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scott967

IFR Flight Plan Knowledge

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Can anyone point me to a site where I can read about and learn the basics of reading and interpreting an IFR flight plan as well as creating an IFR flight plan? I'm already familiar with VFR flight plans but I would very much like to learn IFR flight planning since I've become so addicted to the PMDG747-400. Thank you.

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Start here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_planThen go herehttp://flightaware.com/live/and use the "Airborne by Operator" viewing option to select an operator (or just click "view all"). When you get to the next page, select a flight in progress in the real world. It will bring up a graphical map view of the flight with it's real world flight plan (the "Route" shown) posted on the right. In most cases, you can see how the flight starts with a SID, then transitions along the route using waypoints, jetways, etc, then ends with a STAR to the arrival airport.You build your IFR flight plan the same way. I'm assuming you have a "basic" knowledge already, as you said you are already familiar with VFR planning. The "new" things you may have to become familiar with are SIDs and STARs. FalconAF

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Symbology in IFR flight plan is one thing, how you create a flight plan is a completely different beast. If you want to learn how pilots approach the subject, what goes into planning and then creating a flight plan I can only recommend some good textbook on IFR flying, for example Rod Machado's Instrument Pilot's Handbook - Rod devotes almost 40 pages to the subject. The subject is actually fairly complicated if you want to learn it with some depth.Michael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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Agreed. But he asked for information about the "basics", so that's what I gave him. If he already knows about VFR flight plan (like he said), the links I provided will take him to the next level.Advanced IFR flight planning, as you said, will require more in-depth study with the type of references you listed.FalconAF

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Superfortress-I agree with Falcon. I also fly the PMDG 747 a lot, and have bookmarked this search at Flightaware: http://flightaware.com/live/aircrafttype/B...order=filed_ete It gives me a selection based on ETE of flight. Click on the flight you're interested in, and the flight plan is there.It is also simple to set up a search based on other parameters that may appeal to you.

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>Start here:>>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_plan>>Then go here>>http://flightaware.com/live/>>and use the "Airborne by Operator" viewing option to select an>operator (or just click "view all"). When you get to the next>page, select a flight in progress in the real world. It will>bring up a graphical map view of the flight with it's real>world flight plan (the "Route" shown) posted on the right. In>most cases, you can see how the flight starts with a SID, then>transitions along the route using waypoints, jetways, etc,>then ends with a STAR to the arrival airport.>>You build your IFR flight plan the same way. I'm assuming you>have a "basic" knowledge already, as you said you are already>familiar with VFR planning. The "new" things you may have to>become familiar with are SIDs and STARs. >>FalconAFThank you for the links. I've actually been using Flightaware for some time now to recreate real world routes in the PMDG747. Great site.

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All of the aspects if IFR flight would take a long time to teach anyone, even current VFR pilots. I've heard it said by ATP pilots that the IR is the hardest of all ratings to obtain, and my own experiences on getting the rating required a lot of discipline.Getting back to the specific question: One of the most obvious things about an IFR flight plan (vs. a VFR one) is that there are airways and/or fixes/ coordinates to plan to fly to, and you must follow your cleared flight plan (or subsequent clearances) to the letter. I would say particularly in altitude.Obe aspect that I was not aware of before doing the IR is the timing of the flight plan,. In VFR, where you don't have to file a flight plan, the duration of the flight is obviously important to determine endurance and whether you the range capabikity for a flight. But it's a rough measure where often if the duration is something like 4 hours, we call it 3 hours just to add some conservative factoring into the equation and have an additional hour up our sleeve.That

