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I am planning a flight from Houston to Florida. The quickest way for me is to just fly direct to across the water saving many miles. I am trying to do this VFR. Is this possible without filing a flight plan and under VFR flight following or is there a different procedure to follow?

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    $\begingroup$ Related - aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/40941/… $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Jan 5 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ I appreciate the question in the spirit of general knowledge/technical ability/etc, but how much effort would it be to file a flight plan? $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jan 5 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ @randomhead True ahaha! So filing a normal flight plan would impose no problems including having to undergo Customs? $\endgroup$
    – Ted Staggs
    Jan 5 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have any knowledge on that topic at all, but my gut reaction is that Customs procedures apply (or not) independently of whether you file a flight plan (or not). Provided you don't stop anywhere outside the US, I don't see why Customs needs to get involved at all. Of course the Customs people may have another opinion; I'm not an expert. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jan 5 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ Re "Is this possible without filing a flight plan" - why would it not be possible? Lift drag etc don't care about flight plans. $\endgroup$ Jan 6 at 14:19

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I did the flight from New Orleans area direct to Florida, crossing the ADIZ under VFR Flight following, there were no issues whatsoever, as we were constantly identified. In some areas we lost reception at around FL100. Other Airplanes flying higher were instructed to relay messages. This Flight allowed us to profit from the nice 40kts tailwind. So indeed a flight plan is always a good option, but it was possible under flight following. As we did not officialy leave the US there were no customs involved.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for coming back to share the answer :) $\endgroup$
    – ROIMaison
    Feb 13 at 15:40
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From the FAA: (the first hit on a Google search...)

Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) All aircraft entering U.S. domestic airspace from points outside must provide for identification prior to entry or exit. ADIZs have been established to assist in early identification of aircraft in the vicinity of international U.S. airspace boundaries (AIM Section 6, 5-6-1).

Many aircraft inbound to the U.S. will cross an ADIZ. There is no ADIZ between the U.S. and Canada. According to FAR Part 99, if penetrating an ADIZ, all aircraft of U.S. or foreign registry must file, activate, and close a flight plan with the appropriate aeronautical facility. In addition to normal ADIZ position reports, and any other reports Air Traffic Control may require, a foreign civil aircraft must give a position report at least one hour before ADIZ penetration, if it is not more than two hours average cruising speed from the U.S.

For Defense VFR (DVFR) flights, the estimated time of ADIZ penetration must be filed with the appropriate aeronautical facility at least 15 minutes before penetration, except for flights in the Alaskan ADIZ, in which case, report prior to penetration. Additionally, VFR pilots must receive and transmit a discrete transponder code.

Be sure to activate your flight plan before crossing the ADIZ.

ICAO VFR flight plans must include in the transmitted line 18 "other information" section: DVFR/estimated United States ADIZ penetration at time (UTC) and estimated point of penetration (latitude/longitude or fix-radial-distance).

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