STOP PRESS: There have been recent but fairly minor changes to the language of FPLs. For details of these changes see AIC(Yellow) 099/12 available at www.ais.org.uk or the Olivia link below.
SUBMITTING FLIGHT PLANS:
Airfields with Air Traffic Control will usually provide blank forms and will file flight plans for you or especially on the continent, will have a dedicated computer or phone line. You can fax FPLS in England to 01489 612793 It is also possible to file a plan in flight via London Information or another ATC service, but this is unlikely to make you popular on a busy day! If flying from a non ATC airfield, or if you want to lodge flightplans in advance, then one of these on line systems may be used:
Official UK System, needing prior registration with password & pass phrase (taking several days to achieve!) Complex, takes a while to learn to use, but very helpful people on the help-line! (0845 6010483). Worth getting on top of for UK pilots.
Very straightforward French SIA system with English language option, needing no registration. Also has excellent Notam retrieval system giving summaries. In France it is also possible to ring 08 10 43 78 37 to file a FPL.
Excellent German System with English language option. Needs registration but this takes only minutes. Also good Notam system.
This system will file FPLs for you.
FILLING IN FLIGHT PLANS:
Offers an interactive Flight Plan Form which allows you to fill in standard details and print off forms. In the UK you can fax a completed FPL to Swanick on 01489 612793. It is in theory possible to file a FPL in the air via the station providing you a service, but this is not likely to make you popular!
CLOSING FLIGHT PLANS:
FPLs are closed automatically if you land at your destination airfield and this has ATC. Otherwise you need to close it by radio with an adjacent ATC service just before you land, (although some ATCs decline to do this) or by phone. The relevant number should be in the country’s flight guide, or you may find a helpful local. Some appropriate numbers are: UK: 0845 6010483 France: 08 10 43 78 37
FLIGHT PLANNING/ROUTE PLANNING:
There are numerous flight planning tools available commercially, but the best free one I have come across is at SkyVector. This user friendly site gives you aviation charts for the whole world and allows you very simply to put in a route and be given mileages and headings and a nav log. In addition Airfield plates are available and hovering over any airfield brings up its current Metars and TAFs. Sky Demon Light has a comparable free service for the UK. Of the subscription sites I have found both Sky Demon and Jeppesen Flitestar to be very good, with the former being my current favourite.