Recreational Aircraft Association of NZ
RAANZ P&P manual
Flight Plan Completion
Revision: March 14, 2012, at 08:57 AM
At this stage of your flight planning, you will have completed your initial flight plan- perhaps a day or so ahead, or even more for a significant trip with many legs. You will have completed the following steps- mostly related to things that do not change from day to day (ie all but the weather):
Now all that is required is to get the latest current and forecast weather, update your calculations for heading, groundspeed, time and fuel burn for each leg taking into account the expected weather conditions enroute.
Gather weather information using official (MetFlight-GA) and unofficial sources (MetVUW, pilot reports, trusted pilots at your waypoints and destination). Together these should give you a reasonable picture of the weather to expect enroute and at your destination.
It is also a good time to do a sanity check-
It can be psychologically difficult to change your plans, particularly following detailed planning and preparation, and perhaps days of excitement as you mentally go through the flight. But it is important that you step back and review the go/nogo decision in a rational manner. Put aside the promises you may have made, the expectations of your passengers and those at your destination. Clear GO and NOGO conditions are relatively easy, but under marginal conditions you may have a bias to go ahead as planned.
It is far better to be on the ground, looking at a clear blue sky and saying you wished you has said 'GO", than fighting through a black sky wishing you has said 'NOGO'.
Using the latest current and forecast winds, update your flightplan. For each leg update following:
Bear in mind is that normal atmospheric turbulence ensures that the wind velocities experienced as flight progresses will vary considerably from those expected or forecast, particularly in the friction layer, so there is not much point in the pilot of a light aircraft flying VFR in Class G trying to be absolutely precise in determining headings and sector times.
Finally, convert all your track bearings to degrees Magnetic. Bearing taken directly off charts are in degrees True, but in the air your compass will indicate Magnetic. Apply the Variation from your charts to these bearings. For New Zealand, variation is East (negative)- subtract it from the True bearing to get Magnetic. East least, West best.