Flight Planning

Flight planning is an integral part of learning how to fly an airplane. Personally, I think it’s one of the most important things that you learn as a pilot.

All during flight school you learned (painfully) how to plan your flight using good ole pencil and ruler. Everything from calculating the winds, to figuring out cross wind components, to converting from indicated to true airspeed was all possible using your E6B.

After I got my PPL I was looking for good (and cheap) flight planning software. It didn’t have to anything fancy. I wouldn’t be flying IFR, or over 18,000′.

World Flight Planner was recently released that allows you to create flight plans online. The great thing about this site is that it allows you to access your plans on a mobile device as well as your desktop.

After setting up your aircraft (weight, speeds, etc..) you then start planning your trip. Here is a screen shot of a plan from Buttonville to Ottawa via Oshawa. One of my favorite features is the map. You can see all the airspace you will be traveling through, with the option of overlaying navaids, airways, airports, etc..

A elevation profile is also provided. This is a good tool to make sure that your planned altitude will clear terrain.

flightplan.png

Once you’re happy with the route, you click on the “plan” link and you’re presented with your standard navigation log. Upper winds, a fuel log, notams, and weather are all included on the resulting page for you to print off.

Other tools like weather look up (especially on the mobile version) is extremely handy.

I suggest that you sign up for the private beta and fool around with the site. Give some feedback to the developers (me and my friend Doug) so that we can make this product even better when we officially launch!

2 Responses

  1. Al says:

    Blake,
    The software is fantastic!
    The ability to use this software for flight planning will come in handy to all who want to know before they fly.
    You guys did an excellent job and should be congratulated!!!
    … Al.

  2. Ramon says:

    Looks very promising! I signed up for beta and will play around with it as soon as I get my login info. One feature I would love to have in a flight planner is the ability to automatically insert the forecasted winds/pressure/temp. I realize this may not be feasible (and maybe not even advisable) since there is usually some extrapolation of UPR WINDS and METAR/TAF data required to get appropriate figures for each leg. But, if there was an elegant way to have that done programatically, it would save a ton of time in generating the flight plan.