Sign in to follow this  
Guest Ted_Thompson

Long Range Flight Planning

Recommended Posts

Maybe this would be better off being asked "in real life" but since I'm trying to do this in FS2004, I thought I'd ask here.Goal - To make an island hopping flight from LA to Subic Bay (Phillipines), the aircraft is an HU-16 Albatross.I've made the leg from LA to Maui and from Maui to Midway Atoll, but after landing there and seeing an odd undocumated triangle of runways right next to the one I landed on I started to investigate.A few searches later I found out that the runways were used during WWII, when the other one (that I landed on) didn't exist. I also found out that Midway is only in limited operation and mostly a wildlife reserve now...So - How does one go about planning a long range trip such as this w/ refueling stops and such? And were someone really doing what I'm "virtually" attempting, would they use Midway? Or is there something else? (Actually, FS says Midway only has Jet fuel, so it wasn't a good choice anyway, although a stop at the fuel pumps did fill my tanks up)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Call Jeppsen.They have a department which specializes in helping pilots make overseas flights to places they have never been - coordinating with strange fuel vendors, customs officials. At many airport a 'handler' must be hired to walk you through the local hoops.They will also have information on which airports can be opened on special occasions and which cannot.They are expensive. The company I work for uses them everytime one of our jets leaves the US for China, Australia, Dubai, Europe, Russia, etc.However, no matter what the cost - it's much cheaper than an impounded aircraft - or having to ship one back surface due to problems.There are other people in the business.Some people have had to have Avgas shipped into islands for their flights - but it's getting harder and harder to make a RTW flight in a piston aircraft, or flight to distant out of the way locations. A lot of great information on this site - http://www.earthrounders.com/http://www.earthrounders.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think since the NW Hawaiian Islands became a refuge, trying to use either Midway or French Frigate Shoals is very hard. Also, I think Johnston Atoll is pretty much off limits. Thus, going via the Central Pacific is pretty tough. I see a guy is doing a solo this week, and he is going via the Aleutians.scott s..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to what I was finding, Johnston Atoll is closed (even when it was open they were doing chemical weapon demo there so if you touched down you were going to be kept at gun point as I understand it), and I think French Frigate Shoals is closed too.Seems Midway is the only one open, and only at odd times and via prearrangement due to the sea birds on the island.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This dymaxion projection gives one a better understanding of where one is going. The red line indicates the actual shortest route between KLAX and RPLB. One can see there are any number of landbased fueling places, including Anchorage. Distance is 7295 miles (11740 km) (6339 nautical miles). Most of these airline flights are non-stop.Using FS9's FlightPlanner/HA Airways, it correctly plotted this course and closely replicating the R597 Oceanic Track into Manila. Try it.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/174356.jpgP.S. Thanks to Buckminster Fuller for saving us from the madness of Gerardus Mercator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

