How do I file an SFRA VFR flight plan inside the DC SFRA?

A DC SFRA flight plan is an IFR flight plan with VFR in the ICAO 15B (altitude) field. You do not need an IFR rating to fly a DC SFRA flight plan. A DC SFRA flight plan is a flight plan filed for the sole purpose of complying with the requirements for VFR operations into, out of, and through the DC SFRA. Flights that operate outside of the the DC SFRA are not allowed to use the DC SFRA flight plan type. 

This flight plan is separate and distinct from a standard VFR flight plan, and does not include search and rescue services. With a VFR DC SFRA, there isn't a user option to activate and close the flight plan because it is activated by radio with Potomac Approach when they give a squawk code and automatically closed when the flight exits the SFRA. Nothing is sent to FSS with a VFR DC SFRA flight plan.

IFR flight plans are filed normally. Please note that “pop-up” IFR clearances are not allowed for entrance into the DC SFRA.

You are only able to fly into the DC FRZ airspace if you call Flight Service AND have preauthorization with a verified pin number that allows you access to that airspace. You cannot use ForeFlight to file flights into the FRZ.

How to find the DC SFRA gates in ForeFlight

Ensure that you have the Map Touch Action set to “Bring chart to front" selected in your settings. Zoom in on the map to see where the flight is expected to penetrate the DC SFRA. Tap the screen to bring up the DC Terminal chart. This will display the name of the gate.


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Image 1. Chart showing Fluky Gate

  • For a flight into the DC SFRA, you must file from the appropriate entry gate to the destination airport.
  • For a flight out of the DC SFRA, you must file from departure airport to the appropriate exit gate
  • For a flight through the DC SFRA, you must file from the appropriate entry gate to the appropriate exit gate.

How to file a DC SFRA flight plan in ForeFlight

You can file a DC SFRA VFR flight plan using either an ICAO format flight plan or an FAA/Domestic flight plan (military only). Below are explanations for filing with either type of flight plan.

ICAO FLIGHT PLANS

A. How to file a VFR SFRA ICAO flight plan from the Flights page:

1. Tap Flight Rules > VFR (DC SFRA)

2. Set the departure or destination field for the arrival or departure gate you will be using. 

4. After entering the details of your flight, tap "Proceed to File" in the bottom right to copy the flight information into the filing form.

6. Review all the information in the form to confirm it is accurate and set any of the other fields as would be normally required.

7. Tap the FILE button to submit the SFRA flight plan.

 

B. How to file a VFR SFRA ICAO flight plan from the Maps page:

1. Open the Route Editor on the Maps view.

2. Set the departure or destination for the arrival or departure gate you will be using.

3. Enter your route of flight.

4. Set your VFR altitude.

5. Use the SEND TO button to send the flight plan to the Flights view.

6. On the Flights view, tap Flight Rules > VFR (DC SFRA)

7. Review the flight information to confirm it is correct, tap "Proceed to File" in the bottom right to copy the flight information into the filing form.

8. Review all the information in the form to confirm it is accurate and set any of the other fields as would be normally required.

9. Tap the FILE button to submit the SFRA flight plan.

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Image 2. Example of an ICAO VFR DC SFRA flight plan at 4500 feet from KANP to the WOOLY gate using the waypoint CUTOP in the route.

FAA/DOMESTIC FLIGHT PLANS (MILITARY ONLY)

A. How to file a VFR SFRA FAA/Domestic flight plan from the Flights view:

1. Tap Flight Rules > VFR (DC SFRA) 

2. Set the departure or destination field for the arrival or departure gate you will be using.

3. After entering the details of your flight, tap "Proceed to File" in the bottom right to copy the flight information into the filing form. 

4. Tap Form Type > FAA/Domestic > Confirm

5. If you wish to perform non-towered airport pattern work within the SFRA, on the REMARKS line, put the following:+ REQ PTTN

6. Review all the information in the form to confirm it is accurate and set any of the other fields as would be normally required.

7. Tap the FILE button to submit the SFRA flight plan.

 

B. How to file a VFR SFRA FAA/Domestic flight plan from the Maps page:

1. Open the Route Editor on the Maps view.

2. Set the departure or destination for the arrival or departure gate you will be using.

3. Enter your route of flight.

4. Set your VFR altitude.

5. Use the SEND TO button to send the flight plan to the Flights view.

6. On the Flights view, tap Flight Rules > VFR (DC SFRA)

7. Review the flight information to confirm it is correct, then tap "Proceed to File" in the bottom right to copy the flight information into the filing form.

 

8. Tap Form Type > FAA/Domestic > Confirm

9. If you wish to perform non-towered airport pattern work within the SFRA, on the REMARKS line, put the following:+ REQ PTTN

10. Review all the information in the form to confirm it is accurate and set any of the other fields as would be normally required.

11. Tap the FILE button to submit the SFRA flight plan.

 

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Image 3. Example of a VFR DC SFRA flight plan showing "FAA/Domestic" in the Form Type field.

 

Note:

1. Before filing an SFRA flight plan, or flying into or out of the SFRA, be sure to complete, review, and understand the material that the FAA has provided in the mandatory FAA SFRA Training Course.  Please view the handy Kneeboard Checklist published by the FAA for helpful information on the DC SFRA.