Pablo's Mission Planning Website
Greetings Mission Planners,
If you download your maps and charts from the NGA Gateway or from the SIPRNET St. Louis FTP site then you've got access to the new "Big Bang". The physical "Big Bang" (CADRG NAVPLAN JOG-GNC CD reissue) should be in the mail soon for the rest of us. As always, a heads up when the first person receives the disks would be appreciated as I've got a Big Bang tip to send out.
If you await the Big Bang CD's with dread instead of joy perhaps its because you're getting too many copies. In the "old days" there was a need for multiple physical sets of CD's - folks used them to load laptops, took them TDY and generally misplaced the one disc you needed. Today most PC's (even laptops) have the entire theater's NAVPLAN loaded all the time and additional data is normally loaded from a Mission Planning LAN. Its time to cut back to a single copy for a Squadron or perhaps a single Master Copy for the Base. You'll reduce the stacks of CD's balanced all over your office, help save money and save a plastic tree.
Mission Planning Tip: CFPS Airways
Before I get into today's tip I have a few things to add to the last tip about Airways in FalconView. When you right click on the map and select "Display Airways in the Region" you can easily end up selecting too big an area on screen and get too many Airways displayed. If this happens go to the Overlay - Options - Airways window and use the "Remove All" button to remove all the Airways from the map. Now you can select a smaller region to display. Mike also points out that the Airways are listed in alphabetical order. If you only want to see the Victor Airways you can easily remove the Jet Routes because they're listed at the top of the window - conversely the Victor Airways are listed at the bottom. Unfortunately the CTRL and Shift methods of selecting multiple items in a list doesn't work here so you'll have to click "Remove" on each Airway you want to turn off. Thanks to Mike Collins at the SSF for the good points.
Although FalconView is good for looking at Airways, CFPS is good for using Airways. Using an enroute chart you've determined your route of flight from Little Rock AFB to Colorado Springs is: "KLRF LIT J14 IRW J20 HGO KCOS". You could use CFPS and enter every waypoint and Navaid, but why? Instead start a new route with KLRF (Little Rock AFB) for the departure airfield. For the first fix type "LIT J14 IRW":
After you hit enter CFPS will insert all the points on J14 starting at LIT and ending at IRW:
Now go to the last point (IRW J14) and replace it with "IRW J20 HGO":
When you hit enter the second airways segment will be inserted:
If you inserted the "IRW J20 HGO" on a new line you'd end up with IRW (Will Rogers VORTAC) in your flight plan two times. Now add a new point for your arrival field. Be sure to use a /A to get the airfield record. If you don't use a /A you'll get a Navaid record - if there's one that shares the same ID.
Using the /A will also prompt CFPS to give you a chance to select a runway end coordinate - useful if you know the landing runway.
Of course the pros out there know there's an even easier way to handle multiple airway segments - enter them all on one line:
When you hit enter all the airways points from LIT to HGO will be inserted into your flight plan. There's one weakness in this however - it only works if you stay on airways. If you try to go from HGO direct BRK (Black Forest VORTAC) and enter "LIT J14 IRW J20 HGO BRK" the routing will stop at HGO. Right now CFPS can't handle "direct routing" between fixes on a single line, but that should be added in CFPS 4.0.
What if you had a SID, STAR or Approach Procedure you wanted in your flight plan? Break out the yellow sticky and start writing down waypoint ID's because PFPS doesn't support any of 'em. AMC has support for SID's and STAR's in their TASM AWE but every one else is out of luck for now. AMC did fund limited SID/STAR support for CFPS, but that won't be available until Version 4.0.
What if you don't know what airway to get on? You can enter a fix with a "/J" and see a list of available Airways:
Of course if you don't know what Airway you want to get on this isn't likely to help. You'd have to switch between airways and scan the "Exit Waypoint" dropdown for a fix near your destination. That would be a pretty painful way to figure out a route of flight. You're better using an enroute chart to determine your route before starting PFPS.
Using CFPS Airways speeds up route planning, reduces errors, saves keystrokes and keeps you from writing down every waypoint and fix on a yellow sticky. Is Good.