Flight planning is the process of preparing for a flight: planning a route to fly, identifying alternate destinations in case of diversion, calculating required fuel, ensuring the aircraft will not be not overloaded and so on.
Flight planning is the process of preparing for a flight by gathering, calculating and documenting all necessary information about the route, weather and the aircraft itself. Typically this includes (at least) the following activities:
- Identifying a route to fly and the appropriate navigation method(s) to use
- Selecting alternate landing airfields in case a diversion is required
- Calculating how long each leg of the flight will last
- Calculating the fuel required
- Checking weather forecasts and the possible effects on the flight
- Calculating the weight that will be loaded on board the aircraft
- Checking TFRs, NOTAMs and other information that may affect the flight
- Preparing and filing a flight plan
Many of these activities are related, e.g. poor weather may require a different, longer route that increases the time and fuel required for a flight.
General aviation pilots usually plan flights themselves; airlines employ flight dispatchers to plan flights.
This tag is appropriate for any of the activities mentioned above, and in general for any planning activity that takes place before a flight departs.