Pilot's tip of the week

Anticipating ATC Cancellation Instructions

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Subscriber question:

"ATC gave me a phone number to call to cancel my IFR flight plan—but I was busy descending on the approach. I landed before I realized I didn’t write down the number and I couldn’t reach them on the ground. I ended up canceling through Flight Service. Is there a way to avoid this?" —Tobias M.

Bruce:

“Situations like this are another reason to annotate charts, especially if you use ForeFlight or a similar EFB. At non-towered airports, controllers often announce the phone number to call or the frequency to use to cancel IFR at the most inconvenient time—typically near the final approach fix, just as they switch you over to the CTAF.

Phone numbers and ATC frequencies for clearance delivery and canceling IFR are now available in the Chart Supplement, but when you’re flying an approach or taxiing for takeoff, that document typically isn’t what’s displayed on your iPad.

When I plan an IFR flight to or from a non-towered airport, I look up the ATC phone number or clearance delivery frequency in the Chart Supplement, and I use the annotation feature in ForeFlight to add that information to the airport diagram and the charts for the approaches or departures that I expect to use. That way, I have those details readily available if I break out into VMC and can cancel before landing, or when I clear the runway, stop, and can safely contact ATC on the radio or with my phone through a Bluetooth connection to my headset.”

Do you annotate your charts and/or airport diagrams?

(NEW) VFR Mastery scenario #67 “A Swift Decision” is now available. A pre-takeoff briefing exists to remove hesitation and doubt from split-second emergency decisions after takeoff. The problem is that most real-world departures present several opportunities to go off script. Some of those improvisations could turn an off-field crash into an uneventful runway landing—or a disaster. Watch the Intro video.

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