VFR flight ending with IFR approach

user2105469
  • VFR flight ending with IFR approach user2105469

    Hi – Here’s the scenario:

    The flight starts night VFR, with broken ceiling at destination (class C airspace) and expected to improve according to the pre-flight abbreviated briefing. I'm IFR certified but prefer to stay VFR to dodge icy clouds along the way.

    Now I’m about 15nm from my destination, talking to approach control, and the ATIS calls the ceiling overcast: it's apparent I'll have to file one way or another. Approach is busy, but not overwhelmed.

    What is the best way to handle this situation on the radio? I have the ATIS, picked an approach and have a squawk code (advisories):

    a). do I ask approach directly for the IFR clearance, and what is the officially sanctionned phraseology? Also: do I have to cancel IFR when I’m on the ground/see the runway i.e. is the clearance to descend thru the layer and shoot an approach a ‘real’ IFR flight plan?

    b). ask approach to change freq. to FSS, file with them, then return to approach to pickup the clearance (and cancel when on the ground/view of rwy)?

    c). other?

    BTW: I did read How do you request a "pop up" IFR clearance? . In my scenario I have the time to call FSS, there is no emergency, I'm on flight following and could complete b). it that's the best way to go.

    Thanks for the advice.

  • See also this question about popup IFR

    "Back in the day" (began the grey bearded geezer who hasn't flown IFR in a long time), you'd just tell Approach something like

    "Approach, Cessna 123, (possibly insert location info), request IFR, approach XYZ".

    The rule I was taught is "who are you, where are you, what do you want".

    You already have a squawk & you're already talking, so it should be simple. I'd expect to hear back "Cessna 123, IFR approved, maintain current heading, ..."

    If I recall correctly, Tower or Ground closes your IFR plan for you - they know you landed.

  • Since you are already on flight following you are already in the system (ATC has a flight strip for you and a datablock on the radar). Just call ATC and ask them for IFR to your destination.

    Austin Approach, Cessna 12345, request IFR to Austin

    Since you have flight following ATC already knows your type, equipment suffix, location and altitude, so I wouldn't bother repeating it. ATC should reply

    Cessna 12345, Austin Approach, you are cleared to the Austin Bergstrom Airport via radar vectors, maintain 2000 feet
    Cessna 12345 fly heading 270, expect the ILS approach to runway 35R

    If you are already in the approach environment you probably won't get a climb to an IFR altitude, you'll just be given whatever altitude they need for the arrival flow.

    If you are landing at a towered airport you will not need to cancel IFR as the local controller will do this for you. If you are landing at a non-towered airport you will need to radio ATC or FSS or telephone FSS to cancel your IFR service.

Related questions and answers
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