Planning CookbookAirfield Suitability
Decide on your route of flight. Pick a general route of flight
from your point of origin to the destination. Start with a general
route so that you can narrow down where you would like to stop along the
way (if you are allowed to pick...) Force protection, weather,
temperature, pressure altitude, and many other factors may influence
your route of flight.
2. Pick locations to refuel and/or RON.
Along this general route of flight, select several stops for refuel
or RON (unless you plan to fly non-stop or aerial refuel enroute).
Pay attention to length of each flight leg with respect to fuel on board
(including reserves and divert fuel), crew duty day, and what time of
the day you would like to arrive at each location.
3. Reference the IFR Enroute Supplement.
Gather the appropriate information form the IFR Supp. Make
sure you reference the airfield operating hours, restrictions, and
runway / instrument approach information. Note the contact
information for the airfield manager or Baseops, FBOs (if a civilian
field), and PPR request information.
4. Reference the Airfield Suitability
Reports. Refer to the
Airfield Suitability Reports online to verify if the airfield can
accept your aircraft. Is the airfield suitable to accept your type
/ weight of aircraft? Does the facility have
government contract fuel? What are their hours of operation?
What instrument approaches, departure procedures, climb gradients, are
available (is your aircraft capable of flying these? How about
with one engine out?) Are there any additional restrictions? (e.g.
Defensive Systems required, day-only ops, VFR-only ops, no hot-cargo,
MOG limits, etc.) You may wish to cross-reference the FLIP
Low-Altitude Instrument Approach books for more information and to view
the airfield diagram. Make sure you spend ample time doing a TERPS
analysis for all destination and alternate airfields. If you plan
on flying Host-Nation or Jeppessen approaches, you may need to plan for
the appropriate authorities review your approaches and/or grant you a
5. Contact Baseops at the airfield.
Once you have picked your locations and verified that your aircraft is
capable and legal to land there, you must still request permission to land and
refuel and / or RON. Contact Baseops and request a PPR (if
required). The authorities in Baseops will want to know:
your aircraft call sign, pax and cargo information, ETA in Zulu,
servicing requirements, and ETD in Zulu. If you are arriving at a
civilian field, contact the appropriate FBO with your arrival
information. Don't forget to cross-reference the NOTAMs for the
Military Personal Loans - 24 Hour Service
Route of Flight
1. Decide on your route of flight. You
may need to plan for more than one route based on possible weather,
cargo, contingency scenarios (e.g. Atlantic / Pacific Ocean Crossings).
When picking landing stops for refuel / RON, make sure you account for
airfield suitability, hours of operation, servicing requirements,
instrument approaches available, departure procedures, force protection,
2. Generate an actual route of flight.
Use FLIP Enroute Charts and/or PFPS software. Make note of the FIR
Boundary (Flight Information Region) Crossings; keep an eye out for
Special Use Airspace (SUAS), Restricted Areas, etc. Remember,
foreign countries do not necessarily have their transition level at
FL180 like in the USA. Many international routes have minimum
altitudes that your aircraft may not be able to meet (i.e. C-130-type
aircraft). For over flight of mountainous terrain, don't forget to
figure out your engine-out service ceiling. If flying in the
European Air Traffic Control system, you should reference the
Route Availability Document (RAD). This site gives you
information how your routes get formed/approved in Eurocontrol airspace.
3. List all Overflight Countries and Landing
Countries. Tabulate a list of all countries whose airspace you
will transit (FIR boundaries extend well beyond the 12-mile
international borders) and all countries where you will actually land.
4. Reference the Foreign Clearance Guide. Refer
to the Foreign Clearance Guide
to verify the "Aircraft Entrance Requirements". Look up each
country that you are overflying or landing at and find out their
requirements. Specifically look for their Diplomatic Clearance
requirements. Certain countries may not even allow US Military
aircraft to overfly, or to land, or to RON. Be thorough!
Furthermore, depending on your cargo (HAZMAT, Ammunition, etc.) certain
countries have further restrictions. Some NATO and allied
countries do not specifically require an official Diplomatic Clearance
request -- instead they have granted "Blanket Clearance". If your
aircraft and situation qualify, then you may simply use their Blanket
Clearance - ensure you reference this on your
International Flight Plan.
At this point you should have been able to verify
whether or not all the countries in your route of flight will allow you
overflight and/or landing clearance. If so, continue to #5, if
not, plan a new route of flight.
5. Generate a timeline. If
possible, create a winded flight plan. If you have not already
done so, insert your route of flight into PFPS to generate a flight plan
(and Form-70). Insert your actual takeoff time in the first
time-block and calculate the rest of the times. Now you have an
accurate timeline. Always use Zulu-hour as your reference when
creating your Diplomatic Clearance Request messages. Note all
takeoff, landing, and FIR Boundary entry and exit point times (in Zulu)
for all stops from departure point all the way to final destination.
Don't forget to account for refueling, cargo uploading delays, and RONs.
6. Generate a Diplomatic Clearance Request
Message. Insert this timeline into the Diplomatic Clearance
Request message using the standard 6-paragraph format found in the
Foreign Clearance Guide. Be thorough and complete - each country's
Aircraft Entrance Requirements section details their specific required
data. Certain countries demand more information than others.
7. Send the Diplomatic Clearance Message.
Most countries will now allow you to email your message (in the
appropriate 6-paragraph format) directly to the appropriate agencies.
A few locations (Portugal, Azores) require a DMS Message. Your POC
in most countries will be the Air Attaché in the Defense Attaché's
Office (DAO) at the American Embassy in that country. Email is the
method we prefer because it is easy to use and easy to verify receipt.
If you have questions, the easiest thing to do is call the DAO at that
American Embassy. Once
you receive acknowledgement and reply, you are finished! Make sure
you insert the Diplomatic Clearance number into your
International Flight Plan.
Below resources are accessible from the
NGA website from .mil domains only
Publications - Aeronautical Division
Data (DAFIF) - Updated DAFIF files
Flight Information Publications (FLIP)
- FLIP ECN / PCN
Planning and Enroute Sups - AP, GP, FIH, etc.
Terminal Instrument Procedures
- Approach Plates
- Enroute, Area Charts, MTR Charts
Electronic Chart Updating Manual
Operation Enduring Freedom Files - Approach Plates
Operation Iraqi Freedom Files - Approach Plates
AP1 North and South America
AP2 Europe-Africa-Middle East
AP4 Eastern Europe-Asia
GP General Planning
FIH Flight Information Handbook
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