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How to do flight plans for a short fuel / customs stop, and airborne flight plan delaying

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Ibra wrote:

Norman wrote:
Cherbourg remains a very good entry/exit airfield, time from Landing to Take off on arriving from UK 19minutes.
You don’t have to park and walk that far, just taxi near Edeis new terminal door and AFIS can advise on that !

How do you deal with these short (or very short!) customs stops when it comes to submitting the onward flight plan?

EIWT, Ireland

There is no good solution.

I tend to file the onward FP for 1hr after projected landing time. Others file only once filled up etc and ready to depart.

But this depends on where you are doing it. At a big airport you could wait hours for the fuel man. Tomorrow I am doing exactly this at Mali Losinj LDLO and I know they will be really quick. Most N French airports will be quick. I waited hours at Bastia, because nobody could find the fuel man. And 3hrs at Salamanca (nobody spoke English and recognised the word “avgas”).

For VFR, this works because – notwithstanding national rules discussed previously – you can usually get airborne as soon as the departure tower has your FP.

For IFR, such a late filing can attract a CTOT (a Eurocontrol slot/delay)… Usually these are tens of minutes but can be hours if ATC is on strike, which happens with a high probability in some countries. I reckon I got an ATC strike on something like 1/3 of my flights in France and this is one reason why automatic routing tools have a “country avoid” as a desirable feature. If you get a CTOT due to an ATC strike, that can completely f—k you up, as happened to me e.g. here and that cost me hundreds of £ extra plus a whole day wasted retrieving the plane from a diversion – which is exactly the purpose of these strikes (maximum pain). These CTOTs can be avoided by routing VFR through the region on strike, but this is not so easy unless you can display the Eurocontrol “blockage map” and relate it to your filed route… try doing that if all you have is a phone.

Now chuck in some “IT” problems and it gets even better. This is why I save validated routes from the Autorouter so if it doesn’t work I can use EuroFPL (which does no autorouting) to file them.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

zuutroy wrote:

when it comes to submitting the onward flight plan?

Usually you don’t need FPL for going VFR after in France (including when you get into CAS)
Telling FIS/ATS you will pop up again in 10min after quick landing makes life easier (e.g. retain same sqwak ), IFR could be different….

Last Edited by Ibra at 09 Sep 10:04
ESSEX, United Kingdom

Interesting how few people comment… I guess most people doing fuel/customs stops don’t file the onward FP until they are ready to go?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

If IFR, I always file the onward flight plan at the same time as I file the first leg, and with an EOBT that I expect, on the basis that if I get delayed I can always get the DLA message “into the system”. That makes sure it is valid and minimises the likelihood of CTOTs.

If there really is a bad delay on the ground, there will always be a way to let the tower know of the delay, including just using the aircraft radio.

I guess you get few responses because most people fly VFR and only cross a FPL-mandatory border once in a trip like that.

Biggin Hill

I usually file both plans at the same time (pre-stop and post-stop) based on previous experience of CTOT for late filing and I usually put 45 to 60 min between planned arrival time and EOBT for the subsequent flight. I tend to use same airports for this purpose and, with good wind forecast, it works. Maybe once or twice I had to send 15 min delay message while few times I was able to depart earlier.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

I have no idea about IFR, but VFR you can just delay the next departure by 30 min or more as many times as needed. So no problem if whatever you are going to do takes longer than expected.


You can with IFR too.

An issue would arise if you pre-filed with an ETA of say 1000 and (due to headwinds etc) don’t land until 1030 and then your onward FP has been binned so there isn’t anything to delay. I suppose one could deal with this by asking ATC enroute if they can delay it for you, before 1000 is reached, but the ability of this depends heavily on “which ATC”. In say former Yugoslavia you can just ask and they will do it. But in a lot of places there is zero chance of getting that assistance, due to ATC workload. And in a few places ATC ELP would not support such a request.

With short flights, say 1-2hrs, and a gap of say 1hr, this is ok. But with a 6hr flight a 1hr gap could be tight. The EET just cannot be forecast like that, because the winds aloft forecast is usually well off.

And if you do it the other way – file a long gap and hope to bring the onward FP to an earlier time – the issue there is that the FP system does not support an earlier time move. The FP has to be cancelled and a new one filed. Tools such as the AR do this. But the fact that you are filing a new FP means that it could attract a CTOT (a slot; they are allocated preferentially to late filers, especially those within 3hrs of EOBT).

With VFR this is a lot easier, but then with VFR you don’t need a FP most of the time, unless crossing borders.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

then your onward FP has been binned so there isn’t anything to delay. I

Is it actually binned and not suspended? The difference is quite important. A suspended flight plan is not available to ATS but remains in the system and should be unsuspended if you set a new EOBT.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

I think, yes, it gets a SUSP, but I don’t know how long for. Somebody will know for sure…

I recall this SUSP thing arising with Aero Friedrichshafen, EDNY, where their staff would SUSP any FP whose ETA did not fall inside the slot you booked on their website, and IIRC there was no practical way to get out of that, especially as they also waited until you were just about to depart before they issued the SUSP. But maybe that was a problem only because the Autorouter would not allow the EET to be manually adjusted. I always solved it by using the AR to develop the route and using a different FP filing service (EuroFPL) which allows the EET to be manually set.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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