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The biggest thing for me about ifr flight plans (at least in my realm of GA flying) is you seldom get what you file, and that includes while in the air. I have now flown ifr in 49/50 states-and yesterday I flew all along the Washington adiz area.What I have found works for me (since ifr gps/g equipped) is I just file in my flight plan "direct". 70% of the time I get it-another 25% of the time I get a fix to fly to and then get direct, 5% of the time I get a full route clearance or a fix and another fix and then direct. However, often in the air things are amended by atc for other traffic, restricted moa areas getting hot or unhot, tfr's and traffic flow.When flying to Bridgeport Connecticut a month ago-over western Pennsylvania I got an ammended full route clearance at least 7 times before getting to Bridgeport-just enough time to enter it into the gps and then have it all changed again. Yesterday, flying from Martin, State Balitmore over to Rhode Island I actually filed a fix that kept me out of the restricted airspace that is over the Martin State departure-thinking it would be helpful and that would be I would probably get -they amended my clearance on the ground and gave me direct-go figure!So I have found no matter how carefully you plan-the chances of atc changing what you do is great, and since you really would prefer direct you might as well file it. Then the controller knows that is what you want, and if they can't do it they will try to get you going as soon as possible.As far as flight aware-I am not sure the info there is realiable.My flight yesterday from ptk to mtn shows n/a on the routing. I was cleared direct and made it -almost, until when close they told me to do a star (only the 7th or so time I have one in 19 years). I started the star-then they ammended it to go direct to a vor and a fix. I started that and then they told me to go direct to the fix. Before I got to the fix-they told me to go direct to the airport. It seems like a lot of changes but then when you look at the course they are helping you get there as quick as possible-while keeping you out of areas like Camp David/Adiz.So the biggest improvement for me fix fs atc-is to make it change-all the time-maybe at the worst moment! :-lol Flightaware track:http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N7345R/...1240Z/KPTK/KMTNGeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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I have tried both but found direct just works better.For instance-coming into Detroit they either take you around the west side of the class B airspace or the east side-and you really don't know-but they do. So rather than guess I just let them tell.In my experience the last controller you contact will say "expect the x approach". At that time-I would just tell I want another.However, unless out practicing or I feel it is dangerous I always accept the one they want.GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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Geofa,I agree with your observation about FlightAware not being reliable when showing GA flight plans. I've seen that numerous times myself.But they seem reliable for the commercial carriers. At least the flight plans shown for them would be the initial flight plan filed by the carrier. The carrier would never usually submit a request for a "direct" route initially. I'm sure many of the commercial flights, depending on the time of day, get a "direct" clearance once airborne. This happens a lot of times on the late night "red eye" flights, when there isn't as much traffic in the ATC system. FedEx flights get this a lot after departure on their "night flights" between places like Memphis and Anchorage, etc.The commercial flight plans shown in FlightAware would normally be a "good route" for the original poster to use, in as much as he states he was going to be flying the PMDG B-747.FalconAF

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Oh yes-I have had a few on the ground and a few in the air at very bad times-especially in the New York area.But they unfortunately rarely match my long clearances (flight plans) :-lolA month ago I flew from Nashua, Hh to Parkersburg, Wv. They screwed up and didn't have my flight plan on file ( more and more common lately) and then gave me a pop up-that was at least a page long of full routes, airways and fixes.Of course after spending many minutes figuring it out and putting it in the gps-once off in the air the completely changed it-to another full route clearance. Shortly thereafter the same thing happened. Then a few negotiations to deviate for tstorms and finally taking pic authority to do so.Then once over Allentown, Pa-the controller asked me what my direct heading was to my destination. When I sounded surprised after all that he said he wanted to get me going to where I wanted as soon as possible and cleared me direct. Nice guy!GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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Exactly-as in my experience even when getting a complicated clearance on the ground it is usually changed to a much simpler one once airborne. I really have not figured out yet what flightaware reports..GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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I'm pretty sure the flight plan it shows is the initial "filed" one. If the filed one gets amended after departure, I don't think FlightAware updates the "Route", but continues to show the initially filed flightplan.Reason I say this is because you can open up a "status" window for any current flight that shows the waypoints in the flightplan, and the time and altitude of the aircraft when it crossed each one. Many times this information doesn't seem to agree with the "Route" flightplan shown for the flight. So my assumption is the intial route got ammended after departure, and the "log status" of the flight then doesn't agree with the original "Route" shown anymore. I see this a lot on the "red eye" flights for like FedEx, where they would get a lot of "direct" amendments after departure.That's just my guess.FalconAF

