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Flight Planning Software



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 23rd 05, 09:05 PM
Chris G.
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Default Flight Planning Software

I'm considering purchasing flight planning software, such as the
Jeppesen FliteStar or the RMS software or some other flight planning
software after I finish my flight training. I don't intend to have it
plan the route for me, but I do want the ability to change my mind "on
the fly" and see how that impacts my flight planning. I still prefer to
do the final planning by hand on paper with the software as a backup to
make sure I didn't make a large error in my calculations.

What have your experiences been with the different software? What did
you like and dislike about the software you used?

Thanks,

Chris
  #2  
Old June 23rd 05, 09:20 PM
Ron Natalie
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Default

Chris G. wrote:
I'm considering purchasing flight planning software, such as the
Jeppesen FliteStar or the RMS software or some other flight planning
software after I finish my flight training. I don't intend to have it
plan the route for me, but I do want the ability to change my mind "on
the fly" and see how that impacts my flight planning. I still prefer to
do the final planning by hand on paper with the software as a backup to
make sure I didn't make a large error in my calculations.


Have you considered an online service? I use aeroplanner.com.
  #3  
Old June 23rd 05, 10:02 PM
Jimbob
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Default

My experience is with FliteStar and while it has some neat features,
there are a few nits.

#1) It doesn't have the ability to print a NavLog without wind info.
Example would be if you got to your destination and the route back had
different winds, you have to scribble through it's calculations to put
in your new ones. I would like it if you could print a blank one with
your waypoints and fill the wind info in later. If you had it on a
laptop and could reprint, it would be ok. For those of us that have a
computer at home, it's annoying.

#2) It took me a while to figure out that you had to download winds
aloft to get the wind info updated in the navlog. (DUH) I think it
should warn you if you forget to select the right DUATS download
options. You winds would be out of date and you wouldn't know it.
Maybe a note in the remarks section about when the wind info was
updated.

#3) The reverse route function sucks. It does wierd things like
insert new climb and descent profiles. I don't know why.

#4) I wish is was smarter about inserting mandatory waypoints, It
just puts then in at fixed intervals vs. setting them close to VFR
features. Might be OK for the IFR guys, but I can't speak for that
myself.

Beyond that, It's pretty nice. I like the profile view that lets you
see your flight path relative to the airpsaces. The printouts at 2
per page make nice booklets for a kneeboard. A lot of cool routing
features. The graphical representation of sigmet and airmet
boundaries is very nice.



Jim

http://www.unconventional-wisdom.org
  #4  
Old June 23rd 05, 10:33 PM
Dave Butler
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Default

Chris G. wrote:

What have your experiences been with the different software? What did
you like and dislike about the software you used?


http://www.enflight.com, which has been free up to now, has announced they are
becoming a pay-to-play service. Announcement on their home page. Unfortunately
as part of the improvement, they'll abandon one of their best features (the
free-ness).

They say it will be a 'nominal fee' and if you sign up before the upgrade you'll
get a discount. Might as well sign up now for the free service, and if you don't
like it you can skip the upgrade and fee, if you do like it you get the discount.

Oh what the heck, I'll paste it he

-------------------------------
quote from enflight.com follows
-------------------------------

A major update to Enflight will be introduced in June, 2005 The ease of use and
accuracy you've come to rely on will remain, and many exciting new features will
be added. Please see the column on the right for more information about the new
Enflight.

On enflight.com, you're a name, not a number - when you register for your
account, you'll be asked to select a login name of your choice. During the
registration process, you will enter your AOPA member number (if applicable) and
your CSC DUATS access code and password; once you have entered these numbers,
you won't need to use them again.

Thank you for using Enflight! If you'll be at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh
Wisconsin from Monday July 25th through Sunday July 31st, please drop by our
booth and say "hello". Our booth #3151-3152 is in exhibit hangar C in the middle
of the "A" row - we're just opposite the side door that faces hangar A. We'd be
delighted to meet you and to personally answer any questions you may have. And
we can help you plan your flight home and give you a printed briefing and flight
plan to take with you.


