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IMC in Uncontrolled Airspace

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Is it legal to fly IMC in Uncontrolled Airspace ? Do I have to file a flight plan?

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2 Answers

  1. Nathan Parker on Dec 27, 2011

    “Is it legal to fly IMC in Uncontrolled Airspace?”
    “Do I have to file a flight plan?”  (and “Do I need a clearance?”)
    Technically, no flight plan or clearance is needed, although the NTSB has sustained a violation of a pilot who took off into IMC in Class G without a clearance, using 91.13 as justification.  A flight plan alone is worthless, since it will never be opened if you don’t receive an IFR clearance.

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  2. Best Answer

    John D. Collins on Dec 27, 2011

    Yes, it is legal to fly in IMC in uncontrolled airspace (Class G) if the aircraft is properly equipped for IFR and the pilot is instrument rated. A flightplan and a clearance is required for flying IFR in controlled airspace, but not in uncontrolled airspace, see FAR 91.173.  Unlike flight in controlled airspace where there isn’t a hemispheric rule for direction of flight, in uncontrolled airspace, IFR cruise altitudes in uncontrolled airspace are dictated by the hemispheric rule, see FAR 91.179.  FAR 91.177 defines the minimum IFR altitudes that apply in controlled or uncontrolled airspace.  ATC does not exercise control over uncontrolled airspace but can provide services if they are available and requested by the pilot.  At many non towered airports, controlled airspace doesn’t start until 700 or 1200 AGL, and you will often get a clearance that includes the words such as, upon entering controlled airspace, … .  So, although it is legal for an appropriately rated pilot to fly IMC between two airports, both of which are in Class G airspace, it isn’t necessarily a wise thing to do.

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