How-To: Filing a Flight Plan

October, 14, 2021 by

Filing a flight plan may seem difficult, or maybe even overwhelming at first. No need to worry, because in this post I will be explaining everything you need to know about how to make a basic flight plan from start to finish.

Let’s go over how to file a flight plan. First, think about your route. Will it be in a jet, will you be flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules) or IFR (Instrument Flight Rules)? Which runways will you be using, and which type of approach will you be utilizing? All of these factors might affect how you’d need to file your flight plan.

For an example, let’s say we were flying from KJFK (John F. Kennedy International) to KLAX (Los Angeles International) IFR. We’ll use a Jetblue A321 and our cruising altitude will be at FL (Flight Level) 340 (34,000ft).

On the expert server (If ATC is present), your departure and arrival runways will be based upon controller discretion. This will be based on factors like the wind, traffic flow and/or the preferences of the specific controller. All information will be published for you in the ATIS. If ATC is not present, your runways of choice are up to you! You must be mindful of other traffic and make sure that the runway that you will be using is free of traffic and is the current active runway at the specific airport.

Once all information regarding your route has been decided upon, making your flight plan shouldn’t take long.

KJFK 120238Z 1203/1306 19004KT P6SM SCT035 BKN250

This is the current METAR for KJFK. The wind is currently blowing heading 190 at 4knts. Therefore ideally, you will want to use 22R and 22L, because you will take off into the wind (headwind).

You’ll be departing from T5 (JetBlue’s terminal) towards the NE (North East) of the airport, and Runway 22R is usually used for departures since departing Runway 22L would require many runway crossings, it would be best to select Runway 22R for your departure.

Now that we’ve picked our departure runway, it is now time to select our SID (Standard Instrument Departure). Since KLAX is located on the West Coast, you’d want to select a SID to the West. Bear in mind that this is not a requirement, as you may select a different direction if factors like weather and traffic need to be taken into place. To select a SID:

  1. Tap on the world symbol at the bottom left corner of the status bar.
  2. Tap on your departure airport. When you first click on it, you will be prompted to the INFO (Information) section of the page.
  3. Tap on PROC (Procedures – this will be located 3 spaces to the right of INFO).
  4. Press “Select Departure”, located on the bottom of the page.
  5. There, you will see a bunch of options of SID’s that you may select. When picking a SID, you want to make sure that it matches your direction of flight, along with your departure runway. In our particular situation, the only available SID with a departure to the West is DEEZZ5 (North-West).
  6. In order to load it into your FPL, select the SID (in our case it is DEEZZ5).
  7. Then select your transition. In this case, we have three options: DEEZZ, CANDR, and TOWIN. We will select DEEZZ for our transition. The reasoning for this being that it best directs us toward the direction of KLAX (West) rather than the Southwest (which is where CANDR and TOWIN will direct us).
  8. Once the transition has been selected, you will now have to inform the system of the runway you will be using. For our case, it will be RW22B (Runway 22R, our departing runway).

Hats off to you, you’ve just completed the departing portion of filing a flight plan!

The next step would be to create a full flight plan that follows the real-world high and low IFR airways using the native navigation aids made available in Infinite Flight. A simple and quick way to do this is to use Follow the instructions on their website to copy and paste the flight plan it makes into Infinite Flight.

The final part of our flight-plan will be our STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Procedure) and approach procedures. Note, controllers will not assign you a STAR but there will likely be preferred STARs in use when you arrive so you must be prepared to change your flight plan upon arrival. You will want to pick the STAR that best lines up with your direction of travel upon arrival To file this:

  1. Tap on the world symbol at the bottom left corner of the status bar.
  2. Tap on your arrival airport.
  3. Tap on INFO (Information)
  4. Tap on PROC (Procedures).
  5. Tap “Arrival”
  6. We will be landing on runway 25L, and that STAR ANJLL4 (North East, All RWYS) is ATC Preferred. Since it matches all of our criteria, that will be our STAR of choice for our flight plan.
  7. Just like the SID, we will need to select our transition. In our case, we will be using transition DNERO.
  8. Add to flight plan

Congratulations, you’ve just filed the departing (SID) and arrival (STAR) for your flight-plan!

Lastly, we will work on our approach, along with the types of approaches in Infinite Flight. For our case, we will be using the ILS (Instrument Landing System) Approach for runway 25L.

  1. Head back to the procedures, but this time, click on “Select Approach”.
  2. Once clicked, select procedure I25L (ILS R25L).
  3. Our Transition will need to be CRCUS (IAF – initial approach fix), since that is where we will connect with our STAR.
  4. Press “Add to Flight Plan”, and the system will automatically load the respective altitudes into your flight plan.

Yay, you have completed your flight plan! When you’ve touched down, you will hear the pilots on the ground at KLAX clapping for you, as you’ve not only filed your very own flight plan, but you’ve used all aspects of it perfectly!

Daniel Steinman is a writer for the IFATC Education Group and loves to control the skies of Infinite Flight! He also loves flying to various airports on many aircraft throughout the world! He is always open to chat about aviation or to answer any questions you may have!