Flight Outside The U.S. & U.S. Territories


  • 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 meteorological services, the provision of air traffic services, including alerting service, and the existence of search and rescue services

Flights Outside of the U.S. and U.S. Territories:

  • 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, communications, or navigational difficulties
  • 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 Canada and Mexico are not accepted
  • 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 passengers 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
  • Current NOTAMs for foreign locations must also be reviewed. International Notices regarding specific countries may be obtained through the Federal NOTAM System (FNS) NOTAM Search External Links or the Air Traffic Plans and Publications web site. For additional flight information at foreign locations, pilots should also review the FAA's Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices website at https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/us_restrictions/
  • When customs notification to foreign locations is required, it is the responsibility of the pilot to arrange for customs notification in a timely manner
  • Aircraft arriving to locations in U.S. territorial airspace must meet the entry requirements as described in AIM Section 6, National Security and Interception Procedures


  • Consider:
    • Air navigation services available
    • Communications and meteorological services
    • Air traffic services including alerting and existence of SAR
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