!!! How'd you do that? That's what I needed! When I saw that course running the pacific rim I thought it was a matter of simply avoiding the water (as I recall it comes up when you do VOR to VOR)In the meantime, I headed to Marshall Is. (PKMJ) Which is where I should have gone to begin with AVGAS and within range of Maui for an HU-16 - chalk it up to sight seeing, since I'll probably never see Midway in person!:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>!!! How'd you do that? That's what I needed! When I saw>that course running the pacific rim I thought it was a matter>of simply avoiding the water (as I recall it comes up when you>do VOR to VOR)>>In the meantime, I headed to Marshall Is. (PKMJ) Which is>where I should have gone to begin with AVGAS and within range>of Maui for an HU-16 - chalk it up to sight seeing, since I'll>probably never see Midway in person!>>:D>>Actually, it comes up when you enter GPS direct routing. This is the best way to plan long range flights in the standard FS flight planner. You can always 'drag' the line to the waypoints/airports that you wish to visit or fly over.John M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just checked, and while GPS does make a high arch over the pacific it's quite a bit south of the route shown here.When I did low altitude airways it did come VERY close to that plot, but also came up with 32,000ft! An Albatross can't go over 21,000.Altitude aside, I'm gathering that what I should do is make a GPS plot, then look for a suitable airfield along that plot at my range. Then start over using that field. Do this over and over until I reach my destination and I'll have each leg of the journey. Is that correct? It doesn't seem that there's anyway to put refueling stops into one long contiguous flight plan...Is that a limitation of FS9 or is that how it's done in real life?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that if you plot one long continuous GPS course in FS that you can deviate and land along the way without having to re-do your planning, as long as you are not in contact with ATC. FS ATC can/will cancel your flight plan if you deviate too far from the planned course. Not 100% sure about this though.In real life one would plan a flight like this in "legs", ie.- point A to point B,point B to point C,etc. If filing with ATC we would file a new flight plan at every stop along the way. If we were in a real hurry we could file the next leg while we were still in the air approaching our stop , however I like having at least a cup of coffee and 'relieve' myself while the aircraft is refueled. So I'll use this time to file my next leg.John M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"How'd you do that?"Original post stated: "Using FS9's FlightPlanner/HA Airways, it correctly plotted this course"HA= High Altitudehttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/174381.jpgThis collage was created in Infanview . . . time permitting, I could do a correct represention using PhotoShop :-)P.S. And I STILL read posts that FS9's FlightPlanner is no good!P.P.S. And FSX's f/p is EVEN better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only complaint with FS F/P is the trans-atlantic routes, but then again using GPS direct is the way to go there anyway. I've even noticed that FS F/P will create different routes between the same locations, ( KIAD D TNCA, Washington Dulles to Aruba, is one such route). Usually it will plan for you to fly down to KILM, then follow the coast line to the Bahamas before turning east toward Hispaniola and south to Aruba. At other times it wiil take you toward KORD, then out over the Atlantic to pick up the airway south. Either route is pretty close to what's used in real life. It's almost like the F/P is taking into consideration the time of year and amount of traffic flow on the airways.John MThat's KORF, Norfolk Va. not KORD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For pretty much the ultimate in long range flight planning in FS:http://users.adelphia.net/~mattsmith19/RTW/resources.htmThe next race is only 129 days away !!!Real world - Call JeppsenFS - GPS direct route - move the flight path to fuel stop airports.And they never held me a gunpoint at Johnston or Kwajalein. Of course being USN and landing in an EC-121 did make me welcome. Same with Midway and Wake.I need to get my cousin to tell you about trying to find Wake with just a Tacan in a group of F-4's crossing the pond in 1968. He still says that was scarier that the two times he ejected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>For pretty much the ultimate in long range flight planning in>FS:>>http://users.adelphia.net/~mattsmith19/RTW/resources.htm>>The next race is only 129 days away !!!>>Real world - Call Jeppsen>>FS - GPS direct route - move the flight path to fuel stop>airports.>>And they never held me a gunpoint at Johnston or Kwajalein. Of>course being USN and landing in an EC-121 did make me welcome.>Same with Midway and Wake.>>I need to get my cousin to tell you about trying to find Wake>with just a Tacan in a group of F-4's crossing the pond in>1968. He still says that was scarier that the two times he>ejected.I haven't seen Wake, but seeing Midway and Marshall I have to say I was really STRUCK by what it would take with no GPS to find these little specks of land in the ocean!! Even with ADF you've got to get close. People wonder what happened to Earhart?? I don't! Not anymore... One wrong move, miscalculation, or failure and it's like being in a pitch black room. Of course I guess they did use sexants back then, didn't they?Anywho...There's a website out there somewhere that details Johnston Atoll and has pics then and pics as of (I think) 2004 - shows the runway with Xs on it and all the buildings gone at least in the residence area. It said that commercial flights landing there were typically under armed guard when on the ground and no one was allowed off.It also said they did chemical weapons disposal there... True? I dunno...As to "How to Plan" I think I've got it at this point - thanks to all who've chimed in. Right now I'm parked at Guam International - I think once I hit Subic Bay, I'll take the route I've been shown here to get back to LAX again... Should be some nice scenery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi WiiThat is a fascinating projection you have found there. I see Buckminster Fuller was into more than just carbon isomers.Can I ask where / what tool you used to generate that projection. I`m always fascinated my maps and you`re comment re Mercator is v pertinent when looking at a Polar projection..CheersJames

