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Can an airliner on an IFR flight plan cancel it mid-air and "go VFR"? (IN CANADA)

MsHighAltitude

Administrator
Staff member
In the U.S. if you are above 18,000' (Class A airspace) you have to fly IFR. For airlines there are probably company policies mandating IFR as well. I would think it's similar in Canada.
 

321Captain

Active member
In the U.S. if you are above 18,000' (Class A airspace) you have to fly IFR. For airlines there are probably company policies mandating IFR as well. I would think it's similar in Canada.
Airlines have very well defined lines in their operations specifications (OPSPECS) as to when a crew can cancel IFR. The OPSPECS are a set of rules that only have to do with the airline in question. Every airline has a FAA officer who is assigned to their airline. The types of approaches, aircrew experience requirements, and things like canceling IFR, circling approaches and a ton of other small and not so small rules are decided by that FAA officer. With major airlines, the things allowed are pretty standard for all of them. Smaller or upstart airlines will have some restrictions that older, well established airlines don’t have to deal with.
 

Sean

Active member
Is the FAA officer the one who would say that your company's filed flight plan expired while you were taxiing for takeoff so let's just clear you direct to your destination 6 hours away?
 

321Captain

Active member
No. The FAA guy is pretty much a liaison between the OKC guys and your airline. All the rules that your airline has to follow are specifically detailed in your OPSPECS. If your filed flight plan has expired, your OPSPECS will spell out what you are legal to do.
 

affinity4aviation

Active member
In the U.S. if you are above 18,000' (Class A airspace) you have to fly IFR. For airlines there are probably company policies mandating IFR as well. I would think it's similar in Canada.
Can a commercial airline fly VFR just below 18,000 feet? It's hard to conceptualize that altitude as a passenger, without being in the flight deck or without the pilots announcing the altitude.
 
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MsHighAltitude

Administrator
Staff member
How can a commercial airline fly VFR just below 18,000 feet? That's still way up there! It's safe?
Other than departure and approach they rarely fly below FL180. I think I’ve seen a clip on YouTube where the pilots requested VFR flight following because they were doing a short reposition flight (like JFK to EWR or something).

As for the safety of flying VFR, well, when Kelsey brings one of the 747s to Pinal Airpark (MZJ) for maintenance, they are under VFR after Tucson Approach terminates radar service.
 

321Captain

Active member
Well, that is part of the OPSPECS thing. If you are ferrying a flight, not operating under part 121, there are instances where you have relief from the usual requirements. It will all be written in the document.
 

321Captain

Active member
Why wouldn't it be safe?
It would be Zeede. And you already know that 😬. I don’t know why flying at 17,500 would be unsafe. I have been dispatched from DTW to FNT at 9,000. That was a bad altitude because you have to fly slow. Asked for 10k, and got it from ATC. Sped the whole thing up.
 

Plague

Active member
I saw on a show that the pilots scanned the NOTAM but didn't notice the fact that a runway was closed with equipment on it during construction.
Because NOTAMs tend to be written in acrogook. Look at 321's post #20 in "FAA issues AD because 5G can interfere with RadAlt" thread (bottom of page 1).
That can run on beyond what is shown there and I think in the case you mentioned, or a similar one, the runway closure notice was buried on page 6.
 

affinity4aviation

Active member
Because NOTAMs tend to be written in acrogook. Look at 321's post #20 in "FAA issues AD because 5G can interfere with RadAlt" thread (bottom of page 1).
That can run on beyond what is shown there and I think in the case you mentioned, or a similar one, the runway closure notice was buried on page 6.
I read that they now put runway closures more in the beginning of the NOTAM, for exactly that reason. Thankfully, they learn from prior mistakes + from that crash + are proactive. Bad weather + they couldn't see was a big factor.
 
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