Prepare and File ICAO Flight Plans the NEW Way
Essentials Series | 9 February 2013
RocketRoute automatically creates valid ICAO Flight Plan Forms. For IFR Flights we achieve 99.99% acceptance for first time filing. RocketRoute uses sophisticated checks to help pilots reduce errors when inputting their flight details and to ensure valid data prior to filing.
Fewer errors mean less stress. Pilots and businesses well know the cost in time and money if you need to re-file a flight for a later date or time. Get it right first time with RocketRoute.
RocketRoute starts every new flight plan by clicking Prepare Plan and following the simple 3 steps:
• Step 1 – Route
• Step 2 – Details
• Step 3 – File & Go
The screenshot below shows the normal Prepare Plan page.
You can save your flight plan at any stage and return to it as often as needed prior to filing. Flight plans can be filed up to 120 hours in advance.
Within RocketRoute, once you havea route created, you can prepare your Load Sheet and items such as Mass & Balance, Fuel and Passenger Information. RocketRoute will then automatically generate a full and comprehensive Briefing Pack for a flight.
Step 1: Prepare Route
Step 1 Route enables the user to generate an IFR route by pressing Autoroute or to draw a VFR route using the charting tools.
If you are preparing a route that enters into Europe (Eurocontrol Airspace) then the route will also need your route to be validated by Eurocontrol. RocketRoute automatically performs this check on all routes prior to filing.
Entering the information for your flight is simple and straight forward. We also support a range of languages including German, French, Italian and Spanish.
Once you have prepared your route on Step 1 Route. The information for your flight is transposed into the ICAO Flight Plan form as shown below (colour coded):
RocketRoute actually transmits the flight plan electronically over a private and secure aviation network called AFTN. The message is transmitted as a Type B message format. RocketRoute has a Smart addressing engine that will correctly send the flight plan based on the users routing. The user can check these addresses in the final stages of filing a flight plan. The following fields are completed in Step 1.
Aircraft ID (ACID) Field
This is the registration of the aircraft for the flight. The flight will be rejected if you file an incorrect registration. RocketRoute provides your aircraft as a drop down to minimize errors in entering the registration.
Flight Number Field
Only enter this field IF you are flying commercially and operate your own Flight Numbers. For most private GA IFR and VFR flights leave this field blank.
If you enter a flight number it must be in the correct ICAO format and replaces the aircraft ACID on the flight plan. RocketRoute automaticaly adds the selected aircraft registration to field 18 as “REG/….
Departure / Destination Fields
RocketRoute automatically converts an airport IATA code or long name into a valid ICAO code for the airport pair. Airports that do not have a valid ICAO code will automatically be entered as ZZZZ and their coordinates and description added to Field 18 of the flight plan. If the airport is unknown RocketRoute prompts the pilot to enter the coordinates and airfield name in the appropriate field 18 element (DEP/ or DEST/).
RocketRoute also contains a useful database of airports requiring SLOTs and will flag warnings to the user to obtain a slot where mandatory.
RocketRoute supports all Rule Types including IFR, Yankee, Zulu and VFR. If you are departing/arriving in Europe to an airport that does not support IFR, RocketRoute will automatically convert the flight into a Yankee or Zulu plan.
Type of Flight
Most Members will leave this as “G” for General Aviation. RocketRoute supports all Types of Flight including Scheduled “S”, Military “M”, Training/Test/Other “X” and Non-Scheduled “N”.
Different units of speed are allowed by ICAO. For simplicity RocketRoute uses Knots. The standard input is as 4 digits eg N0270 for 270 Knots at cruise flight level. A user can enter their preferred speed as required.
Enter the flight level to 3 digits. Eg 090 for Flight Level 90 or 280 for Flight Level 280. For VFR plans or Zulu (Z) departures you can enter “VFR” in this field to idicate varying VFR altitudes or enter the letter A followed by an Altitude (MSL) such as A025 for Altitude 2500 feet.
