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2 Answers

Changing Filed Alternate after filling

Asked by: 678 views , ,
Commercial Pilot, FAA Regulations, General Aviation, Instrument Rating, Weather

Can anyone share how to change the listed alternate after filling a flight plan?


Here is my scenario.   I have filled a flight plan to depart at 0530am.  At 6:00am a new TAF was issued for my alternate and the new TAF forecast has made my alternate no longer leagal to be filled as my alternate.


I have been refilling and new flight plan with a new legal alternate.  However when I call for the clearance the person says he shows 2 flight plans going to the same place.  I ask for the alternate with the legal alternate, but I'm told they don't see that information.

I have tried going into the filed flight plan to change the alternate but that doesn't seem to work either.


Anyone else run across this occasional problem?  How do you fix the mistake with minimal confusion?

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2 Answers

  1. Jim F. on Jan 20, 2017

    Probably not the technically correct answer, but as a part 135 pilot on the few times my alternate has needed to change, I’ve always just asked CD or tower to remark the change to cover me from the legal side.

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  2. John D Collins on Jan 20, 2017

    First, there is no requirement to update the flightplan if the alternate needs to be changed at a later point in time. However, It is only prudent that you determine another alternate that can be used and for which you have sufficient fuel. The alternate filing requirement is a planning requirement to make sure you have sufficient fuel to fly to a plan B airport. There are limits in the system that are filing system dependent, like when you can amend or cancel a flightplan. If the system you are using allows amendments or cancellation, you should use one of these to update your flightplan. If you are beyond that point in time, it is really too late in most cases.

    At 30 minutes prior to the ETD, ATC will print the strip for the local controller. They are the only ones who can change the flightplan at this point. However, for IFR domestic flightplans, the alternate is not a field that is transmitted to ATC, so there is nothing for them to change.

    A major pilot error is the thought that they must go to their alternate if they can’t get into their destination, This is totally false. You should be evaluating your options continuously along the flight and if needed deviate to the airport that offers the most sense and offers the greatest safety option based on the actual situation.

    When you miss an approach, the first thing ATC will ask you to do is to state your intentions. That is because they have no clue what you filed in the way of an alternate and once again, going to your alternate or any other airport is totally at the pilot’s discretion. There have been avoidable accidents when a pilot pushed on to the alternate which dropped below acceptable limits while along the route or not far from it there were VFR airports.

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