According to someone on the internet, the FAA intends to discontinue accepting domestic flight plans and switch to ICAO-only in October. I've also heard this around the airport, but been unable to verify it.

The provided link says that the FAA is proposing to phase out domestic plans, but doesn't say that they've committed to it, nor does it give a date.

The FAA is also proposing to implement flight plan filing for civil aircraft exclusively under the format used by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Is there an official FAA publication that verifies the FAA's intent to stop accepting domestic flight plans on October 1, 2015?

  • $\begingroup$ The only AOPA advocacy topic on this was last revised in 2008 so I'm thinking this is someone misinterpreting the FAA link, not an actual proposal. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 17:53

2 Answers 2


The link from your question paraphrases and links to “Flight Service Program Changes,” of which the April 13, 2015 7:49:56 AM EDT revision is reproduced below with added emphasis in boldface.

Flight Service Program Changes

Recognizing a shift in users’ preferences for automated services, the FAA is changing its Flight Service operation to make it more efficient and reduce costs. The agency will continue to maintain the highest level of safety.

The changes come as general aviation pilots are transitioning from traditional Flight Service assistance to more automated and web-based tools to obtain services. Through the use of updated technology Flight Service is taking the opportunity to eliminate redundancies and underutilized services.

“None of these changes will affect core flight service safety functions such as search and rescue, emergency services, Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) entry and dissemination, and pilot weather reports,” said Steven Villanueva, Deputy Director Flight Service, in the ATO's System Operations Service Unit. “We are phasing in the changes to ease the transition for users,” he added.

On October 1, 2015, the FAA will consolidate Flight Watch services into routine flight services inflight frequencies to eliminate unnecessary duplication of service and provide greater convenience for pilots. These services provide inflight weather information to pilots. After that date, these services will be available on the same frequencies that pilots use to open and close flight plans and to receive updates on NOTAMs or Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs). Dedicated Flight Watch frequencies will be decommissioned.

The FAA is proposing to phase out legacy Remote Airport Advisory Service. Seven of the airports do not meet the Agency's criteria for receiving advisory service. Flight Service is collaborating with our user groups on possible impacts and will be posting the proposed change in the Federal Register for public comment.

The FAA is also proposing to implement flight plan filing for civil aircraft exclusively under the format used by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Flight plans contain specific information relating to the proposed flight of an aircraft and controllers use them to provide air traffic services. Today pilots file flight plans in the U.S. under either the domestic or ICAO format. The use of one format will simplify the process and align U.S. flight plans within ICAO standards.

General aviation pilots increasingly have turned to automation in recent years to file flight plans and receive pre-flight briefings. New technology such as ADS-B is providing more inflight options to pilots. Flight Service will incorporate the industry's newest technologies and reduce or eliminate other functions to create efficiencies and value. The changes to Flight Watch and RAA are the first in what is anticipated to be a series of right-sizing initiatives surrounding flight services provided to pilots.

Send your comments, questions, and suggestions to us and share your thoughts and ideas.

Flight Service National Airspace Initiative (FSNI) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The linked FAQ list contains a question similar to yours, quoted below including the boldface from the original. Note the first sub-bullet under Flight Plan Filing that states the intent but does not provide a specific date.

What changes will be made in the Long Term?

Long term changes are being worked with stakeholders. Increased usage of technology and automation and less reliance on human delivered services will be considered. These changes include:

  • Emergency Frequencies — Pilots, when in distress and using an emergency frequency (121.5MHz), will be responded to by an Air Traffic Control (ATC) specialist with surveillance capability, improving the timeliness of emergency handling.
  • Flight Plan Filing
    • Increased automation that will provide a pilot numerous alternatives for flight plan filing, modification, activation and closure
    • Transition to exclusive International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) format for civil aircraft
  • Search And Rescue (SAR) — Increase automation to include Automated Activation and Closure of flight plans
  • Relaying Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Clearances — Flight Service is working with Air Traffic Control (ATC) to develop alternative solutions to enable pilots to talk directly to an air traffic control facility when requesting an IFR clearance.

See also the related Aviation.SE question Will the frequency 122.000 MHz no longer be used for Flight Watch after October 1st 2015?

  • $\begingroup$ So, is that a yes? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 13:57

That is a yes. They are proposing to move away from the NAS FP (FAA Form 7233-1) and require use of the FAA Form 7233-4 (The FAA version of an international flight plan). The move is hoped for the fall of 2016. The delay was to get all vendors up to speed, and iron out procedures for specialty flight plans like those for the DC SFRA and DVFR etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have some specific references for these statements? Something quoting from (and linked to) the FAA would be ideal. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 18:15

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