Working with the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP)
The AIP is a vast collection of basically all information that are relevant for flying in the respective country.
For flying VFR, it is best to know where to find the most relevant parts quickly.
A nice service a lot of countries offer is the provision of the eAIP for free.
Note that the German AIP does not offer VFR charts for free, you will only find IFR charts,
in contrast to many other countries. Sometimes, there is a separate VFR part, for example,
Denmark offers the “VFR Guide” along their general AIP.
AIPs come in three Parts
- GEN General
- ENR En Route
- AD Aerodromes
Make sure the effective date matches the most recent AIRAC date, or when planning ahead, you may have the option to browse the upcoming version.
The General part provides mostly definitions about the offered services in the specific country. It defines the baseline of what you can expect from flying in a certain country.
2. En Route
For flight planning, the En Route part is of special importance. It lists areas you may not fly at all, or use with extreme caution. The key parts are
- Prohibited areas (P). No aircraft should fly here
- Restricted areas (R). You need to meet a condition to fly in these areas
- Danger areas (D). It is dangerous to fly here at specific times
- Temporary Reserved Airspace (TRA). An area that is temporarily under the jurisdiction of another aviation authority
- Temporary Segregated Areas (TSA). These areas are temporarily exclusive for the use of another aviation authority. Other traffic may not transit.
- Cross Border Areas (CBA). Same as TSA but over international boundaries
- Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ). If you don’t plan to use this aerodrome for departure or arrival, it is best you to stay clear of it
- Other hazardous areas
Whenever you plan to fly through one of these areas, check under which circumstances it becomes active, for example
- activated by NOTAM
- bound to a time, for example MON - FRI 0700-2300
- bound to other requirements, like participating in glider flying
- H24 always active
Make sure your interpretation of the given restrictions is correct and don’t trick yourself with confirmation bias.
Most countries require you to depart and land at an official aerodrome. Regulations and patterns for aerodromes can be quite specific. Read the whole chapter in the AD section of the Aerodromes you plan to depart and arrive to understand what you are required to do.
Examples for specific regulations are
- PPR Prior permission required
- Operational hours, for example closed on national holidays
- Circuit altitude is different than standard
- Transponder has to be switched on during taxi
- Automatically switching to Ground Control frequency without approval, after landing
Most Aerodromes list a contact number. When in doubt, you can call them for clarification.
Something missing? Please send an email to our support firstname.lastname@example.org