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AOPA wins delay in flight plan change

The FAA has agreed to an AOPA-requested delay in implementing changes to flight plan requirements.

The FAA had planned to require all flights to use the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) flight plan, also known as Form 7233-4, beginning Oct. 1. Although the ICAO form is already required for international travel and certain other flights, many general aviation flights continue to use the FAA’s familiar domestic flight plan, Form 7233-1.

In formal comments filed Aug. 3, AOPA asked that the aviation community be given six additional months to make the transition to the international form. In a meeting with AOPA held that same week, the agency agreed to wait to implement the flight plan change.

“We appreciate the FAA’s desire to harmonize the system by moving to a single flight plan form. But the aviation community needs time to educate pilots about the changes, get answers from the FAA about how it will handle special situations, and make changes to automated flight plan filing systems and software,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of government affairs for airspace and air traffic. “We’re pleased that the FAA has agreed to our request for additional time. It will help ensure a smoother, safer transition.”

While the FAA has said it will postpone the implementation deadline by at least six months, no firm timeline has been announced.

In the meantime, AOPA has asked the FAA to answer questions about its plans to update the Aeronautical Information Manual and other literature and to make regulatory changes to reflect the new requirements. AOPA also has asked the FAA to develop a solution for filing Defense VFR, composite IFR/VFR, and Special Flight Rules Area and Flight Restricted Zone flight plans, all of which currently rely on the agency’s domestic flight plan form.

“We’ll be keeping our members in the loop as we get more information,” said Duke. “And we’ll provide tools to help make the transition as painless as possible for everyone concerned.”

Elizabeth Tennyson
Elizabeth A Tennyson
Senior Director of Communications
AOPA Senior Director of Communications Elizabeth Tennyson is an instrument-rated private pilot who first joined AOPA in 1998.
Topics: Advocacy, Pilot Weather Briefing Services, FAA Information and Services

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