Filing/flying IFR in a VFR only airplane?

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davidb

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I’ve been researching this issue and there seems to be a lot of gray information. Apparently the FAA has guidance specifically for training but that doesn’t apply to me. I’d like to file IFR from an airport north of the Los Angeles area to an airport in the San Diego area but my airplane is VFR only certified. I would only attempt this with certainty of VMC for the entire flight. I am instrument rated and quite comfortable in IFR environment. My airplane has ADS-B, GPS and AHRS but certainly doesn’t qualify for IFR.

What I’m trying to achieve is a more or less direct route through all the class B airspace. I’ve been burned with VFR flight following before when due to controller workload I was instructed to remain clear of class B airspace. I figure on an IFR flight plan I’d have a route clearance before takeoff.

I did read something about filing an IFR flight plan at VFR altitudes but again don’t know if that is legal in a VFR airplane. I guess I should call the FSDO to see what they say.

Any thoughts from the SoCal flyers?
 

Marc Zeitlin

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... but my airplane is VFR only certified...
Are you talking about a TC'd aircraft, or an E-AB aircraft? If TC'd, then I can't answer your question _ don't know what the rules say.

If E-AB, then look at your Operating Limitations for whether IFR operations are allowed or not. Usually, OL's will state that Night and IFR ops are not allowed unless equipped per 14 CFR Part 91.205, in which case they are allowed. If that's what your OL's say, then if your equipment meets the requirements of 91.205, you're good to go, and if they don't, you're not.
 

Turd Ferguson

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You can do what you suggest but will have to comply with 91.205 and 43 appendix E & F. And you have to remain VMC at all times. If the IFR flight plan will take you into IMC, you'll have to cancel the IFR flight plan and maintain VMC somehow. If you are inside Class B airspace, need a VFR Class B clearance before you cancel IFR or you'll be in violation of 91.131. If ATC says 'unable VFR bravo clearance' and you're inside Class B airspace, your screwed but otherwise should be okay. To fly a VFR altitude while under IFR, just need a VFR on top clearance. Probably won't get that in Class B.
 

BBerson

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Marc Zeitlin

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They cite 91.205 in that article but 91.205 applies to standard category only.
So looking though FAA Order 8130.2J, Table D-1, #6 which is the row applicable to LSA aircraft (NOT E-LSA aircraft) states:

This aircraft may only be operated per the manufacturer’s aircraft operating instructions (AOI), including any requirement for necessary operating equipment specified in the aircraft’s equipment list. Night flight and instrument flight rules (IFR) operations are authorized if allowed by the AOI and if the instruments specified in § 91.205 are installed, operational, and maintained per the applicable requirements of part 91.​

For E-LSA aircraft, #'s 48 (all experimentals, re: night flight) and 49 apply (certain experimentals, including E-AB and E-LSA) and state:

Night flight operations are authorized if the instruments specified in § 91.205(c) are installed, operational, and maintained per the applicable requirements of part 91.​

and:

Instrument flight operations are authorized if the instruments specified in § 91.205(d) are installed, operational, compliant with the performance requirements of, and maintained per the applicable regulations. All maintenance or inspection of this equipment must be recorded in the aircraft maintenance records and include the following items: date, work performed, and name and certificate number of person returning aircraft to service.​

respectively. This indicates to me that whether a S-LSA or E-LSA, and even when also governed by 91.327, the OL's issued per 8130.2J by the FSDO/MIDO/DAR inspector theoretically will include language regarding 91.205 with respect to night and/or IFR flight. It would therefore seem that IF davidb's airplane is an LSA of any type or an E-AB (he still hasn't said which), it would (depending upon whether the inspector included the language that 8130.2J directs them to include) allow for IFR flight if in compliance with 91.205.

No?
 

TFF

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I believe the most minimal you need is a clock, artificial horizon, and a Qualifying navigation. What kind of GPS do you have? I have had friends cheat with a handheld until the stepped up to a GNS430. They did not like putting their license on the line hence the upgrade. It’s not like you can’t fool them with your airmanship, but today with computers, they can data mine and generate letters without a person doing it. The FAA use to send random response letters if you held some license just to see if you would reply as requested.
 

BBerson

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Marc said: "It would therefore seem that IF davidb's airplane is an LSA of any type or an E-AB (he still hasn't said which), it would (depending upon whether the inspector included the language that 8130.2J directs them to include) allow for IFR flight if in compliance with 91.205."

Well yes. I think the 8130.2J Order or any FAA document can insert: "the instruments specified in 91.205" even though 91.205 was not written for LSA.
Sort of like an Operating Limitation for EA-B can include just appendix D and not all of FAR 43.

It will be interesting if davidb can get a clear answer from his aircraft documents or elsewhere.
 

davidb

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Thanks for all the responses. Yes, the airplane is SLSA and the POH states that the airplane is not certified for IMC and is not intended for IFR. It doesn’t comply with the requirements of 91.205.

The “black and white” answer is no, I can’t fly IFR in this airplane. I was more hoping the intent was IMC not IFR. The airplane is equipped with a certified and inspected ADS-B so the GPS and sensitive altimeter are covered. I can navigate, talk, fly assigned altitudes and any other tasks associated with IFR. The issue is IMC. I gather that the intent may be that they don’t want airplanes flying around IFR that can’t accept IMC. If a controller had to give a vector or altitude change for traffic, they don’t want to hear unable do to clouds.

