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5-1-7. Flight Plan- IFR Flights

a. General

1. Prior to departure from within, or prior to entering
controlled airspace, a pilot must submit a complete flight plan
and receive an air traffic clearance, if weather conditions are
below VFR minimums. Instrument flight plans may be submitted to
the nearest FSS or ATCT either in person or by telephone (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.
In order to provide FAA traffic management
units strategic route planning capabilities, nonscheduled
operators conducting IFR operations above FL 230 are requested
to voluntarily file IFR flight plans at least 4 hours prior to
estimated time of departure (ETD).

To minimize your delay in
entering Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E surface areas
at destination when IFR weather conditions exist or are
forecast at that airport, an IFR flight plan should be filed
before departure. Otherwise, a 30 minute delay is not unusual
in receiving an ATC clearance because of time spent in
processing flight plan data. Traffic saturation frequently
prevents control personnel from accepting flight plans by
radio. In such cases, the pilot is advised to contact the
nearest FSS for the purpose of filing the flight plan.


There are several methods of obtaining IFR clearances at
nontower, non-FSS, and outlying airports. The procedure may
vary due to geographical features, weather conditions, and the
complexity of the ATC system. To determine the most effective
means of receiving an IFR clearance, pilots should ask the
nearest FSS the most appropriate means of obtaining the IFR

2. When filing an IFR flight plan for flight in an aircraft
equipped with a radar beacon transponder, DME equipment,
TACAN-only equipment, Global Navigation Satellite System
(GNSS), or a combination of any of these types of equipment,
identify the equipment capability by adding a suffix, preceded
by a slant, to the AIRCRAFT TYPE, as shown in

TBL 5-1-2.

3. It is recommended that pilots file the maximum transponder
or navigation capability of their aircraft in the equipment
suffix. This will provide ATC with the necessary information to
utilize all facets of navigational equipment and transponder
capabilities available.


The suffix is not to be added to the aircraft identification or
be transmitted by radio as part of the aircraft identification.

c. Direct Flights

1. All or any portions of the route which will not be flown on
the radials or courses of established airways or routes, such
as direct route flights, must be defined by indicating the
radio fixes over which the flight will pass. Fixes selected to
define the route shall be those over which the position of the
aircraft can be accurately determined. Such fixes automatically
become compulsory reporting points for the flight, unless
advised otherwise by ATC. Only those navigational aids
established for use in a particular structure; i.e., in the low
or high structures, may be used to define the en route phase of
a direct flight within that altitude structure.

2. The azimuth feature of VOR aids and that azimuth and
distance (DME) features of VORTAC and TACAN aids are assigned
certain frequency protected areas of airspace which are
intended for application to established airway and route use,
and to provide guidance for planning flights outside of
established airways or routes. These areas of airspace are
expressed in terms of cylindrical service volumes of specified
dimensions called "class limits" or "categories."


AIM, Navigational Aid (NAVAID) Service Volumes, Paragraph 1-1-8

3. An operational service volume has been established for each
class in which adequate signal coverage and frequency
protection can be assured. To facilitate use of VOR, VORTAC, or
TACAN aids, consistent with their operational service volume
limits, pilot use of such aids for defining a direct route of
flight in controlled airspace should not exceed the following:

(a) Operations above FL 450 - Use aids not more than 200
NM apart. These aids are depicted on enroute high
altitude charts.

(b) Operation off established routes from 18,000 feet MSL
to FL 450 - Use aids not more than 260 NM apart. These
aids are depicted on enroute high altitude charts.

(c) Operation off established airways below 18,000 feet
MSL - Use aids not more than 80 NM apart. These aids are
depicted on enroute low altitude charts.

(d) Operation off established airways between 14,500 feet
MSL and 17,999 feet MSL in the conterminous U.S. - (H)
facilities not more than 200 NM apart may be used.

4. Increasing use of self-contained airborne navigational
systems which do not rely on the VOR/VORTAC/TACAN system has
resulted in pilot requests for direct routes which exceed
NAVAID service volume limits. These direct route requests will
be approved only in a radar environment, with approval based on
pilot responsibility for navigation on the authorized direct
route. Radar flight following will be provided by ATC for ATC

5. At times, ATC will initiate a direct route in a radar
environment which exceeds NAVAID service volume limits. In such
cases ATC will provide radar monitoring and navigational
assistance as necessary.

6. Airway or jet route numbers, appropriate to the stratum in
which operation will be conducted, may also be included to
describe portions of the route to be flown.



