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Cancelling IFR

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Dysfunctional family
Dec 3, 2001
How many of you 121 drivers cancel IFR before you land? I've done it once or twice if I'm a ways out, its severe clear, and somebody is waiting to take off. Other than that I usually make it a rule to cancel only after I've landed for a number of reasons.

Going into SCE last night, an Alleganey (sp?) Dash 8 and ourselves were with New York center approaching from the N.E. and West respectively. We were approximately the same distance from the airport but we were slightly faster so the controller told us we would be number one. 24 was the active runway. About 5 miles out (it was a little hazy) we call the airport in sight and are cleared for the visual. Just as we're crossing midfield and entering the left downwind, the Dash cancelles their flight plan. At this point we're at just a slightly lower altitude with about 7 miles separation between us going head to head. We broadcast on CTAF that were midfield left downwind for 24 and ask them if they have us in sight....no reply. We have them on TCAS but not visually. We've already started a descent for landing and with the bluffs to the east are getting too low to widen the downwind anymore. 4 miles and closing. I can see that if we turn base its going to be way too close so I begin climbing back to MSA and have the F.O. state that we'll extend the donwind to follow traffic, again no response (and yes we were on the right freq.) Just as we get an RA, they turn on their landing lights and go zipping by our left side on final. I was so pissed as soon as we parked I went over to their plane to have a "chat" but they had already fled the scene. All this just so they could save those precious few minutes and not have to "follow" a competing airline into their home turf, or so I presume. What a bunch of A$$holes.
Saabslime said:
How many of you 121 drivers cancel IFR before you land? .

Not a 121 driver, but...A friend of mine worked for Alaska (not in a flying capacity) for a bit, and he told me while jumpseating they would routinely cancel IFR up in AK. Oh yeah, no CTAF calls, either. (Maybe those Alaskan airports really aren't busy. :rolleyes: )

OTOH, I worked for UA (again, not in a flying capacity), and I don't think anybody ever considered doing such a thing. But then again, different airline, much different airports.
I usually cancel on very short final after landing is assured and no go around would be needed. Keeps me from forgetting and is easier to talk to center or approach on the radio than sometimes on the ground.
Not a 121 guy but a corporate puke. I shot an approach into Bum Fruck AL the other day and figured I'd just dial the FSS on the trusty ol' cell phone after landing. Only problem was after I landed there was no service on the cell... oops! By the time I got to a phone and contacted someone I was told they were looking for me. If at all possible I cancel in the air at these remote places.

Doesn't have anything to do with you post I guess, but I felt like typing!! DJ out...........
Canx IFR

Whatever you do, don't cancel if you are in less than VFR conditions until you're on the ground. I read in either in Flying or in AOPA how some pilot cancelled after he broke out and was on short final. He had vis greater than three but ceilings less than 1000. The pilot thought he was doing the controller a favor because the controller sounded frantic about getting him down so he (the controller) could get someone else in. Wellllll, turns out a Fed was at the airport and violated the guy. The guy meant well and suffered an enforcement action. The Fed, well, of course, he was there to help.
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I fly into a lot of the same airports as Alaska and they seem to be pretty good about using the CTAF. As far as cancelling IFR, it's almost all non-towered, non-radar airports which are one at a time. It's pretty common in good WX for everyone to cancel while inbound if there's somone waiting to depart. I know we've done it for Alaska on occasion. The thing that Alaska's aircrews do that bugs me is get their clearence long before they are ready to depart. More than once I've been sitting there at Nome, unable to get a clearence because Alaska's already been cleared. We're sitting there with all 4 turning, all our checklists run, and Alaska still has stairs up to the plane and people boarding. It's happened more than once. I know it's a race to get out, but c'mon! Don't call for a clearence when it's realisticly 10-15 minutes before you're ready to depart.

Speaking as a 121 driver who operates in (not for) Alaska if we go IFR we usually stay that way until we land. However this is not set in stone. If its a beautiful VFR day or we know that there is someone else on the ground trying to get out IFR then we will cancel. Our ops specs actaully allow us to fly legs VFR if the weather is above minimums which is nice is on the really nice days. I am not sure how common that exemption is at other 121 carriers. My experience with Alaska at the outstations is the same as A Squared, I cant think of any time that I didnt hear them on the radio going into one of the outstations.
You need to look at your Operations Manual concerning flight following. As an on-demand 135, we are required to be on some flight plan, whether it be IFR, VFR, or a company held VFR flight plan so that if you do crash on short final in the boonies someone will look for you. Of course this isn't always practical or convient to stay on an IFR all the way to the ground and hold other aircraft up on a VMC day. I imagine for 121 with dispatchers you have some way of closing out a flight either by the gate agent on the computer or a call to dispatch.
Twotter 76 breifly touched on it, but Part 121 ops specs are very specific about the conditions under which you can operate VFR in the terminal area; and as ops specs are generic, basically each carrier is either authorized or not authorized to conduct the operations listed in these ops specs. Of course, carriers may also apply for and are sometimes granted certain exemptions. That being said, I don't think exemptions are sought for this section. If anyone is interested and can get their hands on a copy of the ops specs, VFR operations in the terminal area is in Part C (C-077).

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