About the site

Need to do some approaches for IFR currency? Platehopper is a tool to help save you time and fuel by giving you routes using a series of approaches. Simply put in a start and end airport, along with the number of approaches you want to do and Platehopper will give you some options to consider.

Disclaimer: This is a beta application and may not have the most up to date data from the FAA. Always verify your flight plan independently. A list of considerations:

  • Approaches are not checked against TFRs or NAs (i.e. many approaches are NA at night or under certain conditions)
  • Wind and default runways may not be considered, so your suggested approaches may conflict with ATC traffic.
  • Where possible, the app will suggest alternate approaches which are effectively the same (i.e. Localizer vs ILS)
  • Although we use for the map tiles, there is no official affiliation with that site (but we are fans!)

Tips: Understanding how PlateHopper works can help you get the most out of its suggestions.

  • It optimizes for distance, looking for series of approaches where the intermediate fix is close to where you'd end the previous approach
    • If you want to fly a hold or do a longer approach, you may need to check the plates. (IAFs can be added in customize / browse mode)
    • Flying the missed is currently not supported; instead it assumes your approach terminates a few miles past the end of the runway
  • Class B airports are excluded
  • Some weighting is given to plans with varied types of approaches. Stay sharp on those VORs while you can!
  • NDB approaches and RNAV-Z are not shown or used.
  • For simplicity, approaches that are similar are all grouped together (i.e. ILS 28R + VOR 28L). This prevents them from all creating their own route and clogging things up. However, there is no way to select an IAF from an alternate approach at the moment