Pablo's Mission Planning Website
Greetings Mission Planners,
For those of you anxiously watching the incoming mail, the yearly CADRG "Big Bang" NAVPLAN (JOG-GNC) Chart Set has been "mastered" and is in the process of being inspected and sent off for reproduction. You won't have too much longer to wait...
From the wide world of Commercial Imagery, NGA has awarded a "ClearView" contract to OrbImage. NGA has previously awarded ClearView contracts to Space Imaging and Digital Globe. What does a ClearView contract mean? ClearView is a standard contracting vehicle that provides a pricing structure, user license etc. OrbImage is guaranteed imagery purchases of at least $27.6 Million over the next 22 months. Space Imaging got a $120 Million guarantee (they were there first) and Digital Globe got a $72 Million guarantee (they have the best resolution).
The Air Force has completed fielding Geospatial Product Libraries (GPL's) across the major PACAF Bases. If you're on the SIPRNET in PACAF you should now have access to all the NGA products on your Base LAN.
Mission Planning Tip: FalconView Airways
Airways in FalconView are turned on from the Overlay Menu:
When you turn on Airways you'll see...absolutely nothing. That is you'll see absolutely nothing until you select the Airways you want to display. This is different from overlays like Navaids, Airports or Airspace. When you turn on those overlays you see all the Navaids (or Airports or Airspace Boundaries) that exist in the world. It doesn't work that way for Airways (or MTR's or IFR Tracks) - you have to select the individual Airways you want displayed. You can easily do this from the FalconView map with a new feature added in 3.2. Turn on the Airways (I know, nothing will appear) then go to the map and right click:
Select "Display Airways in Region". Hold down the left mouse button at the upper left corner of the area you're interested in and drag a rectangle - releasing the mouse button at the lower right corner. If you want to be counter cultural you can drag from lower right to upper left or from whatever corner suits your fancy.
When you release your mouse button the Airways that go through the selection box will be displayed:
Each airway will be turned on in its entirety - not just the segments within the box. If you scale out you'll see what I mean:
It's interesting to note that the selection region was in Alabama but an airway in Cuba is turned on. The selection box captured a portion of "J2", a coast to coast airway extending from CRG to MZB, but there's also a J2 in Cuba. FalconView turns on all the "J2" segment it finds - even those that are on a "different" airway. You'll can also see Airway V20 turned on in Mexico.
You can also turn on/off individual Airways from FalconView's Overlay - Options window:
Individual airways are selected from the "Available Routes" list on the left and moved to the "Routes Displayed" list on the right. (Dragging a rectangle on the map is much easier) There are two similarly named Airways in each list, i.e. "J2 E W" and "J2 W W". PFPS sees J2 as two airways - one headed east and one west. This isn't how our pilot brain's think (there's only one line on the chart) but it does make sense. If the "Available Routes" option is set to "All" then all the Airways in DAFIF will be listed on the left. If the option is switched to "Near" then the list will be cut down to the airways within a user selectable number of miles (default is 30). In the above example switching to "Near" cuts down the list considerably:
The slider bar along the right side of the list is now much larger - showing you're viewing about a third of the list of Airways within 30NM.
You can "snap to" a FalconView route point to an Airway point, but this isn't recommended. Snapping to an Airway point only adds that point (not the Airway segment) to the Route. FalconView Airways are good for looking at, but not so good for planning with. If you want to do Airways planning go to CFPS (more on that to follow).
If you spend any amount of time trying to plan a long IFR route in FalconView you'll quickly realize you're better off with a paper enroute chart and a yellow sticky. This isn't too surprising. If you compare a computer monitor's display area with a 24x36in enroute chart you'll see which can display more information. You're best option for cross country planning is still the wall size IFR chart sometimes found in Base Ops. Nothing's better for the "I'm here, now how do I get to C. Springs" type questions. Of course some computer programs do a pretty good job at IFR Planning (Jeppesen's Flite Map comes to mind) but they've had a more "IFR focus" for a long time.