Flight Plans - Delays, Changes and Cancellations

The procedures for Flight Plans are covered in the AIP, in the ENR, Section 1.10 - Flight Planning. Delays, changes and cancellations are covered under subsection 1.14. This section of ENR was updated April 2009. Caution: PPL study text books covering this part of the syllabus may be out of date.

Delays

Essentially, in the majority of cases you need to let ATC or the appropriate unit know if you are going to be delayed more than 30 minutes from your originally notified estimated off blocks time (EOBT). "It is important that, in the event of a delay of 30 minutes or more to the EOBT, the pilot advises the departure aerodrome ATSU/Parent Unit so that a DLA message can be sent." (AIP ENR 1.14.2.2). This is because: "ICAO requires that an appropriate delay message (DLA) must be sent if the EOBT is more than 30 minutes later than that already shown in the FPL." (AIP ENR 1.14.2.1)

IFR traffic is more tightly regulated: "In order to meet the requirements of ATFM, all IFR aircraft operating within Europe must have any changes to their EOBT of +/- 15 minutes notified to the Integrated Flight Plan Processing System (IFPS)." (AIP ENR 1.14.2.3)

To an extent, this information is also covered in CAA's Safety Sense Leaflet 20c (Feb 2011) titled VFR Flight Plans in section 11f) "It is essential that ATC is advised of cancellations, delays over 30 minutes and changes to FPL details. To prevent a double entry into the computer which would lead to confusion, always cancel the first FPL and resubmit." Whilst the timing and general intent is the same, note that this document simplifies the updated AIP because a cancellation of the first flight plan is not always required, given the ability to send a delay message as above.

Changes

Note that: "A second FPL cannot simply be used to amend the first." (AIP ENR 1.14.1.1)

Similar to the procedure for delays, advise ATC if any changes are required. Some changes do not require the cancellation and submission of a new flight plan because: "Other modifications to a filed FPL, such as a change in aircraft type, speed, level, route, etc, can be notified using a change (CHG) message." (AIP ENR 1.14.4.1)

Cancellations

"Any changes to aircraft callsign, point of departure and/or destination will require the original FPL to be cancelled and a new FPL submitted." (AIP ENR 1.14.5.1)

References:

The definitive source for this is the IAIP: http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index.php.html

Atmospheric Picture

FL45, English Channel.