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8 Easy-To-Forget Details Of Flight Planning

They may not make the biggest difference, but it's easy to miss the fine details of planning.

1) Winds and Runway Heading

Winds reported in METARs and Winds Aloft Forecasts are true north. Runway headings are magnetic north.


2) Unusable Fuel

Basic Empty Weight accounts for unusable fuel. When you're doing your weight and balance, you don't need to add in unusable fuel.


3) Notes Section

When you do performance calculations before your flights, double check the notes section. Grass runways, sloped runways, headwinds and tailwinds can all make a difference.



You don't want to arrive at your destination and realize the runway is closed. Make sure you check the NOTAMs before you go. And if you need help reading them, we have the tool for you.


5) Night Currency

It's getting dark much earlier, and the end of Daylight Saving Time is right around the corner. If your flight is creeping up on an hour after sunset, and you have passengers, make sure you're night current.


6) Fuel Consumption

Most aircraft cruise performance values are calculated based off of the recommended leaning procedures. If you forget to lean or you don't lean according to the POH, your fuel consumption will be higher than planned.


7) Expired Charts

Charts do actually change. Whether it's a new tower on a VFR chart, or a change to an IFR procedure, make sure you have the most current charts with you.

Swayne Martin

8) Airspace

Watch out for special airspace along your route. After all, nobody wants to accidentally fly through a restricted area.


What other flight planning details are easy to miss? Tell us in the comments below.

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Airbus 320 First Officer for a U.S. Major Carrier. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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