Pilots’ Information

Flight Plans

Introduction

The following is a precis of the requirements for a flight plan. Full details can be found in ENR 1.10 in the UK AIP.

A flight plan may be submitted for any flight.

It is advisable to submit a flight plan (VFR or IFR) if the flight involves flying:

  • Over the sea, more than 10 nm from the UK coastline
  • Over sparsely populated areas where search and rescue operations would be difficult

A flight plan shall be submitted prior to operating:

  • any flight that will cross the UK FIR boundary, excluding those only crossing the London/Scottish FIR boundary
  • any flight or portion thereof to be provided with an air traffic control service

Flight plans should be submitted at least 60 minutes prior to departure.

VFR flights must taxi within ±30 minutes and IFR flights within ±15 minutes of the time stated on the flight plan otherwise the flight plan must be amended.

Completion

If the flight plan is submitted more than 24 hours in advance pilots must ensure that the date of flight (DOF) is shown in Item 18 of the FPL. To avoid any ambiguity the date of flight should be included in all flight plans.

Example 
DOF/160818Format – DOF/yymmdd therefore 160818 = 18th August 2016

If the flight crosses an FIR boundary, other than the London/Scottish boundary, then an estimate of the elapsed time (EET) from departure to reaching each FIR boundary must be included in Item 18 of the FPL. The FIR identifier to be used is for the FIR into which the aircraft is flying.

Examples 
EET/LFFF004545 minutes from departure to entering the Paris FIR
EET/EGTT01201hour 20 minutes from departure to entering the London FIR
EET/LFFF0045 EHAA011545 minutes from departure to entering the Paris FIR and 1hour 15 minutes from departure to entering the Amsterdam FIR

 

It should be noted that Life Jackets and Dinghies do not constitute Maritime survival equipment when completing Item 19 (Supplementary Information) of the flight plan, since Maritime survival equipment comprises of a more comprehensive set of equipment.

Submission

Most pilots submit flight plans either via AFPEx or commercial products such as SkyDemon, RocketRoute or EuroFPL. Those who do not have access to these or other means of submitting flight plans can send a copy of the flight plan to the tower and the staff will then submit the flight plan. It is important if submitting the flight plan via the tower that this is done as early as possible since FISO workload may mean that the flight plan is not submitted immediately and consequently it may not meet the flight plan submission time requirements.

A blank flight plan form, which can be completed electronically, can be downloaded from the Downloads section of this website.

Opening and Closing

The tower staff will ensure that any flight plan is activated (opened) when the aircraft departs and the tower is open.

If an aircraft departs when the tower is closed then the pilot must ensure that the flight plan is activated otherwise it will remain inactive and the destination will not be aware that the aircraft is airborne and any necessary alerting action may not then be taken. Flight plans can be activated on the radio by contacting either Farnborough or London Information.

Within the UK flight plans are not closed, except if an aircraft lands at other than its flight plan destination. In this case the pilot should ask the staff at the airfield at which it landed to send an Arrival message in order that the original destination does not instigate overdue action.

If an aircraft fails to land at its original destination within 30 minutes of its ETA, except as noted above, then the airfield will commence overdue action. Since aircraft are permitted to land at Fairoaks when the tower is closed it is essential that in this circumstance pilots nominate a “responsible person” who shall be responsible for contacting the AFPEx Helpdesk by telephone (0845-6010483 or 01489-612792) if the aircraft fails to arrive within 30 minutes of its ETA.