Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

When flying a private plane (Cessna 172, etc.)?

Do you always have to contact ATC? Or can you just takeoff and fly without contacting ATC at all? I know you always have to on takeoff and landing, but I mean while you are cruising

Also, what kind of paperwork is involved when flying a private plane? Not as much as a commercial flight, right? What kind of paperwork is involved when flying a commercial (airline) flight?

Thanks A LOT for all of your help!!!!


Thanks for your answer! When flying VFR, you don't have a destination, just fly around? Or can you have a designated route when flying VFR

Update 2:

Oh, and if someone does that for you, than what are all the papers pilots are using that you see in some cockpit pictures before departure? That can't all be maps, are they?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, at least in the USA. Whether you contact ATC is entirely dependent upon what classification of airspace you are flying in. It's possible to fly coast to coast without having to talk to a soul on the radio. In fact I've done it several times with no radio or transponder whatsoever.

    No, you don't need a destination, you can just putt around locally. The only time designated VFR routes are required is flying through certain busy airspace (such as the Los Angeles Class B area) or in place like Alaska where there is so much VFR traffic in certain area during the summer that preferred VFR routes and altitudes have been established to reduce the liklihood of a mid-air collision.

    The only paperwork involved is in filing a VFR flight plan (smart but not required) and keeping your personal logbook current. That's it. About all you need to carry with you are appropriate charts, airport directories, weather reports and the required aircraft flight manual and documents. Many pilots also use a fancy flight log with checkpoints, distances, times enroute etc. for cross-country flights, but it doesn't need to be too elaborate and it isn't always needed..

    On a passenger airline flight there are passenger and load manifests (including weight and balance data), aircraft discrepancy and "squawk" sheets, and various other forms and documents specific to a particular company. In my job we have a couple different log sheets required by maintenance, dispatch, accounting and the head office. LOTS of paperwork!

    Source(s): Corporate pilot (ex-regional captain), CFII, professional pilot and aircraft owner for 23 years.
  • No, there are times where you never have to speak to ATC.

    If you are in uncontrolled airspace (most airspace in the US is 'uncontrolled')

    you don't need to talk to anyone.

    Though it is not required, it is a good idea to give position reports and landing intentions on the CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory frequency) even at an non-towered airport.

    If you operate at or around a towered airport (within it's airspace), you would be required to contact ATC and/or receive a clearance to enter that airspace.

    There are also a few other types of airspace where

    you are required to contact ATC.

    There is no paperwork if you are flying VFR and don't file a flight plan.

    If you fly under instrument conditions, you must file a flight plan.

    All large commercial aircraft operate under instrument flight rules.

    Most commercial airlines have flight departments which file the flight plan for you.

    EDIT: No destination needed. (Though, you still would want to have some idea where you're going, since you want to make sure you have enough fuel.)

    But, if you're flying VFR and you feel like flying in circles or flying somewhere else, you can. As long as you adhere to airspace restrictions and minimum altitudes, you can fly wherever and however you wish.

    The papers you see could be charts, weight and balance calculations and approach plates. (These are the procedures for instrument approaches. There may be 10-15 different charts per airport, so it may look like a big pile)

    EDIT: You can have a pre-planned route and file a flight plan if you are VFR. But, it's not necessary.

    Source(s): Pilot
  • 1 decade ago

    For VFR, i.e. no instrument flight plan or conditions (which would require the flight plan) at an uncontrolled field (no tower) you could get in your own plane without telling anybody and fly all over the country never speaking on a radio.

    Airplanes fly because of Bernoulli, not Marconi.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.