FAA nextgen system - are small planes included


With the new FAA NEXTGEN system being implemented through out the nation -
Does this include small municipal airports ( are the flights being controlled by the faa next gen system)
and does it include the small and or medium aircraft such as : Cessna, Cirrus, Piper, Lancair, Beech , PC 12, Beech 300, Bombardier ?


NEXTGEN doesn’t change who is controlled.

It does allow for less expensive precision and non-precision approaches. It allows for satellite based navigation approaches. These approaches do require surveys but don’t require the expensive upkeep of ground based systems.

The requirement for ADS-B out (required in 2020) is the same as for Mode-C today. It is possible to fly a Lear jet without a transponder. The airspace it is flown in would have to not require a transponder.

Search NEXTGEN of the FAA website for more info.


Thanks for your response,
I was told that only large aircraft like United, Delta, American airlines, Southwest etc. are under the NexGen system but small craft like the Cessnas, pipers, Cirrus planes are not under the system. Does that mean the small aircraft pick their own flight path? Based on whose ?approval/monitoring .
Sorry I am a novice here and I am trying to find out how an area became a major, daily flight corridor for the small private planes. Like a freeway.
Example: our neighborhood went from experiencing maybe 10 small planes overhead a day to over 100 - nonstop. This just started approximately six months ago and we are being told it is due to the next GEN system redirecting flight traffic. But I was told by a pilot it only affects the large commercial jets not the small private folks flying around. However again it is confusing how after 20 years the neighborhood in a six month time period went to more than 100 a day.
Love your app - I know it is close to perfection but sometimes the path is off a little bit, the planes are right over my roof but the path shows it flying over several blocks away…

Thanks for any insight on how small planes fly a certain route - they are on the spot, same path - north going south - south going north like they are on a designated freeway.

Happy Valentine’s Day…



There has been a few articles about flight paths and NextGen. The old way the flight paths were not as fixed so you might get only a few planes/day flying over a certain home. The new NextGen system the flight path for most planes are all the same. This means every plane will fly over certain homes when doing an instrument approach. In most cases airports aren’t getting more traffic but you are getting more planes flying over a home.

Does that mean the small aircraft pick their own flight path?

Small planes aren’t required to make instrument approaches. They are required to do instrument approaches in bad weather but otherwise smaller planes fly under visual flight rules.

Based on whose ?approval/monitoring .

The FAA monitors planes that are flying under instrumental flight rules and visual flight rules.

I know it is close to perfection but sometimes the path is off a little bit, the planes are right over my roof but the path shows it flying over several blocks away…

The FlightAware website is about 1 minute behind real-time. If you want real-time location you would need to setup a piaware system.



On your app there are two lines representing flight paths.
The dash line is the flight path “filed” by the pilot and /or aviation company.

Why would a pilot or company file a “flight path” that the FAA would never - never agree to.

Example: x airport has 40 departures with flight path to fly in x path

no aircraft actually fly that path-they fly a different path 100% of the time

Then why “file” that flight path?

Thanks for your help



The flight path are made up of waypoints. You can see some of these waypoints on the enroute map on flightaware.com/live with the layer for high or low enroute. (Click on the three line icon on the top right of the map)

There is an ATC for high flying planes, lower flying planes on approach, and then local to an airport. The local airport air traffic depends a lot on the wind conditions and might not fly the filed path. Planes flying at altitude are usually flying their filed flight path.

I also suggest you click on any flight and then compare past flights to see how closely they follow their filed flight path over many days. They are usually quite accurate except near the takeoff and landing.


Several reasons, I suspect the main one is lazy pilots, just file direct and let ATC modify it.
The dispatcher/pilot, especially at charter or private companies, has little or no experience flying to the other coast so they pick something that looks reasonable on paper but does not work in real life.
Yes nextgen can be used by any aircraft equipped for it.