If you file a flight plan when you make a cross-country flight (and you ought to) then you should be aware that in October 2016 the FAA will be switching from the current US format to the ICAO flight plan format.
Most flight planning apps that permit in-app filing already have the ability to use the ICAO format, but without the need for most of us to go that route we have not taken the time to see just what additional information might be required on the ICAO form. It’s not as simple as just selecting the other form.
iPad Pilot News has a good article on setting up the form in the ForeFlight app. The additional information that must be placed in some of the blocks will not change between apps, but the method to get the information into the blocks may be different.
In general, the new form will require specific codes for:
- Basic Aircraft Data
- Communications Radios
- Navigation and Approach Aids
- Performance-Based Navigation
- Surveillance (ADS-B/Transponder), and
- Survival Equipment
The process can get complicated when you try to set it up so it’s best to start now and set up your flight planning app while you have the time to figure out the details. That way when October swings around (faster than you expect), all you have to do is select the right flight planning form in your application and you will be set to go.