Flight planning tips

May 25, 2007

Flight planning tips

If you're having trouble reaching flight service, here are some options:

Use DTC DUAT or CSC DUATS for weather briefings. They are approved weather sources and are independent of the flight service station (FSS) system. Also, you can file IFR flight plans through them, which will be entered directly into the air traffic control system. Of course, VFR flight plans can also be filed but will be forwarded to FSS. Both services can be used to close VFR flight plans. Pilots may also use DUAT to close IFR flight plans. When closing an IFR flight plan, pilots must note in the remarks section that it is an IFR flight plan and include the airport ID for the departure point and the destination. In addition, DUAT offers pireps, notams, flight restriction information, and the option of filing a Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) flight plan.

Pireps and notams are available through the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) Web site. You can also find other helpful weather information there, such as TAFs and METARs.

Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) can be found on the FAA's Web site. AOPA Online provides security-related notams, graphics, and other information.

If you do talk with a briefer, make sure you have all the correct airport identifiers, VORs, and intersection names. The briefer may not be from your area and names without identifiers will be meaningless.

If your local flight service station is no longer in operation, call the local number for another nearby station if you are having long hold times via 800/WX-BRIEF.

If you are planning to operate in the Washington, D.C., ADIZ, call the old number for Leesburg flight service (866/225-7410). The number is now dedicated to Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) operations and goes to the Washington hub.

If calling FSS en route, use 122.2 as your first option. The transmission coverage area is greater. More than one FSS may be available to respond. The remote communications outlet (RCO) goes only to one FSS.

See Lockheed Martin's Web site for more information on FS21.

May 25, 2007