mercoledì 1 gennaio 2020

Qgis for VFR flight planning - part 1

This is only a feasibility test on using qgis as a tool for VFR flight navigation.

This is not a guide on how to use qgis, but only a list of the steps necessary to use this qgis software as planning tool for vfr navigations.

Most of operations are manually and may vari case by case.

The main site of the qgis open source project is so please read the documentation provided.

So Please RTFM as I've done!!

This guide is based on qgis 3.x


Mainly I use Linux as operative system, I do not have anymore Windows or MacOs available on my hardware, so I'm not able to test the following procedures on these OS.

Installation on Linux Mint 19 or Ubuntu/Debian

The installation with the apt package manager gets the old version 2.x  so it's necessary to install a version 3.x from the qgis site repositories

# sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

paste these new repositories

deb bionic main
deb-src bionic main

Add the key (key my be not correct so adapt it)

# sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-key 51F523511C7028C3

# sudo apt-get update
# sudo apt-get install qgis python-qgis qgis-plugin-grass


Download / install the following plugins:

see this guide on how to use plugins

So now we are ready to create an empty project, remember to set the WGS84 as elissoid and to se the units as,  Nautical miles, feet, decimal degrees.

Get a map

First of all we need a map to work on, the most practical choice is to get some openstreetmap maps or google maps.

This could be done simply following this guide:

Normally openstreemaps layers are always be present on the left browser panel

Other maps providers, ie google maps, could be added following the indicated guide, as I've done.
Take in account that the map is only necessary as the top bottom layer of your qgis project to have an overview of the navigation area!!  we are not hiking on a trail!!

Add Aip Data

The first step is to add the necessary AIP airspace information, aviation reporting points,navaids ,waypoints etc.

As I flight in northern Italy, in VFR with a general aviation airplane or microlight, this guide refers to the Italian database.

A good and updated source for these aviation database is the site openAIP where at this link it's possible to download the relevant data at this link:

One of the problems is that the data format provided from openAIP are not directly compatible with qgis, some transformation are necessary to import vector files.

I've used this good tool to convert these files: AirspaceConverter from the site

The file should be converted to a vectorial format compatible with qgis vector layers as KML/KMZ or openAir dat file (.txt extension)

Download and convert  these files:

  • openaip_airports_italy_it.cup convert to > kml or kmz 
  • openaip_airspace_italy_it.aip convert to > openAir dat file
  • openaip_navaid_italy_it.cup convert to > kml or kmz

Now add a vector layer ctrl + shift + v and import the converted files.
Some customization are necessary on the imported layers as described below.

To be continued ...

Update status

Updated on 01 January 2020

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