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AIM

10/12/17

5

−1−11

Preflight

5

−1−7. Composite Flight Plan (VFR/IFR

Flights)

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

NOTE

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.

NOTE

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
appropriate.

EXAMPLE

H/DC10/A
2/F15/A