Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Dean33 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:09 pm

I have just completed (passed) the Scenario 2.

I chose the third option for leaving TOAS where the briefing says specifically:

"Do not file IFR, simply call ATC and request a “climb to VFR on top” and let them issue the clearance. Let them know you plan to climb to 12,500 if you use this option."

I did this (and repeated it word for word) but the controller (who tried really hard) insisted I needed an IFR for this and it had to be at 12,000. I felt this was wrong.

What made it worse was I had pre-filed my IFR leg from Brazo so 1) that got amended and then 2) when I needed it approaching Brazo it wasn't there!

One other problem. I am struggling to file flight plans through the new P3D app. I keep getting error messages 'number expected'. Problem is it does not tell you which field is not as expected. Can this be debugged or desensitized in some way?

Great experience though. And after 2 hours when my engines cut out on finals to Durango I screamed - but got on the ground - just!

The cowboy poetry was moving!
Dean33

UK P3DV4 Simmer
Pilotedge - I11, CAT11, A-Z (ZLA), A-Z (WUS)

Gigabyte P57v7 CF2 17.3" laptop. Kaby Lake i7 7700HQ CPU (average 3.4mhz). GTX 1070 8mb, 16 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, SSD Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2 NVMe, 1TB HDD 7200.
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Keith Smith » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:59 am

Dean,

I've updated the text of the rating to be 100% clear that the flight plan which you file for BRAZO-KDRO should be exactly that, BRAZO as the origin and KDRO as the destination. This will avoid cases of pilots filing an IFR flight plan from KSKX to KDRO, then calling for a climb to VFR on top to the Taos VOR.

You are correct, you should've been able to pick up the climb to VFR on top without filing. That's been addressed with the controller as of now.

Real world IFR system allows for multiple flight plans to be in the system at once, hence, in r/w you could file BRAZO to DRO, then call for climb to VFR on top to Taos, then cancel, then later pick up your IFR from BRAZO to DRO. Doing that on PE requires the controller to NOT turf your BRAZO to DRO leg. I've issued guidance asking them not to remove the BRAZO to DRO flight plan where possible, however, it is not a bad idea to delay filing the BRAZO to DRO leg until you're midway through the VFR portion.

This was addressed in the "some notes before you bolt out the door" section in bullet point #4:
PilotEdge doesn’t support multiple flight plans being on file. However, you can delaying the filing of the BRAZO-KDRO plan until you have canceled the first IFR flight plan. This is easily done on PE since you can file a flight plan through the pilot client at any point.


Regarding the filing error that you're receiving, it's likely that you have a colon in one of the fields (probably the time based fields). Remove the colons and you should be fine.
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Dean33 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:55 am

Thanks Keith

I’ll give this section another try tonight. Like you I prefer to fly and see the scenery. After months in sunny SOCAL it is so disorientating to be in cloud.
Things like leaving the flaps and wheels down don’t help when your trying hard to climb out of the soup!

Great new series though.

Dean
Dean33

UK P3DV4 Simmer
Pilotedge - I11, CAT11, A-Z (ZLA), A-Z (WUS)

Gigabyte P57v7 CF2 17.3" laptop. Kaby Lake i7 7700HQ CPU (average 3.4mhz). GTX 1070 8mb, 16 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, SSD Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2 NVMe, 1TB HDD 7200.
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Pylet » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:26 am

You are correct, you should've been able to pick up the climb to VFR on top without filing. That's been addressed with the controller as of now.


Flew Scenario 1 earlier this week, used the same tactic of requesting climb to VFR-on-top from KSKX and was told, like the OP, that I must file an IFR flight plan by a pleasant female controller with a heavy accent.

For Scenario 2, I filed 7,000’ to comply with the WATTR7 DP from KCLM and was told “the rating requires 5,000”. As a real-world IFR pilot I’m treating planning and use of the PE platform as if I was making the flight IRL so this deviation was unexpected. The controller accurately (if not condescendingly) clarified that ATC may override the altitude if necessary; however, it would be helpful to learn from the scenario briefing text that 5,000 is required and deviates from the DP.

