Flight planning question!!

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Flight planning question!!

Post by josephkhan »

always thought that a pilot needs to know before take-off that he can land at a certain airport. After the flight diversion I was on this week, I'm starting to second-guess this.

Does there need to be some kind of landing "clearance", adverse weather conditions aside, before taking off or can an aircraft take off and discover in the skies that the destination airport is closed because it's just too late?

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Re: Flight planning question!!

Post by jan_olieslagers »

The answer is multiple:
* airliners will usually file an IFR file plan, which is subject to approval from various parties. If the destination a/d is known to be unavailable, it will (hopefully) deny the flight plan;
* aerodromes listed in the AIP as "public" are required to accept traffic, during their published hours of operation. In Belgium there are only 6 - EBBR, EBAW, EBOS, EBKT, EBCI, EBLG - but Germany for example has many more, they call them "Verkehrslandeplatz" over there;
* aerodromes listed as "private" are usually PPR "Prior Permission Required" which means one (officially) needs to give them a phone call before take-off. It is usually a formality but I have happened to get a refusal, for example when the runway was closed due to an accident.

But surely, an aerodrome can always become unavailable, also at last minute, literally when one is on final - imagine the plane just before you suffers some kind of mishap on landing - so one must always have a plan B at hand.

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Re: Flight planning question!!

Post by Sabena320 »

It would help if you could provide your real life situation you were into. For ex. some airports close as from a certain hour, so if a flight is delayed it's possible that they depart with uncertainty/certainty if the airport will be closed by the time they arrive. In that case they just land at the most suitable/alternate airport. For. ex SN flights to BMA sometimes had to divert to ARN in the past as BMA was closed by the time they arrived.

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Re: Flight planning question!!

Post by Homo Aeroportus »

You just cannot take-off at will without a Flight Plan, filed and approved.
Among the items to be clarified are the Alternate AD(s).

To start with a Take-Off alternate.
Consider taking off from an aerodrome in weather conditions sufficient for TO but below your landing minimums (or if the locals switch off the light and go home after you departed) and things go wrong for you shortly after. You need to have planned for an ALTN AD.

En-Route ALTN.
e.g. ETOPS and unable to carry on to destination.

Destination ALTN.
At least 1 ALTN must be planned unless some conditions exist at the time of filing the FP such as reasonable certainty that the destination AD will have Wx above mins and/or at least two runways available and suitably equipped (don't hang me on this, forgot the precise conditions).
A second ALTN is even required e.g. when bad Wx is forecast (for example when you shoot for Madrid and you damn well know thunderstorms will create havoc there, then don't plan Zaragoza as ALTN because it is closed after 2000LT, but then take the necessary fuel to reach the real ALTN ;) ).

You even have the case of an Isolated AD for which there is no ALTN. So you'll have a Point of No Return, which coincides with the moment you hands get sweaty; think of Antarctica or possible Saint Helena.

You'll find more (and better) in ICAO Annex 6 (not my cup of tea).
Or this link gives you some more details about filing a Flight Plan : https://files.eurofpl.eu/originalfpl/pd ... latest.pdf

Happy Landings, at destination or not ;)


PS : AD = Aerodrome, not necessarily an "Airport"

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Re: Flight planning question!!

Post by jan_olieslagers »

You just cannot take-off at will without a Flight Plan, filed and approved.
Oh yes I can, and have done so often, and will again. In fact more and more countries are, though slowly, doing away with the requirement for flight plans - I can fly all the way through Germany, Czechia, Poland and more without ever filing one. But that is VFR of course, and avoiding controlled airspace.

It would indeed help if we knew what kind of flying the topicstarter is talking about, but I seem to read between the lines she/he was an airline passenger. In which case all H.A.'s remarks are fully to the point.
AD = Aerodrome, not necessarily an "Airport"
Indeed. Only the stupid US'ans call every grass runway an "airport".

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Re: Flight planning question!!

Post by speedbird1 »

These may also help to shed some light your flight planning questions!


https://www.eurocontrol.int/publication ... ers-manual


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Re: Flight planning question!!

Post by Poiu »

Don’t make it too complicated guys!
The OP, clearly, was on a flight inbound to an airport with a curfew and diverted because the were too late.
When running late pilots will try everything to save time and land before the curfew, some airports are very strict and won’t even allow 1 minute extra. Losing time en route, for eg weather avoidance, wont be taken into account to allow an arrival after the curfew. The pilots don’t have any choice and have to divert. When it is tight or unexpected time is lost during flight the decision to divert is made at the very last moment.
In general, issuing a landing clearance before take off is impossible as too many things can happen at destination between take off and landing.

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