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Successful AFIL for IFR in Germany :-)

Well… For some reason my IFR flight plan was not known by ATC this evening. I departed from EDTD and thus had to do so VFR. I’ve opened a support ticket with autorouter but still wanted to report, because I got to file IFR while in the air.

I departed VFR and called FIS (Langen Information) to explain my situation. I got advised that I should be using the DFS AIS portal and not do something “over the Internet” :-) Then she took limited details and handed me off to RADAR. There is got a suggested heading, the same way as when doing IFR pickup, and shortly after a real clearance to TOSTU. Further routing from the next sector… That was ELNAT and I got to do a night landing an EDVK.

One might wonder why file ahead of time when you can fly across Germany with just two waypoints :-)

I guess I also have to thank SERA for being able to do this. Turning off the engine and probably then not being able to depart due to a closed airfield would have been sad.

Frequent travels around Europe

By contrast – here is how it worked in Norway the other week.

I was on a normal VFR flight with some marginal weather (caused by a slow-moving front) between my departure airfield and my destination, with the forecast for the destination looking good.

Somewhere down-route I asked for a weather update at the destination, which looked a bit worse than expected (something like broken 1200ft and scattered layers at 600 and 800, and poor visibility to the north, looks like the front ended up a bit further south than expected). I could probably slink in VFR from the south through the fjord at 1,000 ft, but didn’t feel like it. I got out the approach charts, and there was a nice GPS approach from the northeast to a curved final that looked like fun, so I said “G-XXXX, weather at destination does not look very good, request change to IFR and climb to altitude 7000ft DCT …”, to which I got an immediate reply “G-XXXX, climb altitude 7,000ft, cleared direct …”.

No faff, no waiting. A bit later the controller asked for a couple of details (aircraft type, probably to make sure I get the Eurocontol bill), but this was as easy as it could have possibly been.

Biggin Hill

I got advised that I should be using the DFS AIS portal and not do something “over the Internet” :-)

That is a remarkable statement…

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Stephan_Schwab wrote:

Well… For some reason my IFR flight plan was not known by ATC this evening. I departed from EDTD and thus had to do so VFR. I’ve opened a support ticket with autorouter but still wanted to report, because I got to file IFR while in the air.

Maybe that was related to you filing for Sunday evening and departing on Saturday?

That is a remarkable statement… 

I once was told something similar by the French AIS at Le Bourget. It is a job protection scheme something along “if you do not use our services, we will disappear and then you will no longer receive support.”

LFPT, LFPN

achimha wrote:

Maybe that was related to you filing for Sunday evening and departing on Saturday?

Well… Yes. I wonder how the Sunday came into the plan. I was on a slow EDGE connection when I filed at the airfield. As far as I remember I just changed the time, typed in the departure and destination and tried not to touch much else due to the slow connection. There was a bit of time pressure to get going and being in the “bad habit” of almost never knowing the date of the day I seem to have overlooked that rather unimportant bit of information.

Based on that situation I just suggested a “Fly now” button in a support ticket. It would be nice to have a stripped down UI where you can only enter departure, destination and select “in 15 minutes”, “in 30 minutes”. Everything else would come from a saved profile.

My habit is that I file after I have arrived at the airport and then I want to depart “now”. I don’t want to be tied to a schedule and on my travels I usually have no idea when I will be at the airport or how long it will take me to get there. So I try to file at the last responsible moment when I’m ready to commit to doing the flight.

Last Edited by Stephan_Schwab at 16 Aug 07:11
Frequent travels around Europe

Aviathor,

well, but in the above case, the remark came from ATC, not AIS. So, coming from ATC, it has to be understood as “I am fed up with pilots calling in with no flightplan, creating workload for me” and thinking “these missing flightplans must have something to do with pilots using third party flight plan service providers”.

But let’s look at the complaint coming from AIS as you mentioned: it doesn’t make much sense. Here’s why:

1. VFR: The difference between a VFR flightplan being filed “directly” to the responsible AIS (let’s say via fax, e-mail or a dedicated submission portal of theirs) and a VFR flightplan filed through say Rocketroute is zero. RR does nothing else than send it to the AIS, which will still be responsible for checking and distributing the flightplan according to the addressing rules (note the exception of the UK). In all above cases, the flightplan message just pops up on the screen of the AIS employee. No difference in workload. After that, there is the task of monitoring departure and arrival times, calling after pilots who forget to closer their flightplans, eventually alarming SAR, etc., but that of course is totally independent from the route through which the flightplan initiailly found its way to the AIS.

2. IFR: The workload on the side of the AIS when working IFR flightplans is minimal anyway: if you file an IFR flightplan to the AIS office, the only things they have to do is a) check (through IFPUV) that it validates with IFPS, and b) address it to the Brussels computer for final distribution. If you file through say RR, then you do the validation checking and you send it directly to Brussels. That’s about it.

As much as I understand the fears of the people working at the various AIS offices, but remarks as from that French guy show that they not understood where we are today.

So, I agree that we (as pilots) do need a small AIS office for those “extraordinary cases” (and every country is obliged to keep that infrastructure available to pilots), but for heaven’s sake, please let’s not have highly paid people sit there and do routine tasks for us which we can either do ourselves or which are better done by software.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 16 Aug 07:39
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

boscomantico wrote:

RR does nothing else than send it to the AIS, which will still be responsible for checking and distributing the flightplan according to the addressing rules (note the exception of the UK).

How does it do that? E-mail? Does AIS in every country have a published e-mail address? (They should, but..) Or fax?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

AIS receives it via AFTN, of course. Technically speaking, RR sends an e-mail to an e-mail/AFTN gateway.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

In some cases, a VFR FP can just get addressed (via the AFTN) to the departure ARO and that discharges the sender’s obligations totally. That is what Homebriefing used to always do…

In other cases, it requires a lot of special addressing e.g. to the FIRs being crossed.

The full requirement is in each country’s AIP.

It is a huge mess… anybody providing VFR FP filing services needs to get stuck into it and keep updating the process as new requirements come in.

In principle you could “always” address a VFR FP to

  • departure
  • destination
  • alternate (if any)
  • every FIR that the route crosses

and that was actually done in the early days of electronic filing (e.g. when AFPEX came in) but then you get complaints from e.g. France because they have an internal distribution system and the above procedure results in duplications! There are also complications in the last item, in the software implementation which gets especially interesting if you have not specified a waypoint in every FIR being crossed

On top of that, you get funny crap like (UK) flight plans involving Blackbushe are supposed to be copied to Farnborough. Yeah, you knew that, really

IFR is easy – just address it to two Eurocontrol addresses, and that is true for Z and Y plans too.

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Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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