sillykim
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:28 am

What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:34 am

I have noticed that FAA provides data delivery service where both waypoints and ATS routes are available to download. By looking at the files, I realize that there are a variety of waypoints and routes. I really want to pick the particular type of waypoint, which are used for pilots to prepare a flight plan in reality. Could you please let me know which types of waypoints/routes are used in practice?
 
32andBelow
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 am

Just go on Skyvector you can literally use any way point or airway. We are ATC don’t care
 
mmo
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:38 pm

Generally, flight planning is done via computer flight planning. The dispatcher will run a minimum time flight plan and then review it for things like weather issues, turbulence issues, airspace issues and then make the necessary corrections. In quite a few cases, you won't fly the minimum time flight plan but a modified version of it. Pilots show up at dispatch and review the route, fuel required and really don't have much to do with constructing flight plans anymore.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2338
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:53 pm

our dispatchers would run 3 route scenarios. 1, fastest, 2. econ and a blend. They would choose the route that was best for that day. Generally fastest wasn't the first choice unless they needed to jet back asap.
 
BravoOne
Posts: 3534
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:08 pm

If you have access to the Jeppesen Jet Plan program you can build a flight plan from scratch or you simply "optimize" the routing and altitude for that give day and hour. You can also look at Flight Aware and see what everyone is doing when going from City A to City B during those time periods and will note that 98% of the traffic is doing the same routing with only variables being altitude depending on equipment type. Going from say LAX to JFK will vary do to weather over the midwest during the summer months with slight variation for arrivals into JFK, again mostly weather driven.

This is not the same for NAT crossings as there are other variables that need consideration.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:55 pm

ARINC, now part of Collins, has the best flight planning website, very easy to use, customizable. Like Jet Plan requires a subscription and access is only for the types operated.

I haven’t hand computed a flight plan since about 1984 or ‘85. We hand wrote out the flight plan form in the USAF up to about 2004 or so, but had a Jet Plan, so we were just transferring the route onto the form to hand to Base Ops. Nobody computes their own plans much anymore with FltPlan.com even the weekend flier in his 172 has a computer flight plan in hand and it’s filed electronically.


GF
 
spacecadet
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Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:21 am

To actually answer your question, IFR and GPS waypoints and fixes are used for IFR flight plans. VFR waypoints cannot be used on an IFR flight plan, and IFR waypoints/fixes cannot be used on a VFR flight plan (unless you can see it - theoretically you can look out the window and spot a VOR).

Basically, go to SkyVector and look at the different charts. They are used for different purposes. "World Hi" and "World Lo" are the two IFR charts and are what's used to determine IFR routings above or below 18,000 feet. The "World VFR" and TAC charts are used to determine VFR routings.

Typically IFR routes are planned along airways, with entry and exit points on those airways determined by departure procedures and standard terminal arrivals. VFR routes *can* be routed along official VFR flyways, but they can really be routed any old way you want, as long as you can see all the waypoints.

The FAA has "preferred" routes for many different major city pairs. You can look up a particular route or download the entire database from the FAA's site here: https://www.fly.faa.gov/rmt/nfdc_prefer ... tabase.jsp

That doesn't mean a dispatcher or pilot can't file a different route, but he may end up actually *getting* the preferred route whether he wants it or not. The FAA will let you go off their preferred route only if there's no conflict and workload permits.

All of this is true whether or not you're using some automatically generated flight plan.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
gloom
Posts: 309
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:24 pm

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:44 am

Just to add a little extra:

spacecadet wrote:
The FAA


Exactly. What was described above, is the US-only view. In many other parts of the world, rules are different. There are countries where routes are no longer low-hi profiled, but could still be FL dependant (available FL restrictions, country-specific levels). There are countries with FRA (Free Route Airspace). Direct routings are also allowed based on specific country. There are area-specific routes (NATs, polar, Pacific). So, software is really a helping hand. Failure of software would certainly severely affect ops.
Still, many airlines flying short range have their "standard routings", and usually simply pick up last flights flight plan. The only modification would be (usually) an adjustment for flight level. This is common to Europe, I guess, where most routes are within 1000nm.

Cheers,
Adam
 
Woodreau
Posts: 1789
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:17 pm

After everything is all said and done and your flight plan is filed, At least in the western half of the US you request and can get direct, traffic and workload permitting. Even when you don’t have any sort of RNAV/GPS to fly direct, it’ll be radar vectors direct when able.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3546
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:12 pm

spacecadet wrote:
To actually answer your question, IFR and GPS waypoints and fixes are used for IFR flight plans. VFR waypoints cannot be used on an IFR flight plan, and IFR waypoints/fixes cannot be used on a VFR flight plan (unless you can see it - theoretically you can look out the window and spot a VOR).

Basically, go to SkyVector and look at the different charts. They are used for different purposes. "World Hi" and "World Lo" are the two IFR charts and are what's used to determine IFR routings above or below 18,000 feet. The "World VFR" and TAC charts are used to determine VFR routings.

Typically IFR routes are planned along airways, with entry and exit points on those airways determined by departure procedures and standard terminal arrivals. VFR routes *can* be routed along official VFR flyways, but they can really be routed any old way you want, as long as you can see all the waypoints.

The FAA has "preferred" routes for many different major city pairs. You can look up a particular route or download the entire database from the FAA's site here: https://www.fly.faa.gov/rmt/nfdc_prefer ... tabase.jsp

That doesn't mean a dispatcher or pilot can't file a different route, but he may end up actually *getting* the preferred route whether he wants it or not. The FAA will let you go off their preferred route only if there's no conflict and workload permits.

All of this is true whether or not you're using some automatically generated flight plan.


I may be out of date here, but there’s nothing in Part 91 or the AIM restricting a VFR flight on a VFR flight plan (or not) from flying on an airway or using nav aids as long as all the VFR cloud clearance and altitudes are maintained. Yes, the USAF prohibits USAF pilots doing so, but not the FAA.

GF
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3546
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: What kind of waypoints/routes (FAA) are used to prepare a flight plan in practice?

Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:03 pm

I see elsewhere, spacecadet that you might be in EASA land, disregard the above comment, if so. FAA has no such separation between IFR and VFR.

GF

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