Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

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FlyingForFun
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Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby FlyingForFun » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:59 pm

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Merlinspop
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Merlinspop » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:14 pm

The process for filing flight plans for the DC SFRA is very close to that, too. You file an IFR flight plan even though you're VFR, with certain things done a certain way (it's not a secret or anything... I just don't want to rely on memory. There are online courses with all the details), so that ATC has it and the Forces of Darkness (FoD) don't come swooping in to turn you into a "Film at 11" event.
- Bruce

Nomore767
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Nomore767 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:33 pm

I don't see the point or value in 'filing' an IFR flight plan if you're only flying as a VFR rated pilot.

Filing is one thing, the issue is if you then choose to accept and attempt to fly the clearance. Non-rated, non-current and non-able is a huge issue in the IFR 'system'. Sure you can toddle along even at an IFR altitude but what if ATC needs you to hold at a fix/VOR or similar…do you keep saying unable or immediately cancel IFR?

Much better to accept flight following as an acknowledged VFR pilot. That way you can maximize the 'system' to your own needs and stay legal and safe.

The SFRA system seems really to be very like the old Special VFR clearances from tower to tower which could be great on the days when it was marginal VFR in a busy airspace.

Cheers, Howard.

FlyingForFun
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby FlyingForFun » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:42 pm

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Merlinspop
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Merlinspop » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:20 pm

I think you're confusing this with filing an IFR flight plan for an IFR flight. There are two flavors of flight plans; IFR and VFR. Controllers never see a VFR flight plan. Only FSS sees it which is why you call them to open and close a VFR flight plan. But you have to call ATC to get Flight Following, and even if you filed a VFR flight plan, they have no idea about it. What Jack was talking about, and why the SFRA system is the way that it is, is filing a flight plan such that it is routed to ATC. To do that, you have to check the "IFR" box. Then in the altitude block, you put in a VFR altitude, put in your usual VFR route and in the remarks, you put in something like "Request VFR radar services". That way, on initial call up, the controller puts in your N-number and the plan is right there for them. Everything they'd have to manually put in before can give you Flight Following. You don't call for a "clearance". The theory is that Flight Following is a "workload permitting" service and by already being in their system, you're reducing their workload and increasing your chances of being given a squawk and services. If they're still too busy, you'll get 'unable' and you continue on your merry way still VFR. I've never done this, but I have filed SFRA plans, which again, work the same way, more or less (you have to put in very specific things).
- Bruce

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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby FlyingForFun » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:30 pm

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Merlinspop
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Merlinspop » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:40 pm

FlyingForFun wrote:We understand the difference between an IFR flight plan vs flying in IFR conditions. I have just never heard of filing IFR as a VFR pilot. Nor have I heard of flying an IFR flight plan without an IFR clearance. I have never seen or read anything from the FAA or any other publications discussing it.

I guess it could be a common practice or it could be a special procedure used at places such as DC, etc. I have no idea. It's an interesting question. Before I would ever advise a VFR pilot to do it, I would want to hear an interpretation from the FAA via ATC. For instance, what happens when they say, hold south of Podunk intersection on the 225 degree radial and the pilot says "what? or the pilot deviates altitude and the alarms go off. Does he get a violation?

Would ATC give you a hold if you're VFR and you are receiving traffic advisories only? I don't think so. This is not a way of obtaining a clearance. The only thing it does is get your info into the system without the controller you initially call up having to type it in. NO clearance is requested nor issued. You're still 100% VFR. This only is a way to get the system to send your data to ATC rather than FSS. You won't even have an active VFR flight plan doing it this way. For that, you actually have to file TWO flight plans, VFR and IFR and open the VFR through FSS.

I'm just guessing, but the IFR/VFR flight plan split could well have come from the same bandwidth and printing limitations that gave us the all the nutty abbreviations that you get in weather briefings and NOTAMS.

I can't say that I have seen or heard any official FAA or ATC communication saying this was an Approved process. I know it's done. I have seen third hand accounts of people being told by controllers during ATC facility tours that they can do this. But again, I haven't seen an official blessing of the technique, other than in the DC SFRA NOTAM, which 'works' the system in the same way, but for a different purpose.
- Bruce

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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby FlyingForFun » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:49 pm

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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby FlyingForFun » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:54 pm

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Nomore767
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Nomore767 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:22 pm

FlyingForFun wrote:I guess as an instrument rated pilot flying LSA and not IFR current, I would be more inclined to file IFR and get a clearance and actually fly IFR, but in VFR conditions. This is what I originally thought Jack was talking about. So, the question becomes, can a VFR pilot do this or do you need to be instrument rated and current?


IFR is Instrument Flight 'rules'…the idea being that once you have accepted an IFR clearance then you enter the system from a towered airport or by taking off and contacting ATC before your void time. It's also creating space and a 'slot' in the system to accommodate you especially if you lose comm as you're expected to fly your clearance and ATC will continue to maintain separation.

The VFR flight plan is little more than a set of clues to the Feds in the event of search and rescue. hence the closing of the flight plan.
Actually accepting, flying and complying with an IFR flight Plan is a whole different set of issues. It's built around traffic separation and lost comm.
A VFR flight using traffic advisories or flight following isn't going to given holding because holding is to do with traffic separation and flow. Flight following is basically getting traffic advisories from ATC in addition to having to see and avoid traffic yourself. This is why it's workload permitting by ATC. They'll be an extra pair of eys for you but only if they have time.

The old Special VFR and other special procedures in sensitive airspace is all about the Feds knowing WHO you are and watching what you're doing and where you're going near sensitive locations, or allowing tower to tower clearances on a short route in VFR/marginal VFR but still on a workload basis for ATC.
Otherwise I still don't see any advantage for the VFR LSA pilot…flying at IFR altitudes versus VFR is negligible for fuel savings and you still get traffic advisories if VFR.

FlyingForFun
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby FlyingForFun » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:27 pm

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Merlinspop
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Merlinspop » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:47 pm

FlyingForFun wrote:Yes, I understand that. But, do you need an instrument rating and to be instrument current to accept and fly an IFR clearance in VFR conditions? I'm inclined to think you do, especially now that I know that is not what Jack is advocating.

Yes, you need an IFR rating to accept an IFR clearance. You do not need an IFR rating to put the flight plan into the system as described. Entering a plan is not the same as accepting a clearance. There is zero difference between receiving FF if you entered the data into the system than if ATC did. You're still VFR.
- Bruce

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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Merlinspop » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:56 pm

The only purpose of what Jack suggested is to improve your odds that the initial controller will say yes and give you radar advisories.
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- Bruce

FlyingForFun
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby FlyingForFun » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:56 pm

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Merlinspop
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Re: Question For Jack About VFR Pilot Filing IFR

Postby Merlinspop » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:02 pm

FlyingForFun wrote:Yes, I got that now that I understand that's what you're doing. I'm still not sure if the FAA endorses that, but it's not something I plan to do. I have been tempted to file IFR, get a clearance, and fly the clearance. I am instrument rated but not current. I'm curious what are the implications if you maintain VFR conditions. I suspect you need to be rated and current to do that.

Oops. Sorry. I missed that the question moved on. Sorry for beating that to death. I'll add more if I hear back from my FSS friend regarding official approval of the practice.
I'm unqualified to address the new question, so I'll sit back and learn.
- Bruce


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