Compared with flying in actual instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), VFR on top
can be much easier and safer.
We spiraled up through a hole in the clouds to establish ourselves VFR on top
in the vicinity of Pauma Valley, about 20 miles to the east of MCAS Camp Pendleton.
Many IFR pilots might look at a severe-clear day and consider obtaining a VFR on top clearance.
While a VFR on top clearance can be useful on many days--when there's a cloud deck with good VFR below it and above it, for instance--today's CAVU isn't necessarily one of them.
VFR on Top is just another altitude assignment while on an IFR flight plan.
I've usually been denied VFR on Top while trying to escape what I thought were onerous restrictions in busy airspace.
My guess is that in these areas, particularly working traffic like me that cruise in the flight levels, the controllers have a fixed way of doing it and VFR on Top just doesn't fit into the mold.
Plan C was to go VFR on top
until it was time for the approach and then fly it so as to minimize my exposure to potential ice.
In this case, the type of IFR clearance you might want to consider is the climb "to VFR on top.
Of course, unless you're in Class B, you can't report reaching VFR on top until you're 1000 feet above the cloud layer comprising the ceiling.