Pilot's Tip of the Week
Featuring Doug Stewart
"Tell us about pop-up clearances, Doug?"
"Well, pop-up clearances sometimes have to happen. We're flying along and the weather goes down. We haven't filed a flight plan, but in order to get where we're going or even to get us out of a jam right now, we have to pick up that IFR in the air.
Say you're flying along, and using the Datalink weather or calling Flight Service (however we become aware of it) we see that our destination - although it was forecast to be clear all day and we haven't bothered to file an IFR flight plan - things are going down and we're going to need IFR to get to our destination or perhaps to our alternate. We can now, if we have the time, call Flight Service over one of the dedicated frequencies: 122.2 or any other dedicated ones. Go to Flight Service Station and file a flight plan.
Give them somewhere along your route where you're going to pick it up, a VOR an intersection - something like that. And also ask them after you've filed it, for the frequency to call to pick that clearance up. Now when you call Center, Tracon, whatever it might be, Approach - your strip is already there in front of the controller. They know everything they need to know about you. They know the type of aircraft, they know how much fuel, they know souls on board, and they know where you're going. So it's much more effective that way.
Now, obviously yogurt hits the fan. If we need to get a pop-up, be ready, not necessarily even to come up with a route. You might just say we want direct so-and-so, but they're going to ask you for how much fuel and souls on board. So be prepared for that in that pop-up clearance."
Next week's tip: Good habits in cruise flight