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Pop-Up IFR Clearance

Featuring Bob Nardiello

Subscriber question:

"I would like more information on the best way to go from VFR to IFR if the weather goes down during a flight. I fly mostly in the Northeast and am generally using VFR advisories with Approach Control at lower altitudes. If I find myself on-top as I approach my destination, is there an efficient way to get an IFR approach without going to Flight Service and filing an IFR flight plan to be picked up at a way point ahead of me?" - Bill S.


"If you are operating in the Approach Control airspace which controls your destination airport, it is often possible to get what's called a pop-up IFR clearance into your destination.

A pop-up IFR clearance is one provided by ATC without the benefit of a flight plan filed in the system.

You must be IFR qualified and current, as well as have an IFR equipped aircraft. However, in some areas of the country it is possible you may experience a delay receiving the clearance because of ATC workload (they must gather basic info from you). They must also be able to separate you from existing IFR traffic.

If the airspace you are in is not the destination airspace, it becomes a bigger project in my experience.

The best advice when looking at a weather situation that is questionable before departure is to file IFR to begin with and avoid potential delays on busy frequencies."

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