Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

This forum has been developed to discuss flight instruction/University and College programs.

Moderators: ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, Sulako, Right Seat Captain, lilfssister, North Shore

Post Reply
Message
Author
qwerty123
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:21 pm

Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#1 Post by qwerty123 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:23 pm

In the AIM RAC 3.12.2 it says
"A pilot, who conducts a flight in respect of which a flight plan or flight itinerary has been filed with an ATC unit, FIC, FSS, or CARS, has the option of closing the flight plan or flight itinerary with any of these agencies prior to landing. The closing of a flight plan or flight itinerary prior to landing is considered as filing an arrival report, and as such, it will result in the termination of all alerting services with respect to SAR notification. "

Does this mean that when going to an uncontrolled aerodrome you can close the flight plan, lose all search and rescue, before even landing, without even having to be in VMC? That's what it seems like it's saying but I can't believe transport canada would be okay with you closing a flight plan without actually landing, what would happen if an IFR flight in IMC called up ATC, cancelled their flight plan, switched from ATC to the aerodrome frequency, then crashed? They've technically filed an arrival report already so no one would find out until way too late?

Am I misunderstanding what they're saying or is this actually how it is?
---------- ADS -----------

Schooner69A
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 322
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:17 pm
Location: The Okanagan

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#2 Post by Schooner69A » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:08 pm

The general intent is that you have the field in sight and are minutes from a landing. Yes, you could auger in on short final and nobody would ever know, but there are places without cell phone comms once you're on the ground and if you don't cancel in the air, you don't cancel. I don't think you'd ever cancel the flight plan still in the murk, though...

If you're in the passenger delivery business and the destination is a "deserted" airport, it's important that someone is there to meet you and that they don't leave until you are safely airborne...

It's a calculated risk.
---------- ADS -----------

qwerty123
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:21 pm

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#3 Post by qwerty123 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:23 pm

That makes sense and that was what I was thinking, I just don't understand why there's no requirement for you to be in VMC, if you can see the field it's not such a risk but if you were to close a flight plan before even breaking through the cloud that would be a lot more riskier. Also if you're minutes away from landing with the field in sight, would you still be in contact with ATC? Seems like the sort of aerodromes where you won't have cell service are probably going to be up north where you're in uncontrolled airspace anyway.
---------- ADS -----------

whistlerboy02
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:20 pm

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#4 Post by whistlerboy02 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:41 pm

That's exactly how it works, close your flightplan and your on your own after that. SAR services are terminated.
For IFR you can cancel your IFR but keep your alerting services open.... the IFR flightplan has two parts....that frees up the airspace over the airport, but gives you the assurance if something happens during landing someone will come looking for you.
Also you can request a longer SAR time if you are landing somewhere remote and won't get to a phone for an hour or two. It doesn't have to be 30 mins after your eta
---------- ADS -----------

jschnurr
Rank 3
Rank 3
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 5:42 pm

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#5 Post by jschnurr » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:55 pm

Another option if you're going into an uncontrolled airport and returning later, is to file a round robin "flight itinerary" with FSS. Give a total EET including the stop (say, 8 hours) and if you need SAR, at least after that time they'll start looking.
---------- ADS -----------

User avatar
waterdog
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:10 am

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#6 Post by waterdog » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:52 pm

Jschnurr, That is a great idea! For water landings this is always a concern, no cell service or radio on the ground but seems counterintuitive to close a flight plan right before executing a water landing that is inherently hazardous.

Thanks for the suggestion.
---------- ADS -----------

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6099
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Part of the "me, me, me" crowd, and loving every second of it.

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#7 Post by photofly » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:59 pm

jschnurr wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:55 pm
Another option if you're going into an uncontrolled airport and returning later, is to file a round robin "flight itinerary" with FSS. Give a total EET including the stop (say, 8 hours) and if you need SAR, at least after that time they'll start looking.
Firstly, you can only do that on a VFR flight plan, and secondly, if you crash and burn on the first landing it's (in your example) 8 hours plus the duration of your return leg before anyone will know you're missing.

There's also a specific syntax for indicating a stopover during the route on the form. I think you write something like this in the route section:
... CYVV (08:00) CYVV ...
to indicate an 8 hour stop at Wiarton, for example.
---------- ADS -----------
Control the horizon, control the airplane

jschnurr
Rank 3
Rank 3
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 5:42 pm

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#8 Post by jschnurr » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:00 pm

photofly wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:59 pm
Firstly, you can only do that on a VFR flight plan, and secondly, if you crash and burn on the first landing it's (in your example) 8 hours plus the duration of your return leg before anyone will know you're missing.
No, you can do it on an IFR Flight itinerary. You are allowed one exit from controlled airspace and one entrance per flight itin. I did it all the time flying from Winnipeg to an uncontrolled airport in the north (say, bloodvein, no working phone). Depart Winnipeg, at 70 miles north and cleared enroute, land in ZNG, wait around for the passengers, depart and pick up clearance before 70nm from winnipeg on the same itin. Never had a problem.
So if it was 1:15 each way with a 5hr wait, then your total ETE would be 7:30, and it would be after that time plus the SAR time that they would start looking.
---------- ADS -----------

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6099
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Part of the "me, me, me" crowd, and loving every second of it.

