If you use an automated computer- or app-based utility for filing your flight plans, it’s probably not going to be an issue. But starting very soon, the FAA announced last week, all pilots will be required to use a new flight plan format for all of their trips both domestic and international.
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The old form was one used in the United States only, and pilots who flew international flights have been using the new format, the ICAO model, for years anyway. But for those of us who stick to the lower 48-plus-two, we’ve got to get into the international swing of things, as well.
The date at which the requirement changes is August 27, 2019.
There are several good reasons for the change. By updating the requirement the FAA is getting out ahead of the mandate for ADS-B equipage. The new forms will also allow for a special flight rules areas, wake turbulence categories, a link to the new, supplemental pilot data in order to allow better pilot contact info to cut down on unneeded VFR search and rescue operations and FAA access to equipment codes to help controllers know the plane’s capabilities.
For more detailed guidance on the new requirement, check out the FAA’s guide to using the ICAO flight plan form.