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How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:31 pm
by igallego
I saw that pages such as flightaware.com display a flight route for some of their scheduled flights.
Where do they get this data from?

I would have thought that the route is determined by air traffic controllers and then given just to the pilots a few hours before departure.
But since pages such as flightaware are displaying it for up to +24 h scheduled flights... is it that the routes are decided 24 h in advance and then made publicly available?

Thanks!

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:20 am
by GalaxyFlyer
They’re all filed in advance, the filed plan and the clearance are usually close of the same, but at times differ entirely. The flight plan is, in Canadian speak, “center stored” where it comes from to Flight Aware, once the clearance is issued, it refreshes with the actual cleared route.

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:29 am
by dclevenger100
Canadian Speak "Canned" is what I know it as.

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:18 am
by FlyingElvii
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
They’re all filed in advance, the filed plan and the clearance are usually close of the same, but at times differ entirely. The flight plan is, in Canadian speak, “center stored” where it comes from to Flight Aware, once the clearance is issued, it refreshes with the actual cleared route.

In the US, dispatchers file the routings they want, taking into account a bunch of factors like winds aloft, weather, route restrictions, do they want a low level escape route due to enroute delays, etc. They file the most efficient routes that get things out and in, on time.

Center can and will change the requested routes occasionally based on their needs, but usually allow the commercial flights to go as they want, until they can’t.

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:27 am
by jetmatt777
FlightAware has also turned into a data aggregation company, where a flight plan may show a “typical” route until the actual one is filed.

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:49 am
by alasizon
jetmatt777 wrote:
FlightAware has also turned into a data aggregation company, where a flight plan may show a “typical” route until the actual one is filed.


To add to this, FlightAware will show the typical/standard route for a lot of markets where the same route is almost always filed and even if it is changed it doesn't update. For example, PHX-BUR will almost always show KEENS2 HRRBR PHRED THRNE3 simply because that is the default filing for WN and OO. Based on flows into SoCal, it gets changed from time to time to the old approach through Santa Clarita but you'll rarely see FlightAware update it.

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:51 am
by igallego
Thank you for the answers!

But when you say that they "file" the route, where do they file it to? Is it just sent to air traffic controllers? Or does any organization like FAA or ICAO aggregate the data which can be shared with other private companies (flightaware, flightradar, etc.).

You mentioned that flightaware will show a typical route until the actual one is filed. So it means that they do have an access to these routes, right?

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 1:36 pm
by 32andBelow
igallego wrote:
Thank you for the answers!

But when you say that they "file" the route, where do they file it to? Is it just sent to air traffic controllers? Or does any organization like FAA or ICAO aggregate the data which can be shared with other private companies (flightaware, flightradar, etc.).

You mentioned that flightaware will show a typical route until the actual one is filed. So it means that they do have an access to these routes, right?

Modern flight planning/dispatch software sends the flight plan straight to the FAA to be put in the ATC system. There’s agreed upon formats for flight plans so every country can understand it.

You can also file a flight plan on the FAA website. Or even call a flight service station to file one.

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:14 pm
by Cubsrule
FlyingElvii wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
They’re all filed in advance, the filed plan and the clearance are usually close of the same, but at times differ entirely. The flight plan is, in Canadian speak, “center stored” where it comes from to Flight Aware, once the clearance is issued, it refreshes with the actual cleared route.

In the US, dispatchers file the routings they want, taking into account a bunch of factors like winds aloft, weather, route restrictions, do they want a low level escape route due to enroute delays, etc. They file the most efficient routes that get things out and in, on time.

Center can and will change the requested routes occasionally based on their needs, but usually allow the commercial flights to go as they want, until they can’t.


At risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, it depends on what you mean by "want." Many busier routes in the US have preferred routes ("prefs") and deviation from those routes is frowned upon. And with approach and departure procedures you cannot and do not file direct to any airport of any size in the US. Even at airports without commonly utilized approaches and departures, there are often route restrictions. For instance, the Chicago airports do not have departure procedures that are used with any frequency, but all departures are filed over one of about 15 fixes, which are generally located in cardinal directions. You'll notice that flights from ORD/MDW to places like BNA and CLT leave the terminal area more or less straight southbound even though that is not direct.

Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:56 am
by SuseJ772
32andBelow wrote:
igallego wrote:
Thank you for the answers!

But when you say that they "file" the route, where do they file it to? Is it just sent to air traffic controllers? Or does any organization like FAA or ICAO aggregate the data which can be shared with other private companies (flightaware, flightradar, etc.).

You mentioned that flightaware will show a typical route until the actual one is filed. So it means that they do have an access to these routes, right?

Modern flight planning/dispatch software sends the flight plan straight to the FAA to be put in the ATC system. There’s agreed upon formats for flight plans so every country can understand it.

You can also file a flight plan on the FAA website. Or even call a flight service station to file one.


To give you a sense of what it looks like for us lowly General Aviation pilots, this is how we file a flight plan using ForeFlight. All we do is click the Proceed to File button on our flight plan and in a relatively short time (10 minutes usually) it is filed with the FAA and even visible on flights like FlightAware.

Now if you are asking how does a programmer get that to the FAA from their software, that can be answered here.

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Re: How to know the planned flight route?

Posted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:56 pm
by IAHFLYR
Cubsrule wrote:
Many busier routes in the US have preferred routes ("prefs") and deviation from those routes is frowned upon. And with approach and departure procedures you cannot and do not file direct to any airport of any size in the US.


To expand somewhat, you are able to file direct to any airport in the U.S., but at the large airports your flight plan will end up getting a preferential route tacked on to it by the enroute HOST computer before ATC issues the clearance. Airports with SID/STAR routes you'll find yourself assigned one of them based upon the equipage filed for your aircraft.