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Instrument Flying Handbook
IFR Flight
Sources of Flight Planning Information and IFR Right Plan

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Instrument Flying


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Human Factors
Chapter 2. Aerodynamic Factors
Chapter 3. Flight Instruments
Chapter 4. Section I
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 4. Section II
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 5. Section I
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 5. Section II
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 6. Helicopter
Attitude Instrument Flying

Chapter 7. Navigation Systems
Chapter 8. The National
Airspace System

Chapter 9. The Air Traffic
Control System

Chapter 10. IFR Flight
Chapter 11. Emergency

Sources of Flight Planning Information

The following resources are available for a pilot planning a
flight conducted under instrument flight rules (IFR),

National Aeronautical Charting Group (NACG)

  • IFR en route charts
  • area charts
  • United States (U.S.) Terminal Procedures Publications

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications:

  • AIM
  • Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)
  • Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP) for flight
    planning in the National Airspace System (NAS)

Pilots should also consult the Pilot's Operating Handbook,
Airplane Flight Manual (POH/AFM) for flight planning
information pertinent to the aircraft to be flown.

A review of the contents of all the listed publications will help
determine which material should be referenced for each flight.
As a pilot becomes more familiar with these publications, the
flight planning process becomes quicker and easier.

Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
The AIM provides the aviation community with basic
flight information and air traffic control (ATC) procedures
used in the United States NAS. An international version
called the Aeronautical Information Publication contains
parallel information, as well as specific information on the
international airports used by the international community.

Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)
The A/FD contains information on airports, communications,
and navigation aids pertinent to IFR flight. It also includes
very-high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR) receiver
checkpoints, automated flight service station (AFSS), weather
service telephone numbers, and air route traffic control center
(ARTCC) frequencies. Various special notices essential
to flight are also included, such as land-and-hold-short
operations (LAHSO) data, the civil use of military fields,
continuous power facilities, and special flight procedures.

In the major terminal and en route environments, preferred
routes have been established to guide pilots in planning their
routes of flight, to minimize route changes, and to aid in the
orderly management of air traffic using the federal airways.
The A/FD lists both high and tow altitude preferred routes.

Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP)
The NTAP is a publication containing current Notices to
Airmen (NOTAMs), which are essential to the safety of flight,
as well as supplemental data affecting the other operational
publications listed. It also includes current Flight Data Center
(FDC) NOTAMs, which are regulatory in nature, issued to
establish restrictions to flight or to amend charts or published
instrument approach procedures (IAPs).

The POH/AFM contain operating limitations, performance,
normal and emergency procedures, and a variety of other
operational information for the respective aircraft. Aircraft
manufacturers have done considerable testing to gather and
substantiate the information in the aircraft manual. Pilots should
refer to it for information relevant to a proposed fight.

IFR Right Plan

As specified in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations
(14 CFR) part 91, no person may operate an aircraft in
controlled airspace under IFR unless that person has filed an
IFR flight plan. Flight plans may be submitted to the nearest
AFSS or air traffic control tower (ATCT) either in person,
by telephone (I -800-WX-BRIEF), by computer (using the
direct user access terminal system (DUATS)), or by radio
if no other means are available. Pilots should file IFR flight
plans at least 30 minutes prior to estimated time of departure
to preclude possible delay in receiving a departure clearance
from ATC. The AIM provides guidance for completing
and filing FAA Form 7233-1, Flight Plan. These forms are
available at flight service stations (FSSs), and are generally
found in flight planning rooms at airport terminal buildings.
[Figure 10-1]

Filing in Flight
IFR flight plans may be filed from the air under various
conditions, including:

1. A flight outside controlled airspace before proceeding
into IFR conditions in controlled airspace.

2. A VFR flight expecting IFR weather conditions en
route in controlled airspace.

In either of these situations, the flight plan may be filed with
the nearest AFSS or directly with the ARTCC. A pilot who
files with the AFSS submits the information normally entered
during preflight filing, except for "point of departure,"
together with present position and altitude. AFSS then
relays this information to the ARTCC. The ARTCC will
then clear the pilot from present position or from a specified
navigation fix.