Spelled out: from Chicago Midway Airport via Victor 262 to
Bradford, Victor 10 to Burlington, Iowa, direct St. Joseph,
Missouri, direct Salina, Kansas, direct Garden City, Kansas.


When route of flight is described by radio fixes, the pilot
will be expected to fly a direct course between the points

7. Pilots are reminded that they are responsible for adhering
to obstruction clearance requirements on those segments of
direct routes that are outside of controlled airspace. The
MEA's and other altitudes shown on low altitude IFR enroute
charts pertain to those route segments within controlled
airspace, and those altitudes may not meet obstruction
clearance criteria when operating off those routes.

d. Area Navigation (RNAV)

1. Random RNAV routes can only be approved in a radar
environment. Factors that will be considered by ATC in
approving random RNAV routes include the capability to provide
radar monitoring and compatibility with traffic volume and
flow. ATC will radar monitor each flight, however, navigation
on the random RNAV route is the responsibility of the pilot.

2. Pilots of aircraft equipped with approved area navigation
equipment may file for RNAV routes throughout the National
Airspace System and may be filed for in accordance with the
following procedures.

(a) File airport-to-airport flight plans.

(b) File the appropriate RNAV capability certification
suffix in the flight plan.

(c) Plan the random route portion of the flight plan to
begin and end over appropriate arrival and departure
transition fixes or appropriate navigation aids for the
altitude stratum within which the flight will be
conducted. The use of normal preferred departure and
arrival routes (DP/STAR), where established, is

(d) File route structure transitions to and from the
random route portion of the flight.

(e) Define the random route by waypoints. File route
description waypoints by using degree-distance fixes
based on navigational aids which are appropriate for the
altitude stratum.

(f) File a minimum of one route description waypoint for
each ARTCC through whose area the random route will be
flown. These waypoints must be located within 200 NM of
the preceding center's boundary.

(g) File an additional route description waypoint for
each turnpoint in the route.

(h) Plan additional route description waypoints as
required to ensure accurate navigation via the filed
route of flight. Navigation is the pilot's responsibility
unless ATC assistance is requested.

(i) Plan the route of flight so as to avoid prohibited
and restricted airspace by 3 NM unless permission has
been obtained to operate in that airspace and the
appropriate ATC facilities are advised.


To be approved for use in the National Airspace System,
RNAV equipment must meet the appropriate system
availability, accuracy, and airworthiness standards. For
additional guidance on equipment requirements see AC
20-130, Airworthiness Approval of Vertical Navigation
(VNAV) Systems for use in the U.S. NAS and Alaska, or AC
20-138, Airworthiness Approval of Global Positioning
System (GPS) Navigation Equipment for Use as a VFR and
IFR Supplemental Navigation System. For airborne
navigation database, see AC 90-94, Guidelines for Using
GPS Equipment for IFR En Route and Terminal Operations
and for Nonprecision Instrument Approaches in the U.S.
National Airspace System, Section 2.

3. Pilots of aircraft equipped with latitude/longitude
coordinate navigation capability, independent of VOR/TACAN
references, may file for random RNAV routes at and above FL 390
within the conterminous U.S. using the following procedures.

(a) File airport-to-airport flight plans prior to

(b) File the appropriate RNAV capability certification
suffix in the flight plan.

(c) Plan the random route portion of the flight to begin
and end over published departure/arrival transition fixes
or appropriate navigation aids for airports without
published transition procedures. The use of preferred
departure and arrival routes, such as DP and STAR where
established, is recommended.

(d) Plan the route of flight so as to avoid prohibited
and restricted airspace by 3 NM unless permission has
been obtained to operate in that airspace and the
appropriate ATC facility is advised.

(e) Define the route of flight after the departure fix,
including each intermediate fix (turnpoint) and the
arrival fix for the destination airport in terms of
latitude/longitude coordinates plotted to the nearest
minute. The arrival fix must be identified by both the
latitude/longitude coordinates and a fix identifier.


MIA1 SRQ2 3407/106153 3407/11546 TNP4 LAX 5

1 Departure airport.

2 Departure fix.

3 Intermediate fix (turning point).

4 Arrival fix.

5 Destination airport.

(f) Record latitude/longitude coordinates by four figures
describing latitude in degrees and minutes followed by a
solidus and five figures describing longitude in degrees
and minutes.

(g) File at FL 390 or above for the random RNAV portion
of the flight.

(h) Fly all routes/route segments on Great Circle tracks.

(i) Make any inflight requests for random RNAV clearances
or route amendments to an en route ATC facility.

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