Filing an ICAO flight plan will become a bit more complicated this fall, if you file them by hand. Gone will be the old days of telling a flight service station that your aircraft is a slant “A” or a slant “R.”
That’s because changes to flight-plan formatting mandated by ICAO will take affect on November 15, 2012. The goal is to align flight-plan filing with the required international standard, so as to take advantage of NextGen and other new air traffic control systems around the world.
Greg Murray, Rockwell Collins principal support specialist, told AIN, “The current 13-code format on flight plans will soon expand to nearly 70.” Transmitting an aircraft’s precise capabilities, such as the specific functions the controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) system will handle and crew qualifications, are the future of automated ATM systems. He said the new system will actually be coming online in the next few weeks, although it won’t be required until November 15.
Rockwell Collins, through its Ascend flight information services, which combines Rockwell Collins technology with the former Air Routing and FOS dispatch and scheduling tools, has already tested the new technology with air traffic management organizations in Canada, Mexico and Europe.
In a written statement, Murray added, “The Rockwell Collins tests provided real time feedback on the sensitivity of the [new] ATC systems. For example, if you indicate area navigation (Rnav) 5 capability for all permitted sensors, which includes INS or IRS, you better be sure you indicate “I” (inertial navigation), in the form’s item 10a, or your flight plan will be rejected.”