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b. The FAA has identified three possible situations

where the failure to plan for an alternate airport when

flying IFR to such a destination airport could result in

a critical situation if the weather is less than forecast

and sufficient fuel is not available to proceed to a

suitable airport.

1. An IFR flight to an airport where the

Minimum Descent Altitudes (MDAs) or landing

visibility minimums for all instrument approaches

are higher than the forecast weather minimums

specified in 14 CFR Section 91.167(b). For example,

there are 3 high altitude airports in the U.S. with

approved instrument approach procedures where all

of the MDAs are greater than 2,000 feet and/or the

landing visibility minimums are greater than 3 miles

(Bishop, California; South Lake Tahoe, California;

and Aspen−Pitkin Co./Sardy Field, Colorado). In the

case of these airports, it is possible for a pilot to elect,

on the basis of forecasts, not to carry sufficient fuel to

get to an alternate when the ceiling and/or visibility

is actually lower than that necessary to complete the


2. A small number of other airports in

mountainous terrain have MDAs which are slightly

(100 to 300 feet) below 2,000 feet AGL. In situations

where there is an option as to whether to plan for an

alternate, pilots should bear in mind that just a slight

worsening of the weather conditions from those

forecast could place the airport below the published

IFR landing minimums.

3. An IFR flight to an airport which requires

special equipment; i.e., DME, glide slope, etc., in

order to make the available approaches to the lowest

minimums. Pilots should be aware that all other

minimums on the approach charts may require

weather conditions better than those specified in

14 CFR Section 91.167(b). An inflight equipment

malfunction could result in the inability to comply

with the published approach procedures or, again, in

the position of having the airport below the published

IFR landing minimums for all remaining instrument

approach alternatives.

5−1−11. Flights Outside U.S. Territorial


a. When conducting flights, particularly extended

flights, outside the U.S. and its territories, full

account should be taken of the amount and quality of

air navigation services available in the airspace to be

traversed. Every effort should be made to secure

information on the location and range of navigational

aids, availability of communications and meteoro-

logical services, the provision of air traffic services,

including alerting service, and the existence of search

and rescue services.

b. Pilots should remember that there is a need to

continuously guard the VHF emergency frequency

121.5 MHz when on long over-water flights, except

when communications on other VHF channels,

equipment limitations, or cockpit duties prevent

simultaneous guarding of two channels. Guarding of

121.5 MHz is particularly critical when operating in

proximity to Flight Information Region (FIR)

boundaries, for example, operations on Route R220

between Anchorage and Tokyo, since it serves to

facilitate communications with regard to aircraft

which may experience in-flight emergencies, com-

munications, or navigational difficulties.


ICAO Annex 10, Vol II, Paras and

c. The filing of a flight plan, always good practice,

takes on added significance for extended flights

outside U.S. airspace and is, in fact, usually required

by the laws of the countries being visited or

overflown. It is also particularly important in the case

of such flights that pilots leave a complete itinerary

and schedule of the flight with someone directly

concerned and keep that person advised of the flight’s

progress. If serious doubt arises as to the safety of the

flight, that person should first contact the appropriate

FSS. Round Robin Flight Plans to Mexico are not


d. All pilots should review the foreign airspace

and entry restrictions published in the appropriate

Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) during

the flight planning process. Foreign airspace

penetration without official authorization can involve

both danger to the aircraft and the imposition of

severe penalties and inconvenience to both passen-

gers and crew. A flight plan on file with ATC

authorities does not necessarily constitute the prior

permission required by certain other authorities. The

possibility of fatal consequences cannot be ignored in

some areas of the world.

e. Current NOTAMs for foreign locations must

also be reviewed. The publication Notices to Airmen,

Domestic/International, published biweekly, con-

tains considerable information pertinent to foreign

flight. For additional flight information at foreign


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