How to file a Flight Plan on VATSIM?

When flying online it is important to file a Flight Plan, even if you are flying VFR (including at least the aircraft type). The Flight Plan is mandatory for all aircraft flying in controlled airspace.

After logging in using your authorized client, we recommend you to create your flight plan here.

And now the question… What should I do on that site? -> On that site you will complete your Flight Plan as follows:

Fields marked with an asterisk are mandatory.

The first section: Flight Details

Flight Plan Details

When you submit your Flight Plan, the CALLSIGN must be identical to the one you chose when you logged in, otherwise ATC will not be able to identify you.
Flight rules is either IFR or VFR. You can fly both IFR and VFR, but you can also fly VFR first and from a certain portion of the route switch to IFR and vice versa. It is important here to select the first type of flight you make immediately after departure. As you probably already know, IFR is Instrument Flight Rules, and VFR is Visual Flight Rules. The difference is made by type of navigation, by navigation tools or by geographical elements.

Aircraft Type (ICAO). Here you will fill in the ICAO code of the aircraft type. Pay attention, most aircrafts have also an IATA code. In this list you will find most ICAO aircraft codes.

Wake Category is given by the maximum take-off weight (MTOW). If the MTOW is at most 7 tons, the aircraft has the code WTC-L (Light). If the MTOW is between 7 tons and 136 tons, the aircraft has the code WTC-M (Medium). If the MTOW is greater than 136 tons, the aircraft has the code WTC-H (Heavy). Only the A388 (Airbus A380) has WTC-J (Jumbo). It should be noted that the aircraft with WTC-H and WTC-J are added immediately after callsign Heavy or Jumbo when communicating with ATC.

Equipment (ICAO): Depending on the communication equipment that the aircraft has installed, the letter (or group of letters and or numbers) corresponding to the equipment is added. In the following table you can see the main communication equipment that is installed on the aircraft:

CodeMeaning or explanation
NNo communication equipment
GNAV (PBN) required in field PBN/
Iinertial navigation
M3ATC RTF (Iridium)
Rcertification PBN approved
WRVSM approved
YATS VHF with 8.33 kHz channel spacing capability
Zother equipments

Transponder. Depending on the surveillance equipment that the aircraft has installed, the letter (or group of letters and or numbers) corresponding to the equipment is added. In the following table you can see the main surveillance equipment that is installed on the aircraft:

CodeMeaning or explanation
Nno surveillance equiment
ATransponder – Mode A (4 digits – 4096 codes)
CTransponder – Mode A (4 digits – 4096 codes) and Mode C
ETransponder – Mode S, including aircraft identification, pressure-altitude and extended squitter (ADS-B) capability
HTransponder – Mode S, including aircraft identification, pressure-altitude and enhanced surveillance capability
ITransponder – Mode S, including aircraft identification, but no pressure-altitude capability
LTransponder – Mode S, including aircraft identification, pressure-altitude, extended squitter (ADS-B) and enhanced surveillance capability
PTransponder – Mode S, including pressure-altitude, (but no aircraft identification) capability
STransponder – Mode S
XTransponder – Mode S, no aocraft ID, no pressure-altitude
B1ADS-B with dedicated 1090 MHz ADS-B “out” capability
B2ADB-B with dedicated 1090 MHz ADS-B “out” and “in” capability
U1ADS-B “out” capability using UAT
U2ADS-B “out” and “in” capability using UAT
V1ADS-B “out” capability using VDL Mode 4!
V2ADS-B “out” and “in” capability using VDL Mode 4
D1ADS-C with FANS 1/A capabilities
G1ADS-C with ATN capabilities

Departure: insert the ICAO code of your departure airfield. If the departure airfield does not have an assigned ICAO code, include ZZZZ.

Off Block Time (EOBT) is that time when you expect to leave gate or parking position. Pay attention, this time is always indicated in UTC or zulu format.

Altitide (ft) is the initial requested altitude en-route measured in feet.

Airspeed (knots) is the expected TAS in the en-route phase of your route.

Arrival: insert the ICAO code of your arrival airfield. If the arrival airfield does not have an assigned ICAO, code include ZZZZ.