Minus some controllers sounding angry with the world I truly enjoy these scenarios, the time and research and planning that has clearly gone into bringing them to life, and the PE platform overall. Truly, well done, Keith!
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Keith Smith » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:51 am

Thanks for pointing this out. The SKY-2 is unusually complicated and is a tough rating to manage on the controlling side. It's like we will replace it with something else in the future as it's an extreme edge case, even if it is somehwat interesting.

It should be possible to call for VFR on top regardless of having another plan on file that starts from a future fix. That will be addressed with the controller.

Regarding the WATTR7, I'm not sure how I overlooked the 5400ft requirement. I've updated the briefing strip accordingly, thanks for mentioning that.
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Pylet » Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:15 am

Keith Smith wrote:Thanks for pointing this out. The SKY-2 is unusually complicated and is a tough rating to manage on the controlling side. It's like we will replace it with something else in the future as it's an extreme edge case, even if it is somehwat interesting.

It should be possible to call for VFR on top regardless of having another plan on file that starts from a future fix. That will be addressed with the controller.

Regarding the WATTR7, I'm not sure how I overlooked the 5400ft requirement. I've updated the briefing strip accordingly, thanks for mentioning that.


No sweat! Honestly, I haven’t flown a NDB in years and it’s actually really fun to practice. It truly shows the power of the IFR system and I’m so grateful a system as robust, powerful, and accurate as PilotEdge exists. Thank you!

For more context, I hadn’t filed the IFR plan from BRAZO while on the ground at KSKX, I was waiting to do so once I was in the air in an attempt to avoid confusion. I simply called Center at KSKX and requested a climb to VFR on top at 12,500 to BRAZO and was told I needed a flight plan filed.

You actually did catch the 5,400’ requirement because you mention it in the video of the flight. I think you were planning for 5,000’ until you briefed the DP then realized it called for 5,400’ and altered your plan to 7,000’ to comply.

Cheers!
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Keith Smith » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:37 am

Thanks for the clarification, Pylet, makes sense. We have reviewed the issue regarding the call for VFR on top with the controllers.
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby virtualDon » Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:58 pm

There seems to be confusion between VFR-on-top and just simply cancelling an IFR clearance and continuing VFR. VFR-on-top IS strictly an IFR clearance. It simply allows for more flexibility with routes and altitudes. A pilot ON AN IFR CLEARANCE requests VFR-on-top and the controller can clear them to maintain VFR-on-top. This is simply means that the pilot accepts responsibility from terrain and obstacle clearance as well as clearance from other aircraft. The conroller would ask if the pilot was on top -OR- if he was not, then would be cleared to climb IFR to and maintain VFR-on-top. The controller would apply separation from other traffic and give the pilot alternate instructions: "Climb to and maintain VFR-on-top at or above 12,500. If not on top by 12,500 maintain 12,000 and advise. Tops reported -----" (or, "no tops reported").

This clearance is simply to allow the continuation of an IFR clearance where the pilot may want to be below the MEA/MIA or possibly to allow for some other separation from traffic. The aircraft on top can be given additional headings, routings or altitudes and is still on an IFR clearance. For instance, I'm on V12 at 9,000 and do not want to climb to 11,000 for the MEA after EED. I could request to maintain VFR-on-top at 9,500 and continue eastbound on V12.

If you requested VFR-on-top at the TAOS VOR (after flying to TAS on the IFR leg), it would simply be an altitude request. Putting VFR-on-top in the remarks is not the same as going IFR to TAS then VFR to BRAZO. And departing VFR and calling for an OTP clearance, while it isn't wrong, the controllers were correct in denying your request. Again VFR-on-top is an IFR clearance so it would simply be an IFR pickup request without filing a flight plan. The controller could accommodate you but he also could deny you and tell you to go file a flight plan.

