Which Route Waypoints Visible on Screen?


May 15, 2019
When filing routes one thing I have wondered is will it be easy for a controller to see where I will be changing course visually on the screen, and if it matters. Filing direct I picture a target moving across the screen and then turning at some point which as a non-controller I am speculating might add to workload.

So my question is, does it matter if the route I'm filing has waypoints that are familiar or that will be on your screen? And if so, which waypoints do show up? For example, if I file a low altitude intersection but I'm in the flight levels will that show up for you? If I'm flying a somewhat curved (that is a bunch of straight legs resembling a curve) to my destination to avoid or take advantage of the wind I will pick whatever the closest waypoint is to my optional route. Sometimes an intersection, or RNAV waypoint from a Q route, etc. I assume a lat/long would not show up? I imagine this might be configurable or selectable at the console.

I don't do this myself but some folks I hear also file to the IAF of an expected IAP. Any thoughts on that?


Jan 23, 2014
For the center we can display your route on the RADAR display graphically. At the beginning of our training we are required to learn and draw all the waypoints in our airspace. Although we will lose the ability to draw it from memory over time, we will still recognize the fix on your flight plan and have a rough idea of where it is. From there we can depict your route and know exactly what you’re gonna do. File as many fixes as you want, it’s our job to know your routing and plan accordingly. We don’t differentiate between high and low waypoints, our computer knows lat/longs, q routes, and k-fixes. We actually have a display option for k fixes and we often use them for weather deviations as they’re easier to say and it saves time.

I think filing to an IAF is a great idea. When a pilot files an IAF, I will already have the chart pulled up and be ready to issue the clearance. It saves a lot of time for me if we know what approach you’re likely to request.


Epic Member
May 24, 2009
Each terminal airspace is going to have video maps that are a little different.
Some have individual maps for every approach with each fix...others will have one or two maps that only show where the fixes are but aren't labeled.
I've been at a few facilities, and none of them have had airway fixes labeled, but I'm sure there's facilities out there that will.
Our radar display won't graphically depict your route like the Centers can, if I understood the above poster correctly.

Whether or not you file to an IAF at your destination airport makes no difference to me.