Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

2 Answers

Practice Flight with Approaches and Pattern Work

Asked by: 1746 views , ,
Airspace, FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, General Aviation, Instrument Rating, Private Pilot, Student Pilot

I am instrument rated and would like to plan a practice flight in VMC that combines both approaches and some touch and goes in the pattern at multiple airports.

I'm thinking it would be best to go VFR with flight following and just request the approaches and pattern work as needed. My reasoning is this would give me the most flexibility and not tie up the airspace for actual IFR traffic. I understand ATC may not always be able to accomodate my requests.

What is the best way to handle this with ATC and be courteous to fellow pilots?


Ace Any FAA Written Test!
Actual FAA Questions / Free Lifetime Updates
The best explanations in the business
Fast, efficient study.
Pass Your Checkride With Confidence!
FAA Practical Test prep that reflects actual checkrides.
Any checkride: Airplane, Helicopter, Glider, etc.
Written and maintained by actual pilot examiners and master CFIs.
The World's Most Trusted eLogbook
Be Organized, Current, Professional, and Safe.
Highly customizable - for student pilots through pros.
Free Transition Service for users of other eLogs.
Our sincere thanks to pilots such as yourself who support AskACFI while helping themselves by using the awesome PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android aviation apps of our sponsors.

2 Answers

  1. Best Answer

    Bob Watson on Apr 05, 2013

    I’m not sure how universal this is, but up here in the Pacific NW, we can ask for practice instrument approaches in VMC to do just what you’re describing. It’s somewhere between just plain VFR flight following and an IFR flight plan. Basically, they handle you just like IFR traffic but without the IFR flight plan and all that comes with it. This way, you’re flight is coordinated with any the other IFR traffic, so you don’t have to worry about inadvertently sharing the ILS with someone, but you don’t need instrument currency to fly it. It’s up to you to accept any clearance they give you (so you have to make sure what they tell you won’t put you into a cloud) and the controller might advise you to maintain VMC. It’s a great way to get some practice with a safety pilot and from what I understand, they’d rather be talking to you the whole time than not. As you point out, they’ll do this on a space-available basis, so you might try for a non-busy day or at night.

    If you want to do pattern work after an approach, be sure to coordinate that with the controller in advance. They’ll need to know what you plan to do after the approach so they can have the next leg ready for you or give that space to someone else while you do some touch and goes.

    +1 Votes Thumb up 1 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  2. mmosier1 on Apr 06, 2013

    I made this practice flight today and everything worked as expected. Went VFR with flight following. ATC helped with approaches and just told me call them back when finished with pattern work. As usual…. just ask for what you want with ATC and if possible they will help you out.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

The following terms have been auto-detected the question above and any answers or discussion provided. Click on a term to see its definition from the Dauntless Aviation JargonBuster Glossary.

Answer Question

Our sincere thanks to all who contribute constructively to this forum in answering flight training questions. If you are a flight instructor or represent a flight school / FBO offering flight instruction, you are welcome to include links to your site and related contact information as it pertains to offering local flight instruction in a specific geographic area. Additionally, direct links to FAA and related official government sources of information are welcome. However we thank you for your understanding that links to other sites or text that may be construed as explicit or implicit advertising of other business, sites, or goods/services are not permitted even if such links nominally are relevant to the question asked.