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VFR maneuvers above ovcst

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Old School
Aug 18, 2005
For VFR flight instructing purposes, if the ceiling is 2,200' ovcst and only goes up to 3,500' where it is clear above, can I file a flight plan to get above the clouds where I can do VFR maneuvers without having to notify ATC except when I want to come back down? I am assuming this is the composite flight plan? I have never had any experience with this before and would appreciate any feedback.

never done it, but from what i understand you can file "to vfr on top" or you can just request a clearences from ground or cleareance delivery "to vfr on top" (no need to file)

before you take my word for it you might want to wait for others to reply
We do it very often in SBA. If you have clearance delivery, then request IFR until VFR on top. Clearance will clear you to a specific fix, IAF via radar vectors in our case. Once 1,000 above the ovc layer you can cancel IFR. When your ready to return to the airport, request an IFR clearance back in.
I think you can just contact the tower (assuming you have one) without filing anything and let them know your plan. I think they'll give you a squawk code and you need to give them a waypoint where you're going and then let them know when you're on top. Ive only done it once and thats how it happened.
Tell them you want an IFR clearence to VFR on top. They will give you a clearence like "N12345, cleared to XYZ vor, if not on top by 4000', advise"
Once you have legal cloud clearences you can cancel.
If you're not in a busy place or time, you can stay IFR and get an IFR block of airspace, say between 4 - 6000' between the 360 and 270 radials of the xyz vor for a 10 mile distance, or whatever, so that you can stay on an IFR clearance so that you can get an IFR approach back in when it becomes necessary, without falling to the end of the line. Also, you don't have to maintain cloud clearance - really convenient when it is in scattered, broken layers - not good enough for true vfr, but still good training.

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