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AOPA's New Internet Flight PlannerAOPA's New Internet Flight Planner

Navigate, communicate, aviate - anywhere, anytimeNavigate, communicate, aviate - anywhere, anytime

Spinning the E6B’s wheel and sliding a plotter across the sectional chart, you’re about to flip through the pages of AOPA’s Airport Directory to find the best fuel stops en route. Clear sky is beckoning—but you still need to aggregate all that important information, including a weather briefing, airport information, and FBO details into your navlog.

Tools to quick start your flight plan

  • Set up your pilot information and DUATs or DUAT login
    Verify your connection information
    Select your preferred provider
  • Set up your aircraft information
    Use AOPA aircraft templates for your aircraft make and model, or add a new one from scratch (up to 100 available)
    Customize your aircraft profile with N-number, colors, equipment, performance, and home base
  • Create a new route
    Enter the departure and destination airport identifiers or type in the airport or city name (you can select from a list if more than one airport is found)
    Click the “Plan This Route” button, which brings you to the chart view
  • Select the chart view
    Select either the standard or VFR-terrain base map
    Turn chart overlay features off and on (such as airspace, airport directory, and weather)
    Zoom to a selected area of the chart using the pan/zoom tool
  • Get a weather briefing
    Obtain route and area briefings through your choice of DUAT provider, and view AOPA’s online weather charts
    Overlay weather graphics on the route
  • Print nav log, flight plan, and route
    Use the yellow print buttons on the bottom of the navlog, flight plan, and chart
    Change the browser’s dimension to change how the chart will print
  • File electronically
    Use the yellow Submit button on the bottom of the flight plan screen to file your flight plan
  • Go fly! —MAS

Spinning the E6B’s wheel and sliding a plotter across the sectional chart, you’re about to flip through the pages of AOPA’s Airport Directory to find the best fuel stops en route. Clear sky is beckoning—but you still need to aggregate all that important information, including a weather briefing, airport information, and FBO details into your navlog. That process takes time. Is there no faster, easier way?

You bet there is. AOPA has combined its popular flight planning tools—AOPA’s online weather charts and AOPA’s Airport Directory Online—to power the brand-new AOPA Internet Flight Planner (AIFP). AOPA’s Real-Time Flight Planner will be retired in January. Flight planning with AIFP is powerful, dependable, and fun. You’ll be airborne in no time. Why?

  • It is fully Internet-based, so it does not require any application download. (It works on both PCs and Macintosh computers.) From the moment you start it automatically begins overlaying Jeppesen graphical weather images to give you a clear picture of the flight.
  • With your AOPA username and password you can access your profile securely from your home, hotel, FBO, or flight school.
  • Overlay AOPA’s Airport Directory information with current fuel prices, METARs, and TAFs, and print kneeboard-formatted directory listings and instrument approach charts from the flight planner.
  • Refresh the basic flight-planning chart—which offers a standard base map or a depiction of VFR terrain elements—real-time from Jeppesen with current temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) and notams.
  • Add custom waypoints, fuel stops, and real-time weather overlays including radar composite reflectivity (which can reveal important storm structure and intensity trends), echo tops (which can help you assess storm intensity), lightning, and winds and temperatures aloft.
  • Store up to 20 of your frequently used routes, aircraft, and waypoints.
  • Choose your DUATs provider and store data for quick and efficient online flight planning and filing.
  • Print your navigation log and submit, print, and track your flight plan electronically.

If that does not whet your appetite to use the power of AIFP for every flight, here are some additional nifty nuggets. For example, use the zoom bar—like you might be accustomed to with Google maps—to get up-close details. And of course you can still mouse the cursor over the chart to zoom in using the marquee zoom mode, which lets you select and enlarge a rectangular area of the chart. But a real handy trick in the flight planner’s pan mode is the ability to drag the chart up, down, or sideways to see areas to the north, south, east, and west. You might discover a weather system moving closer to your route that you had not noticed earlier. This functionality allows you to orient the bigger picture before launching into the air.

Don’t like flying through complex airspace? Worried about wandering into temporary flight restriction areas or adverse weather along the route? Simply double-click on an airport or navaid to circumnavigate such pesky areas—the waypoint is instantly added to your route, navlog, and flight plan.

A wonderful routing tool—a small pop-up floating window that shows your route, distance, and estimated time en route—allows you to amend your route swiftly with a couple of mouse clicks. Just drag and drop waypoints to insert them anywhere in the route, without going back to the chart, navlog, or flight plan—these will be instantly updated from the routing tool.

Get used to right-clicking the chart to see information in greater detail, including airspace descriptions as well as the effective dates and times for TFRs and notams (both for PC and Mac users). Did we mention AOPA’s Airport Directory and fuel prices? Overlay the airport directory and, voilà, airport and fuel pump symbols will pop up along your route. When you click on an airport icon, drill down to airport, chart, and weather details. When you click on the fuel pump it shows the airport’s lowest fuel prices at a glance.

You might want more detailed chart depictions such as low-altitude Victor airways (VOR to VOR), IFR en route intersections, terminal airspace fixes, obstacles, state borders, roads and railroads (if you’re a dead-reckoning kind of pilot), air route traffic control center boundaries, and special and restricted airspace areas. Just click on the chart overlays you wish to add.

Are you getting overloaded with information? De-clutter the view by clicking off the overlays to show just as much or as little as you wish to see. Another great feature is the ability to open and close or drag and drop floating information panels, as you need them. The panels move wherever you wish them to appear, and when you click and hold down the mouse they turn transparent, revealing chart detail beneath.

Need help? An extensive help file with images and short audio snippets is available to assist your AIFP navigation. Not that you’d ever need help—this flight planner is really user-friendly.

But don’t take our word for it. Go online, take a moment to set up your pilot and aircraft profiles, and make flight planning a cinch—every time.

E-mail the author at [email protected]

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