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From mid 1972 to mid 1974 I was assigned to VQ-1 at NAS Agana Guam (biggest hanger on the east side of PGUM). We flew 2 EP-3B, 5 EC-121N, 1 C-121J, 1 TA-3B, 4 RA-3B and 14 EA-3B aircraft.In September 1973, an EA-3B was being ferried from Guam to our detachment in Subic. They got lost and we lost the aircraft.The wet compass locked in position, the electronic compass died, the aircraft was too far from any land based navigation aid and due to weight requirements - the aircraft did not have Loran or an INS (this was several years before GPS).The sextant did not have a bubble, they had the wrong year air almanac on board. The USAF had loaded new software on the HF DF net the day before and the system was not calibrated. The position fixes were consistently over Vietnam. I won't repeat the pilot's exact words but there were basically "I'm at 34,000 ft not a cloud in the sky and I don't see any land." There were several other adjectives used.They left Guam at 1030 local time due in Subic at 1230 local time - so the sun was basically straight overhead the whole time.Besides the pilot, there was the plane captain and three navigators on board. Only after about six hours in the air were they able to tell north from south based on sun movement. Near this time, the squadron put up aircraft at our base in Guam and over our two permanent detachments at Atsugi and Subic - and we located the aircraft.Japan was the closest - but they did not have fuel to reach land.Two Pan Am flights and a NWA aircraft were the closest to them and diverted to try to be close.The crew spotted a ship, the first ship they had seen, with the fuel pressure needles already fluctuating. They set up the plane to circle near the ship. Per NATOPS they were at 10,000 ft, 185 KIAS, and when the engines failed - they slid out the bottom hatch - within two miles of the only ship in the JSMDF with a helicopter embarked. They were all out of the water within a half hour.The ocean is a big empty place - very, very easy to get lost.Re Johnston - for many years the island was purposely placed wrong on charts by a couple hundred miles and navaids were not turned on until a scheduled inbound aircraft had reported a nearby position by HF/VHF.The island was used as a launch site for nuclear tests, a storage cite for chemical weapons - mainly Agent Orange in the 70's.Some radioactive debris from weapons tests are stored there and the island was the cite of the chemical weapons disposal incinerators - including some really nasty stuff.The island no longer serves a purpose for the US military and was transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2003. All buildings have reportedly been removed and the runway marked as closed.Several airlines are battling efforts to destroy the Johnston runway, along with the runway on Palmyra Atoll and some other remote islands.If these runways are destroyed, some twin engined aircraft - A330, B767 and B777, will have to alter their routes between Hawaii and the South Pacific by a couple thousand miles to comply with ETOPS, or be replaced by four engined aircraft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Continental Air Micronesia flies what I consider the most amazing demonstration of aircraft handling and navigation in the scheduled world.PGUM-PTKK-PTPN-PTSA-PKWA-PKMJ-PHNLThere are only NDB at the intermediate stops. Back when I flew the route in a B727Combi, there was no GPS. Today the B738 has a full electronics suite - but it's still visual landings, often at night - density altitude is an issue in the topics. Alternate airports are 400-600 miles away.They fly the trip twice a week Guam to Hawaii and return. Yes, the flights are subsidized by the governments of the US and the Marshall Islands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there used to be a weekly DC-8 log run from KSUU-PHIK-PKWA and back. Probably still runs. Also a weekly PHIK-PJON before that closed.scott s..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh! I just flew out of Anderson AFB with a B17 this morning, just to see how it handled, and made a visual landing at some island north of Guam. It wasn't pretty, but it was survivable.... :)I have to wonder how in the world all those errors were able to come together like that (I'm talking about your real world story about the place getting lost between Guam and Subic)Oh - Let me ask this too, (IRW) if you run into a head wind and your fuel isn't going to last to your destination, what do you do? Obviously you can't complete your filed plan, so is it really like in FS2004 where you simply request to change your destination?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to wonder how in the world all those errors were able to come together like thatAll too often aircraft accidents are a continual series of little errors which build up until there is no recovery and a crash.Some times they actually survive and don't destroy the aircraft.I'm not a real pilot - but changing destinations to accommodate weather does happen.One of the worst inaccuracies/ unrealisms of FS is flight planning.Even going up with a Flight Sim buddy who has a C-120 for an hour of cutting holes in the sky - he does more weather checks, checks of local airport conditions, etc - than most people do for a transatlantic flight in FS.Long distance flights over water take special precautions and constant monitoring of conditions.Even the big boys in the A340 and B747 are constantly checking and rechecking their positions, fuel usage, etc.Yes there are boring stretches - but they are always aware that their safety margin of fuel can be erased in moments.They plan, train and expect to have to divert.It's a mindset which FS pilots don't have.A Bombardier Challenger pilot told me I had the concept of landing wrong in FS.He said "You need to setup and make your goal a successful missed approach, not a landing. A landing is a good result, but you have to make a good missed approach your top priority. Otherwise you are going to get caught unprepared."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like sage wisdom, indeed. [grins]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have some pretty good intel there Reggie on Pacific airfields. I oversee Coast Guard operations in the Central and Western Pacific and there has certainly been a degradation in available divert fields, mostly military airfields that have been in place since WWII, which make the Aleutian route more attractive if you can handle the notorious weather up there. Midway is now operated by US Fish and Wildlife Service and general aviation flights require PPR's and are discouraged. The threat of bird strikes during albatross season is enough to instill fear in our Herc pilots about being marooned there waiting for parts. There have been near shutdowns of the airfield during the last few years but big Boeing needs it as an ETOPS divert to certify its trans-Pacific twins and Congress or FAA always seems to step in at the last minute to keep it open. There is limited jet fuel available there.French Frigate shoals has been closed since we shut down the Loran C (remember that?) station in the 1980's and if you land there it will be a one time deal. Same with Kure Island.Johnston Island is actually still under DOD control pending transfer to Dept of Interior, the chem/bio weps were disposed of and it is pretty much abandoned. The runway has no emergency services or fuel, tower, etc. We don't even like to do medevacs there.Wake Island was severely damaged by Supertyhpoon Ioke last fall (this storm remained a CAT 5 longer than any other storm in recorded history, for almost 5 days and also struck JI), and I am not sure what DOD's plans are for it.Oh and Palmyra Atoll (900 nm south of the HI chain) is now owned by the Nature Conservancy, has a coral runway with no taxiway and large palm trees on both sides, and the Coast Guard standard for landing there is "life and death search and rescue" only. So that's not really a great spot if you take the equatorial route. Anyway, your intel is excellent and advice to use the northern route makes sense to me! We do still have a Loran Station on Attu on the western end of the Aleutian Chain - there is no published approach and no room for error with the mountains, terrain, and williwaws! But the airport is open...regards,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"French Frigate shoals has been closed since we shut down the Loran C (remember that?) station in the 1980's and if you land there it will be a one time deal."Sounds ominous... They lock you up and throw away the key?X_X

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope it's just an unmaintained coral runway (the island is shaped like an aircraft carrier), now overgrown and not level anymore, which would no doubt damage anything that tried to set down there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this