Montana Department of Transportation

Aviation in Montana

Feature Story

Mandatory ICAO Flight Plan Filing Back On Track

Attention pilots: Two years after the FAA placed a hold on plans to require all domestic and international flight plan filers to use the international flight plan form, the policy has been revived with a start date of Aug. 27.

The resumption of the long-delayed mandate to adopt the flight plan form, which uses the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) format, comes after the FAA conducted extensive compatibility testing, said Rune Duke, AOPA's senior director of airspace, air traffic, and security.

Difficulties coordinating the implementation internationally caused the FAA in fall 2017 to set aside the ICAO format indefinitely after numerous target dates lapsed. The agency has continued to encourage pilots in the United States to use the international form voluntarily.

Many flights must already use the ICAO format flight plan, which according to the FAA is required now in the following circumstances:

  • When the flight will enter international airspace, including oceanic airspace controlled by FAA facilities.
  • When the flight expects routing or separation based on Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), for example, RNAV 1.
  • When the flight will enter Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) airspace.
  • When the flight expects services based on Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast.

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