Alternate: insert the ICAO code of your alternate arrival airfield at which you will land if the arrival airfield becomes unavailable.

Enroute Time is the estimated time on the entire route. Must be inserted in four digits (HHMM).

Fuel Endurance is the estimated time which you can stay in the air with all the fuel on board. Must be inserted in four digits (HHMM).

The second section:

Flight Route Details

This section contains crusing speed, altitude/level and route.

Cruising speed. It always refers to TAS.
K0450 – 450 km/h TAS
N0255 – 255 knots TAS

Cruising level.
F130 – FL130
S0240 – 2400 m (standard metric level)
A015 – 1500 ft (altitude)
M0150 – 1500 m (altitude)

1. Fly designated ATS Routes (example: BCU T4 PASKA)
ATS Routes (2 to 7 characters (letters and numbers))
2. Fly outside designated ATS Routes (example: BCU DCT PASKA)
DCT is mandatory between two consecutive way points, if they are not LAT/LON coordinates.
3. Significant points (2 to 5 characters (letters and numbers)): example: BC, CLJ, SOKRU
4. Degrees only (7 characters): example: 64N020W, 72N060W
5. Degrees and minutes (11 characters): example: 6405N02350W
6. Bearing and distance from a navaid or navigation point: example: BRV126050 (bearing 126 leaving of BRV at 50 nmi distance), BUKEL333089 (bearing 333 leaving of BUKEL at 89 nmi distance)
7. Change of speed and level (maximum 21 characters): It applies to any type of point and with any type of change of speed and level. Examples: BCU/N0250F110 (after BCU speed 250 knots TAS, FL110), DINRO/F350 (after DINRO fly FL350), UNIRA/K0400M0200 (after UNIRA speed 400 km/h TAS, 2000 m altitude), 6405N02350W/N0350F290 (after the point 6405N02350W speed 350 knots TAS, FL290).
8. Change of flight rules. Add IFR or VFR as you want to switch to IFR or VFR immediately after a certain way point or after a way point with speed and level change. Exemple: TGM VFR (after TGM, switch to VFR), FLR/A025 IFR (after FLR, 2500 ft altitude, switch to IFR).
9. Free zones can be defined between two waypoints and expected time in this area: STAY1/0045 (area 1 for 45 minutes). It is mandatory to describe in the RMK field the flight activity from each zone.

The third section: Other Details

Flight Other Details

PBN/: include RNAV or RNP capabilities.

NAV/: significant data related to navigational equipment

DAT/: capability and preference for delivery of pre-departure clearance (VOICE, PDC, FANS or FANSP)

SUR/: required surveillance performance or ADS-B

DOF/: date of flight

REG/: aircraft (tail) registration

SEL/: SELCAL code (if assigned)

CODE/: 24-bit ICAO address

RVR/: the minimum visibility along the runway for which the aircraft may land or PIC is approved

OPR/: the ICAO code of the operator

PER/: performance of the aircraft (A, B, C, D, E or H)

RALT/: Route Alternate: airfields where you can land if problems occur during en-route phase

TALT/: Take-off alternate (ICAO Code or ZZZZ, bearing from way point or nav aid and distance)

ORGN/: contact details to Flight Plan Originator

COM/: significant data related to communication equipment

EET/: accumulated estimated elapsed times. It is usually used to indicate the time elapsed from takeoff at each entry in a FIR or UIR. Example: EBBU0017 EBUR0019 EDVV0039 EDUU0040 LOVV0121 LHCC0137 LRBB0200

RMK/: any other important information regarding your flight.
For areas defined between two way points, it must be included what activities are performed in that area. Example: STAYINFO1/TMA FLIGHT
In RMK field, STS/ can also be included to show the reason of special handling. (HOSP – hospital aircraft, ONE ENG INOP – one engine inoperative, NORDO – no radio, HAZ – hazardous cargo, FFR – fire fighting flight, HAZMAT – hazardous materials on board, ALTRV – flight with specified altitude reservation)

Voice Rules: Voice (TX+RX voice), Receive voice (RX voice, TX text), Text only (TX+RX text)

After completing the mandatory fields and the optional ones (if you want), to send FPL you must push the green FIle Plan button.

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