Getting your IFR Training Slot
On the day of your IFR training flight, the first priority is to obtain a “training slot”—without this, you’ll be stuck on the ground as far as getting an IFR fight plan is concerned. IFR training flights can proceed without a training slot, but is inefficient as IFR clearance can only be simulated by your Flight Instructor—as you did, for example, in the simulator. Training slots are important, and you have to get proficient at getting them organized.
The complicated thing about Vancouver training slots is that they are a scare resource. Only one IFR training aircraft—and therefore one training slot—is permitted at one time at and around the Victoria Airport, while only two aircraft are permitted over the Abbotsford facilities. It gets even tighter if ATC controller training is planned for the Victoria or Abbotsford sectors, or if there are short-handed. In these instances, pilot training is the first thing hit if Vancouver terminal reduces its services.
So the rule for obtaining a slot is, “first-come—first-serve” (or “snooze, you lose”). Slots for the morning sessions can be booked beginning 7:30 AM (PST/PDT), while slots for the afternoon sessions can be booked beginning 11:00 AM. The morning slots cover the time period 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM, while the afternoon slots are between 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Training slots between 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM do not require slots.
When you first start booking slots, be sure that you are on the phone right at the opening times for booking. For busy, high-demand training times, the slots will be filled within minutes. After you get some experience, you’ll get a sense of timing with respect to your booking requests.
What times should you slot based on your training flight bookings at Langley Flying School? The rule is simple, you want to book three 15 minutes slots beginning 15 minutes after the top of the second hour of your booking. So, if your booking is from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, your first slot reservation should begin at 12:15 PM, and should last until 1:00 PM—three 15 minute bookings. Same for Victoria Airport, accept you should only need two slots at Victoria, in the case of the times above, the first beginning at, again 12:15 PM, and the second beginning at 12:30 PM (again, remember that a single slot time is for 15 minutes). In the case of Victoria flights, the departure from Langley Airport does not require a slot time, and nor does the return approach.
What happens if the slots are full or only a portion of the slots you want are available? If the slots are full, attempt to get a slot time that might work based on the availability of aircraft and instructor bookings at Langley Flying School. We can always cancel if it cannot be worked. In the case that you discover only partial slots are available (an no other options are available), take what you can and we’ll try to work with it and adjust our training.
For training slots, the number is (604) 586-4592. The phone will be answered as “IFR Data”.
With respect to IFR Flight Plans, these must be filed ½ hour before your departure time. Your Flight Instructor will brief you are the weather restrictions for IFR training, as well as the procedures for selecting an alternate airport (simply stated, Abbotsford is the first choice, and Vancouver is the second choice).
Here is an IFR training template for Abbotsford (IFR Flight Plan for CYXX).
For IFR flight plans, don’t phone them into the Kamloops FIC; instead, contact “IFR Data” again, but use the following number: (604) 586-4590.