Why It’s Important to Plot a Course


So many aspects of life become successful when appropriate planning has occurred beforehand.  Whether it be grocery shopping, meal planning, managing budgets, or plotting a flight course, diligent planning is essential in order to guarantee success.  There are so many variables which could occur during a flight, making it reasonable to argue that it is a true imperative to plot your course prior to take off.  When the stakes are as high as they are during a flight and the variables are many, it is best not to leave anything to chance.  Planning is essential and will save everyone involved from frustration and difficulty in the long run.


So, why is plotting a course so important, and what does it look like to do this?  First, pilots will need to invest in a plotter in order to successfully do this task.  This tool will help them to accurately and seamlessly plot the flight in a professional manner.  Those involved in plotting will work through some of the nitty-gritty details such as the true course, the total distance of the flight, and the distance between each checkpoint.  As pilots are busy plotting their courses, they will need to take a close look at the various charts in order to accurately access the way to the final destination, as well as to see what sort of things will come up from take off to landing.


Plotting a course is so important because factors such as terrain, weather, and distance can cause accidents if not planned for properly.  Even during easy flights where pilots only have to fly straight, they still must plot their courses.  Did you know that pilots generally like to fly in straight lines?  Of course, the preference of straight flying routes is because it is much easier than flying in more circuitous routes.  In the midst of this preference however, it is vital to consider the variety of factors that could make flying in a straight line rather difficult or downright impossible.  The importance of plotting is most evident when factors such as huge bodies of open water, mountainous terrain, and tight airspaces are considered.  These factors generally force pilots to fly in a much more circuitous manner.


On top of what lies between you and your destination, pilots must consider the weather they will encounter during the plotting of their courses.  This is made possible through a phone call placed to a flight service station where pilots can be given an oral weather briefing.  Another method of learning about the weather conditions you will see (or need to avoid) during your course can be received online through the same website that is accessed by flight service stations.


Those just learning to plot courses must be sure to invest in all the proper tools in order to ensure accurate plotting is occurring.  Pilots much have access to the appropriate charts, a plotter, flight plan logs, and an updated copy of an operating handbook that is suitable for the airplane being used.  In plotting your course, remember to get all the information you need for the most risky factors of flying such as terrain, weather, and distance.  In doing so, you will be well on your way to plotting your course with great success!