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tenbbs
3 Constructive suggestions

Dave,

 

Overall I think that the changes to the FPL tool have the potential to greatly benefit IFR planning, and obviously filing.

However for VFR planning, I do feel the frustrations expressed in other threads, and here are 3 constructive comments that I came up with:

 

For all of the following discussion, I used 110 Knots and 1100 feet.

 

Observation / Suggestion #1: Data entry was easier on the old FPL tool, and here's why:

Old: You could enter the data sequentially, in one block, without using the mouse or hitting Tab: "KMTN KTHV KCXY KAOO PA88"

This is very intuitve for most VFR pilots and for any user who thinks sequentially: "A then B then C then D then E".

 

New: The new FPL tool requires you to enter your route non-sequentially... "A to E, via B then C then D".

To program the route above, the keystrokes are: "KMTN <tab> PA88 <tab> <tab> KTHV KCXY KAOO".

For the VFR pilot & traditional sequential thinker (myself included), this is a difficult and unpleasant mental gymnastic to perform, and it also represents additional keystrokes. I believe this is part of the overall gripe, and I propose a slight re-ordering of the boxes on the FPL entry screen...

 

My suggestion: If the Route box was placed in between the Departure Point and the Destination Point, a route could be entered sequentially again: "KMTN <tab> KTHV KCXY KAOO <tab> PA88".

Additionally, this sequence would be more similar to the traditional flight plan FAA Form 7233-1 where the Departure Point is entered in Block 5, then the Route in Block 8, then the destination in Block 9. This is also the sequence that we use when speaking to L-M FSS on the phone or radio.

 

--------

 

Observation / Suggestion #2: Time & Fuel planning was easier to view and changed dynamically on the old FPL tool, and my thoughts on why this is a problem:

Keeping with the route: KMTN KTHV KCXY KAOO PA88... If I have a hard-time of 1000 LCL to arrive at KAOO...

Old: It was very easy to calculate. As soon as I entered the route sequence, I would be able to see that cumulative flight time to KAOO is 1+14, and I mentally add 5 minutes on the ground at each KTHV and KCXY, which gives me a lift-off time from KMTN of 0836 LCL.

 

New: The information is still available, but I have to go to the NavLog screen to get it. This represents an extra step, waiting for a new tab to load and display the information. The problem is not that the information can not be found, the problem is that the information I want has been moved 1 click and 1 screen further away from me.

 

Continuing with this theme, if the passengers tell me that they want to go to BWI after PA88 I would program the sequence: KMTN KTHV KCXY KAOO PA88 KBWI...

The New FPL tool immediately tells me the total time is 3+04. I know my fuel tank is not that large, so I need a fuel stop somewhere in the middle of my route. From experience I know that I can stop at 2G9. I grab the course line and rubber-band it onto 2G9, in between KAOO and PA88. The FPL tool adds that to my route, just like it always did. Now I want to call the FBO at 2G9 and tell them what time I will arrive for hot-fuel, so they can be ready for me...

 

Old: The FPL tool showed the leg and cumulative times on the main planning screen, and they would display and update dynamically with route changes such as this. I would look at the leg time between KAOO and 2G9, add 5 minutes on the ground at KAOO for pax loading/unloading, and I would know that I would arrive at 2G9 at 1025 LCL.

 

New: Because the route has changed, I need to click NavLog again, open another new tab, with another new PDF. If I have multiple changes to make to the route, a new NavLog PDF needs to be generated each time to see how the leg and cumulative times have changed. The information that I want to see changing dynamically, is now static, and on a different tab than the flight planning.

 

My suggestion: The NavLog is a nice product that you can print out and take with you into the aircraft, but for mission timeline development, it is not helpful because of it's static nature and the fact that it appears on different tab. The only way to achieve that timeline development capability is to have Leg distance, leg time, and cumulative time, displayed on the main page, changing dynamically with route changes, and overlaid on top of the charts... the way it was on the old FPL tool. Otherwise users like me are going to be constantly making a route change, clicking NavLog, waiting for a new tab and a new PDF to open, make a route change... repeat...

 

-----

 

Observation / Suggestion #3

 

TOC / TOD calculations are not needed by everyone.

I climb 500fpm at 110 KIAS, cruise at 120 KIAS, and descend 500fpm at 130 KIAS.

The speed delta between my climb, cruise, and descent profiles is so small it's essentially irrelevent. My average KIAS will always end up really close to 120. Additionally, I cruise between 1000 and 3000 feet... a LOT. There's just no need to caluclate TOC or TOD numbers for those cruise altitudes.

My suggestion: Give me a setting somewhere in the aircraft profile, so that I can disable the TOC and TOD lines from the NavLog - For me, those lines only serve to clutter up the NavLog product.

 

Overall, I think that the new FPL Tool has a lot of potential, but it's offering a lot of features that many users do not need to be confronted with 100% of the time. I would love to see the "Classic" FPL Tool as a selectable option on the home screen, and at the same time I'm very interested in seeing what the new FPL Tool can become. As an aviator who flies in E & G 70% of the time, and inside of B/C/D/SFRA the other 30% of the time, I appreciate both the "Classic" FPL Tool, and I appreciate the more advanced features of the New FPL Tool (including filing, eventually).

 

-JS

UW
I agree. Maybe this change

I agree. Maybe this change was a devious way to get people to sign up to the forum... lol

 

Anyways, a switch for an IFR (current) version of the site and a VFR (old) version of the site would be very nice.

I used SV as a quick way to do rough route planning. Difficult to do that now since distances and time are shown on a separate page. I have to make a route, click the button to see the results.

 

Also, the new printable flight plan page, while nice, includes IFR waypoints I don't need or want. Clutter to a VFR pilot like me.

 

Simple is good.

 

Thanks for your efforts.

 

tkibob
...a quick way to do rough route planning.

 

Nothing devious going on I assure you.

 

However, you are welcome to demonstrate an example of your

flight planning style and articulate how and why SV has become

inconvenient.  Dave would love to see your contribution on the

"Scenarios for DAVE" topic.