Would you like your expected IFR clearance in writing before talking to ATC? If the answer is yes (and you file IFR flight plans using ForeFlight out of Manassas Regional Airport), then you can help The MITRE Corporation test new clearance delivery tech.
MITRE is researching how mobile devices can be used to deliver IFR clearances at airports that are not equipped with Pre-Departure Clearance/Data Comm Clearance (PDC/DCL). Currently, pilots receive IFR clearances through telephone or radio calls to a Flight Service Station or an air traffic control facility serving the area. These methods can be time-consuming and subject to interpretation errors.
ForeFlight is helping MITRE facilitate the delivery of a text-based IFR clearance so in the future, audio-based communication will be significantly reduced. We believe this could improve flight plan accuracy, reduce both pilot and controller workload, and reduce delays at non-towered airports.
KHEF is the initial location selected to test the concept with general aviation pilots. Participation is voluntary and available to pilots who routinely file IFR flight plans departing KHEF through ForeFlight. ForeFlight will contact eligible participants via email.
The test at KHEF will commence on or about May 15, 2018 and end no later than July 29, 2018. Feedback received from this test will be used by researchers to determine any adjustments necessary to move on to subsequent phases of the test.
What to Expect During the Test Process
Participating pilots will compare the text-based clearance received via email from ForeFlight to the audio clearance received from ATC.
After filing your flight plan with ForeFlight, you may receive expected clearance information via email 30-minutes prior to departure. You will then contact ATC to pick up your clearance like normal. After the flight, you will provide feedback through the MITRE website about whether the emailed clearance information matched your actual clearance provided by ATC.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of this experiment?
This experiment will investigate the methods and benefits of implementing a low-cost capability that allows a pilot to retrieve their expected IFR clearance using a mobile device.
Will this test change how I obtain my IFR clearance?
NO, you are still required to contact KHEF Clearance Delivery and obtain your clearance. Unless asked by ATC, please do not mention to ATC that you are participating in this test. The test is intended to be transparent to ATC.
Is the email I receive from ForeFlight a clearance?
NO, the information in the email does NOT constitute a clearance.
How do I participate in this test?
If you are a ForeFlight subscriber and operate out of KHEF, you will receive an invitation from ForeFlight to participate. You must agree to the terms of participation and opt-in for the test. You can opt-out at any time.
What is my role as a pilot participating in this test?
When you file an IFR flight plan departing KHEF, you will receive an email from ForeFlight with expected clearance information. Follow the feedback link in the email and tell us how the email data compared to the clearance you received verbally from ATC.
How widespread is this test and how long will it last?
Initial field test activities are only being conducted at KHEF. This test will begin on or around May 15, 2018 and end by July 29, 2018.
Will I receive an email from ForeFlight for every IFR flight?
Not necessarily. Certain circumstances may prevent the email from being generated. This test will not be sending Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) information. The email will not include a transponder code. The test is only in effect when Manassas Tower is open.
For questions or general comments, contact the MITRE team at MobileCD@mitre.org.