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Flight Plans and That $100 Hamburger

By Ian Brown, EAA 657159, Editor and Canadian Council Board Member

July 2017 - Canadian pilots should be familiar with the requirement for VFR flight plans and flight itineraries, but how many of them think of them as a requirement when flying off for that Saturday morning $100 hamburger? Well, the Canadian Aviation Regulations state that a minimum of a flight itinerary is required for any flight more than 25 nm from the departure airport. What’s more, the itinerary is supposed to be more than just mentioning where you’re going to that “responsible person.” In fact, you’re obligated to close your flight itinerary with that person, too. If you are flying to get a good deal on fuel, you’ll have to have reserves of at least 30 minutes’ fuel during daytime and 45 minutes at night at normal cruising speed, when you arrive.

That “responsible person” must have agreed to call ATC or rescue services if the person hasn’t “closed the itinerary” within the agreed time. The pilot must have received confirmation that the responsible person has received the flight plan.

I can think of many pilots who treat this requirement rather casually, but it would just take that one minor accident where Transport Canada became involved to get you into some unwelcome trouble.

Fortunately, the wording around the requirement for a flight itinerary is sufficiently vague that it could possibly be argued that telling someone where you’re going could be enough, without having to go the whole ICAO Flight Plan form route. Maybe putting a little bit of thought into informing our loved ones, planning where we’re going, and calling them when we’ve landed might be wise if we’re not already doing that.

Now if your aircraft is capable of 130 knots, for example, you would cover those 25 nm in about 12 minutes, which at say 7.5 gallons per hour would consume 1.5 gallons or 3 gallons for the round trip. Unless you are filling your aircraft with the finest scotch, you’re probably not paying $100 for that burger at all, are you?

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