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It must be more complicated as for example today I filed direct from Martin state to hts:http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N7345R/...1530Z/KMTN/KHTSIn my clearance on the ground they ammended it to a radar vector to join victor 44 and then Martinsburg vor-direct.Flightaware shows this clearance.When I got to Hts I filed direct to ptk.Clearance del. said they were sorry and needed to send me first to a fix and then direct which I did due to a hot restricted area. Shortly after takeoff they told me the area was now not hot and gave me direct.Flightaware in this case does not show the ground clearance but just says n/a which seems to be the code for direct:http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N7345R/...1910Z/KHTS/KPTKOn the one I mentioned above from Nashua-it has the full route I got on the ground from clearance:http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N7345R/...1822Z/KASH/KPKBWhich of course is not what I flew once in the air.So I think Flightaware sometimes gets something, and sometimes gets nothing. I have also noticed when you fly over bodies of water or Canadian airspace it drops you completely.In any case-at best it seems it gets sometimes the ground clearance-which may be rarely what is actually flown.GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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Hi Geof,I am based at FME inside the DC ADIZ and fly IFR all the time. Looking at your flightaware track, seems like you got cleared to MRB then EMI direct to MTN.In my experience, around a busy terminal area (Class :(, if you file the preferred route, that's what you'll get. No matter what I file from under the BWI Class B to anywhere else, or from the NYC area, I always get assigned the preferred route. In fact, I have flightaware alerts set up to SMS my cell phone, so as soon as I file, I get a text message with my preliminary ATC route that the FAA computer spits out, and it's always the same as the pref route.Outside of a busy terminal area, you'll likely get direct. So my advice is, if you're going to be near a busy terminal such as NYC or BWI, check the preferred routes and plan on getting that. If your flight takes you away from a busy area, plan on following the initial fixes of a preferred route, then direct.. then passing through the preferred routes in any busy areas you pass through.What's ironic is, my real-life IFR flight planning generally consists of checking recent flightaware routes, plus recent ATC clearances on fltplan.com. Planning and filing on that, and that's what I generally get. I then familiarize myself with airways / fixes / vors along the way incase I get rerouted, I at least have an idea where they're sending me.In the air, ATC usually clears you direct or gives vectors for traffic anyway, so really, my planning comes down to studying what is most likely to happen on a given flight by studying the above tools... making sure I'm aware of all of the options.

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"I am based at FME inside the DC ADIZ and fly IFR all the time. Looking at your flightaware track, seems like you got cleared to MRB then EMI direct to MTN."I was given the Westminster five Star However-I was already well within it at that time -but I set the remaining waypoints.Then I was told to go direct to Martinsburg. Before I could get there I was told to go direct to ruane. Before I could get there I was told to go direct to Westminster...and you guessed it-before getting to Wesminster I was cleared direct to Martin State.I understand your reasoning and my Voyager flight planner actually includes the prefered routes. In my experience I have never really get to them-or if instructed to do them I never complete them.Therefore-that is why I just file direct-since atc seems to have a mind of its own depending on local conditions, weather, winds and traffic. I certainly do look at what is likely-but even if everything has/had been preprogrammed and planned -the original clearance:mrb-ruane-emi-mtn -none of these legs was ever completed which also requires more button pushes. I guess I just find it easier to find out what is going to happen, than to preprogram and find out it isn't going to happen. I just looked at all my recent flights on flightaware and again the majority came back n/a-e.g. direct. The ones that were ammended usually didn't happen in the air-at least much.P.S I really respect you flying in that area. What a scary mess!GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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>>>I just file in my flight plan "direct". >>Do you just say "direct" or perhaps you pick an IAF from which>you want to start your approach and file direct to this IAF?.>Selection of a specific IAF may give ATC a hint that your>prefer this approach over something else ...>>Michael J.>http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpgBest advice so far. I'm not sure if this is still true, but at one time the FAAs computers couldn't recognize an airport as being part of a route. So if you tried filing "CSG KAUO" the computer would puke. Of course it could take it as a destination airport, but if it was listed as any part of a route, it didn't like it. So if you're filing IFR, you really always want to file to a nearby fix, preferably one that is a charted holding point or as suggested, an IAF for the approach you would like to use.A former ZTL controller wrote a series of articles for AvWeb a few years back that is VERY good reading. Tons of information on radio phraseology, IFR flight plans, and communicating with ATC. http://www.avweb.com/news/sayagain/list.html