It's taken us longer than we expected to get it all ready to go, but the new
release of Enflight will go online later this month - June 2005! It has many new
and exciting features, including a number of items requested by you, our
subscribers. Here's a brief preview of what you'll see:

* Enflight's award-winning WXpert Weather Expert has been improved - your
briefing will be both more compact and easier to read. The new selective print
option allows you to further reduce the length of a briefing so you can print
out just what you need.
* Our new NOTAM Expert, NXpert, helps you locate the NOTAMS that are
important to your flight, and to skip over those that probably aren't relevant.
* The new Enflight Mobile gives you access to almost all of the Enflight
web site via your internet-connected PDA or Smart Phone, with support for a wide
range of devices.
* Enflight's powerful flight planner has been enhanced with additional
routing options including a route wizard that helps you define your own routes.
You'll be able to store your own routes of flight for future use. The enhanced
flight planner features access to FAA preferred routes, a route comparison
feature that lets you evaluate multiple choices at a glance, and new
airport-based waypoints for direct routes. And there's a library of aircraft
performance profiles for popular makes and models.
* Enflight's Airport Directory gives you full information on U.S. airports
in a highly readable yet compact format that is easy to view on screen (or on
your handheld) and is easy to print. Detailed FAA airport surface diagrams for
about 600 airports are included. Search facilities that are unique to Enflight
are available to locate airports of interest to you.
* Up-to-date FAA instrument procedures, including approaches, departure
procedures, STARs, and alternate and take-off minimums are presented in a new
easy-to-use format. You can also easily select the pages you want to print and
print them in a single step - no cumbersome downloading and unpacking.

There are many more improvements throughout the site, ranging from the Remember
me login feature, to accelerated page loading using dynamic compression
technology, to extensive online help facilities. We're sure you'll find it a
pleasure to use the new 2005 Enflight!

With the introduction of the new release, Enflight will begin charging
subscribers a nominal fee to use the site. Existing subscribers will receive
special discounts on subscriptions, so if you haven't already signed up as an
Enflight subscriber, you should do so right now.
  #5  
Old June 24th 05, 03:55 AM
Peter R.
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Chris G." nospam@noemail wrote:

I still prefer to
do the final planning by hand on paper with the software as a
backup to make sure I didn't make a large error in my calculations.


The day I received my PPL I bought myself a gift of an Aeroplanner online
flight planning membership. After two years using the service, I grew very
tired of waiting for the new flight planning interface they kept promising
but not delivering (this was in 2002-3, the year that their new interface
beta went on forever). Perhaps things with their company have changed, but
I lost confidence in them and abandoned Aeroplanner for Jeppesen's IFR
FlightStar.

FlightStar really excelled when I took an across-the-US trip last Memorial
Day. On the return trip, I planned my flight from Denver to Syracuse, NY,
the night before and filed both of my IFR flight plans (one fuel stop).
When I awoke in the morning, there were thunderstorms over my entire route,
moving directly west to east.

I pulled out my charts and fired up my PC. Within a half an hour, I had
re-planned my entire route, or about 1,000 nm, about 200 miles south and
away from the thunderstorm train that had set up. I cannot imagine how
much longer it would have taken to re-plan that route by hand.

Using FlightStar with its automatic weather download, my fuel planning was
accurate across the US and back to no more than two to five gallons per
direction (east/west).

Now, that is not to say that there are several features and bugs I wish
Jeppesen would address. Additionally, the cost of the software and the
updates is more than Aeroplanner. But, the time savings and flight plan
accuracy for someone who flies a lot more than pays for the difference in
cost.

Obviously, using FlightStar or any automated flight planning service
doesn't stop with the preflight planning. I take the printed flight plan
with me on *every* flight to monitor planned versus actual fuel usage and
the accuracy is pretty comforting.

--
Peter


















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  #6  
Old June 24th 05, 04:47 AM
Chris G.
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Posts: n/a
Default

Thank you for the comprehensive review. Before you chose Flitestar, did
you try any other software or evaluate any other software?

Do you or anyone else have much experience with the Golden Eagle
software from the DUAT/DUATS (can't keep 'em straight)? I've not yet
tried that program. Hopefully it is better than the AOPA Planner.

Has anyone tried the RMS program?

Chris


Jimbob wrote:
My experience is with FliteStar and while it has some neat features,
there are a few nits.

#1) It doesn't have the ability to print a NavLog without wind info.
Example would be if you got to your destination and the route back had
different winds, you have to scribble through it's calculations to put
in your new ones. I would like it if you could print a blank one with
your waypoints and fill the wind info in later. If you had it on a
laptop and could reprint, it would be ok. For those of us that have a
computer at home, it's annoying.

