Intro to IFR Question #5 - What are the phases of an IFR flight?

Phases of an IFR flight


What are the phases of an IFR flight?  

IFR flight builds on VFR flight with a couple of additional phases involved to increase our safety and awareness in the Instrument Flight corridor. The phases of an IFR flight are: 

  • Pre-Flight Planning - review of weather conditions, NOTAMS, a pre-flight aircraft check, and filing an IFR flight plan.
  • Clearance Delivery - Prior to departing the airport, the pilot will request clearance from the local Air Traffic Controller. Clearance delivery is usually communicated via aircraft comms, but it can be requested via phone..
  • Taxi and Takeoff - Instrument, communication, and run-up checks are performed during this phase. The pilot will follow the airport's departure procedure unless instructed otherwise.
  • En Route - Pilots are required to follow their flight plan while maintaining communication with ATC. Navigation is via the aircraft's flight instruments and navigation systems and ATC provides route guidance, traffic advisories, and altitude clearances.
  • Approach - This phase of flight is defined as the pilot selecting a type of instrument approach procedure and navigating to the airport via instruments and published altitude restrictions.
  • Landing - When the runway environment is in sight the pilot will transition from instrument flying to visual flying.
  • Post-Flight - Other than a typical flight, an IFR flight usually involves closing a flight plan to acknowledge your destination is made. This can be accomplished once the airport is in sight and is requested by the pilot with ATC. 

IFR Flight to Chicago Midway 


IFR Flight to Chicago Midway




Chris caught the aviation bug at the age of seven when he was able to sit in the cockpit of a 737 between flights, thanks to his aunt working at a large airline. Countless balsa wood flyers and multi-stage rockets later, he enrolled in the Aviation Technology Program at the University of Cincinnati and successfully turned a fascination into a career. “One of my most memorable flights was flying my dad to a local airport with a restaurant just off the ramp known for their generously portioned ribs. I’ll never forget that day with passenger #1.” As the Director of Search Marketing at Sporty’s, Chris is tasked with managing online advertising and search engine optimization but he still loves to search for new products.

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