(NOTE: The pilot should monitor weather information during the twelve hours prior to the flight. Develop a mental picture of the weather covering the area of the flight. Determine, using the 1-2-3 rule if an alternate airport will be needed. If so, include the alternate airport in your flight planning.)


A. Use the Airport Facility Directory to determine if a preferred rout exists for your route of flight. If so, this should be your first choice for your route of flight. (Note whetehre it is a High or Low altitude route.)

B. Review your departure and destination airports for DPs and STARs. These should be your second choice for your route of flight.

C. Should a preferred route or DP/STAR not be available, determine the route to be used using airway routes whenever available. Use the most direct route when possible and/or practical.

D. List the fixes/checkpoints for each leg along the route on the flight log. Note each one that is also a compulsory reporting point in a different color or mark.

E. Determine the course for each leg and note on the flight log.

F. Note the distance between each fix or checkpoint on the flight log.

G. Note any enroute weather service facilities and their frequencies along the route of the flight on the flight log.

H. Check Class II Notams for changes along your route of flight for possible changes in the approach plates.


A. Note the following information about the destination airports:

1. Note all communication frequencies in their order of use.

2. Note any obsturctions in the vicinity of the airport that could interfere with the approach and landing.

3. Note the type of airport and runway lighting available at each airport.

4. Note the pertinent data for each airport, ie runway lengths, traffic patterns, type of nav-aids at the airport, airport field elevation, etc.


A. Determine which approach plate books are necessary and verify that you have them at hand and that they are current.

B. Study the plates for your departure, arrival, and alternate airports. Note the IAF for your desired approaches, missed approach procedure, initial altitude, approach facilities, and their frequencies, approach catagory and times for your aircraft, directions for each approach, and minimum altitude and visibility for each approach.

C. Review any existing DPs or STARs for your airports of use. Determine if any non-standard departure or approach minimums exist and how they will affect your flight.

D. Note any enroute facilities and feeder route shown on the chart.


A. Determine the weight and balance using actual empty weight and moment from the aircraft weight data sheet. Use actual passenger weights whenever possible. Use standard weight values when actual weights are not known. Be sure to consider fuel usage during the flight.

B. Note total weight, total moment, and CG. Verify that they fall within the range shown in the aircraft manual.


A. Call FSS at the local number or 1-800-WX-BRIEF and listen to the instructions. Dial 636 when instructed to receive the "Main Menu". Listen to the Main Menu and choose the recording which describes the weather closest to your route of flight. Listen to the recording.

B. Dial *99 at the end of the recording to talk to the briefer. Ask for a standard weather briefing. Give the specialist the following information:

1. Type of flight plan. (IFR)

2. Aircraft identification.

3. Aircraft type.

4. Departure airport.

5. Route of flight.

6. Destination airport.

7. Altitude to be flown.

8. Estimated departure time.

9. Estimated time enroute.

10. Tell the specialist this is an IFR cross country training flight. (Note: during poor weather conditions, the specialist will be reluctant to provide a complete briefing. Advise the briefer, if this happens, that you have been instructed to get a "full" briefing.)

C. Get actual wether conditions and forecasts for the departure airport, enroute, and destination airport.

D. Get winds aloft for 3000, 6000, amd 9000 feet and temperatures aloft at 6000 and 9000 feet. (Higher if necessary.)

E. Get current altimeter setting and surface temperature closest to your departure airport.

F. Ask for NOTAMS, PIREPS, and military advisories.

© 1999 - 2002 George T. Palecek.
All Rights Reserved.
Last modified 06/17/02.