The following resources are available for a pilot planning a flight conducted under IFR.
National Aeronautical Navigation Products (AeroNav Products) Group publications:
- IFR en route charts
- Area charts
- United States Terminal Procedures Publications (TPP)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications:
- Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
- Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)
- Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP) for flight planning in the National Airspace System (NAS)
Pilots should also consult the Pilot’s Operating Handbook/ Airplane Flight Manual (POH/AFM) for flight planning information pertinent to the aircraft to be flown.
A review of the contents of all the listed publications helps determine which material should be referenced for each flight. As a pilot becomes more familiar with these publications, the flight planning process becomes quicker and easier.
Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
The AIM provides the aviation community with basic flight information and air traffic control (ATC) procedures used in the United States NAS. An international version called the Aeronautical Information Publication contains parallel information, as well as specific information on the international airports used by the international community.
Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)
The A/FD contains information on airports, communications, and navigation aids (NAVAIDs) pertinent to IFR flight. It also includes very-high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR) receiver checkpoints, flight service station (FSS), weather service telephone numbers, and air route traffic control center (ARTCC) frequencies. Various special notices essential to flight are also included, such as landand- hold-short operations (LAHSO) data, the civil use of military fields, continuous power facilities, and special flight procedures.
In the major terminal and en route environments, preferred routes have been established to guide pilots in planning their routes of flight, to minimize route changes, and to aid in the orderly management of air traffic using the Federal airways. The A/FD lists both high and low altitude preferred routes.
Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP)
The NTAP is a publication containing current Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) that are essential to the safety of flight, as well as supplemental data affecting the other operational publications listed. It also includes current Flight Data Center (FDC) NOTAMs, which are regulatory in nature, issued to establish restrictions to flight or to amend charts or published instrument approach procedures (IAPs).
The POH/AFM contain operating limitations, performance, normal and emergency procedures, and a variety of other operational information for the respective aircraft. Aircraft manufacturers have done considerable testing to gather and substantiate the information in the aircraft manual. Pilots should refer to it for information relevant to a proposed flight.