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How to File a Flight Plan with Foreflight

If you want to fly in the United States or internationally, it’s essential to know how to file a flight plan with Foreflight. Your Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) can make this task easy and quick, and if you follow the directions below, you’ll have your flight plan filed in no time.

Getting Started

First and foremost, you must establish your intended cruising altitude. Doing so is critical for optimal use of our handy flight-planning feature. Without a selected cruising altitude, we can’t help you file your flight plan, and—more importantly—you could be breaking FAA regulations.

Here are two examples of acceptable cruising altitudes: If you’re flying VFR from ATC (ATC = air traffic control), your cruising altitude should correspond with what ATC has issued as their current clearance. For example, if they tell you to climb and maintain 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL), 2,000 would be your established cruising altitude.

Enter Information Into General Flight Parameters

The second step in using ForeFlight for flight planning is to enter information into general flight parameters. These are different than your aircraft’s unique information, which will be entered later in Steps 3 and 4. This section includes fields like aircraft type, route of flight, fuel onboard, etc.

If you ever have multiple aircraft flying together under one account or logged into one iPad, they can be identified in subsequent steps based on these generalized settings. Because most operators operate more than one type of aircraft at any time, I recommend using these broad categories when filling out your general flight parameters.

Choose an Approach Procedure

The approach procedure will vary by the airfield, but one of these is likely to be used:

  • A standard non-precision (RNAV) approach, an RNAV (GNSS) or GPS approach, or an ILS or ILS or MLS precision approach.
  • Non-precision approaches are easier than their precision counterparts and can be flown into most runways that aren’t equipped with an instrument landing system (ILS).
  • Pilots flying in poor weather may also use non-precision approaches as they don’t require visual contact with the ground.

 Choose an Airport

To add an airport to your flight plan, tap ‘Airports’ in the top-left corner of the screen. The airports listed here are based on your iPad’s GPS location so that you can select from nearby or faraway airports. If you’re filing a flight plan for cross-country or international travel, select an airport closest to your destination.

Once selected, tap the info icon:

(i) next to each airport name for additional information such as coordinates and elevation above sea level.

Enter Departure Procedures for Airports Without GPS

This is when you’ll have to put in some work. Suppose your destination airport doesn’t have GPS (many smaller airports don’t). In that case, your VFR arrival and departure routes must be recorded by hand on FAA form 2290-1 using magnetic course headings from sectional charts or other aviation documents.

When entering these routes, make sure they line up correctly along your flight route. For example, if you’re coming in for a touch-and-go landing, there should be at least two turns — one off your outbound track and one onto your inbound track — that line up exactly as per FAA regs. 

Plotting Departure and Enroute Information

This is where you enter all of your departure and enroute information, including your flight plan route, fixes, and waypoints. Before entering any data into ForeFlight Mobile, check for any NOTAM (notice to airmen) information that might affect your flight.

All aircraft operations outside of Class B, C, D, and E airspace require prior authorization from ATC (air traffic control). In addition to a departure clearance from ATC. Pilots must also request approval from air traffic control before entering each new section of airspace. This means filing an appropriate flight plan in advance and communicating with ATC once airborne.

Choosing an Arrival Approach Procedure

It’s quite simple when you’re ready to file your flight plan. Open up ForeFlight Mobile and tap on Planning on the bottom left of the screen. From there, tap Add Leg and choose your route. (If you haven’t created a route yet, it will ask you if you want to make one) You’ll want to select 1 waypoint as your origin; this will be where you start flying out towards point X, then turn around and come back home.

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