I have not been an active flyer for a few years, and new technology has replaced the way I used to plan my flights. What are some of the better flight planning programs I can try?


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I've only recently returned to flying too. I still KISS. I like paper charts, and I don't like gadget-distractions. I believe that dependence upon them reduces piloting skills. Situational awareness is still king in my book. A cockpit is no place to be playing video games, and the same goes for the car. I like to use flight-following, and they were a big help to me last year. It is nice to have an electronic chart with my position displayed on it, but fixation on it is seductive. The real world is through the windscreen and windows, with instrument scans in-between. Since I don't fly in the soup or at night, a simple panel does the job. Wanna buy a used Dynon?

Details off-list.


I would recommend FlyQ.  https://www.seattleavionics.com/FlyQEFB.aspx Steve has an online for planning at home as well.

There are many good ones.  Foreflight is pretty good too but did not like that they only interfaced with Stratus.  Don't know if that is still the case or not.  FlyQ interfaces with nearly anything.

I use AOPA's online flight planning software by Jeppesen, and like it. If you're an AOPA member, it's free.

AOPA Flight Planner v 2.6.4

Hi Stan,

Do you know if you can plan online and then pull down to iPad to work with moving map apps?  That is one thing I really like about FlyQ.  Plan at home and use in plane with no re-entry required.

DUATS has everything I need and is FAA approved for preflight requirements for wx, TFRs etc. Flight planning with fcst winds aloft etc, all of it. That and Airnav for airport data. Easy once you check yourself out on it.

I created an account but it will take a while to understand how it works. Not real clear on instructions are they?

It's a web based app using your browser, and you can create GTX files to transfer your route to your GPS device. I print the chart, briefing info, and Nav log on paper.

Here's the user's guide intro from the AOPA website:

AOPA Flight Planner provides AOPA members with an integrated solution for flight planning, weather briefings and plan filing. Flight Planner provides an easy to use interface and runs in standard internet web browsers without needing any type of local installation on the user’s computer. Since AOPA Flight Planner is a web-based application, you can always be assured you are working with the most current version of the flight planner.

AOPA Flight Planner is available for current AOPA members only. To try Flight Planner now, start a free introductory AOPA Flight Training membership.

Key Features:

  • Fully web-based application
  • Support for most all popular browsers
  • Cloud Computing - your data is stored centrally, secure and always accessible
  • Store frequently used routes
  • Store your aircraft profile information
  • Directly interfaces to your preferred DUAT provider
  • Vector based charts retrieved real-time from Jeppesen
  • Integrated with AOPA GO and AOPA Airports
  • File and track your Flight Plan electronically
  • Create GPX files to transfer a route to your GPS device
I may check out AOPA , how expensive are they now?

Regular membership is $69/year.

Premier with legal and medical plans is $99/year, and IMHO worth the extra $30.

AOPA Membership Levels

Couldn't disagree with Wayne more: Ya 40 or 50 years ago paper charts were all we had along with maybe one VOR receiver in the airplane. Remember how you figured your ground speed?? Taking radials off the VOR n plotting it on a map you tried to hold in your lap while trying to fly at the same time. Talk about head down in the cockpit!

Nowadays we have to deal with a much more complicated airspace system. Yesterday I was going to fly down to see my son in Fort Worth. I pulled up the route on my Ipad n guess what? There was a TFR right over an airport along the route: won't see that on a paper chart! They were having an aerobatic demonstration on Saturday and Sunday this week.

Planning your flight is so much more than a line on a chart. There are lots of good resources available including applications and programs that run on Apple or android devices; some programs run on both platforms.

I use Ifly. There are other programs just as good. I happen to have an IFly 720 in my airplane, so I use their app on my Windows home computer,my Ipad, and my Iphone. My VFR subscription is less than a hundred bucks a year.

Using this one app to plan a flight,usually in my easy chair the night before the flight, I get All the information I need. Weather, TFRs, Airmets,Sigmets, destination airport and weather along the route. All the radio frequencies including approach,ground,departure for all the airports along the route are available at the touch of a button. These programs download Nexrad weather radar so you can evaluate that aspect of the weather immediately.

Oh ya, my hundred bucks includes updates every 28 days.

I can't imagine NOT flying without a good GPS. It makes life so much safer and flight
management so much safer. I always know my ground speed,distance to destination,where I am relative to my course. I know how long it will take to reach my destination, and knowing that and my fuel burn at cruise tells me instantly if I have enough gas onboard.

In an emergency, I punch one button and it gives me distance and a course to my nearest airport.

In my airplane, I usually have five gps systems. My EFIS is an AFS 4500, my IFly 720, my Ipad, my Iphone and a Garmin 510 which also has XM weather. I also get traffic and ADSB weather on my IFly
720, Ipad, n Iphone.

Flight planning for a cross country is more complex now,but thankfully, we have a wealth of data, available in real time to help us navigate safely across the country.

There are many good options out there: Foreflight, IFly, and others. Take your time and download some the apps available. Consider now inexpensive options that let you get ADSB weather and maybe traffic while in flight. Make sure what you get keeps TFRs current at all times. Bust one of those and the paperwork might be more than the gross weight of your aiplane.


Rodney, I don't disagree with much of what you say, but what happens when the electronics fail? Does such a pilot always know where she or he is if that happens?

I check on-line sectional maps which display TFR's and other Notam data before flight, and sometimes even print out the sheets for the flight. I use flight following when possible. At lower elevations and in the mountains where most bush flying is done, one should add a head's-up display I suppose, but even that could be distracting, eh? Things happen fast, and task prioritization can be kinda like a battlefield triage situation. When the chips are down, what counts the most? The least?

I believe it is very important to keep it simple and to practice situational awareness by observing the earth and referring to a chart (electronics are fine if they're working, but not so hot if one looks at them instead of the outside). "Know thy terrain," ya might say . . . 

If you disagree, that's ok with me. But I don't believe we actually disagree much on the basics.



For X-C, I use a combination of both that keeps it simple and works really well for me. Duats, IFly 700 GPS, sectionals, and eyeballs. Duats immediately before TO especially for TFRs. I still draw a line on the chart and it's folded to the current position all the time, the GPS is primary(mine has the sectional chart background...nice) for nav, GS, ETA etc, the sectional for backup. Eyeballs are primary for everything and stay outside most of the time. I don't need anything other than that but do depend on those. I will go w/o the GPS but don't want to, especially on a long X-C. GS is what I value most altho in my 701 there are other handy indicators...I'm usually low and the cars will give us a good idea about that. Several weeks ago, I flew it from MS to NYC and flew the VFR corridor over the Hudson. That's a fairly ambitious trip for a 701; 28 hours Hobbs that week...my combo of tools worked great together. The corridor is of course all eyeball and paper chart...the GPS could as well been turned off...and eyeballs were absolutely primary; there's a lot of traffic in a small space. Most know that TFR's are a big deal there and around DC...Duats worked fine for that and Trump did come to town and closed down the entire area to GA, the TFRs are huge and must be kept up with religiously. In addition to Duats, just before TO for the corridor I called WXBrief and confirmed. Can't do too much CYA up there.

When I was at work we had glass and guys would get buried in it occasionally and that was their entire world and they were behind; heads down and lost. I don't rely on anything electronic; I've seen too much of it fail...I'll always have a paper chart at the ready. And the potential for multiple gadgets to become a crutch/distraction can be a problem...I don't need or want all that stuff and won't have it.

I like some of what both Wayne and Rodney said. Mostly it depends on what kinda flying you're doing as to what you really need.

You guys go fly the corridor; that's an amazing flight!!



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