Cruising Altitudes

Hey everyone,

For this week’s tutorial, I thought it might be helpful since we have had a significant increase in traffic on both the Expert and Training servers, to briefly go over cruising altitudes.

When filing your FPL (Flight Plan), one of the import factors that must be filed are the cruising altitudes whether you are flying IFR or even VFR. How do you know what altitudes to fly? Well here are some basic guidelines to go by to help remember the altitudes when flying above 3000 ft to below FL290 MSL in 2000 ft intervals with 1000 ft separation:


  • When on a magnetic heading of 360º - 179º, fly any ODD thousand foot altitudes
    (See chart below for example)
  • When on a magnetic heading of 180º - 359º, fly any EVEN thousand foot altitudes
    (See chart below for example)


  • When on magnetic heading of 360º - 179º, fly any ODD thousand +500 feet altitude
    (Example: 5,500 ft / 7,500 ft / 11,500 ft)
  • When on magnetic heading of 180º - 359º, fly any EVEN thousand +500 feet altitude
    (Example: 4,500 ft / 6,500 ft / 10,500 ft)
    An example of this would be flying from SAN to LAX would be 8,500 ft MSL when flying VFR)

A simple way to easily remember is:
ONE - Odd North East (North 360º to SEasterly of 179º).
ESW - Even South West (Everything else would be from 180º to 359º)



Cruising altitudes ABOVE FL290 MSL which requires 2000 ft separation:


  • When on a magnetic heading of 360º - 179º, fly thousand foot altitudes beginning at FL290 at 4000 ft intervals
    (See chart below for example)
  • When on a magnetic heading of 180º - 359º, fly thousand foot altitudes beginning at FL310 at 4000 ft intervals
    (See chart below for example)

Hopefully you will find this helpful and everyone will start applying this to their flight planning. This should also proactively help ATC keep separation. This will take a little bit to get used to and remember but will also add to realism within the sim. Post any questions or tutorial requests below.

Happy and Safe Landings!

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That’s a massive help means no chance of flying into someone now lol


Well who else is confued? Also I normally fly at 9,000feet is this bad lol it makes approaches easier


Hahaha, so you’re saying it’s about as clear as mud? Flying 9000 ft isnt bad if you are flying on a heading between 360º and 179ª.


Still I am as wise as a potato meybe I should just play on casual and go the speed of sound at 2,000 feet 👌


thanks Mark, this is a really great tutorial and one that I will book mark!

just a slight aside, in the Maritime world we convert True Courses (as laid down on charts and provided by Gyro compasses) to Magnetic Courses with the application of Variation and Deviation Whilst I wouldn’t expect much compass deviation in an aluminium tube, do you need to do much conversion from true to Magnetic or just fly the magnetic courses?


BookMARKed! 👍


In the VFR and IFR charts it’s layed out to where you can depict both. You have a true heading which is the direction the plane is heading. A true course which is the actual direction your flying. Then you have magnetic deviation which is either a easterly or westerly correction. Then you can get your magnetic heading and your wind correction angle. Then you can get your magnetic course. So really we use both. You fly a magnetic heading though, and that’s what the altitudes are based off of.


Thanks, yes I thought that the gyro compass be too large to fit on an aircraft so would have to fly Magnetic. Of course that can get very tricky around the Poles!

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What are intervals?

I didn’t understand because I’m italian, We italian need an italian section

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try google translate if you get stuck with the translations!

Very helpful Mark, thanks;-)…I already started using it, it’s really easy, thanks

Same here but I still want to be a pilot

Thanks Mark, Really helpful! I shall use this to fly in the future

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This was a very helpful tutorial, as always!

Thank you very much for a clear guide!

This is really awesome information to know. Thank you!

Bumped. This is well written and is good, basic knowledge and the ‘Expert’ (and I use the term lightly) server was just full of incorrect cruise altitudes.

Yup can file a flightplan when flying VFR too… that’s what I do when flying (irl). Sadly infinite flight doesn’t make a difference between VFR and IFR…