Pablo's Mission Planning Website

Home Links Tips Downloads MPSSF Tips

Greetings Mission Planners,

NGA has posted the EChum files for March.  You can download them at http://164.214.2.62/products/webchum/InitQueryFrame.cfm.  

I've posted the first Beta Version of Excel2FV Mark II.  This version likely has issues so continue to use the fielded version of Excel2FV for "real" work.  All feedback welcome.

Ever find yourself in a position where you needed to share NGA data with Allied Forces and didn't know who you needed to talk to?  The good news is you'll find very clear guidance from NGA - but only on the SIPRNET.  Go to http://www.nga.smil.mil/information/disclosure_release_index.html and you'll find a complete list of who, where, when, what and how.  You'll even find a nice table at http://www.nga.mil/mil/cda/article2/0,2421,3104_116913_117196,00.html.  Remember these links are on the SIPRNET - if you click on them from this email it won't work...

The MPSSF has begun distribution of the "PAD" or Protected Area Database.  The PAD is an updated and more complete version of the Managed Area Database (MAD) that's included in PFPS 3.2.  To quote Willie Kramer...

The Protected Areas Database (PAD) Version 2.0 is now available for USAF, USAF ANG, USAF AFRC, and their contractors. AMC and ACC have approved this for their respective crew forces and you can order it through the System Support Facility (SSF).

The PAD replaces the Managed Areas Database (MAD) that ships with PFPS. PAD and MAD information is used by FalconView to display the Environmental overlay on your maps. The various area types (2000Ft AGL Sensitive Areas,

Potentially Sensitive Areas, Reservations, Parks, Federal Lands, etc.) can be selected on the Environmental tab of the FalconView Overlay Options and assist you in planning around or over these sensitive areas. You can also display the overlay during in-flight operations to maintain situational awareness during maneuvering to avoid the areas (and the subsequent "butt chewing" from your Wing/Group CC when the phones start ringing).

The MAD is a 1999 product, and as such has some very "stale" data. PAD updates this data and includes some areas not previously contained in MAD like the state of Alaska.

The SSF provides a link to a pre-filled order form (AF Form 157) on the MPSSF Website https://mpssf.hill.af.mil/User_Support/News/read_1.asp?id=317 Once your TODO orders the CD, you will automatically receive any PAD update CDs without further action required on your part.  The CD CPIN# is 88V-MPS/PCW/PAD-F001-00A Rev 000

The ANG and AF/XOIRY funded this project so distribution is limited to USAF, USAF ANG, USAF AFRC, and their contractors. If you aren't one of these types but still need this data, talk to your command's or service's mission planning office.

MP Tip: FalconView Environmental Overlay

And with that lead in...  FalconView 3.2 was the first Mission Planning Program shipped with an Environmental Overlay.  Fliers are required to avoid sensitive areas IAW FAA Advisory Circular 91-36C, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Flight Near Noise Sensitive Areas.  A note on all sectionals provides further details about what the FAA Expects you to avoid by 2,000 ft:

National Parks
National Monuments
National Seashores
National Lakeshores
National Recreation Areas
National Scenic Riverways
National Wildlife Refuges
National Big Game Refuges
National Game Ranges
National Wildlife Ranges
Wilderness Areas
Primitive Areas

Of course this is a minimum list and a pilot is expected to exercise the good judgment to avoid other sensitive areas.  Failure to avoid sensitive areas can result in administrative action against an individual and loss of training areas for the DoD.   The Air National Guard (OK, Mike Bartgis and Roy Rathbun) realized we were asking our crews to avoid these areas without an easy way to know where they were.  Unfortunately it's difficult to find a single source for these areas.  Finally they found the Managed Area Database (MAD).  MAD isn't perfect - to quote from the MAD website: 

"The database has been compiled as a 1:2,000,000 scale product, and we believe that both the precision and accuracy of the database are in accord with that scale. Ideally, this update process would be ongoing, but at this time, the mechanism and responsibility for future revision and long-term database maintenance has yet to be determined. This process should be carried out by government agencies or NGO's dedicated to the task. We hope a responsible group will step up to this need."

Translated this means that the data detail is only about what you'd see on a JNC chart, isn't being maintained and isn't guaranteed to be complete - still it was free and better than nothin'.  The Environmental Areas are turned on from the FalconView Overlay Menu:

The Environmental Areas are displayed on the map like any other overlay.  The screenshot below shows the Grand Canyon National Park:

The Overlay Options lets you control what Environmental Areas will be displayed:

The 2,000 Ft Sensitive Areas include the ones dictated by the FAA.  Potential Sensitive Areas include Wind and Scenic Rivers, National Military Parks etc.  Other State and Federal Lands include Military Reservations, National/State Forests etc.  For details of what MAD categories were included in which area filter go to the FalconView help for the Environmental Overlay Options and click on the area type you're interested in.  

For those who are interested, the MAD is actually a Shapefile.  The ANG's funding of the Environmental Overlay allowed FalconView to add a general Shapefile display capability.

So since you've got the MAD data why would you need to get the PAD data?  As described above, the MAD data has limitations, as the following screenshots of the MAD data on Sectionals show:

Golden Spike National Historic Site is only colored as a "Sensitive Area" (National Historic Sites aren't included on the 2,000 ft list), but is depicted on the sectional.  ORP (Ordinary, Reasonable, Prudent) Man would avoid it, but you'll note the MAD depiction is either incomplete, insufficiently detailed or out of date.  If you depend on the MAD data you might try to fly between two separate parts of the Site - but the Sectional shows that they're part of a larger area.

The Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge is coded as a 2,000 ft area, but the depiction in the MAD includes only one set of islands, leaving off protected islands extending up the coast.

The depiction of these sensitive areas East of Salt Lake City is complete, but insufficiently detailed.  While there's a small gap between sensitive areas (along I-80 and the American Fork) it is much smaller than what is depicted in the MAD data.  (FYI, I generated more noise complaints doing a Low Level around here than anywhere else I ever flew)

The PAD addresses the shortfalls found in the MAD database.  Most of the data was compiled from 1:100K scale maps and the database is much more complete - it includes Alaska for example.  The data is more current (2001 vs. 1996) and is produced by an agency who is maintaining it (PAD is on its second edition).  When you install the PAD data it works in FalconView just like the current MAD data does - just better.

So why is PAD only available to the Air Force?  Although the PAD is produced by a nonprofit agency, it isn't a "nonexpense" agency and they reasonably expect some funds to compensate them for the expense of gathering and producing a the most complete database available.  The Air National Guard and AF/XOIRY decided to purchase a license for the data and decided to purchase it for Air Force units only.  Actually it probably would be illegal for one Service to purchase something for a different service - intent of Congress, Budget Directive as Law etc.  If you don't have the PAD you should continue to compare what's in the MAD with other data sources.  This can be as simple as comparing the data with a paper sectional and creating a FalconView Drawing (.drw) file containing the missing sensitive areas in your area.  It isn't wise to "buzz the borders" depicted using MAD or PAD; you can't be sure that the data sources used were 100% accurate and it wouldn't be prudent (The "ORP Man" thing again), just as it wouldn't be prudent to fly a half mile from "The Box" during Red Flag.  Tends to bring unwanted attention and paperwork.

Paul

Home