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Departing early on a VFR flight plan

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Departing early on a VFR flight plan

Old 29th Dec 2017, 20:12
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Departing early on a VFR flight plan

So, I thought (think) I can leave up to an hour before the time filed, and up to an hour after. A two hour window.

At Brussels this morning, I wanted to depart 40 minutes ahead of schedule (how often does that happen??!!) and got a the controller (Ground) telling me I had to wait 40 minutes. I explained my understanding of the rules, and he told me "no, from time you have filed until +30 minutes".

So - who's right? Question is for Belgium, but actually would be interested to hear if it's not internationally standard...

Cheers, Sam.
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Old 29th Dec 2017, 20:32
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It was my understanding that there are no limitations on departure time on a VFR flight plan.
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Old 29th Dec 2017, 21:02
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How long before you called for start did you file? Some places insist you file at least one or even 2 hours before (no I can't understand why either)
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Old 29th Dec 2017, 22:23
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I think there's a confusion here between 'time filed' and filed (departure) time'.

You need to leave time for the plan to get around the system. Even though you're VFR, presumably you still need co-ordinating around IFR traffic if you're departing from an aerodrome with mixed traffic?

TOO
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 00:08
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I wanted to leave 45 minutes earlier from Cascias (lisbon) on a VFR flight plan and they wouldn’t have it, I had to shut down go back into terminal and refile. 2 weeks ago I left earlier than scheduled from Forfar to Calais and again on the return Calais to Forfar and neither Lille control or Leuchars cared, they just opened it. So I’m guessing it’s the luck of the draw.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 00:12
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Whenever you touch anything under control / under separation rules / subject to slotting in Europe in your flightplan, your slot is 'time filed' to 'time filed +30'. Leaving early is a bad idea if eurocontrol is not expecting you in certain airspace for separation so soon. It is no problem to file one delay in the system, which you frequently have to do leaving late, but there is usually no 'leave earlier' in the system and 'bring forward' is known to crash certain routines in European airflow (as does delaying multiple times) - the system in Europe is authority based, not customer centric. Btw, in busy airspace, such as Brussels, the slot may often be only +15 based on offblock time, or even more restrictive with the system going down all the way to +5 -> read the AIP comments for that, if you don't want to check with tower.

If you start at an uncontrolled airfield, ATC won't tell you you are wrong over the frequency, but leaving from controlled tower, most of the times you won't get a clearance to leave ahead of schedule (because they would have to call and announce you being early over the phone ...). If going across borders, not all flightplans are passed ahead of schedule to the taking ATC or FIS, so leaving early would get you into entering foreign airspace on no flightplan (not relevant for countries not passing VFR flightplans from AIS to ATC or FIS anyways - not so uncommon).

Last edited by ChickenHouse; 30th Dec 2017 at 00:28.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 00:14
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Originally Posted by piperboy84
I wanted to leave 45 minutes earlier from Cascias (lisbon) on a VFR flight plan and they wouldn’t have it, I had to shut down go back into terminal and refile. 2 weeks ago I left earlier than scheduled from Forfar to Calais and again on the return Calais to Forfar and neither Lille control or Leuchars cared, they just opened it. So I’m guessing it’s the luck of the draw.
I personally don't think it matters as long as a DEP is sent.
If you do need to refile, you actually don't! To bring an IFR flight plan forward, you have to cancel and re-file, but with a VFR plan, you can just send a CHG with the new ETD.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 00:16
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Originally Posted by ChickenHouse
Whenever you touch anything under control / under separation rules in your flightplan, your slot is 'time filed' to 'time filed +30'. Leaving early is a bad idea if eurocontrol is not expecting you in certain airspace for separation so soon. It is no problem to file delays in the system, which you frequently have to do leaving later than slot, but there is no 'leave earlier' in the system.

