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Local IFR flight - is it possible?

Is it possible to make a local IFR flight, i.e. departure and destination the same? Or is that not an option? If yes, can I file some waypoints and hope to really get routed through them?

The goal would be to make a flight with a passenger wanting to fly in the area (hence hoping to get the route I file) but train IFR.

LSZH, LSZF

It is possible. Even without filing a flight plan.

I have in the past flown local IFR training flights, just calling up tower and telling them I wanted to do practice approaches.

When you file a route that you actually intend to fly, you can be in for some surprises. On my way back from L2K on Sunday, I overheard a plane that had filed a flight plan from Lille (?) to Caen via a point over London where they were supposed to do some airwork. As far as I understood they had radio equipment on-board and were supposed to relay a TV or Radio broadcast. In their infinite wisdom, ATC gave them a direct to Caen, so they were understandably a little frustrated.

But frankly, if the weather is too poor for VFR, why would you want to do IFR sight-seeing? Especially if that requires flying high. For that kind of flying you are better off flying VFR.

LFPT, LFPN

Aviathor wrote:

Even without filing a flight plan. I have in the past flown local IFR training flights, just calling up tower and telling them I wanted to do practice approaches.

I have the feeling that this will not work in Zurich – too big an airport to accept that.

Aviathor wrote:

But frankly, if the weather is too poor for VFR, why would you want to do IFR sight-seeing?

Two reasons: training for me (at least the approach) and there are passengers who want to see what it is to fly based on instruments. I even have the Jeppesen shades which I can give them to simulate an instrument approach in low visibility.

LSZH, LSZF

You could file a Y flight with IFR departure and IFR arrival, with VFR sightseeing in the middle

LSZK, Switzerland

Would that be a Y flight? Or Z? Or YZ ?

LSZH, LSZF

Y. That letter indicates the departure flight rules (IY vs VZ), plus whether there are subsequent rule changes (IV vs YZ)

LSZK, Switzerland

Has this been tested in a “big” way?

Some years ago I asked in some ATC forum whether I could file e.g. Shoreham to Split IFR, with a VFR section over the Alps, for

  • sightseeing
  • getting around some IFR restrictions e.g. (at the time) min FL200 via RESIA

and they thought it would not work because by the time I got over the Alps, the system would have dropped the flight plan. They had never seen anyone do it (which is probably true!).

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

They had never seen anyone do it (which is probably true!).

That must have been a forum frequented by UK ATC, which are far from the alps. It’s standard practice. And in other parts of the world flight plans don’t normally get dropped if the ATCO feels like it.

Crossing the alps needs at least FL140 (a little less in the east), which is, um, difficult in say a C172. So autorouter offers a few predefined VFR alps crossing (the Gotthard and Brenner routes) as an option. I’ve seen many of those flight plans filed, and no single report of any difficulty. So it really works (if the weather is good enough, of course), despite the doubts of your UK ATC forum.

LSZK, Switzerland

How do you generate such a flight plan in autorouter? What do you have to enter as criteria and do you also have to file it as Y?

LSZH, LSZF

I used to file plans via EuroFPL with same origin and destination as “I” plans for training purposes. The structure was: SID “endpoint of SID” STAR. Accepted by Eurocontrol. Then I would arrange with tower how many and what kind of approaches.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia
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