I guess everything was kosher... or was it?

    So my question is at some point did we get an IFR clearance with out actually getting a clearance.... Or should we have verified with ATC or tower that we are cleared for the approach? I ask as I am getting a feeling we may see this again as we're getting into our late morning early evening marine layer season..

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  2. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    You were instructed to "maintain VFR". Instead you flew into IMC without a clearance. Apparently ATC was not aware that you had done that.
     
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  3. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Should have said " unable to maintain vfr, approach will put me in IMC, I asked for a clearance."
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  4. pburger

    pburger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What happened is that you just outed either yourself or your instructor (whoever was PIC). File a NASA form now, do not pass GO, do not collect $200.
     
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  5. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Without a transcript, no telling if you received an IFR clearance. No idea if you were even cleared to the airport in your VFR On Top clearance. You haven’t provided that info.

    Based on the info you provided, no you didn’t get an IFR clearance back to the airport. Didn’t even get cleared for a visual. You were told to maintain VFR and flew through clouds without an IFR clearance.
     
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  6. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    This one is pretty cut and dry, they told you "maintain VFR" and you did not. Don't be afraid to tell them "unable VFR present heading / altitude, request IFR" is the correct thing to do next time. Surprised your instructor let that happen to be honest

    I'm also surprised how many people blatantly plow into clouds without clearance. A few weeks ago I was in and out of IMC on the approach to 28R RNAV at MYF.. there was some VFR traffic "I'm not talking to him" that was somewhere off my right.. he was definitely in the clouds as there was a solid deck. "Negative contact, IMC" was all I said back
     
  7. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Time to hit up LiveATC.com for the archives...
     
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  8. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    File a nasa form, sounds like atc might have got confused.
     
  9. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Did you cancel your initial clearance?
     
  10. Michael A

    Michael A Pre-Flight

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    I know this has been said in the thread already but it can not be said enough. File a NASA report. Like right now. I would recommend you tell your instructor to do the same. It really can never hurt you, but can save your a** if anyone comes knocking. And yes, this event was 100% illegal.
     
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  11. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Sounds to me like they intended for you to go IFR. They said "...Cessna YYY turn left heading 010 to YYYYY, maintain VFR until established..." Now they shoulda also said cleared for the approach and somewhere in all this you should have been given the airport as your clearance limit. But the "VFR until established" makes it pretty clear that they were providing IFR separation once you were established on the approach at YYYYY. 'Until established' is the key phrase here. If I remember right you're from CMA. My experience with Mugu Approach is they can be a little sloppy at times. You definitely should have verified that you had an Approach Clearance
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  12. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    If you have a CFII that is unfamiliar with the term “maintain VFR”, well, I’m not sure what to say.
     
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  13. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    First VFR on top is an IFR clearance. You don't need a pop-up IFR clearance.

    Second, I've never heard "maintain VFR until established." If that's really what he said? :confused2:
     
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  14. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Yeah.... good point. VFR until established makes no sense.
    Either the OP misquoted or the controller got jumbled up with his words.

    Filing a NASA report is a good idea. I’ll stop with that.
     
  15. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Liveatc has an archive of that approach frequency. Maybe you can find exactly what was said.
     
  16. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    VOT is an IFR clearance with both visual and instrument rules. What I understand in your story is you filed a flight plan and received a VOT, but then never advised ATC you were no longer VOT. So when you asked for a pop up, ATC was totally confused and told you remain VFR.
     
  17. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    My guess is they cancelled when they got OTP. "... Taking off, we filed to the VFR on top, did a few air-work things, partial panel, made up holds the usual stuff for an IPC... When it was time to head to the barn I had asked for a pop-up clearance to XXXX RNAV-Y..." bears that out. Did you @Ventucky Red ?
     
  18. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Then again, if I EVER heard “maintain VFR” during a clearance when I believed I was on an IFR flight plan......
     
  19. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Yes, every IR pilot should know that, there's even written test questions about it. But wait, the written is just outdated minutia, just memorize the test answers and then forget them.
     
