Flight Planning

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What's the best flight planning software for both desktop and mobile applications?

-- C Duncan, June 10, 2010


The question isn't meaningful unless you specify the type of aircraft that you're flying and whether it is IFR or VFR. For a piston airplane, IFR or VFR, I simply use www.duats.com.

-- Philip Greenspun, June 11, 2010

To the follow-up below... fltplan.com has a truly horrific user interface. It is definitely the first choice for most jet pilots, however, because they will email you with your assigned route and they track the routes that people have been getting lately. fltplan.com has a fairly sophisticated fuel consumption model. I use it when helping friends fly their light jets around, but prefer DUATS for running around locally in a Robinson helicopter or Cirrus SR20.

-- Philip Greenspun, June 12, 2010

I use and like Jeppesen FliteStar IFR, which is PC-based and not free. Most other pilots I know use fltplan.com, which is Web-based, free, and very good.

It is certainly easier to use a Web-based solution, because it is always up to date and can be accessed from any computer. Also, free is hard to beat.

The reasons I still use FliteStar are:

1) If you are paying for a NavData and JeppCharts subscription for your airplane already, Jeppesen gives you FliteStar almost for free through their NavSuite subscription.

2) I carry a very small (1.5 lb) Sony laptop with built-in GPS so that we can update flight planning en route where an Internet connection is not available (at least during IFR where cell phones/modems must be off).

3) FliteStar gives you electronic versions of all JeppCharts throughout your subscription area (North America), which you can print and use for flight.

These reasons for FliteStar make sense only for IFR and probably only if you own or operate an aircraft with Jeppesen data subscriptions.


-- Todd Ramming, June 11, 2010

Sorry for not providing enough info. I'd like a program I can use both as a general aviation pilot (single-piston) and also as a military pilot (fighters). I won't be using it during flight. Easy planning is my primary concern. I've used DUATS in the past but that was several years ago and I thought there might be something more improved than DUATS.

I'll take a look at Fltplan.com. Any other suggestions are welcomed as well.


-- C Duncan, June 11, 2010

I've been using aeroplanner.com for years. Not sure how it will work for you but it works great for me.

-- Joe Zuffoletto, June 14, 2010

I can recommend FltPln.com but can also echo another user's sentiment about being a little clunky to use. It gives you almost too much information when all you are trying to do it file a simple flight plan. I have recently purchased an Apple iPad and I can honestly say that one of the best flight planning packages I have used to date, bar none, is Foreflight HD available from http://www.foreflight.com/ipad. The downside is you do have to purchase an iPad for around $700 and you do have to pay an annual subscription around $75. But, all that being said you get excellent touch screen flight planning, access to all VFR and IFC enroute charts and all NOS approach plates. You can even get a custom made knee board that will hold the iPad from http://www.forpilotsonly.com/ipad.htm. My only complaint with the kneeboard is that it is a little large and with long legs it and the control yoke on a C172 collide frequently.

-- William Cassanova, September 20, 2010

I meant to ask a general question about Flight planning in my previous post. Had anyone used the AOPA Flight planner? I fly mostly IFR because quite frankly its just easier in and around the Atlanta area due to traffic and airspace reasons.

-- William Cassanova, September 20, 2010

Quick comment about Foreflight HD...

It's, by far, the best iPad app I've seen for aviation. The one thing that I think it's missing is the ability for winds aloft to be taken into account when plotting random way points. (Right now, you have to plot specific way points for winds aloft to be factored in.)

-- Joe Moreno, September 21, 2010

I can echo the recommendation for Foreflight HD on the iPad. I'm a VFR pilot only, but for that purpose the software is very intuitive and great to use. And then when you're in the air, the software functions like a moving map and you can track your progress along the plan.

-- Ryan Harvey, October 7, 2010