So, what are my options getting from A to B in SoCal VFR? I can research the preferred routes and get flight following but do I have any assurance that a controller won’t give me a dreaded remain clear of class bravo?
 

Marc Zeitlin

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So, what are my options getting from A to B in SoCal VFR? I can research the preferred routes and get flight following but do I have any assurance that a controller won’t give me a dreaded remain clear of class bravo?
I fly through, around, over and under the LA Class B all the time. While I am instrument rated and my plane is IMC/IFR capable, that's not generally how I transit. First of all, there's the Special VFR corridor, right over LAX, which you can use VFR without even talking to ATC if you don't want to - just follow the instructions on the Los Angeles TAC chart. Most of it is UNDER the "B", only transiting the "B" directly over LAX's runways (and LA's traffic tends not to depart or arrive straight up or down).

Along with the Special VFR, there are four VFR routes listed on the TAC for which you will need ATC contact and clearance. If the weather's good, you ask for one of the four, and keep asking until you get one that they're willing to give you.

If they're not willing to give you any, you can go up to 10.5k ft or above and just go over the top, or go around and under to the east - it'll only add 10 - 15 minutes to the transit time in an LSA aircraft, depending upon what altitude you pick (which determines how far east you have to go). At 2400 ft., below the 2500 ft. shelf, it's not much of a detour.

You might then need to talk to ATC to transit the KSNA Class "C", or you can go up to 5500 ft. and over the top, below the 7k ft. shelf of the "B", or even stay low, right along the shoreline and go under the Class "C" shelf at 1400 ft.

If you get the "Coliseum" route at 8500 or 9500 ft, you get a nice tour of LA and a straight shot from the north to the south, and vice versa.

None of this is difficult, and the controllers are generally friendly and helpful if you don't sound like a complete dolt. It's NOT the NYC Class "B" :).
 

jedi

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Thanks for all the responses. Yes, the airplane is SLSA and the POH states that the airplane is not certified for IMC and is not intended for IFR. It doesn’t comply with the requirements of 91.205.

The “black and white” answer is no, I can’t fly IFR in this airplane. I was more hoping the intent was IMC not IFR. The airplane is equipped with a certified and inspected ADS-B so the GPS and sensitive altimeter are covered. I can navigate, talk, fly assigned altitudes and any other tasks associated with IFR. The issue is IMC. I gather that the intent may be that they don’t want airplanes flying around IFR that can’t accept IMC. If a controller had to give a vector or altitude change for traffic, they don’t want to hear unable do to clouds.

So, what are my options getting from A to B in SoCal VFR? I can research the preferred routes and get flight following but do I have any assurance that a controller won’t give me a dreaded remain clear of class bravo?
You are 90% there by separating IMC from IFR. LSA are not certified for IMC because they lack the "lightning" (as in big electrical sparks) certification. Most do allow IFR flight to allow for instrument flight training. It sounds like you have all the required equipment. Note that a current altimeter/static system/transponder certification is required.

Having said that I would like to provide some experience with Class B operations. Note: these examples are not from LAX operations.

Having an IFR flight plan may not asssist in getting a Class Brovo clearance. I have been vectored arround Class B on IFR flight plans and requests for Class Brovo clearance was denied. Furthermore the IFR restrictions can greatly increase the deviations from the desired flight path.

I have successfully canceled IFR within the Class B to obtain a more direct routing. IFR within the Class Brovo requires 1,000 foot vertical separation. VFR reduces separation to to 500 feet allowing you to slip between the Big Boys.

Suggestion: Phone SoCal approach when they are not busy and have a nice conversation of the best way to address your specific route related to expected traffic, etc.
 

Direct C51

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I agree with Marc on this. I fly out of San Diego and often fly North through LA. There are plenty of VFR options that will be easier and probably quicker than IFR anyhow. Look at an LAX TAC and study the VFR routes on the left side. I fly IFR for work, but have no problem getting through LAX VFR in my Sonex.
 

cblink.007

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So, what are my options getting from A to B in SoCal VFR? I can research the preferred routes and get flight following but do I have any assurance that a controller won’t give me a dreaded remain clear of class bravo?
The internet is a hell of a place to source feedback like this. If I were you, I'd study airspace, pubs and such. Basic flight planning stuff you should already be familiar with. However, if unsure, contact a local CFI or your local field office for guidance. But, under no circumstances should you fly the mission unless you are comfortable. Have fun!!
 

Direct C51

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If you don’t mind 3500’/4500’ you don’t even have to worry about the “dreaded remain clear of Class Bravo” because you don’t even need a Bravo clearance for the SFRA. If you are already South or LAX then just remain below the B shelf and step your way up as you head South.

When coming in to San Diego, remember there are 2 class B airports, each with their own surface area. Some guys assume the surface B is only at KSAN and bust Miramar’s B.
 

Toobuilder

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What is your departure and destination? Like many here, I fly through the basin often and I rarely talk to anyone. Perhaps someone can suggest a "low effort" route.
 

12notes

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Los Angeles SFRA description from the Terminal Area Chart:
 

davidb

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What is your departure and destination? Like many here, I fly through the basin often and I rarely talk to anyone. Perhaps someone can suggest a "low effort" route.
SZP to MYF

Honestly, I wasn’t familiar with the TAC and the SVFR route. Now that I look at those I see the light. Forgive my GA sabbatical of 40 years. Decades of military and airline flying doesn’t help much wrt GA.
 
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