  20. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    It's the "maintain VFR" that is the key indicator to me, why one would willingly fly into clouds after being told to maintain a VFR doesn't make any sense.. UNLESS it actually was followed up with "until established" - but I can confidently say I have never heard "VFR until established"
     
  21. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    which is why I have recommended people to do a proper ground school or at least take a king's course, and not something like Shepperd
     
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  22. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Line Up and Wait

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    Are Cessna XXX and Cessna YYY the same airplane?
     
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  23. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I doubt ATC would care even if they knew you had done that. Ironically, ATC might well have cared more if you diverted above, below, or around the clouds without seeking an alternate instruction.

    That's different that what other folks pointed out - that they were VFR and should have pointed out to ATC they are encountering clouds on their vectors and needed something else,
     
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  24. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's kind of a weird connection. I've heard of a visual segment at the end of an IFR approach, but never one before.

    I can envision one situation where it might take place, but that would be as unusual as the instruction itself - VFR aircraft requesting a pop up for an approach below the minimum instrument altitude being told to maintain VFR until established on a published segment.
     
  25. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Was it an 800 ft ceiling at the arrival airport or SCT layer?
     
  26. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    I did have one time when I was doing practice approaches with my instructor with VFR flight following that ATC advised me that I could cancel with him or on the ground. I reminded him right away we were only VFR. I think it was just ATC's muscle memory reciting his typical lines of instructions rather than being confused.
     
  27. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Ever the contrarian in this milieu, I'm thinking the controller was too busy for formalities and you were only assured of IFR separation after you got established on the approach at or above the TAA. I concur with @luvflyin .
     
  28. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

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    My best guess is that he meant "Cessna YYY turn left heading 010 to YYYYY, maintain [ALTITUDE] until established, contact XXX tower..."

    Agree NASA form.
     
  29. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    You guys raise a good point, that said, it would have been an unclear instruction for me although it is probably technically correct. The problem I have is according to the post he wasn't cleared for the approach so they should not have descended clouds or not.

    I understand that ATC gets busy and some of them can get ****y at times, but at the end of the day you are PIC for your flight and responsible for making sure everything is done correctly. I would have questioned the remain VFR until established, then if I got established and it was getting close to time to descend I would have asked if I was cleared for the approach. I don't care if they get ****y, they have no qualms of making me say things over until they hear what they need to hear, I have no qualms requesting they say what I need to hear.
     
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  30. Kenny Phillips

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    "maintain VFR until established" —Whatever that means!
     
  31. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Couldn't agree with you more.
     
  32. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Absolutely a good policy. OTOH (contrarian hand), the OP ASKED for the RNAV approach, the controller gave vectors to it and turned him over to the tower while the frequency was so congested you could hardly get a word in edgewise (I assume), so I think it was more than clear enough he had "clearance" for the RNAV approach. Why add to the frequency congestion? YMMV.
     
  33. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Would calling the tracon and talking to supervisor who was on duty at the time be helpful?
     
  34. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    At the end of the day, it's your ticket on the line (or in this case, probably the instructor's), " it was busy" is not a good excuse if something happened and more than clear enough really isn't clear enough for IFR. On top of that he had the controller's attention when told to go over to tower, that needs a response. Don't get me wrong, it's really easy to armchair qb here, but I'm hoping I would recognize the issue in the stress of the moment. Not bothering the controller because he is busy is a bad frame of mind to be in for a pilot.
     
  35. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I would do the Nasa form and move on were it me.
     
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  36. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I get that instruction every time I’m out doing approaches VFR. I’ve always questioned it but haven’t called the tower to ask about it yet. One of these days I’m going to have to.
     
  37. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I believe that sequence of verbiage is a blunder. “Maintain VFR” is completely normal, but not when coupled with “until established”.
     
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  38. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I believe that too, But every local controller gives the exact same instruction. I’ve been elsewhere where the controller specifically tells you to maintain VFR throughout the entire approach though so I don’t know?

    I’ve always remained VFR throughout the approach because I believe that’s what they really mean. But I’ve always wanted to ask a controller about it just because I’m curious. One of these days I will.
     
  39. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    The op was vfr on top and had to descend through the clouds, so he was flying IFR on the approach.
     
  40. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I know. I wasn’t responding directly to the OP’s situation.
     
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