/U or /A?


There is an aircraft that I regularly fly that I know is /A, but it is marked /U. Is there a way to submit a correction?


The aircraft equipment displayed in the top tracking box is based on the flight plan from the last IFR flight. Perhaps the DME was inoperative or the pilot mistakenly filed no DME. Either way, if you file /A next time, it’ll fix itself.


Very cool! Thanks! I know my instructor has been trying to get me to file flight plans.


I know my instructor has been trying to get me to file flight plans.

It sounds like you like to fly with out flight plans. I hope what you actually mean is that the flight instructor wants you to file the plan as opposed to the flight instructor filing the plan. If not, I think you need to sit down and write 1000 times “I will always be safe and file a flight plan.”


I’ve never filed a flight plan when not flying IFR. They’re high on hassle and low on practicality. Maybe if you’re doing a VFR mountain crossing below the range of flight following it makes sense, but otherwise it’s hard to imagine anyone does it.


I hope you at least let someone know where you are going. Granted, I’m not a pilot but as one who is interested in aviation safety, it seems prudent that if a flight plan isn’t filed then at least someone should know the approximate route of flight and estimated time of return.


The scoop on VFR flight plans is that they’re a huge pain and not very practical. You have to file them through the same methods of an IFR flight plan except with VFR, you still have to tell the tower/clearance delivery/whoever where you’re going and whatnot since they don’t receive your flight plan. Once you’ve departed and are airborne, then you have to call a FSS (flight service station) while you’re busy flying, talking on the radio, whatever and activate your flight plan. The FSS doesn’t know about your whereabouts or status until you call them to cancel the flight plan at your arrival. So many people forget to call to notify FSS of arrival that they generally don’t launch a search for you for quite some time. Additionally, if you have some kind of technical problems en route, you aren’t guaranteed any kind of separation or services.

I haven’t flown VFR in a long time but when I did, I generally used flight following and flew between towered airports, so I was talking to ATC from start to finish.

IFR flight plans, on the other hand, are very convenient. Once you file, it’s waiting for you at your point of origin and the ATC system will have it throughout your flight and automatically cancel it when you turn off the runway at your destination. If you have problems en route or drop off the planet, there’s a variety of systems in place to come looking for you or if you’re airborne, guarantee separation to your destination depending on circumstances.


I’m with dbaker on this one. VFR flight plans CAN be a pain, but part of that depends on where you originate and land. Some towers will open them for you and some will want to know why you are bothering them with that kind of request, telling you to switch to FSS to open.

VFR flight following is MUCH, MUCH more effective and helpful. There is someone watching you all of the time. They may not care where you’re going, but if you fall out of the sky, they’ll send help directly to the right place without having to search. It’s even better if they will put you in the system for VFR flight following. Then you get handoffs the whole way and will probably show up on FA. They’ll also be available as a resource if you are thinking about falling out of the sky.

But for a significant trip, IFR is the only way to go, even in VMC. You’re covered for everything the whole way!

In summary, IFR flight plan: YES, VFR flight following: YES, VFR flight plan: probably not.