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5−1−7. Composite Flight Plan (VFR/IFR


a. Flight plans which specify VFR operation for

one portion of a flight, and IFR for another portion,

will be accepted by the FSS at the point of departure.

If VFR flight is conducted for the first portion of the

flight, pilots should report their departure time to the

FSS with whom the VFR/IFR flight plan was filed;

and, subsequently, close the VFR portion and request

ATC clearance from the FSS nearest the point at

which change from VFR to IFR is proposed.

Regardless of the type facility you are communicat-

ing with (FSS, center, or tower), it is the pilot’s

responsibility to request that facility to “CLOSE VFR

FLIGHT PLAN.” The pilot must remain in VFR

weather conditions until operating in accordance with

the IFR clearance.

b. When a flight plan indicates IFR for the first

portion of flight and VFR for the latter portion, the

pilot will normally be cleared to the point at which the

change is proposed. After reporting over the

clearance limit and not desiring further IFR

clearance, the pilot should advise ATC to cancel the

IFR portion of the flight plan. Then, the pilot should

contact the nearest FSS to activate the VFR portion of

the flight plan. If the pilot desires to continue the IFR

flight plan beyond the clearance limit, the pilot should

contact ATC at least 5 minutes prior to the clearance

limit and request further IFR clearance. If the

requested clearance is not received prior to reaching

the clearance limit fix, the pilot will be expected to

enter into a standard holding pattern on the radial or

course to the fix unless a holding pattern for the

clearance limit fix is depicted on a U.S. Government

or commercially produced (meeting FAA require-

ments) low or high altitude enroute, area or STAR

chart. In this case the pilot will hold according to the

depicted pattern.

5−1−8. Flight Plan (FAA Form 7233−1)−

Domestic IFR Flights


1. Procedures outlined in this section apply to operators

filing FAA Form 7233−1 (Flight Plan) and to flights that

will be conducted entirely within U.S. domestic airspace.
2. Filers utilizing FAA Form 7233−1 may not be eligible
for assignment of RNAV SIDs and STARs. Filers desiring
assignment of these procedures should file using FAA Form

7233−4 (International Flight Plan), as described in
paragraph 5−1−9.

a. General

1. Prior to departure from within, or prior to

entering controlled airspace, a pilot must submit a

complete flight plan and receive an air traffic

clearance, if weather conditions are below VFR

minimums. Instrument flight plans may be submitted

to the nearest FSS or ATCT either in person or by

telephone (or by radio if no other means are

available). Pilots should file IFR flight plans at least

30 minutes prior to estimated time of departure to

preclude possible delay in receiving a departure

clearance from ATC. In order to provide FAA traffic

management units strategic route planning capabili-

ties, nonscheduled operators conducting IFR

operations above FL 230 are requested to voluntarily

file IFR flight plans at least 4 hours prior to estimated

time of departure (ETD). To minimize your delay in

entering Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E

surface areas at destination when IFR weather

conditions exist or are forecast at that airport, an IFR

flight plan should be filed before departure.

Otherwise, a 30 minute delay is not unusual in

receiving an ATC clearance because of time spent in

processing flight plan data. Traffic saturation

frequently prevents control personnel from accepting

flight plans by radio. In such cases, the pilot is advised

to contact the nearest FSS for the purpose of filing the

flight plan.


1. There are several methods of obtaining IFR clearances

at nontower, non−FSS, and outlying airports. The

procedure may vary due to geographical features, weather

conditions, and the complexity of the ATC system. To

determine the most effective means of receiving an IFR

clearance, pilots should ask the nearest FSS the most

appropriate means of obtaining the IFR clearance.
2. When requesting an IFR clearance, it is highly
recommended that the departure airport be identified by
stating the city name and state and/or the airport location
identifier in order to clarify to ATC the exact location of the
intended airport of departure.

2. When filing an IFR flight plan, include as a

prefix to the aircraft type, the number of aircraft when

more than one and/or heavy aircraft indicator “H/” if