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Features September 2015 Issue

ICAO Flight Plan Update

Like a comet on a collision course for earth, ICAO flight plans are coming. This, our second glimpse through the telescope, shows itís just as complicated, but gives us some easy outs.

It only takes a cursory look at an ICAO flight plan form to get cranial blood-vessel spasms and the resultant migraine. Who starts a form at item seven? Yes, you really have to look up aircraft type codes in ICAO DOC 8643. Can equipment codes really use the whole alphabet, indecipherable by humans? Do they really have only one remarks box that serves as an explanation for nearly every other box on the whole form?

Despite the formís flaws and seemingly unfathomable complexities, the FAA is committed to drag U.S. pilots to the ICAO flight plan. Since the ICAO form is already required for flights utilizing performance based navigation (PBN), flying in RVSM airspace, utilizing ADS-B services, and flights outside the U.S., everybody else might as well share the pain.

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