IFR Flight Plan
An IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) flight plan is filed anytime a pilot conducts a flight in instrument conditions or maintains navigation and obstacle clearance with reference to aircraft instruments only. While on an IFR flight plan, separation from other aircraft is provided by Air Traffic Control. To file an IFR flight plan, the pilot(s) must be IFR rated and able to keep an aircraft in controlled flight solely on the data provided by the aircraft instrumentation.
IFR flight plans are an alternative to filing a flight under visual flight rules (VFR), where the pilot is ultimately responsible for navigation, obstacle clearance and traffic separation. On IFR flight plans, pilots are normally assisted by Air Traffic Control. In general most commercial air traffic (any flight for hire) and all scheduled air carriers operate exclusively on IFR flight plans while commercial aircraft providing sightseeing flights, aerial photography, or lift services for parachute jumping usually operate on VFR flight plans.
In order to file an IFR flight plan the pilot must either call the local flight service station (FSS) or contact then by phone prior to takeoff. Information such as the pilots name, phone number, true airspeed (TAS), route of flight, fuel on board, and other pertinent information relating to the flight is required.