Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
Related to the thread on safety pilots, but not related closely enough to ask the question in there...

If I'm flying to one of the Channel Islands (let's say Guernsey) from the UK in CAVOK conditions and I would like to do an ILS there for the sake of practice, do I need to:
    1. File an IFR (or Z) flight plan?
    2. Inform Jersey Control on first contact that I would like an IFR clearance to enter the CI CTR?

Or is it acceptable to rock up on a VFR flight plan and under a VFR clearance and tell Guernsey Approach when handed over to them that I'd like a practice ILS?

Does the answer change if the forecast conditions are, say, FEW020, so I have a reasonable expectation before I even take off that I will not be able to maintain the 1,000ft/1500m VMC cloud separation requirements when being vectored/performing the procedure, and thus will very likely need an IFR clearance at some stage?

Obviously if you arrive expecting CAVOK and the actual conditions are OVC010 then I have no doubt that ATC would be very accommodating regardless of what sort of flight plan you've filed. My question is more about if the conditions are good enough for a visual approach (under VFR or SVFR), but you want to do an instrument approach for practice.

For clarity, let's say this is a non-airways flight, arriving at ORTAC from OCAS, with an IR(R).
imperialsam, coulkd you clarify what you're trying to achieve? most obvious options are (a) simply get some practice flying an ILS profile, maybe also some of the procedural part from IAF to IF, but without any "formal" value, or (b) get a logged instrument approach in the logbook (for revalidation purposes or insurance etc etc).
If it's something like (a) then you can do that in VMC following VFR rules, essentially doing a visual straight-in approach which happens to follow an ILS profile. Obviously at any airport you should do that only if safe (here's where the safety pilot theme starts), and at a controlled airport where you need a landing clearance you should tell them what you want to do and they need to agree (which if the patterns is empty or easily spearated they usually do, have done it at multiple airfields, in doubt just call them upfront). You're still flying VFR so besides your landing there's nothing re: IFR or clearances.
If it's something like (b) then usually the rules require you to fly under IFR and to fly the instrument approach with all the regalia (eg MDA step downs/DA, visibility, RNAV checks, approach ban rules), in controlled airspace this also means formal clearance, which you can do via pre-flight filing (with a Z-plan), or in the UK as a pop-up clearance request in cruise (e.g., at zone entry) or approach (i.e. before IAF, usually talking to APP).

PS: careful with IFR pop-clearances outside the UK or US (e.g., there is a persistent rumour that in some countries such a request will lead to an automatic investigation)

Assuming it is for practice, If you want an ILS or RNAV when flying VFR, be prepared to be told no.

Not that you will never get it, but just that if it is busy you will probably just get told to go to the VRP.

So, assuming it is not busy, I have no problems giving you the platform level of 2000ft and climbing/vectoring on the basis that you “report if unable to stay VMC”

Personally, I would suggest that once cleared in to the Zone/VRP you let Jersey Control know on 125.205 of your request. It should then be mentioned to Guernsey on handover if heading to Guernsey/Alderney.

If you want to fly IFR then options 1. And 2. Work as well and may offer a solution.

Good luck. Not too much drama normally.

And remember that Jersey now has an LPV200 RNAV approach for you to practice
imperialsam liked this
1. Flying from France with an IR(R) and you don't want to file a Z
2. >2 tonnes :)

Other than that, filing IFR is certainly a good option when flying in, but we've never had a request for an instrument approach turned down by Jersey ATC. As Alan says, the trick is ask early, and if it sounds busy don't ask

Also if just going up to do a load of instrument practice from Jersey we generally launch VFR, but if wx looks like you might not maintain VMC then we'd file IFR

The Jersey ATC are a good bunch (with the exception of some dodgy bloke called Alan somebody or other) :wink:
Thanks Alan, that's very helpful and makes perfect sense. I would love to try the LPV approach one day, when I have a suitably equipped aircraft :)

GrahamB wrote:Why would you not just file an IFR flight plan and be done with it?

Good question. Only because I've never had to file one before, and I'm not too sure what it would entail with regard to validation etc. And you can't file them from SkyDemon, so I'd have to find my AFPEx login details...

It sounds like filing an IFR flight plan is the best thing to do. I just wondered if granting practice instrument approaches to traffic on a VFR flight plan was something trivially easy for ATC to do and something they do all the time for training flights etc... Sounds like a maybe, if traffic permits.

derekf wrote:<pedant on>well as long as they don't fly through France on the way <pedant off>

I hadn't thought of that scenario. I've flown to Jersey via Cherbourg a couple of times, so one to bear in mind, and perhaps not that pedantic!

Thanks everyone for the help.
Slightly off topic, but I was discussion with somebody recently who was working out how to remember the difference between Z and Y FPLs for an exam
I said the way I remember it was if you're on an IFR flight plan why (Y) would you want to change to VFR :lol:
And yes - I know there are some good reasons why you would, but it was a way I used to easily remember :wink:
AlanM, Stampe liked this