#2) It took me a while to figure out that you had to download winds
aloft to get the wind info updated in the navlog. (DUH) I think it
should warn you if you forget to select the right DUATS download
options. You winds would be out of date and you wouldn't know it.
Maybe a note in the remarks section about when the wind info was
updated.

#3) The reverse route function sucks. It does wierd things like
insert new climb and descent profiles. I don't know why.

#4) I wish is was smarter about inserting mandatory waypoints, It
just puts then in at fixed intervals vs. setting them close to VFR
features. Might be OK for the IFR guys, but I can't speak for that
myself.

Beyond that, It's pretty nice. I like the profile view that lets you
see your flight path relative to the airpsaces. The printouts at 2
per page make nice booklets for a kneeboard. A lot of cool routing
features. The graphical representation of sigmet and airmet
boundaries is very nice.



Jim

http://www.unconventional-wisdom.org

  #7  
Old June 24th 05, 05:09 AM
George Patterson
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Posts: n/a
Default

Chris G. wrote:

Do you or anyone else have much experience with the Golden Eagle
software from the DUAT/DUATS (can't keep 'em straight)?


I tried Golden Eagle over 10 years ago and didn't like it, but I would hope that
the current version is different from the one I was using.

A downloaded AirPlanLite a while back and like it fairly well. It can be a pain
to determine the data for entering a profile for your aircraft if you can't use
one of the standard ones though.

My favorite program is TAU, which used to be produced by Excel Software. I have
no idea if one could still get it. Since my copy is over 10 years old, the
graphics are inferior to anything modern.

George Patterson
Why do men's hearts beat faster, knees get weak, throats become dry,
and they think irrationally when a woman wears leather clothing?
Because she smells like a new truck.
  #8  
Old June 24th 05, 02:15 PM
Ross
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Posts: n/a
Default

George Patterson wrote:
Chris G. wrote:


Do you or anyone else have much experience with the Golden Eagle
software from the DUAT/DUATS (can't keep 'em straight)?



I tried Golden Eagle over 10 years ago and didn't like it, but I would
hope that the current version is different from the one I was using.

A downloaded AirPlanLite a while back and like it fairly well. It can be
a pain to determine the data for entering a profile for your aircraft if
you can't use one of the standard ones though.

My favorite program is TAU, which used to be produced by Excel Software.
I have no idea if one could still get it. Since my copy is over 10 years
old, the graphics are inferior to anything modern.

George Patterson
Why do men's hearts beat faster, knees get weak, throats become dry,
and they think irrationally when a woman wears leather clothing?
Because she smells like a new truck.

I have been using Cirrus for DUATS for a long time. Simple to use. I
have my aircraft profile loaded and get my weather, flight plans, and
file flight plans. I do not have the Golden Eagle upgrade, just the free
Cirrus. Just finished planning a trip. Getting ready to go to the
airport soon.

Ross
  #9  
Old June 24th 05, 02:31 PM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 23 Jun 2005 13:05:23 -0700, "Chris G." nospam@noemail wrote:

I'm considering purchasing flight planning software, such as the
Jeppesen FliteStar or the RMS software or some other flight planning
software after I finish my flight training. I don't intend to have it
plan the route for me, but I do want the ability to change my mind "on
the fly" and see how that impacts my flight planning. I still prefer to
do the final planning by hand on paper with the software as a backup to
make sure I didn't make a large error in my calculations.

What have your experiences been with the different software? What did
you like and dislike about the software you used?

Thanks,

Chris


Have you had a look at www.pocketfms.com
This runs on a PC and PDA can even connect to a GPS for moving map
display. It's free but you can donate for improved maps. Don't be put
off by it being free, it's very good.

It's easy to use but has so many features it takes a while to get used
to. There are over 600 users and all are free to contribute to it's
development & many do. Give it a try then come back here with your
comments.

David
  #10  
Old June 24th 05, 02:31 PM
Paul kgyy
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Posts: n/a
Default

I use flightstar: I particularly like the navlog with all of the
enroute nav and comm freqs. For longer trips not carrying a PC, I use
my AnywhereMap PDA. On the PDA, you have to work out the routing on a
chart, but then you can get winds from wxbrief and enter them into the
flight plan to get estimated enroute times.

 




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