I have the following question:

If I am going to practice IFR approaches under VFR, do I need to contact clearance delivery for that or it's enough to contact ground and state my intentions?

I would deffinetly contact clearance delivery on a C airport, but I am not so sure about a D airport. For sure I will contact clearance delivery if the practices were under IFR with a filled IFR plan.

  • $\begingroup$ Just curious, but if you are VFR at a class C airport what would you ask them for when you call clearance delivery? Squawk for flight following I guess? $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Aug 30 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Well, in class C you need to call clearance and they will give you instructions based on what you requested. So yes, they are going to give you an squawk code for the departure, if you stay there you will keep it, if you depart and continue VFR you can cancell and squawk VFR $\endgroup$ – Ivan Parra Aug 30 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. I flew out of class C for years, but always IFR. I have entered C plenty of times VFR, but never left that way. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Aug 30 at 21:02

When flying VFR from a Class D airport, there is no need to contact clearance delivery to practice IFR approaches. You may, on the other hand, have to call clearance delivery if that is the local procedure for all departures at that airport. This is not very common at a Class D airport. If a clearance is necessary for VFR flights at a Class D airport, most often it is given through ground control. The US Chart Supplement and/or the ATIS will indicate if it is otherwise.

Normally, a simple indication to ground control of your intentions will suffice. This lets them know how to prepare for your return with the rest of their traffic flow and provide separation. This would be a demonstration of common and professional courtesy. It is not mandatory.

You can request a practice approach once airborne and inbound back to the airport without notifying ATC before your departure. As a matter of fact, it is very common to request a practice approach at any class of airport at a distant destination when making your initial call and position report prior to entering the airspace. Be prepared to be denied the approach if the airport is extremely busy during VMC.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, exactly what I was thinking of. I was planning to take off, do some maneuvers and after that contat approach for the IFR practices.I just wanted to confirm that there is no need to contact clearance delivery, if I want to have flight following from the take off, thanks! $\endgroup$ – Ivan Parra Aug 30 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanParra Also keep in mind that if a runway has multiple approaches from different directions you may not get practice approaches from the opposite direction of traffic. My airport will never allow opposite direction approaches but the airport 25 miles away will almost always allow them, although you may have to hold for departing traffic. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Sep 2 at 17:07

You only need radar services, usually you pick this up with approach if in flight or you can ask ground or tower for flight following before takeoff, then "Request practice approach NDB/DME-B, VFR".

At many class D ground is the same as clearance delivery; even if it is two or three frequencies they only have one controller most of the day that answers clearance, ground, and tower.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer. Flight following is always a good idea. In the US, it is not mandatory. You could fly VFR without a flight plan, flight following, radar services, or any other type of ATC services other than approach and landing clearances. If you are about to enter C or D airspace, you have to have two-way communication with ATC. But, there are Class D airports without radar services (visual only). You can’t even get flight following from most visual Class Ds. In VMC, you can just request the practice approach directly from tower. You don’t even make a request at a non-towered airfield in VMC. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Sep 2 at 17:33

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