I'm learning X-Plane 11 and started to use an add-on called FS Economy.

One of its missions is to fly to small airports that I can't find on skyvector, so I'm unable to plan a direct flight.

I usually fly to the nearest charted airport, and fly using the GPS from there. Not knowing any information like runway length beforehand.

How realistic is it in the real world that an airport would not be charted, and how are flights planned to such airport?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For farm/private strips in the UK we usually just telephone the landowner and ask him to move his harvester/classic car collection/hay bails and ask for any details we need. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 8:11
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ They are planned pretty much as you do, navigate to somewhere close that is charted like an aerodrome, VOR or other nav fix, then dead reckoning or GPS from there. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ Pilotage - you look out the window $\endgroup$
    – Steve Kuo
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 19:49

3 Answers 3


I know nothing of X-plane, but I fly gliders in real life and often land in fields and "uncharted" airports. Uncharted does not mean the airport does not exist. However, you do need some idea of where it is, GPS coordinates, or some fix from a known point. Even a general description of its location can get you close enough to find it. I have often used "Google Earth" to pinpoint a potential landing area and once I find it there, I have what I need to navigate to it. I check the date of the GE photography some are several years old and things could have changed that make the field unsuitable. GE also has tools that you can use to measure the length and width of the "runway" and its orientation. I look for obstacles that might interfere with my approach. I also check to see if it is fenced because that can complicate getting my glider out of the field.


As a frequent flyer to uncharted airports, I simply use a VOR radial and distance when filing. Usually the approach controllers are familiar with local airports, even infrequent use ones. When in an area where there is no approach facility the center controller may be less familiar with the airport. I normally provide the owner's phone as a destination contact.

While one could use a lat/long coordinate, a radial and dme is easier to communicate.

Depending upon what I am doing, sometimes 20% of my landings are at uncharted airports. One can file VFR and IFR flight plans to them.

This doesn't specifically address your use of X-plane 11, but it is intended to describe operations in general aviation in North America, and my less limited experience in South America.

  • $\begingroup$ I like this answer, the problem/question is not specific to X-Plane but I wanted to be clear that I am using a simulator and not a trained pilot. That said VOR and radials are easy enough. $\endgroup$
    – coteyr
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 17:59

If it's not known to the FAA, it's not going to be available in a standard navigational database. You would have to know of the existence of the airstrip beforehand and get the lat-long coordinates for it. If you have those, you can create custom waypoints in a GNSS unit e.g. GNS430, GTN750, etc. to fly to. This can also be done in the air if you locate an airstrip and note the lat-long coordinate or a polar bearing/distance from a know nav beacon like a VOR or NDB, which also can be used to create GPS waypoints as well.

  • $\begingroup$ The FAA maintains a list of uncharted airports. An airport need not be on their list, but just because it is uncharted doesn't mean that there is not an entry in a database for it. $\endgroup$
    – mongo
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:34

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