I realize we are trying to get around the fact that PilotEdge only allows for one stored flight plan at a time but the proper way would be to file a flight plan from KSKX to KDRO and cancel over TAS. Then file another filght plan from BRAZO to KDRO with "P/U over BRAZO" in the remarks. I did this as an experiment enroute to KABQ the other day. The trick is, before starting my flight out of KVNY I filed my flight plan from KVNY to KABQ and then used the form to enter all the info for another flight plan from ZUN to KABQ. I cancelled IFR over HEC and continued VFR (with or without advisories, your choice) to ZUN. At ZUN, I called the ZAB controller and picked up my flight plan from ZUN to KABQ after jumping out my browser and hitting "FILE FLIGHT PLAN" on the one I had ready to go (not that it rally takes much effort to simply file another flight plan anyway).

Anyway, I believe the text for the SKY-2 is misleading and incorrect. Please refer to the 7110.65 7-3-1 (https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/atc_html/chap7_section_3.html) for more info.
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby Keith Smith » Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:40 pm

As much as that rating is a little bit of a pain, you have just hit it's TRUE value....which is that it will, eventually, force a discussion about some pretty critical aspects/myths of VFR-on-top.

This clearance is simply to allow the continuation of an IFR clearance where the pilot may want to be below the MEA/MIA or possibly to allow for some other separation from traffic...


And there is one of the biggest myths. It does NOT allow you to operate below the MEA/MIA. That is PRECISELY why this rating is designed the way it's designed, and why you need to cancel IFR.

AIM 4-4-8 e.3 (https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publica ... ion_4.html)

When operating in VFR conditions with an ATC authorization to “maintain VFR-on-top/maintain VFR conditions” pilots on IFR flight plans must:
1. ...
2. ...
3. Comply with instrument flight rules that are applicable to this flight; i.e., minimum IFR altitudes, position reporting, radio communications, course to be flown, adherence to ATC clearance, etc.


It's also covered by BoldMethod: https://www.boldmethod.com/learn-to-fly ... uirements/ (see the section towards the end titled "Which Regulations Do You Need to Follow?".

In addition to the AIM stating the requirement to comply with minimum IFR regs, it's also fairly logical, because:
1. if you're non-RNAV (which is completely legal for enroute nav in the US), how are you going to navigate along the route if you're well below MEA?
2. if you need to revert back to a regular IFR altitude (ie, you can no longer mainatain VFR cloud clearances), if you're stuck below the MEA, you're in no-man's land.

The rating was written when filing flight plans was permitted from inside of the sim. We'll see if we can optimize for this case. Additionally, we'll get the issue resolved on our end where you're calling for a climb to VFR on top and the controller is making you file. All of that aside, though, the rating was designed to show case how the VFR-on-top gets you on top, however, you need to cancel to continue the leg as a true VFR flight, because you're operating below the MIA for quite a while after that. Later, you pick up IFR again for the destination. It's a bit of a cludge, bit it shows the utility of VFR-on-top as a 'quick and easy' (filing issues above notwithstanding). The alternative for this flight is to do the WHOLE THING IFR, but the routing for it is pretty horrrific, and might even require O2 if memory serves.
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Re: Sky High 2 VFR on Top communication?

Postby virtualDon » Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:16 am

I see what you mean - it does not exempt you from complying with MIA's. Regardless, the point of this was why the controller refused the request and that comes down to essentially requesting a pop-up IFR without filing a flight plan. Workload permitting, the controller could issue a clearance but it is not required. Still, as Keith mentioned in the synopsis, you should be able to, without filing an IFR flight plan, ask for an IFR clearance to VFR/OTP with the intent of cancelling and proceeding VFR once on top. The controller need not issue a full route clearance but just something like "Cleared to ZUN via on departure, fly runway heading, expect direct. Climb and maintain VFR/OTP." And of course adding any restrictions, headings or tops reports as necessary.

For this scenario you then could just file from BRAZO to KDRO and pick that up later.
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