Planning a flight on the Flight Tab begins with the General section. This is where you can input basic information about the flight, including the selected aircraft, airports (departure, destination, and alternates), and date/time.

1. Aircraft

Select the aircraft to be used for the flight. On new flights created from scratch this field defaults to whichever aircraft you last selected in Dispatch. The field shows the currently-selected aircraft’s tail number and ICAO type code in parentheses and below that the aircraft’s model name. Click the field to view a dropdown menu listing all aircraft on the business account. Use the Search Bar at the top of the menu to filter the list by aircraft tail number, ICAO type code, or model name. Aircraft that have not been published by the account administrator, do not have ForeFlight Performance Profiles, or are not enabled for Dispatch show a yellow warning sign and cannot be selected. Learn more about setting up and publishing aircraft here.

2. Departure/Destination

Enter the airports to be used for the flight. Start typing an airport’s identifier, name, or city to see matching results appear in a dropdown menu as you type. The menu shows each airport’s identifier, name, and maximum runway length; heliports do not display any runway length. Click on an airport in the menu or use your keyboard’s up/down keys to select one and hit Enter to confirm your selection. Once you select an airport, an “Info” button appears to its right which you can click on to open the Airport view and find detailed information about that airport. Learn more about the Airport view here.

3. Date & Time

Set date and time information for when the flight will occur. The Date field uses US standard date notation (month/day/year), and you can click in the field to manually edit the date. Click the calendar button to the right of the field to select a new date using a calendar view. Click the button in the top-left of the calendar to select a year, month, and day in a top-down progression, with the current time period circled in blue within each view. Use the arrow buttons in the top-right to move forward or backward in each view (e.g. move to adjacent groups of years, years, and months).

The ETD and ETA buttons below the Date field allow you to determine whether the selected date/time represents the beginning or end of the flight. Select ETD to set the date/time as the departure time, and Dispatch will calculate the flight’s arrival time. Select ETA to set the date/time as the arrival time, and Dispatch will calculate the departure time required to arrive at the selected time.

The Time field allows you to enter a departure or arrival time in 24 hour format. Use the Zulu and Local buttons below the Time field to change which time zone is used. The “Local” time zone depends on the ETD/ETA setting: in ETD mode Local time uses the departure airport’s time zone, and in ETA mode it uses the arrival airport’s time zone.

4. Callsign

Specify a call sign to be used in place of the aircraft tail number when filing the flight plan. When you file a flight plan with a call sign, the aircraft tail number is automatically added to field 18 after “REG/” to ensure that the aircraft registration is still available to ATC. Learn more about filing flight plans here.

5. Alternates

Enter alternate airports for the flight, including up to two destination alternates and one takeoff alternate. Like the departure and destination airport fields, these fields show each airport’s identifier, name, and maximum runway distance, but they also show each airport’s distance from your departure or destination airport, depending on which alternate field is selected. The alternate fields automatically suggest nearby airports when you click on them, sorted by distance in descending order, allowing you to see likely alternates without searching for them. The alternate fields only suggest airports that have IFR approaches available, are open to the public and have a maximum runway length that is greater than the selected aircraft’s minimum runway length. Start typing in the alternate fields to search for airports manually just as you can with the Departure/Destination fields. Alternate airports are indicated on the Route Map with gray dots connected to their associated departure/destination airport with a dotted blue line.

NOTE: Takeoff alternates are only required under certain regulations, such as FAA Part 135 or 121 aircraft when the weather at the departure airport is below legal minimums.

6. Alternate Routing

Specify a route and altitude from your planned destination or departure airport to the alternate airports. Click Show next to Alternate Routing to expose the Alternate Routing fields, which correspond to each of the Alternate fields you’ve filled. Dispatch uses direct routing to alternates by default, but you can also add intermediate waypoints if your operation requires it. The Auto function will automatically select waypoints to produce a more realistic route to the alternate and set an appropriate altitude, and the Manual option allows you to manually input waypoints and an altitude for alternate routing.