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I haven't ever gotten one nearby fix I have ever filed-why I gave up.For instance in Detroit-we know score,aants are probably fixes for heading south depending on direction. The other day I got direct, a few earlier I got score, another week I got one I had never heard of and today I got aants.It depends on the runways Dtw is using at that moment and the traffic flow-getting the fix you file is a crap shoot and I seldom win-they will however tell you the one they want you to go to.As I mentioned above- I yesterday was flying from mtn to ged. Take a look at that restricted area overlying mtn-my briefer told me it was hot. I filed a nice fix to take me beyond it thinking that would be the polite thing to do. Atc instead gave me direct right thru it.Better atc to decide imho. I used to spend hours planning and then figured out since I wasn't gonna get what I planned much better to just take what I was given. If they know you are /g they seem to really try to help you go that way as closely as possible.GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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>P.S I really respect you flying in that area. What a scary mess!I learned to fly in it, post-ADIZ. It's really not so bad once you know the ADIZ rules, but I agree... if I were from out of the area and were trying to plan a flight near the ADIZ, I'd be terrified. IFR, however, the ADIZ rules are much simpler. Had you filed to any airport within the ADIZ while IFR, you would not have noticed much of anything different. For example, had you filed to FME, you probably would have been told to go direct Westminster (EMI), then vectored to FME if in VMC, or cleared for the GPS 10 approach. The only difference in the ADIZ is, *never* squawk 1200. If you cancel IFR in the air, the controller will remind you to "keep your code" until you're on the ground. Other than that, IFR at least, the ADIZ really is transparent... There are some good airports inside of it, so next time you're in the area, don't be afraid to come in!I completely agree with what you're saying about just wanting to file direct, because you just never fly what you're cleared. I have *never* flown a full IFR route without being cleared direct to another waypoint or vectored at some point. HOWEVER, the reason I do try to file what I know I'll be cleared is:1) I can avoid copying a long clearance on the ground or in the air. Filing the preferred routes, I hear "Cleared as filed" nearly 99% of the time. Yes, I know it will change once airborne, but it saves time when copying clearances.2) I think in the busier terminals, ATC expects you to file the preferred routes to some degree. I once filed direct from FME to N14 on one of my early IFR flights and when I called Potomac Approach to get my clearance, the controller actually yelled at me and told me I "cannot do that." He said he has to manually figure out my routing and I need to call back in *15* minutes. After that, I never filed direct again out of FME. HOWEVER, if I were in wide open country, I'd be filing direct all the time.Also, and this is more for the benefit of others reading this thread... Some people may be wondering why ATC bothers to give you these long-winded clearances just to change them once you're airborne. The reason is that the full-length clearance is what ATC is giving you permission to fly. There are a lot more rules, but put simply, in the event of communications failure, this full routing is what ATC will expect you to fly. They will be clearing other traffic out of your way as you proceed on your full routing, even if you can't talk to them. Once you're airborne and communicating, ATC can start giving you short-cuts or vectors / changes for whatever reason.Anyway, trying to figure out ATC is always interesting. Depends where you are, who you're talking to and what's going on that day I guess.

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