Estimated Enroute Time (EET)
For IFR flights in Europe, Eurocontrol requires that that EET should be calculated based on still air as it compares with its own calculation based on still air and will reject plans that significantly deviate from their calculations. Note that the flight log will contain wind corrected values and thus the EET there will be different.
RocketRoute generates a flight log based on windsaloft information and holds a 5 day weather forecast model. A pilot can also over ride this calculated value and enter their own value if desired.
This is the route part of your flight. With other inputs complete, users can click Autoroute and the system will generate a direct fuel efficient route. If required, the user can manually edit this route.
Within Europe a route will automatically be validated with Eurocontrol. This is marked by a tick. If a route is manually edited and the route is inside Europe the user should click Validate again to check the route is approved.
For routes in Europe, RocketRoute will not allow an IFR flight to be filed unless it has been approved by Eurocontrol.
Further down the page are the extra fields as follows.
Alternate 1 / Alternate 2
Enter these as required. RocketRoute will calculate the fuel required to alternates within the Flight Log.
Field 18 is used in the ICAO flight plan form to capture much more information that it was originally intended. RocketRoute helps pilots and planners complete Field 18 correctly. RocketRoute provides easy to use templates for each code.
For example, to enter a SLOT using the RMK/ASL designator. Or to enter the new equipment codes as required by ICAO 2012 changes for PBN.
For VFR Flights RocketRoute will automatically added the EET to FIR Boundaries (also for Y/Z plans as well).
Step 2: Check (Search & Research SAR, Fuel, Slots)
Once your Route is prepared Users go on to complete Step 2 ‘Check’. This captures primarily information about the Search and Rescue details of a flight plan.
RocketRoute will calculate endurance based on Fuel on Board. A user can over-ride this and enter their own endurance figures as required. Endurance is in the format of HH MM (Hours and Minutes).
People on Board
This includes pilot, first officer and passengers.
Pilot in Command
This is the last name of the pilot who is responsible for flying the aircraft.
This is the mobile or operations contact for the pilot.
Search and Rescue Information (Field 19)
Search and rescue includes all emergency equipment onboard the aircraft at the time of the flight. In the event of emergency this information is passed to the emergency services and greatly affects how they will conduct their search.
In the event of a true emergency – this information can make the difference between life and death so please do take a moment to complete it accurately.
The ICAO form requires crews to “cross out” not available equipment. RocketRoute simply lets you select what you have for ease of entry and will automaticaly X-out the other fields on the form.
Number of life rafts/dinghies available for the flight. Including colour and whether the dinghies has a cover. All important information when searching from a plane or helicopter.
UHF, VFR or ELT portable radios as part of your emergency pack. Note in RocketRoute you tick the items you have on board. In the ICAO Flight Plan an ‘X’ is placed in the boxes to mark that is it NOT on board. You can see this difference in the above image.
Tick if any equipment carried and then if specifically for Polar, Desert, Maritime or Jungle.
Tick if any equipment carried and then if for each jacket if it includes Light, Fluores, UHF/VHF radio.
Once completed, click Save. You are then ready to review your flight plan and file it.
When you setup your aircraft in RocketRoute we provide a wizard to help you select the right equipment you have on board. Since ICAO 2012 the complexity of aircraft equipment has increased significantly.
RocketRoute has made this as simple as possible by tick box process. If in doubt, email our support team firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to assist you.
Note that under ICAO 2012 PBN is included automatically by RocketRoute in Field 18.
Step 3 File & Go
The final step in RocketRoute is to make a review of all input information before Filing. When ready press File. This will count down in real-time and wait for Acknowledgement from Eurocontrol (for flights in Europe) or will send the flight plans immediately in the case of international, US plans (and for VFR plans).
Under addressing details you can review where the flight plan will be transmitted. You can also add additional addresses as required (e.g. if you have your own AFTN address)
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