Maybe this is an obscure question... but today I was flying VFR back home and was going to transition some Bravo; ATC said the route was closed (didn't ask why) so I filed IFR.

I got a clearance and then scrambled through the charts trying to figure it all out. There was LOTS of head down time; the day was hazy to begin with (5 sm vis in haze) and it was just me in the plane. I ended up getting it all sorted out and flew the flight just fine.

Also when I'm IFR in VMC I probably look at the instruments too much anyways... but when you're getting vectored around, trying to follow a course, identing VORs, etc it's tough to keep looking for other planes.

So what do you do about this?! That's probably the worst situation to be in when you are trying to dodge other airplanes... especially when it's only MVFR outside.
I think IFR in VMC is probably one of the hardest things you can do while flying - at least so far as single pilot ops go. Primarily, it's so difficult because your attention is so split. If you're VFR your spending most of your time out the window. If it's IMC it's heads down. But IFR in VMC, single pilot, is an excercise in dexterity and stamina.

And ATC will leave the seperation up to you.

We were on an IFR flight in hard VMC once and we were being vectored through the north half of PHX class B. I looked up and see a 172/52 head-on, opposite direction, maybe only 200 feet lower than us and a half mile or so out. I had the guy flying make a gentle turn off course and watched as this guy flew right under/past us. Not once did PHX approach say a single word about this guy - and we were on an IFR plan.

Seriously, I'd imagine it'll get easier with time but it's still a lot of work.
There was a real good article in the latest Flying magazine about changing the whole pilot certification system. Part of it included having a VMC only IFR certification. I think it's a smart thing to do. You get the ATC system experience while honing your tracking skills and the IFR separation for that extra safety.

Your Phoenix experience should not have happened. When you are on an IFR flight plan, ATC must provide separation, at least that's the way I understand it.

Barring any reroutes, if you're prepared, it should be no problem single pilot (of course I'm the guy with the FMS punching buttons watching the autopilot fly for me
But in VMC the ultimate responsibility for speration still lies on the pilots' shoulders via "see and avoid." The only time ATC is solely responsible for seperation is in IMC. I'm sure the other aircraft was VFR.

I don't know what exactly a VMC only IFR certificate would accomplish. You can basically get the same thing with flight following on a VFR plan and you have more/a dirfferent kind of flexibility.

Just my 2 cents ...
In England they have it the other way around, you can get a rating so you can fly in IMC, but not on the IFR system.
But in VMC the ultimate responsibility for speration still lies on the pilots' shoulders via "see and avoid."

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I'll have to disagree on this one. ATC has no idea when a pilot is in VMC or IMC conditions other than what a pilot states. ATC is responsible for separation for IFR aircraft regardless of actual conditions. Not to say that a VFR pilot will intrude, but ATC will point out the traffic or provide vectors for the IFR aircraft around the non-participating intruder. Also common sense does have its place. If I'm IFR in VMC and see another airplane, I'm going to avoid that aircraft if ATC does nothing about it.

Could anybody take some time and look this up?
Sec. 91.113 - Right-of-way rules: Except water operations.

(a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water.

(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft. When a rule of this section gives another aircraft the right-of-way, the pilot shall give way to that aircraft and may not pass over, under, or ahead of it unless well clear.

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Nor is seperation proveded between IFR/VFR traffic. The underlying thought here is that if both VFR and IFR are in the same space the conditions must be VFR and therefore "see and avoid" comes into play. (AIM Chapter 4. Air Traffic Control)
Wow, thanks for looking that up!

In that case, I depart IFR in the RJ from Phoenix on a clear day, I'm not assured that when given direct to a fix that there will be no other traffic along my route of flight? I'm doing 320 kts at 10K and a VFR 152 could cross my path and ATC is not responsible? I find that hard to believe. . . but sure enough, there it is stated in the post above. . . hmm.

When I have some more time, I'll have to find my AIM and read about it. The wife and kids are calling. . off we go for summer clothes shopping. . . ugh.
I'm doing 320 kts at 10K and a VFR 152 could cross my path and ATC is not responsible?

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...nope; they separate IFR planes from IFR planes; VFR guys can go anywhere except IMC, and don't need to be talking to anyone; meaning that if you happen to be IFR in VMC, the VFR guy can be right behind you and ATC dosen't have to know about it.

Good news is that above 10000' everyone needs a transponder... so when you're doing 320kts hopefully the traffic will show on the TCAS... lucky you...
Man, I think the closest I've ever come to a midair was this exact scenario. I was IFR single pilot in an Arrow going into FLL on a clear VFR day. Approach called traffic at 12 o'clock 3 miles, eastbound (crossing left to right) altitude unknown. I looked and looked (was on vectors for the Localizer at the time) and didnt see it. A short time later, I happened to glance out the right side window, and saw the Diamond Katana diving down and away from me less than 100 ft. below, right behind the right wing, and a couple hundred feet off. If he hadn't seen me, we'd have no doubt had a midair, because by the time I saw him, it would've been too late for me to do anything about it. I filed a NMAC report with ATC, and an ASRS report, and never heard anything about it again. I don't even know if that was the traffic ATC was talking about, but I hope I never unintentionally see another aircraft that close in flight again. Everybody keep your heads on a swivel, IFR or not!
Yeah... at one point ATC called my traffic; I saw him and he was MUCH closer than I would have liked, especially having to rely on ATC's traffic call in leiu of my own eyes... It wasn't close, but it was close enough to get me thinking about better ways to file inflight... Honestly I can't come up with anything; when you're IFR you must fly certain routes, and you must figure it out before you get to the next fix... meaning that everything needs to be worked out in advance; very hard to do that single pilot after having to file unexpectedly, figuring out a clearance, AND scanning for traffic at the same time with no autopilot
You did the right thing. When you file IFR, you are on a much higher priority list then if you were VFR with traffic Advisories. There is not possible way that ATC could seperate all VFR traffic from IFR in VMC. However, they will keep a much closer eye on you if IFR.