Conducting an IFR Flight (Part Two)


After starting the engine, tune in ATIS and copy the information to the navigation log. The conditions remain the same as the updated weather briefing with the ceiling at 700 overcast and visibility at 3 miles. Call clearance delivery to receive a clearance:

“Clearance Delivery, Cessna 1230A IFR to Gulfport Biloxi with information Kilo, ready to copy.”

“Cessna 1230A is cleared to Gulfport-Biloxi via the Birmingham Three Departure, Brookwood, Victor 209 Kewanee then direct Mindo, Gulfport. Climb and maintain 4,000. Squawk 0321.”

Read back the clearance and review the DP. Although a departure frequency was not given in the clearance, note that on the DP, the departure control frequency is listed as 123.8 for the southern sector. Since a departure from runway 24 is anticipated, note the instruction to climb to 2,100 prior to turning. After tuning in the appropriate frequencies and setting up navigation equipment for the departure routing, contact ground control (noting that this is IFR) and receive the following clearance:

“Cessna 1230A taxi to runway 24 via taxiway Mike.”

Read back the clearance and aircraft call sign. After a review of the taxi instructions on the airport diagram, begin to taxi and check the flight instruments for proper indications.


Hold short of runway 24 and complete the before takeoff checklist and engine run-up. Advise the tower when ready for takeoff. The tower gives the following clearance:

“Cessna 30A cleared for takeoff runway 24. Caution wake turbulence from 737 departing to the northwest.”

Taxi into position. Note the time off on the navigation log, verify that the heading indicator and magnetic compass are in agreement, the transponder is in the ALT position, all the necessary lights, equipment, and pitot heat are on. Start the takeoff roll. To avoid the 737’s wake turbulence, make note of its lift off point and take off prior to that point.

En Route

After departure, climb straight ahead to 2,100 feet as directed by the Birmingham Three Departure. While continuing a climb to the assigned altitude of 4,000 feet, the following instructions are received from the tower:

“Cessna 30A contact Departure.”

Acknowledge the clearance and contact departure on the frequency designated by the DP. State the present altitude so the departure controller can check the encoded altitude against indicated altitude:

“Birmingham Departure Cessna 1230A climbing through 2,700 heading 240.”

Departure replies:

“Cessna 30A proceed direct to Brookwood and resume own navigation. Contact Atlanta Center on 134.05.”

Acknowledge the clearance, contact Atlanta Center and proceed direct to Brookwood VORTAC, using the IFRapproved GPS equipment. En route to Kewanee, VORTAC Atlanta Center issues the following instructions:

“Cessna 1230A contact Memphis Center on 125.975.”

Acknowledge the instructions and contact Memphis Center with aircraft ID and present altitude. Memphis Center acknowledges contact:

“Cessna 1230A, Meridian altimeter is 29.87. Traffic at your 2 o’clock and 6 miles is a King Air at 5,000 climbing to 12,000.”

Even when on an IFR flight plan, pilots are still responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft. Acknowledge the call from Memphis Center and inform them of negative contact with traffic due to IMC.

“Roger, altimeter setting 29.87. Cessna 1230A is in IMC negative contact with traffic.”

Continue the flight, and at each fix note the arrival time on the navigation log to monitor progress.


To get an update of the weather at the destination and issue a pilot report, contact the FSS servicing the area. To find the nearest FSS, locate a nearby VOR and check above the VOR information box for a frequency. In this case, the nearest VOR is Kewanee VORTAC which lists a receive-only frequency of 122.1 for Greenwood FSS. Request a frequency change from Memphis and then attempt to contact Greenwood on 122.1 while listening over the Kewanee VORTAC frequency of 113.8:

“Greenwood Radio Cessna 1230A receiving on frequency 113.8, over.”

“Cessna 30A, this is Greenwood, go ahead.”

“Greenwood Radio, Cessna 30A is currently 30 miles south of the Kewanee VORTAC at 4,000 feet en route to Gulfport. Requesting an update of en route conditions and current weather at GPT, as well as PNS.”

“Cessna 30A, Greenwood Radio, current weather at Gulfport is 400 overcast with 3 miles visibility in light rain. The winds are from 140 at 7 and the altimeter is 29.86. Weather across your route is generally IFR in light rain with ceilings ranging from 300 to 1,000 overcast with visibilities between 1 and 3 miles. Pensacola weather is much better with ceilings now at 2,500 and visibility 6 miles. Checking current NOTAMs at GPT shows the localizer out of service and runway 18/36 closed.”

“Roger, Cessna 30A copies the weather. I have a PIREP when you are ready to copy.”

“Cessna 30A go ahead with your PIREP.”

“Cessna 30A is a Cessna 182 located on the Kewanee 195° radial at 30 miles level at 4,000 feet. I am currently in IMC conditions with a smooth ride. Outside air temperature is plus 1° Celsius. Negative icing.”

“Cessna 30A thank you for the PIREP.”

With the weather check and PIREP complete, return to Memphis Center:

“Memphis Center, Cessna 1230A is back on your frequency.”

“Cessna 1230A, Memphis Center, roger, contact Houston Center now on frequency 126.8.”

“Roger, contact Houston Center frequency 126.8, Cessna 1230A.”

“Houston Center, Cessna 1230A level at 4,000 feet.”

“Cessna 30A, Houston Center area altimeter 29.88.”



40 miles north of Gulfport, tune in ATIS on number two communication radio. The report reveals there has been no change in the weather and ATIS is advertising ILS runway 14 as the active approach.

Houston Center completes a hand off to Gulfport approach control with instructions to contact approach:

“Gulfport Approach, Cessna 1230A level 4,000 feet with information TANGO. Request GPS Runway 14 approach.”

“Cessna 30A, Gulfport Approach, descend and maintain 3,000 feet.”

“Descend to 3,000, Cessna 30A.”

Begin a descent to 3,000 and configure your navigation radios for the approach. The GPS automatically changes from the en route mode to the terminal mode. This change affects the sensitivity of the CDI. Tune in the VORTAC frequency of 109.0 on the number one navigation radio and set in the final approach course of 133° on the OBS. This setup helps with situational awareness should the GPS lose signal.

“Cessna 30A your position is 7 miles from MINDO, maintain 3,000 feet until MINDO, cleared for the GPS runway 14 approach.”

Read back the clearance and concentrate on flying the aircraft. At MINDO descend to 2,000 as depicted on the approach chart. At BROWA turn to the final approach course of 133°. Just outside the Final Approach Way Point (FAWP) AVYUM, the GPS changes to the approach mode and the CDI becomes even more sensitive. Gulfport approach control issues instructions to contact Gulfport tower:

“Cessna 30A contact Tower on 123.7.”

“123.7, Cessna 30A.”

“Tower, Cessna 1230A outside AVYUM on the GPS runway 14.”

“Cessna 30A Gulfport Tower, the ceiling is now 600 overcast and the visibility is 4 miles.”

“Cleared to land runway 14, Cessna 30A.”

Continue the approach, complete the appropriate checklists, cross AVYUM, and begin the final descent. At 700 feet MSL visual contact with the airport is possible. Slow the aircraft and configure it to allow a normal descent to landing. As touch down is completed, Gulfport Tower gives further instructions:

“Cessna 30A turn left at taxiway Bravo and contact ground on 120.4.”

“Roger, Cessna 30A.”

Taxi clear of the runway and complete the appropriate checklists. The tower automatically cancels the IFR flight plan.