Planning a Flight

Every flight needs planning, even a local flight.

Apart from checking the plane over and making sure there's enough fuel in it, and adequate reserves, certain other things have to be done:-

This used to be a bit of a headache, but now the easiest way to obtain these is through , which is a free program for planning cross-country flights, and gives the NOTAMS (Notices to Airmen) and info on temporarily restricted airspace etc.  Click on your starting airfield then on your destination airfield and 'rubber-band the line around the various restrictions.  Select the height so relevant airspace is included and irrelevant airspace is ignored.  Panels of information on restrictions at certain points will appear.

If you add the wind speed and bearing and your cruising air-speed, you will get a time and distance for the flight.  You can also get a PLOG with the headings and times to fly between turning points, which can be printed out.   You can get the full version of Skydemon for an annual subscription - you can try it free for a month to see how you get on.

The IAIP publication with details of airfields and lots of other information can be found at , which is well worth checking up for the latest details.  You can also check for NOTAMS here, but it's a lot harder than using . 

There are several dedicated weather sites; is one of the best for aviators, with pictorial info on winds, visibility, pressure, cloudbase, trends etc. (1.5 MB).  This is an excellent site and free to use for forecasting and current conditions in a number of countries. Please donate if you use it.

The Met Office has a series of briefing pages for aviators, which is helpful for seeing the winds and temps at various levels, as well as the forecast and synopsis.  Basic information is free, but enhanced services are available on subscription.   You need to log-on with a username and password at Met Office Aviation .


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