File a Flight Plan Day (made easy)
For pilots here in the UK, the Airspace & Safety Initiative (ASI) have launched an initiative that might be interesting: ‘File a Flight Plan Day’ to get GA pilots warmed-up for Olympics.
A unique, one-day event in November, will aim to get as many GA pilots as possible thinking about flight planning, ahead of next year’s London 2012 Olympics. Any pilots wishing to fly though the Restricted Zone, being put in place over the capital and surrounding areas during the Games, will need to file an accepted flight plan with air traffic controllers before they can take to the skies.
You are encouraged to create and submit a flight plan similar to flights that you think you might wish to fly during the Olympics, although they are quick to point that pilots do not actually have to fly the route on File a Flight Plan Day!
Not sure where to start? I realised that I had no idea how to file a flight plan in the UK. Luckily, I was talking to Kelly who works for RocketRoute and she said it was easy and even offered to write a blog post about it.
For pilots here in the UK, the Airspace & Safety Initiative (ASI) have launched a unique one day event, ‘File a Flight Plan Day’ to get GA pilots warmed-up for next year’s Olympics.
What is it?
File a Flight Plan Day will take place between 10:00 and 15:00 on Saturday 12 November 2011. The ASI are encouraging GA pilots to file a test flight plan to familiarise themselves with the process that will be in place from 14th July to 15th August 2012. This is so that pilots can continue to fly with minimum disruption if they plan to fly during the Olympics next summer. The 5 hour event will not require the planned flight to be flown as it is only a test. It will be a good opportunity to address industry concerns regarding the flight plan process and will give Atlas Control (the military ANSP who will be providing the ATS and flight planning facilities) the opportunity to test the air traffic management arrangements set to be in place over the Olympic period.
What to do
On 12th November between 10:00 and 15:00, you are encouraged to file a test flight plan. This can be done through AFTN or by logging onto www.olympicflightplantrial.co.uk using your AFPEx account login details. Those who are not yet registered on AFPEx are advised to sign up as soon as possible. The plan should be based on a similar route that you may intend to fly during the Olympics.
To avoid any disruption to the ‘live’ flight planning system participants should carefully follow several steps to indicate their plan is actually a test. These include:
- Operational AFTN users must ensure the flight plan is only addressed to those taking part in the test – EGGOLYMP. It is then the responsibility of the service supplier to ensure that these Operational terminals do not send test messages to AFTN devices that are not part of the test.
- AFPEx users must use the AFPEx site at http://www.olympicflightplantrial.co.uk as this will keep all messaging away from the operational traffic.
- All test plans must be VFR.
- If flight plans have inadvertently been sent to the wrong address, a remark must be submitted into field 18 of the test flight plan “RMK/OLYMPIC FPL TEST PSE IGNORE”. This is to ensure they do not cause a flight safety issue.
- Add your name and phone number in field 18 “RMK/ PILOT JOHN SMITH 07700 770077” as during the Olympic period, acceptance codes will be sent to these numbers.
- The equipment that Atlas Control will use is based on an automated system and therefore it will not be able to process non-standard entries in the route field 15 of the flight plan (such as locally use VRPs). To ensure that your flight plan does not get rejected it is strongly recommended that you use either navigation aids, 11 character lat/long coordinates or 6 digit bearing and distance from a navigation aid, for example: Stokenchurch Mast is approximately 5140N00055W or CPT049015
If you require help completing a flight plan, you can find it in CAP 694 — the UK Flight Planning Guide. You can also find out more about the procedure in place for File a Flight Plan Day at http://olympics.airspacesafety.com/downloads.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) UK is part of the largest association of pilots in the world, with over 470,000 members in over 50 countries. AOPA is a not-for-profit organisation which exists to serve the interests of aircraft owners and pilots, promoting the economy, safety, utility, and popularity of flight in general aviation aircraft. AOPA UK is teaming up with RocketRoute to offer pilots the facility to use their services to file a test flight plan as an alternative to AFPEx. RocketRoute have developed and put together their own bespoke flight planning software that can accurately direct aircraft in the fastest route possible with minimal fuss. RocketRoute members receive 24/7 flight planning, filing and management support. The service is available through PC and Apple Mac computers, as well as internet mobile phones and tablets. Users of RocketRoute will be able to file VFR flight plans free of charge for flights during London’s restricted airspace during the 2012 Olympics.
So now there’s no excuse not to file a flight plan in November, just to prove you can. Thank you, Kelly and RocketRoute, for the guest post and step-by-step advice!