Pilot's Tip of the Week

Requesting VFR On Top Clearance

Featuring John Krug


Subscriber question:

"What is the proper technique and phraseology to obtain an IFR climb to VFR-on-top clearance? Also, when filing the flight plan, should anything different be included?"- Anonymous
Press to play audio

John:

"A VFR-on-top clearance allows a pilot to climb through a cloud layer or some other condition of less than basic Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC). Upon reaching VMC, you can either cancel the IFR flight plan or operate VFR-on-top.

VFR on TopYou can request it on the ground, usually from clearance or ground control at a towered airport. Simply ask for an IFR climb to VFR-on-top. The controller will need to know your type aircraft and direction of flight.

The clearance will usually have a clearance limit of a nearby VOR or other navaid. The clearance will also contain either a tops report or a statement that no tops report is available. Additionally, the ATC clearance may contain alternate instructions if VFR-on-top is not reached by a specified altitude.

If you file an IFR flight plan for a climb to VFR-on-top, specify the route desired and for the altitude specify OTP/altitude requested."

For more information, see AIM Section 4-4-8.

Watch this related video from AOPA:

Next week's tip: Downwind departures

Scenic VFR Flight Using X-Plane 

Watch this end-to-end VFR flight using X-Plane. The graphics, scenery and realism of the latest software are stunning. See the pilot plan his route and configure the airplane, weather, etc. He uses radios, GPS and ForeFlight like you would in a real plane. This video demonstrates the training benefits you get with a good sim. Watch it here…