Flight planning

1. Flight Level Planning (within Europe -> RVSM)

Your correct even or odd flight level depends on the bearing; your flight will be accomplished on. For further information see here.

2. Flight planning (within Europe)

At first, you need to plan your route according to the recent AIRAC. The current version can be retrieved through Navigraph & Navdata. If you are using an elder version, you might experience difficulties with either validating your planned route or setting up your Flight Management Unit (FMS, MCDU, aso.)

Moreover, we will follow IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). VFR (Visual Flight Route Planning) and differences might be described later on.

To exemplify, we will plan an IFR flight from Vienna Schwechat (LOWW, VIE) to Berlin Tegel (EDDT, TXL), but remember this is all part of your planning process before flight:


Every flight plan consists of places (such as VOR, NDB or Intersections) and airways (such as UL858 or UT204). For further information see WIKI.

You may retrieve Flightplans via:


Based on a fully planned route, we have to have a closer look at the immediate time after being airborne and your last maybe 100 nautical miles inbound your destination. By no means will you be allowed to „just start and hop“ into your assigned flight. You will need a: Standard Instrument Departure (SID) → (your planned route) → Standard Arrival Route (STAR) / Transition (TRANS)

Let us go gradually:

Please open the SID-Chart for runway 29 in Vienna Schwechat. According to our flight plan, our first place will be LANUX intersection. Hence, we need to follow a SID that brings us directly there: LANUX1C will come in handy, when wind comes from 290 degrees. Please see the section: Winds for further information.

You need to proceed with your departure as it is shown in the map. Scroll down to the bottom and you will find the single waypoint and climbing restrictions, often called PROFIL for flying LANUX1C.

During your climb, you may also keep an eye on: MAX IAS 250KT below FL100 until „No Speed Restriction“ is advised by ATC

Once you have reached your assigned flight route you have to open the STAR-Chart for Runway 26L/R in Berlin Tegel. The last place of our route will be NUKRO Intersection. Thus, we need to find a matching arrival route beginning at NUKRO. We take NUKRO3V arrival. According to the given chart information we have to be leveled at FL140 passing NUKRO and FL90 passing Fürstenwald (FWE). (Same situation during approach → MAX IAS 250kn below FL100. Moreover, the PROFIL is also shown on the left-hand side.)

Now, you see the STAR ends in Fürstenwalde VOR (FWE). From here, the ILS or LOC 26L Chart takes over and brings us all the way down to our assigned runway threshold (26L).

A very different arrival will be via RNAV Transition to final Approach. Here we would follow NUKRO26L Transition and Profile. Attend closely to words of ATC whether you will be cleared for Transition or Transition and Profile. Without the added and Profile ATC has to give you vertical instructions.

I do not want to deepen „How to read a chart“ correctly. This will be done in a different spot.

4. Winds

One of the first and most important duties an airline pilot has to fulfill before boarding the aircraft will be reading the recent weather Information. These weather data contain significant pieces of wind information among others. Now, why are these wind directions that important? If you face the wings of an aircraft into the direction the wind is coming during takeoff, you automatically increase the ascending force (uplift) your wings are producing. Hence, you decrease the speed that is needed, in relation to ground, to take off. In our case, winds are coming from 290° true with 10 knots per hour. That is why you want to accelerate in to this direction. → Runway 29

Two different scenarios worth to mention exist:

  • Altiports (Usually they appear in mountain regions. Landing is possible in one direction only as a result of a significant downhill gradient or a mountain (wall) in one end of the runway. → Courchevel (ICAO:LFLJ))
  • Take off direction bearing with the wind in low wind speed scenarios, such as in Frankfurt (EDDF). (This appears, where the main terminal is situated at one very end of the runway. Hence, in Frankfurt (ICAO:EDDF) Runway pair 25L/R is prefered.)

Today we recieve the following weather:

LOWW 301530Z 29010KT 9999 FEW050TCU 25/12 Q1016 NOSIG

But what is the secret behind all the other numbers and letters?

decoded weather info

Each single piece of the information contains important data for your take off preperations:

  • LOWW = shows the ICAO airport code → Vienna Schwechat Airport
  • 301530Z = time of observation → 30. of the month at 15:30 UTC
  • 29010KT = indicates the wind direction → wind is coming from 290° true with 10kn
  • 9999 = indicates the prevailing visibility in meter → 10 km or more (Don't confuse this with Rundway Visual Range!)
  • FEW050TCU = cloud layer → indicates a broken cloud layer at 5000 feet above ground level (agl) (FEW → 1 to 2 eighth), cloud ceiling (5.000 feet agl) and type of cloud layer (TCU = towering cumulus)
  • 25/12 = temperature (12°C) und dewpoint (12°C) (rmk: M03 → -3°C)
  • Q1016 = altimeter setting → QNH is 1012 hPa.
  • NOSIG = „no significant change“ expected during the next 2 hours.

Further information, containing esp. different signifiers, see: METAR decoding.

5. Fuel Planning

Please see fuel management for further information.

6. Enroute Profile Change

one word about … FIXME

Flight planning (international)

Example (LOWW-RJAA) <ul> <li>N460F340 means 460kt TAS and a requested FL340.</li> <li>STO3C is the SID.</li> <li>STO UM725 LANUX UL858 ILNEK UL602 NALAX UL46 REMSI UP6 MIMKU normal routing with an expected TAS of 460kt and a requested FL340.</li> <li>MIMKU/M082F350 means that you have planned at MIMKU Mach 0,82 and FL350.</li> <li>NATA is the identification for track Alpha on the north atlantic tracks.</li> <li>RODBO/M081F390 means that you have planned at RODBO Mach 0,81 and FL390.</li> <li>RODBO/M081F390 N484 MT J597 YSO normal routing with Mach 0,81 and a requested FL390.</li> <li>SIMCO1 is the STAR</li> </ul> If you are flying under metric levelling systems, the speed and FL will look like this:<br> RATIN/K0860S1010<br> After RATIN intersections a planned TAS of 860km/h and a requested FL of 10100 meters (36400ft).<br> <br> STO DCT LANUX<br> This means that you are flying from STO (Stockerau VOR) direct LANUX intersection.<br> <br> <br> <b>FPL validating:</b><br> You can validate your flight plan with Eurocontrol <a href=„http://www.cfmu.eurocontrol.int/chmi_public/ciahome.jsp?serv1=ifpuvs“ target=„_blank“>here</a>.<br> <br> Here is an example (note: this FPL won’t be valid anymore):<br> (FPL-AUA71-IS<br> -A332/H-SEHJRWXY/S<br> -LOWW0930<br> -N460F340 STO3C STO UM725 LANUX UL858 ILNEK UL602 NALAX UL46 REMSI UP6 MIMKU/M082F350 NATA RODBO/M081F390 N484 MT J597 YSO SIMCO1-CYYZ0850 KIAG<br> -REG/OELAO SEL/HQAF OPR/AUA RMK/AGCS DOF/040910 RVR/100 ORGN/LOWWAVAG )<br>

Great Circle Routes

In case airstreams are not a significant factor of flightplanning, AVA pilots may consider Great Circle Routes on long range flights. A little theory: For fact the Earth is a kind of a (non-perfect) sphere, hence the closest distance between two points will always be the path with the smallest curvature. That is why traffic flying westbound will be routed way up into the northern hemisphere to shorten the path. In contrast, esp. between the Americas and Europe, easterly directed flight will press home an advantage of the jetstream and thus will fly more south. FIXME

Flight planning (transatlantic flight)

Follow ordinary international flight planning and see Oceanic Procedures for further inquiries. FIXME

Decision Point Procedure

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