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I noticed that when I use online flight planning resources, they provide an "auto-routing" option for my flight. I also noticed that they are the same between both services so it seems like both are pulling the route from somewhere. Additionally, the auto-route appears to be different than a "preferred route" because, for example fltplan.com will say "No Preferred Routes or Stored Routes" then it gives me (a sometimes crazy) auto-route.

Are auto-routes predetermined or is it just an algorithm (i.e. nearest intersection/victor airways to destination)?

Extra Credit Question: If there is no preferred route for a given destination, is filing Direct or using the auto-route more likely to get you a "cleared as filed?"

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it asks about particular flight planning services and their features, rather than about aviation per se. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J May 15 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ Seems on-topic to me, the auto-route principle is general enough $\endgroup$ – pericynthion May 16 at 1:12
  • $\begingroup$ The people using those sites generally won't be up in the flight levels where probably 80% of the traffic is, so it's hard to see how ATC would care one way or the other. $\endgroup$ – John K May 16 at 1:43
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I did some follow up research and also spoke to an air traffic controller and I have a partial answer to this question.

  1. If the "auto-routing" doesn't make much "sense" and there are no "preferred routes" then the probability of "getting a direct clearance would be fairly high."

  2. The "auto-routing" logic is simply using nearest victor airways from Point A to Point B. (I'm still looking for a source for this, but it seems pretty obvious to me now).

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