The FAA has formally announced that it will delay its plans to require all flights to use the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) flight plan form until Oct. 1, 2016. The Sept. 16 announcement followed objections from AOPA and others to a plan that would have required pilots to switch to Form 7233-4 beginning Oct. 1 of this year.
In August, AOPA filed formal comments with the FAA asking that the aviation community be given more time to make the transition, citing the need for training, changes to flight planning software, and updates to the Aeronautical Information Manual and other official documents. AOPA also asked the FAA to develop a solution for filing defense VFR, composite IFR/VFR, and special flight rules area (SFRA) and flight restricted zone (FRZ) flight plans, all of which currently rely on the agency’s domestic flight plan form.
Companies that prepare and file flight plans, including Lockheed Martin, also asked the FAA for additional time.
In delaying implementation of the ICAO form for a year, the FAA acknowledged that making the change is more complex than simply asking pilots to fill out a different form.
“We appreciate the FAA’s responsiveness to our concerns,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of air traffic and airspace. “By giving the industry and aviation community more time to prepare, we can ensure a safer, smoother transition to the international form. In the meantime, we’ll be working with the FAA and industry to make sure all our questions are resolved and our members are prepared to make the transition.”