When making a FPL there are 2 options. These are:
Folowing the airways
Point to Point.
In this example I made a FPL following the airway from EGLL - EGBB; London Heathrow to Birmingham.
I started at terminal 1 gate 106. To prepare my flight, I first listened to the ATIS. On the ATIS I found out that runway 27 R is in use for departures so I will start building my FPL from there.
In this case, runway 27R has a fix called “R2295” I select it and it shows in purple on my map screen.
As I mentioned before I want to use the airway for my FPL, so I need to find a way to get there. Runway 27R has a point called IAA93. This point is 9.3 DME for the threshold of runway 09L. I select it and it becomes purple, then I click the direct to option in the map to get my first leg of the FPL:
I recommend to have a leg which is straight after you take off so you have time to contact the departure or approach frequency before turning
So my next action would be to get to the airway. On the right side there is a perfect option for this as there is a waypoint called BENSU.
Once again I select it but this time I press the “Add to FPL” option because I want this added to my FPL and I do NOT want to go direct to from my present position.
From BENSU I am able to follow the airway. The airway will bring me to a position called FINMA. Here I have the option to follow a different airway to the left which brings me to my final destination EGBB.
Everytime I want to add a waypoint to my FPL I will just select it and press “Add to FPL”.
So far I have a FPL which consist of RWY 27R – IAA93 – BENSU – FINMA. Now to find my next point I just follow the airway and it stops close to my destination. The problem I encounter is that there is no waypoint to select. However there is a blue circle. The blue circle indicates a VOR which we can still use for our FPL. This is what I then did in the picture below.
After clicking “Add to FPL” we got this:
Now it gets more interesting. We need to decide how to get to our destination EGBB. I kept it very simple because there is an approach controller online so I save myself the hassle of making a whole arrival procedure. Instead I decide to just put EGBB as my next point in my FPL.
I could have made a whole arrival route to be follow but as I want to get radar vectors for the ILS approach I am pretty sure I wont be following my own arrival anyway. When it gets a bit busy ATC will prefer to give us vectors as they need to have full control over their airspace.
So here it is, the FPL from EGLL to EGBB.
If I want to get some more info regarding my FPL I can click on the button which says “MAP” and I will get the following information:
Here I can find the following info:
- WPT: Waypoints
- DTK: Direct track to the waypoint. This is based on the waypoint before it. So from R2295 to IAA93 I need to fly on track 270 degrees. From IAA93 to BENSU I will be flying on track 313.
- DIST: This is the distance between the waypoints. So from R2295to IAA93 the distance is 10.8NM.
- ETE: Estimated Time Enroute. At the moment this is blank as we are still parked at our gate.
This is how the page looks like when we get airborne:
The next page with information I can see is “MAP FPL”. After clicking on it we get the following screen:
In this screen we have the following information at the top. Going from left to right, this is what the information means:
- WPT: Our next waypoint, IAA93
- GS: Our ground speed, 0kts
- DIST: The distance to the waypoint, 10.8NM
- ETE: Estimated Time Enroute. This is blank as we are parked.
- DTK: Direct Track, 270 degrees
- TRK: Track 042. This we can disregard on ground as it is not accurate, inflight it will show our actual track.
- XTK: Cross track, 0.21NM > This means we 0.21NM to the left of our track. The indication shows actually our track to follow is 0…21 to our right as that is our first “leg” of our FPL.
- BRG: Our bearing to IAA93 will be 271 degrees.
So next we can see all WPTs in order of selection, the DTK to the next waypoint, the DIST to the next waypoint and the ETE. This is the same as on the previous page but with some new information: CUM DIST & the CUM ETE. This is the cumulative DIST & ETE which is the total distance and estimated time en route of our whole FPL.
This is how the page looks like when we just get airborne:
This is the basic of how to make a FPL. The difference between the airway FPL I made and the point to point is that for the point to point, you can disregard any airways you see on the map and just go from point to point.
There is one thing that comes in very helpful when you make a FPL to your destination. This is the option where you will see the ILS / GPS approaches at your destination on top of the list with approaches you can select from the moment you have made your FPL.
I have added an example. It shows just after taking off from runway 27R in EGLL and as you can see, we can already select the ILS runway 33 & runway 15 at EGBB.
A few tips for ATC when you want to follow your FPL:
- After being transferred from London Heathrow tower to departure or approach, the only thing you need to do is “check in” and the controller knows you want to follow your FPL. He will still give you altitude instructions but you will only get a heading instruction incase of conflict with traffic.
- Resume own nagivation. If you were given radar vectors and ATC tell you “resume own navigation”, this means that you can follow your FPL again. This instruction is ONLY for the horizontal part of your FPL and you will still need ATC clearance to climb or descent.
- If your departure or destination has an ATIS, use it! The ATIS will provide you will valuable information regarding the runways in use and maybe some other important information.
- If you build your own arrival procedure, be ready that ATC will provide you with radar vectors instead. This is normal as in real life this is done to assure separation between airplanes and increase the traffic flow by giving shortcuts etc.
Any questions or suggestions, please put them in the comments.