Canadian pilots have a lot to be grateful for with respect to the security of the “flight planning” (what is really “flight following”) system we have established. The amount of money and resources spent on ensuring pilots don’t simply disappear is no doubt impressive. The service is there—administered by FSS—and there are no direct fees attached, so be sure you use it, and be sure you submit flight plans with accurate information. The more meticulous you are in completing a flight plan, the more likelihood is quick assistance when you need it.
This section reviews the procedures for completing a flight plan. Before beginning, however, there are just a few general items to mention.
Use care when describing your routing—if you want to be rescued expeditiously, be as accurate as possible in describing the proposed routing. This is very important.
If you elect to deviate from a route that has already been submitted to FSS, be sure the new routing is communicated by radio to FSS before you set out on the new route.
It is suggested you always include a telephone number on the flight plan where you can be reached at your destination—a little insurance in case you forget to close your flight plan. If you do not close a plan, they will begin a process of search and rescue, leading eventually to the dispatch of Canadian Forces aircraft (you could be footing the bill!).
An effective idea is to move your watch from your left wrist to your right wrist when you file a flight plan—with this, you will never forget to close your flight plan—almost guaranteed.
The following items should be cross-referenced to the numbered items on the above flight plan form:
ITEM 8 (a)
A one-letter code is required here—“V” to indicate “VFR.”
ITEM 8 (b)
Type of Flight
A two-letter code is required here, the first should be left blank (for a VFR Flight Plan), and the second should be “G” for “General Aviation.”
Type of aircraft
Record in here the aircraft type; in the case of the Cherokees, the type is “PA28.”
Leave “Wake Turbulence” blank.
The format here is to put the communication, navigation, and transponder equipment in that order. “V” if for VHF radio, “F” is for ADF, and “O” is for VOR. With respect to transponder equipment, “C” is for mode C. All of Langley Flying School’s aircraft have a Mode C Transponder, and all have a VHF radio. If the aircraft has a VOR and an ADF, the code that appears in this item is “VFO/C.” If the aircraft lacks a VOR and ADF, the coding is simply “V/C.”
Departure Aerodrome and Time.
Enter the four-letter identifier for the departure airport (CYNJ is Langley).
Time must be entered in UTC.
Cruising Speed, Altitude, and Route.
Cruising speed must be entered in “KNOTS” using four digits, and preceded by the letter “N” indicating “KNOTS”— ”N0110” meaning 110 KTS.
Altitude is not entered on a VFR flight plan.
The route should be described accurately (for search and rescue purposes). The notation “DCT” should be noted to mean direct. In this section do not repeat the departure or destination airport (these have separate box entries)—just place “DCT” in the route section. If you plan a course change at a specific point in route—for example at “Smith Island—indicate the change as follows: “DCT Smith Island DCT” (again don’t repeat the departure and destination airports). If you are planning to following a highway or river valley, here are some examples:
DCT Hope via Hwy #1to Lytton DCT
DCT Jonesville via Swanie River to Robertstown DCT
Repeat the airport identifier if a intermediate stop is planned, indicating the planned stop time as follows:
DCT CYYJ (0+30) CYYJ DCT
The duration of the intermediate stop must be included in the “Estimated Elapsed Time” box.
Destination and Estimated Elapsed Time
The four-letter airport identifier code is to be used for the destination airport.
The Estimated Elapsed Time includes days, hours, and minutes—normally, indicate “00” in the day box.
Search and Rescue Time—normally leave this blank, and SAR will begin automatically 60 minutes after the EET.
Use this box to add any additional information that might be useful to Flight Service. You should specify, for example that your trip is a “training flight,” or that you are planning just a “stop and go” rather than a full-stop landing.
You should indicate the intent to add fuel—“fuel stop at CYDC.”
Endurance, Persons on board and equipment and other information.
For endurance, indicate the amount of fuel in time (hours and minutes) at your departure airport.
Indicate the number of persons on board. If an infant or a person with a special medical condition is on board, you may want to make note of this in the “remarks” section.
For emergency radio, place an “X” over UHF and VHF if you do have this equipment.1 If you have an ELT, leave the “E” under ELBA “unaltered”—i.e., no “X” over this box. All Langley Flying School aircraft have an ELT so there should be no “X.” The ELT is further specified in the two-letter code box as “A” for automatic, and “F” for fixed, and “P” for portable.2
If you have a survival kit, leave the “S” box unaltered. Polar, Desert, Maritime, and Jungle should be “X-ed,” unless you have these specialized kits.
The same format applies to dinghies—“X” if you don’t have it.
The colour would be indicated as follows: “green and gold on white,” or “white with blue trim.”
Report the agency you will be closing with—in the event of using the nearest FSS at your destination, check the “FLT PLN” section of the airport’s Canada Flight Supplement entry. If using an ATC tower facility, name the tower.
Be sure you note a telephone number where you can be reached at your destination airport in the “remarks” section—as stated earlier, this could save you a big bill if you forget to close your flight plan.
Finally, leave the name and number of the company or person to be notified if SAR is initiated.