Instrument Flight Planning
INSTRUMENT FLIGHT PLANNING
Flight planning requires you to understand the planning process along with the associated documents
needed to manage a cross-country flight. Before you can prepare a flight plan, you must gather accurate
and complete weather and route information for your intended flight.
When planning a flight, be sure to take into account the facilities and equipment available at your
destination and alternates. Those airports must have an adequate runway and the equipment required for
aircraft servicing. Especially, you need to determine before departing for an unfamiliar field that (1) the
runway is of adequate length and is properly surfaced, (2) there is fuel available of the proper grade IAW
NATOPS and (3) that if you are going to a civilian field that they have contract fuel and will accept a
government fuel card. Additionally, you should always determine if your destination is PPR (prior
ROUTE AND ALTITUDE
You must give primary consideration to enroute weather and winds when planning a flight. You will
normally want to use the most direct route at the most favorable altitude for your fuel requirements.
You are required to plan for an alternate anytime your destination is forecast to be below a 3,000-foot
ceiling and 3 miles visibility during the period from 1 hour prior to and 1 hour after your ETA. If your
destination is forecast to be below published minimums, then your alternate must be above 3,000-3. If
your destination is between published minimums and 3,000-3, your alternate must be forecast to be 300-1
above published minimums for a non-precision approach or 200-1/2 above published minimums for a
precision approach. Check alternate weather for the time you would arrive there and not for the ETA at
your destination. Refer to Figure 12 for single pilot restrictions.
NOTE: CNATRA regulations require that you always plan an alternate.
When filing an IFR flight plan, base your weather requirement on the existing weather at your point of
departure and the forecast weather at your destination and alternate from 1 hour before to 1 hour after
your ETA. Figure 12 outlines the weather criteria to follow when selecting an alternate for an IFR flight.
The following are filing criteria for your destination:
1. Single piloted aircraft (T-45A) absolute minimums are 200-1/2.
2. Use minimums for instrument approach to probable runway based on forecast surface winds.
3. Use the lowest minimums for any approach you and your aircraft are equipped to fly.