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#9 Post by photofly » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:24 pm

Flight itinerary or flight plan?
---------- ADS -----------
Control the horizon, control the airplane

lownslow
Rank 8
Rank 8
Posts: 814
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:56 am

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#10 Post by lownslow » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:10 am

photofly wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:24 pm
Flight itinerary or flight plan?
Flight Itinerary. All that jschnurr said is correct. An IFR Itin gets you out of controlled airspace and back in again, with whatever amount of uncontrolled IFR you want in between. One stop, six stops, eleven, whatever as long as you're in class G for all of the intermediate stuff.
---------- ADS -----------

photofly
Top Poster
Top Poster
Posts: 6099
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: Part of the "me, me, me" crowd, and loving every second of it.

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#11 Post by photofly » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:47 am

Isn’t the default SAR time for any kind of flight itinerary 24 hours?
So unless you say otherwise, for an 8 hour ETE it will be 32 hours before SAR is initiated?
I’m just trying to understand the details.
---------- ADS -----------
Control the horizon, control the airplane

jschnurr
Rank 3
Rank 3
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 5:42 pm

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#12 Post by jschnurr » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:36 am

photofly wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:47 am
Isn’t the default SAR time for any kind of flight itinerary 24 hours?
So unless you say otherwise, for an 8 hour ETE it will be 32 hours before SAR is initiated?
I’m just trying to understand the details.
Yes, I believe so. The Winnipeg FSS would always ask "1 hour on the search?" but you could specify whatever you wanted. It seemed like, for them, one hour was the default and they were just confirming with you. I would always take 1 hour, unless there was not phone at the destination and I was not sure I would be airborne in time to pick up clearance before the SAR time expired. But with an increased SAR time comes an increased risk if you need them...
photofly wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:47 am
So unless you say otherwise, for an 8 hour ETE it will be 32 hours before SAR is initiated?
Yes, if you leave it at 24 hours.
---------- ADS -----------

User avatar
AirFrame
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1662
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:27 pm
Location: Sidney, BC
Contact:

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#13 Post by AirFrame » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:41 am

The one time I wanted to close a flight plan in the air (into an uncontrolled strip with a controlled strip only 5mi away) I called the controlled tower and reported my uncontrolled field in sight, and asked if they could close my flight plan. They first asked me to confirm I was still in the air and wanting to close the plan. Then they said they couldn't do it and I would have to call flight service instead (no, they weren't noticeably busy on frequency otherwise). I wonder if they just didn't want to be part of the loop if something went wrong.
---------- ADS -----------

A346Dude
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#14 Post by A346Dude » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:12 am

AirFrame wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:41 am
The one time I wanted to close a flight plan in the air (into an uncontrolled strip with a controlled strip only 5mi away) I called the controlled tower and reported my uncontrolled field in sight, and asked if they could close my flight plan. They first asked me to confirm I was still in the air and wanting to close the plan. Then they said they couldn't do it and I would have to call flight service instead (no, they weren't noticeably busy on frequency otherwise). I wonder if they just didn't want to be part of the loop if something went wrong.
For a tower to close a flight plan they have to call the FIC. They can do it, but if there is a frequency for the FIC available to you it's better to use that and cut out the tower middleman. I'm not sure why the tower didn't do it in your case, they may have been busy off the frequency or perhaps some towers are not allowed to do it.
---------- ADS -----------

User avatar
AirFrame
Rank (9)
Rank (9)
Posts: 1662
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:27 pm
Location: Sidney, BC
Contact:

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#15 Post by AirFrame » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:33 am

A346Dude wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:12 am
For a tower to close a flight plan they have to call the FIC.
Really? I thought in this age of connected systems that they could just push a few buttons on the computer they have to log a flight plan closure. If they have to pick up a phone, i'm amazed they would ever agree to close a flight plan... they'd be calling all day at some airports.
---------- ADS -----------

CpnCrunch
Rank 10
Rank 10
Posts: 2713
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:38 am

Re: Closing of a Flight Plan or Flight Itinerary Prior to Landing

#16 Post by CpnCrunch » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:41 am

FSS generally seem to offer to close the flight plan. Is it easier for them?
---------- ADS -----------

Post Reply

Return to “Flight Training”