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Technical stops and flight plan, and customs/immigration required?

How do you handle short technical stops on your flight plan? I’m thinking of a 10-15 min stop to refuel or pick up passengers.

If the flights require flight plans (for legal reasons) then you must file two flight plans.

The idea of “popping down” enroute is used for drug trafficking. You file an overt flight A to B, VFR (because VFR is much less monitored and half the time they can’t see people on radar because they are too low), depart, pop down to do the pickup, fly most of the distance, pop down to do a drop-off, and finally land overtly. The police know about this and they get them after a few runs. Also it’s dangerous because you can’t always pick the wx. One pilot doing this got killed in Kent, UK, doing a CAT3C dropoff in zero-zero in a PA28 or something like that. So if you did this you might get unwelcome attention

The need to do two flight plans is a hassle and is one reason why I almost never fly to non-customs airports from the UK (which need the “pointless” intermediate stop). Because one can’t usually quite predict how long things will take on the ground, or the exact flight times, one needs to leave a decent gap, say 1hr, unless leaving the second FP until the departure, and then one cannot be sure a valid FP will be available, and slots, etc, etc. (not applicable to VFR FPs which always “work”)

And if you are stopping to let passengers use the toilet, you don’t know how long somebody will sit on it, which is a function of how much curry they had before the flight

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Is the flight IFR or VFR?

Is the intermediate airport controlled?

If it’s VFR and the intermediate airport is controlled, then it’s a seamless process. ATC close your first plan without you asking, and open your second plan for you without you asking. So zero hassle at all.

EIWT Weston

boscomantico wrote:

Also, you seem to be massively overestimating the hassle with flightplans. Nowadays, it’s usually nothing more a few taps on the smatphone to delay a flightplan. In fact, if you use Skydemon, preparing and filing a whole flightplan doesn’t require more than a few taps.

Absolutely correct. The second leg flight plan can be filed before the first departure with an optimistic departure time, and then delayed as required when at the intermediate stop. I have delayed multiple times on many occasions….or simply file the second leg from the intermediate stop. Even IFR, despite supposed minimum intervals between filing and departure of 30mins, I have many times filed say 15mins before…. I would like to know from Peter (or anyone) just how often it has not been possible to do so due to losing slots etc. etc… Even if you do get a 15min CTOT departure delay, big deal, you were probably going to get one anyway even if you filed a day in advance…. The concept of landing and departing to a fixed schedule is mental and puts unnecessary stress on you and really defeats one of the great advantages of private flight: you fly to your own schedule….

Last Edited by AnthonyQ at 31 Mar 04:00
EGPD / OMDW / YPJT, United Kingdom

Re CTOT (“ATC slot”) – slots get first allocated 2 or 3 hours ahead of the departure time (don’t remember the exact figure) and at that point you can get anything from the best (go on time) to worst (longest delay of them all). After that, you join the queue at the end.

Biggin Hill

Slots vary. On some routes you get them all the time. Search EuroGA for e.g. slot* for many reports. Or search my trip reports.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Plus CTOT moves quite a bit. It’s good to be able to receive subsequent messages. Although the moment you delay the game starts again and you find yourself entering the queue from behind.

Frequent travels around Europe

I don’t really understand what kind of problem is filing a flight plan. If you file one is there a problem filing two or three or ten? It’s just a piece of paper, online form of phone call that you can do in one minute.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Here (Swedish) is someone apparently doing “tech stops” on one flight plan.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I think it can be done by local arrangements, at least under VFR.

It’s certainly possible in Ireland to do a flight with multiple landing on a single flight plan. They call it a “Temporary closure”. But I’m sure that’s only for domestic flights, and is a local arrangement to avoid the hassle of multiple plans.

EIWT Weston

Peter wrote:

Here (Swedish) is someone apparently doing “tech stops” on one flight plan

Where did you get that from? Sweden is AFAIK a member of the EU and Schengen, so you can fly to any field in Sweden when coming from Groningen. It says nowhere that it landed at another field than the filed destination.

This kind of flights cannot be very common since the prosecutor is quoted to have said it was the first time he encountered an attempt at using an airplane for smuggling drugs in 25 years of service. Either that or there is a lot of it but they never get caught?

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