Pablo's Mission Planning Website
Greetings Mission Planners,
NGA recently published their "Corporate Transformation Business Plan." If you're interested in how NGA plans to "transform" their agency and the products they provide you should take a look at: http://www.nga.mil/ast/fm/acq/FY0405CorpTransBusPlan.pdf. A small sample:
divorce ourselves from our heritage capabilities that are so important to our customers and have been so successful in the past. Rather, we will modernize and build upon these capabilities (e.g. new products, data, and services) to better satisfy today’s requirements and ensure our future success against new and evolving mission areas. Figure 1 highlights NIMA’s ever-changing operating environment—one that is moving from a simple to a complex environment and driving many of the transformational capabilities that we require. Technology alone will not provide NIMA with the degree of flexibility required. We must also make significant changes in Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, and Facilities.
Mission Planning Tip: PFPS Winds and Temperature
While its easy to use PFPS to generate a route of flight, without an accurate forecast of winds and temperature your times and fuels won't be very accurate. In the "old days" you'd call the Weather Shop and get the wind/temperature for your flight. That works OK if you're flying across a State (where wind and temperature don't have much of a chance to change) but it don't work so well when you fly across country.
Fortunately PFPS comes with a Wind and Temperature Tool courtesy of the Navy and the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC). To use the Wind and Temperature Tool you need to setup an account for your unit, not for each individual. Details on account setup are available at https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/PUBLIC/ADMIN/op_ac_re.html.
Before getting the Winds and Temperature you need to create your route. My example route is very short, but you get the idea.
When you create a route in PFPS it will have no winds and the temperatures will be based on a standard day lapse rate - that is if you don't manually override these values. Now click on the "Winds and Temperature" Shortcut on the CFPS Toolbar (remember - you set this up after reading about the CFPS Tools Manager last week). The first time you start the Winds and Temperature Tool it will display a general information screen. If you click on "Do Not Display In The Future" you won't see it again.
Next you'll need to enter the Username and Password you received from FNMOC. Fortunately these values are retained so you won't have to enter them again.
Now you'll see the main window:
To forcast the enroute winds and temperatures press the "Forecast Enroute Winds" button. If you've used PFPS's default date/time (today at 0000Z) you'll likely get the following message when you press the button:
The message above tells you that "Your ETD has past!" You can only get forecast winds and temperatures for times in in the future, but if you press OK you'll still get winds
You'll also have to verify the classification of your flight plan. You can wind a flight plan on the NIPRNET and on SIPRNET (handy for those classified wartime missions)
Since the ETD has past (i.e. you don't have a "good" ETD in your flight plan) your flight plan will be winded with climatological winds.
Weather agencies keep databases of average winds/temperatures on a worldwide 3D grid. When forecast winds aren't available then the climatological database is used. In the example below the flight plan is populated with with the climatological data:
The flight time has been reduced from 20:08 to 19:45 and the fuel burn has decreased by 7 pounds. To get forecast winds you'll need a valid departure time (i.e. after "now"). Right click on a "Clock Time" in the CFPS grid and select "Enter Time":
When you press the Forecast button you'll see a message like the one below:
You'll note there is no warning about being past your ETD. You can override the departure date/time here if the information stored in the PFPS route is incorrect.
In this case the departure was just a few hours away so the 12 hour forecast was used. The flight plan for a 1900 departure looks like:
Enroute time has decreased another 14 seconds and fuel burn has decreased another 4 lbs. If you need to change your departure date click on the clock symbol next to a control time:
You can change the control date here. Switching the departure date forward 2 days moves the wind and temperature data to the 54 hour forecast:
If you move your departure date far enough ahead you'll switch back to climatological data.
With a flight plan longer than 20 minutes you'll see bigger differences in times and fuels. In any case, getting the winds and temperatures this way is easier than calling the Weather Shop then entering their information manually.
Proxy Servers: On some networks you'll find the Wind and Temperature Tool unable to contact FNMOC due to a "Proxy Server." The purpose of a proxy server is to control what websites can be accessed from a given network, i.e. when you make a request to see (www.whitehouse.gov) the proxy server forwards the request onwards and returns the webpage to your PC (or more accurately, your IP address). On the other hand if you attempt to view www.whitehouse.com (a porn site) you'll receive an appropriate "Big Brother" warning. The Wind and Temperature Tool can't talk through a Proxy Server so your Network Support folks need to create a specific "hole" in the Proxy Server that allows computers to access the FNMOC web site IP address. The hole only lets applications talk directly to FNMOC - you won't see anything inappropriate there. For detailed instructions go to https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/PUBLIC/ADMIN/FAQS/faq_firewall.html.
Finally if you visit the public portion of the FNMOC website at https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/PUBLIC/ you'll see more detailed weather information than you can shake a stick at.
Continued at: PFPS Winds and Temperature Tool, Part II