Pablo's Mission Planning Website
Greetings Mission Planners,
First a few alibis from the last tip I sent out. While I will forever call the preplanned IFR departure a "SID", the correct terminology is now "Departure Procedure". We've managed to replace a single syllable acronym with a six syllable phrase, but I guess that was someone's idea of progress.
I was also asked why a departure from runway 23L included the runway end coordinates for 05R in the procedure. The short answer is "that's the way DAFIF encodes it." The longer answer is that on an IFR departure you're expected to pass the departure end of the runway before beginning a turn. Of course the approach end coordinate 05R is the same as the departure end coordinate for runway 23L. Once the DP is in your flight plan you can manually edit it to remove any points you don't want loaded.
Additionally - when you add a Departure Procedure (DP) to your route in PFPS you're only adding the defined points, so don't just fly it blindly. If the departure procedure reads "climb runway heading to 3,000ft then turn left to intercept the 050 radial to the CXX VORTAC" then you should understand that your flight planning software doesn't know when you'll reach 3,000ft and can't add that as a point. Adding a DP into your route will ensure all the defined points along that routing will be in your flight plan - handy when you're cleared direct or want some SA on where certain points are.
Some additional information also came in about a new "Print Excel" capability in PFPS 4.0. In addition to all the functionality that's present in earlier versions you now can include map or image "thumbnails" on your flight plan. Here's an example showing the points in the sample route provided with PFPS 4.0:
The thumbnails will fill up the area you provide in the form, can be "Course Up" or "North Up" and can be of a multitude of map scales. Here's a view of some of the same thumbnails, just zoomed in:
Registration for the Mission Planning Users Conference (MPUC), scheduled for 8-12 May 2006 is underway at https://www.paulrevereafa.org/MPUC/06/index.asp. This is the place to be if you want to see what's going on in the world of Mission Planning.
MP Tip: FalconView 3.3.1 CADRG Support
While FalconView 3.3.1's CADRG support is mostly the same as previous versions, there are several significant changes that you should be aware of. This also provides a good opportunity to discuss some new issues that have come up in regards to the NACO Sectionals.
FalconView 3.2 added several significant capabilities for displaying CADRG that were originally planned for FV 3.3. Support for Night LFC's, Miscellaneous Maps and City Graphics were all added. There are even more chart types supported in FalconView 3.3.1, and more still in FalconView 4.0. The best place to see what CADRG chart types are supported is in the \pfps\falcon\data\rpf folder. The PFPS installation creates folders in this directory that correspond to each RPF (CIB and CADRG) chart type that FalconView supports. Here's what it looks like in 3.3.1:
There have been several chart types added since 3.2. The most significant include:
Ever wonder exactly what CADRG file extensions there are? For the five of you who answered yes, you can find out by referring to Mil Std 2411-1, Change 1 - available at http://earth-info.nga.mil/publications/specs/printed/2411/24111CN1.pdf. Here's a small extract:
While adding new chart types is an enhancement, a significant flight safety deficiency (for those of you in Europe) was also fixed in FalconView 3.3.1. FV3.2 can display the Night LFCs (Low Fly Charts) used across Europe and updated on a rapid basis, however FalconView 3.2 cannot do a chart currency update on Night LFC charts. What that means is if you've got FalconView 3.2 then every time you get a new EUROSAC (LFC/TFC) CD you should delete all the old Night LFC frame files then recopy the files from the newest EUROSAC CD. FalconView 3.3.1 doesn't have that problem. When you do a chart currency update with 3.3.1 from a EUROSAC CD you automatically replace outdated Night LFC files with the newer ones from the CD. Not sure how to do a currency update? Go to Tools - System Administration - Chart Currency:
The Chart Currency dialog box will appear:
In the "Chart Update" section at the bottom of the window select any map path that has more current CADRG or CIB data. Press the "Update Now" button and FalconView will do a "brute force" comparison between the files on the path selected and every other map data path. Any files that are out of date (when compared to the path selected) will be replaced. This tool was designed with the monthly CSD set in mind, but you can easily point to a network path, removable hard drive etc. to do the update. If it were me, I'd get the files current on the "master" network path, then use that path as the source to update any map data that's stored locally. For example map data on a laptop that needs maps loaded for in flight use or deployed ops.
Unfortunately the Chart Currency Tool that's in FalconView 3.3.1 still cannot update City Graphic charts. That's fixed in FalconView 4.0. Until then if you get a new City Graphic CD you should delete all the existing City Graphics over that area then recopy the new files from the CD. Fortunately City Graphics don't change often and we completed the reissue of City Graphics on regional CD's just a few months ago. No version of FalconView can do a currency update on DTED. If you ever get a new DTED CD or DVD your only option is to use the FalconView Map Data Manager to "cut out" a hole in your DTED coverage by deleting the older DTED files, then copy the newer files in to replace them.
