VFR Flight Plan
A VFR flight plan is a document filed by a commercial or private jet pilot or flight dispatcher before a flight commences. The document must be filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prior to departure to indicate the planned route or flight path of the aircraft.
VFR flight plans must be filed whenever an aircraft plans a cross-country flight and plans to operate under VFR flight rules. However, VFR flight plans are not required, only strongly recommended by the FAA, when an aircraft flies through class B airspace.
It’s in the Details
All flight plans, including the VFR type, should include the following:
- Pilot’s name
- A contact phone number
- The intended flight path of the aircraft
- True airspeed
- Amount of fuel onboard
- Estimated travel time
- Alternate airports located along the planned route
- Number of passengers and crewmembers onboard
- Other pertinent information about the aircraft itself
The VFR’s flight plans’ true purpose is to provide pertinent information should a search and rescue team be required. Air traffic control may also request this information when the aircraft flies through a special flight rules area.
Once a flight plan is filed, the pilot must open it with the help of the local FSS. Once the commercial or private jet pilot safely reaches their destination, they must close their flight plan. If left open, the FSS will assume the flight did not land and will then forward the flight plan to a search and rescue operation.