Flight Operations—Flight Information Services

Pre-flight Pilot Information

Pre-flight information is obtained by the pilot from a NavCanada distribution network composed of regional Flight Information Centres (FICs).  There are nine FICs in Canada—based in Kamloops, Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, Quebec City, Halifax, North Bay, Yellowknife, and Whitehorse—and the regional distribution of these centres is indicated in the depiction that appears to the right.  Pilots can also obtain flight information from a Flight Service Station (FSS) located at specified airports, but FSS are primarily oriented to providing information services to pilots departing and arriving at the specific airport where they are located.

The primary functions of the FIC is to provide pilots with access to emergency services, aviation weather information, flight planning administration, en route flight information, and airport advisory services.  The nearest FIC can be contacted using the toll-free number 1-866-WX BRIEF.

When a pilot planning a flight communicates with the FIC, the pilot should begin by describing the planned routing, time, and altitude, and then request “a briefing”.  In response, the Flight Service Specialist will convey all pertinent information pertaining to the flight, including weather, AIRMETs, NOTAMs, and PIREPs.1  All of this information is published on NavCanada’s website—www.flightplanning.navcanada.ca—and where possible, pilots should review this data prior to contacting the FIC, and advise the Flight Service Specialists accordingly.  NavCanada has also established internet access to flight data through a series of Pilot Information Kiosks, currently situated at 80 airports across Canada.  Kiosk locations are published on NavCanada’s internet site, and are also specified in the Canada Flight Supplement.

En route Communication

During a flight, pilots exchange updated information with the FICs via a network of Remote Communication Outlets (RCOs), as well as radio communication equipment co-located at airports (see P. 189).  Currently, the frequency 126.7 MHz is the frequency monitored by both pilots and FSS/FIC personnel for the purpose of in-flight communication (see P. 189), but owing to frequency congestion, frequency 126.7 MHz will be phased out by 2010, and replaced by the frequencies 123.275 MHz, 123.375 MHz, 123.475 MHz, and 123.55 MHz.  These frequencies shall be referred to as Flight Information Services En route (FISE).  Remember, however, that all ATC and ATS units, including FSSs and FICs continuously monitor 121.5 MHz for the purpose of emergency communications.

When contacting the FIC via radio for the purpose of obtaining in-flight information, pilots must transmit the following information:  aircraft identification, the name of the location of the RCO, followed by the expression “R-C-O” in non-phonetic format:


Pacific Radio, this is Cherokee Golf, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie on the Lytton R-C-O.

To avoid confusion between Kamloops FSS, which administers information at the Kamloops Airport, and Kamloops FIC, which administers information for the Kamloops Flight Information Centre, the Kamloops FIC is referred to as Pacific Radio for the purpose of radio communication (as indicated above).

The frequencies 122.75 MHz and 123.45 MHz are reserved for pilot-to-pilot (air-to-air) communications.


1 AIRMETs pertain to unexpected changes in the weather conditions that were previously not published in the aviation forecasts; PIREPS are pilot reports pertaining to weather conditions observed by a pilot during flight, and communicated to FSS/FIC personnel on the ground.  These are discussed Weather.