When you look at the Chart Currency window above you may have noticed something unusual. Normally, the chart currency date is the first of a month, but in this case the chart currency is dated January 2nd. What's up? Over the last few months NGA has begun including chart currency information on their EUROSAC and CADRG Sectional CD's that includes the information necessary to track LFC/TFC chart currency in addition to the NAVPLAN chart currency information. FalconView has always had the ability to use this currency info, but previously there was no way to get it. Once it's confirmed that there are no negative effects to including this info on the monthly CADRG Supplement Disc (CSD) set you can expect all three products to include the same complete currency information. Any time you do a Chart Update from a EUROSAC or Sectional CD you can expect the currency date to shift to the 2nd. This is a good thing. Kudos to NGA and to SAIC, their CADRG contractor.
GTRI is currently working on FalconView 4.1 which will be able to track TLM currency in addition to NAVPLAN, LFC/TFC and Sectional currency. NGA is working to make the currency information for CIB available so that will hopefully be available in the newest versions of FalconView soon as well.
You may also have noticed that the most recent CADRG Sectional CD's have had an ICAO cycle date on the CD instead of a month. This is because of the disconnect between the 28 day cycle that Sectional charts are released on, and the monthly cycle for CADRG Sectional CD's. The National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) produces new sectionals on a rotating basis. Most are updated every six months, however those over Alaska are only updated once a year. The current Sectional schedule is found at http://www.naco.faa.gov/content/naco/doles/NACOVFRDOLE.pdf. NGA only receives the new paper Sectionals to digitize a few days prior to their effective date, so there's no way to distribute them via CD so that you have them prior to their effective date. That's why the primary CADRG Sectional distribution is electronic. As soon as the new charts are digitized the CADRG files are sent to Mission Planning Central and posted for download. The typical download is 50-80MB every 28 days. If you're waiting for the monthly Sectional CD then you're already behind. If you don't have sufficient bandwidth, or cannot successfully download the files then the problem is yours. If I can download something like this at an internet cafe for less than $10 then there's no excuse for a base that can't manage it. I realize that there are extenuating circumstances for folks deployed to austere locations overseas, but ain't nobody at a deployed overseas location who needs Sectional coverage of the US of A.
So how come NGA can distribute Sectionals electronically, but everything else has to come via CD? Unlike most NGA products, Sectionals are unclassified, unlimited distribution. Therefore there's no security risk associated with their transmission over the NIPRNET, Internet, carrier pigeon etc. Once NGA's PKI network comes on line later this year you'll be able to download NGA LIMDIS products like CIB, CADRG and DTED to your NIPRNET PC.
Unlike the digital Sectional product produced by NACO, the CADRG sectionals are "seamless" and provide map data stretching from coast to coast. The georegistration is also better.
Oh yeah - don't forget that Sectionals have CHUM. FalconView 3.3.1 imports and displays EChum on Sectionals just like it displays ECHUM on any NAVPLAN chart.
If you're using PFPS 3.2 you need to manually CHUM your Sectionals. Ouch!
PFPS 4.0 Feature of the Week - Polar CADRG!
If you've used FalconView for any extended period of time you've probably noticed the chart coverage is cut off at 80N and 80S:
This cutoff is due to the transition from "normal" to "polar" CADRG. FalconView 3.3.1 and earlier can't display polar CADRG, but this has always been a high priority requirement for those who have to fly past 80N and 80S on a routine basis - think LC-130's, tankers and bombers. The good news is the problem is solved in FalconView 4.0:
Polar charts display seamlessly with the normal ones, but as you get to higher and higher latitudes the Equal Arc projection becomes increasingly distorted. You'll want to switch to either Lambert Conformal, or the new Azimuthal Equidistant (polar) projections:
FalconView can display the available CADRG all the way to the poles. Here's the North Pole on JNC:
At this point you may be wondering how to get the polar CADRG. The good news is that you've already got it. It's on your JNC/GNC discs, your ONC/TPC1 CD and a handful of other NAVPLAN CD's.
Although FalconView 4.0 can display polar CADRG, the implementation that was done was "economical". Instead of trying to modify the Map Data Manager to display polar CADRG coverages (which would have been more costly than displaying polar CADRG charts), a very basic capability was added to copy polar coverage. If you have a map data path that includes polar CADRG then on the "Map Data Paths" tab you'll find a "Copy Polar" button that's enabled whenever you select a path that includes polar coverages:
Pressing the "Copy Polar" button will copy all the polar coverages from the path selected to your target path. In case you're worried, there's less than 200MB of polar CADRG produced, so you're not going to overflow your hard drive.
Enjoy your flights into the Great White North now that the black emptiness has been replaced with chart coverage.