Glossary

jet charter pilots in cockpit

IFR Flight Plan

Flight plans are filed by a pilot, airplane captain, or flight dispatcher with the Federal Aviation Administration prior to a departure. The flight plan indicates the plane’s flight path or planned route. A properly constructed flight plan will include the following information:

  • Departure point
  • Arrival point
  • Estimated flying time
  • Alternate airports to land at in case of an emergency or poor weather conditions
  • The information of the pilot or airplane captain
  • Information on fuel and fluid levels
  • True airspeed
  • Number of crew and passengers
  • Important aircraft information
  • Type of flight (IFR or VFR)

The IFR Flight Plan

In most countries, flight plans are required for flights operating under IFR. Flights that are operating under VFR have the option of submitting a flight plan or not if not crossing international borders.

When a pilot operates under IFR and files an IFR flight plan, the pilot must be IFR rated. The pilot also needs to be able to operate the flight exclusively on the data provided by the jet instrumentation. A filed flight plan not only assists air traffic control, it also acts as a way of alerting rescuers if a flight is late. In order to file an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan, the pilot must call the local flight service station prior to takeoff.