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VFR altitudes


Christoph Reule 1379750
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Hi,

 

when flying VFR (which I mostly do at the moment) I wonder how altitudes are correctly set up in the FPL. I currently only see the possibility to file a precise altitude (e. g. 3500 ft, 4500 ft etc.), but not a "general" VFR altitude (simply called "VFR" according to the ICAO FPL format). What do you do in this case? Leave it completely out?

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ICAO format isnt currently supported. can pretty much just file whatever you plan to be at initially. if you climb or descend later, ATC will handle that [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming you are receiving radar service, otherwise wont really matter

 

some places also teach VFR pilots to file their highest altitude they intend to fly, so even though you may be at 3500 for a bit, but later climb to 7500, ATC can kinda use that to plan ahead. online though ive found that to just confuse the heck outta some controllers depending on their experience level handling VFR aircraft. so i just go with whatever i plan to be at initially, KISS method

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some places also teach VFR pilots to file their highest altitude they intend to fly, so even though you may be at 3500 for a bit, but later climb to 7500, ATC can kinda use that to plan ahead. online though ive found that to just confuse the heck outta some controllers depending on their experience level handling VFR aircraft. so i just go with whatever i plan to be at initially, KISS method

 

Sounds reasonable to me. I'll state the initally planned altitude then. Thanks!

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Apparently not:

 

FileFlightPlan.png

 

I cannot test it as I am still flying FS9, so unfortunately vPilot does not work for me. If you cannot select "VFR" then I'd select the initial VFR altitude/level for your flight, as Ernesto suggested. Ernesto, you see, I agreed with you another time!!

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One solution for users of vPilot might be using the VATSIM flightplan webform as you are able to fill in "VFR" in field 7 "Cruising Altitude".

 

That's possible, indeed, but I personally think that unless this won't be possible within vPilot itself (maybe Ross could have a look at it? ) I'll prefer Ernesto's solution (initial altitude).

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Option C: Don't file a VFR flight plan. Cold call on the ground or airborne and let ATC enter it. I understand that people like to file based on their own reasons. There are also the controllers who are say, challenged, when an aircraft doesn't file. None the less, it is a viable option.

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  • Board of Governors
Most ATCOs appreciate a basic flightplan. You can use "VFR" for your requested altitude and even for your routing.

 

And that helps the controller... how, exactly?

 

There are, of course, times when a flight plan is necessary (the main one here being if you plan to cross an international FIR boundary) but in most cases all the information that is actually relevant to a controller handling the flight should be p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed in 'the message' in any case.

Vice President, Pilot Training

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It's what it is. Most ATCOs appreciate a basic flightplan: it makes it easier to find the flight and make sense of its planned trajectory. When I work CTR and serve VFR-flights, I prefer not needing to spend endless seconds on transmitting intentions when I can just read them from a VFR flightplan.

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  • Board of Governors

Again, it depends on area. In the US for example, controllers do not actually have access to VFR flightplans as they are filed with flight service.

Nick
Vice President - Supervisors
VATSIM Board of Governors

Contact the Supervisor Team | Could you be a Supervisor?

Vatsim-color-tagline.png.afe5bb8b98897d00926a882be4e2059c.png

Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

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Replying from a US procedural mindset...

 

It really takes all of 10 seconds to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign a beacon code and once tagged up, enter in the essential data. That info will follow the target from controller to controller. Quite frankly, I prefer that method rather than individuals filing a VFR flight plan, then calling for flight plan clearance. I realize that represents an educational topic.

 

If striving for realism, and in the US, then Nicholas is absolutely correct. ATC will never get see flight plan unless it is opened by FSS. Furthermore, even with an open VFR flight plan, there is no need for a pilot to talk to anybody but FSS, airspace dependant. The VFR pilot isn't even bound to the route or altitude listed. However, as the VFR flight plan is more of a search and rescue tool, it wouldn't be too smart to deviate too far from it. All it's doing is giving ATC a basic idea what you want to do on your flight, and ATC isn't bound to accomodate the FP or even accept handling of the aircraft to begin with, again airspace dependant.

 

I always supported an FSS component on Vatsim, but the controller would either be bored out of their mind, or inundated with individuals who don't know how to utilize those services.

 

Nick

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We are talking about VATSIM here, aren't we? And in VATSIM I have access to all filed flightplans, no matter whether it is a IFR or VFR flight.

 

Then: maybe your sectors are dead, but here in our area we can get quite busy and VFR pilots help quite a bit when filling in a plan. They do not need a clearance in most cases and they give me peace of mind if they file a VFR plan so I can see what they are intending to do, e.g. staying clear of airspace C and D. So, even and especially if they do not contact CTR or APP, a VFR FPL can be of some good use.

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Yes, we are talking about Vatsim. Land of "we can't do that, it's not realistic" and "we can't do that, it's too realistic" and the struggle to come out somewhere in the middle. Whether my sectors or busy or not is inconsequential. Again, it only takes 10 seconds tops to do. So really, it's all about preference. I really don't care if a pilot files a VFR flight plan or not. It's not something we should require or ask of pilots and it's not going to affect or change the way I handle them, and I'm happy to have them in the mix. I'd say the scopes would be much more lively with a few unverified 1200's streaming across, not to mention those with flight following requests or airspace transitions. But, like you said, this is Vatsim.

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Hi Nick,

 

come on, let's find the middle

 

Maybe I was not clear enough in my previous posts, but I kept saying that it is not a requirement to fill in a VFR flightplan, but that ATC will rather appreciate it. At least this is the information that I have gathered from other VATSIM-ATCOs over the last decade, or longer. That's all. If pilots, "for the sake of realism", do prefer not filling in a basic plan, then fine. If they do fill in one then this will not be a mistake and quite a number of folks here will be happy to get some data.

Edited by Guest
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Maybe I was not clear enough in my previous posts, but I kept saying that it is not a requirement to fill in a VFR flightplan

 

I know you weren't saying it was a requirement, and I didn't mean to insinuate that you were. That said, there have been and are controllers who do. This is just a training issue. But we are perfectly good Andreas, and again it's just controller preference to desire it being there as it is pilot preference whether they file one or not (something I myself, very rarely do too)

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