Pablo's Mission Planning Website
Greetings Mission Planners,
Do you have 100 to 150 acres in the National Capital Region that you'd like to sell? If so please contact General James Clapper at NGA, because according to this story on MSNBC they're looking to build a new "campus"
Patriot Excalibur (PEX) is the best scheduling software available in the DoD. ACC/SCS has issued version 4.3 a Certificate to Operate on ACC networks. You can download PEX at https://46twweb.eglin.af.mil/pex/ . Patriot Excalibur is the only ACC-supported Stan/Eval software. Version 4.3 contains the management tools and functions that bring Stan/Eval into the 21st century. Computerized testing, automatically generated Form 8's and aircrew tracking are just a few of the new features. If you're in Stan/Eval and you're not using PEX you're just making things hard on yourself.
A new version of Excel2FV has been posted at http://www.mission-planning.com. There are fixes to problems identified in the field and a new capability to create FalconView drawing items without outer boundaries:
The March CADRG Supplement Disc (CSD) set and TLM Update Disc (TUD) had their labels inadvertently swapped. They still work, so pull out your Sharpie and adjust the labels accordingly. More details available from the MPSSF.
Haven't you registered for MPUC yet???? I sure hope so. According to the MPUC website (https://www.paulrevereafa.org/mpuc/05/) the conference is full up and anyone registering now is being put on a waiting list (198 folks at last count). If you have registered but won't be able to go please cancel your reservation. As you might imagine, the Flamingo is sold out and the available overflow hotels have been exhausted. You'll be on your own as you try to find a place to sleep (no fair sleeping in the meeting rooms). The max per diem lodging rate for Las Vegas is $122 - good luck!
If you have registered for MPUC, have you signed up for your classes yet? You can browse the available classes or download a class schedule from the MPUC Website. You'll definitely want to go to the PFPS 3.3.1 Differences Training and it will be worth your while to go to the PFPS 3.3.1 Security Training. You can learn about the new 3.3.1 security "features" at MPUC or in front of your PC in a few months. There are lots of classes about PEX, including an introduction, Fighter Scheduling, Multicrew Scheduling, a review of new features, and classes about the new Stan Eval Features (Testing and Management). Of course the forward thinking will want to see what's coming in TaskView 3.5 and PFPS 4.0. Take the time to find classes that teach tools that you don't know anything about, but that are applicable to your mission. I'll be at both NGA sessions (Aero and Other?) and hope to learn more about how an Obscure Spy Agency Helps Keeps Nation Safe.
If you're using FalconView 3.3 to calculate your Terrain Clearance Altitudes (TCA's) remember 3.3 only uses Level 1 DTED to compute the altitude. Exercise caution in areas with known DTED disparities, i.e. Shiprock...
Mission Planning Tip: Vertical Obstructions - Part 2
Last time I talked about obstructions plotted on NGA's charts, but what's on a chart when it's printed is only half the story. Obstructions appear every day (can you say "cell phone tower?") and we've always needed a way to update our charts with the most current data. That's where the Chart Update Manual (CHUM) process comes in.
As far as anyone can remember, there's always been a CHUM book listing the changes made since a chart was published. The CHUM book provides updates to NGA's NAVPLAN (GNC, JNC, ONC, TPC and JOG) charts and the following special charts:
All the charts (except those italicized) are included on the CADRG Range CD. Their CHUM data is already in the ECHUM, but FalconView 3.2 ignores it. FalconView 4.0 is smart enough to use all the available ECHUM. FalconView 3.3 can display ECHUM on GeoTiff Sectionals that are produced using GeoRect. (something 3.3 users are doing today) FalconView 3.3.1 will also display Sectional ECHUM on CADRG Low Fly Charts (1:500K charts used in Europe). NGA has agreed that if they get a requirement for CADRG Sectionals and if NGA agrees to produce them then they'll use the LFC type code.
The one type of chart you won't see CHUM for are the TLM's (1:50K and 1:100K). They have the same obstruction requirement as a JOG but there's no requirement to keep the data current between editions. Why? I donno, but the bottom line is that nobody's ever submitted it as a requirement to NGA. Of course those that fly the lowest (rotor types) fly using TLM's (especially 1:100's) all the time and it should be no surprise that they hit wires at a disturbingly high rate, and the accidents continue.
Believe it or not, there's more to CHUM than just obstructions. The CHUM book includes this table which defines what updates are applied to each chart:
The manual CHUM process worked fine with paper maps, but the new digital charts presented a problem. How do you update a digital file with new data? Two processes emerged - one by design and one by accident.
The process that emerged by design is "Digital CHUM" or DCHUM. The DCHUM process takes the original CADRG frame file and updates it with "burned on" CHUM that's indistinguishable from the original chart.
The DCHUM process is designed to create a chart that's as "good as new". Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder.The process that emerged by accident was Electronic CHUM or ECHUM. Back in the Mid 90's NIMA added a dialup bulletin board (9600 baud - no error correction) that let you specify a geographic area or paper chart and download that area's CHUM items. The CHUM you downloaded looked (more or less) like the CHUM items you'd see in the CHUM Book. You can still see examples of these files on NGA's ECHUM Website in the "ECHUM CHART SERIES" section.
FalconView 3.0 was able to read these files from the NIMA bulletin board and convert them to an ECHUM overlay. At the time NIMA's DCHUM wasn't available so this was the only way to digitally CHUM your charts. The ability to automatically plot CHUM items was one of PFPS 3.0's biggest selling points and motivated a lot of units to spring for new color printers.
On 1 October 1999 NIMA ended the CHUM bulletin board and stood up their CHUM website. PFPS 3.1 was released at about the same time and the new version let FalconView shift from the older textual ECHUM files to the new "ECHUM CSD" format that arrived each month on the every CSD disc. The same data was available in a zipfile on the CHUM website.
So if you download the ECHUM data how do you get the DCHUM? Well every month you get the CSD set - and 99% of the CSD's updates are DCHUM. There is no separate "DCHUM product" and no special software needed to display "DCHUM". All there is are new CADRG files that have the CHUM "burned on."
How's it work? Each month's CHUM is finished about 15 days prior to the effective date. The data is sent to the CADRG production team and at the same time it's posted on the CHUM website. The CADRG contractor adds the new CHUM items as DCHUM on the NAVPLAN frames. The updated CADRG files are added to the CSD, the discs are replicated and finally mailed to NGA's customers.
The data included in the CHUM book, the ECHUM download and the CSD's DCHUM are absolutely, 100% identical. Every CHUM item appears in all three locations. No item is "removed" from ECHUM until a new edition paper chart is released.
Remember, the requirement to CHUM your chart doesn't specify which CHUM source you have to use. A chart that's updated with ECHUM is just as good as one that uses the CSD DCHUM. In other words, don't freak out just because you don't have the current CSD. Unless you're loading a moving map display (without an ECHUM overlay) you don't need the current CSD. The only exception would be if a new edition chart came out - something that happens about as often as a solar eclipse. Your regulations require a current edition Chart with current CHUM and that's it!
Another area of confusion is the CHUM date. Unlike DAFIF (which has a real effective date/time), you should import the new ECHUM as soon as you possibly can. You're not "required" to have the March CHUM until March 1st, but wouldn't you like to know where the new towers are as soon as you can? CHUM is a reactive product, i.e. towers that are "new" are up for weeks or months before they appear in the CHUM. Wouldn't it suck to smack a pole that was in the next month's CHUM? Sure, you'll be "in the right" (don't need to apply the CHUM until the 1st) and if you're really lucky you'll be around to explain why.