If you start at an uncontrolled airfield, ATC won't tell you you are wrong over the frequency, but leaving from controlled tower, most of the times you won't get a clearance to leave ahead of schedule (because they would have to call and announce you being early over the phone ...).
Makes sense, so the bottom line is don’t be getting ahead of yourself when it comes to your chosen departure time.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 00:24
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Originally Posted by chevvron
I personally don't think it matters as long as a DEP is sent.
If you do need to refile, you actually don't! To bring an IFR flight plan forward, you have to cancel and re-file, but with a VFR plan, you can just send a CHG with the new ETD.
Interestingly while on route from Lisbon back to Malaga on a VFR flight plan the enroute controller said that I should have had an airways intersection waypoint close to the Portuguese/Spanish border in my flight plan route, he asked me to pick one then fly to it as my ‘border crossing’ point which I thought was strange.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 06:13
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Answering first question, the plan was filed the evening before.

A reminder that it was for a VFR flight plan, normally no slot required. In confirmation, if I depart on a flight (same airfield) without a flight plan then the first thing anyone knows about my flight is when I call GND for start - they just 'fit you in' between other flights (normally a non-issue involving waiting for the aircraft on finals if there is one).

So, returning to the question. I think I can depart up to an hour early on a VFR flight plan - the controller thought I cannot. Who's right?

The only information I have found on this is here:

https://www.foreflight.com/support/f...t-plan-filing/

"A VFR flight plan can only be activated with your FSS in the time period of one hour before your filed departure time to two hours after. An IFR flight plan can be activated with ATC in the time period of two hours before your filed departure time to two hours after."
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 07:19
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VFR FPL Submission Time Parameters are in CAP694 Chapter 2
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 07:34
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Not asking about submission times, asking about departing at a different time to that filed...
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 07:58
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford
Not asking about submission times, asking about departing at a different time to that filed...
Whatever. I'll go and read the local rag instead, then...
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 08:09
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Fairly sure submission times are generally known to be at least one hour before.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 15:35
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford
Fairly sure submission times are generally known to be at least one hour before.
Old technology issue. File on line and it’s there instantly if no slot required you should be able to go pretty much anytime.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 16:10
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File on line and it’s there instantly if no slot required you should be able to go pretty much anytime.

Sorry, not always true. Just 'cos you've pressed 'SEND' on your device, it doesn't mean it's in the system. There is frequently a delay between the FPL sent by your software going to the host server, being processed, and the end result popping out at the departure ATSU.

HB

HB
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 17:17
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Wow. Last time I checked, different countries had different rules, therefore requiring the Commander to check the “local” AIP for any differences to ICAO requirements. FPL validity being a classic example of various countries around Europe having “differences” including FPLs...

Just because it’s filed on a device doesn’t mean it abides by local requirements either!
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 20:11
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford
The only information I have found on this is here:

https://www.foreflight.com/support/f...t-plan-filing/

"A VFR flight plan can only be activated with your FSS in the time period of one hour before your filed departure time to two hours after. An IFR flight plan can be activated with ATC in the time period of two hours before your filed departure time to two hours after."

That appears to me to be a discussion of US procedures, if so, of limited relevance to determining local nuance in Belgium.
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Old 30th Dec 2017, 23:40
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford

https://www.foreflight.com/support/f...t-plan-filing/

An IFR flight plan can be activated with ATC in the time period of two hours before your filed departure time to two hours after."
Totally incorrect in Europe.
You are allowed to depart from 15 min before until 30 min after unless you have been issued with a CTOT, in which case it is 5 min before to 10 min after the CTOT (not your own EOBT).
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Old 31st Dec 2017, 16:18
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Re. flight plans submitted via Internet:
Flight plans can be submitted at the ARO by telephone, fax or AFTN, or through a workstation (at the international airports in Belgium).

An electronic flight plan form can also be filled out and sent through the Internet (see AIM-Meteo Briefing).

When the flight plan has been submitted via Internet, the pilot shall contact ARO to ensure the flight plan is received correctly and has been approved by the Air Traffic Services.
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