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VATSim Flight-Planning help

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Hi,I'd like some help from the seasoned VATSimmersI've flown a few flights on VATSim but with weather and fuel limits turned off so that I can get the hang of the interractions of controlled space before I throw in more distractions. Now I think that I'm ready to step the realism up a gear.I've followed a few offline tutorial with fuel calculations and I'd like to use this online but I don't know where to get the VATSim enroute winds and weather... without this I can't really fly with the fuel limits on : (Q1 - Can anyone tell me how to get VATSims enroute wind and weather prior to filing an FP.Also, the tutorials I've followed all assume that you already know your expected headwind/tailwind component for each leg of the flight. But I'm not 100% sure I know how to do this correctly... If I am heading 030 with winds 070 and 45kts how do I isolate the head/tail component and can I safely disregard the sidewind component in fuel calculation ?So, Q2 - How do you isolate head/tail wind components from crosswind components for use in my per-leg fuel calculationsand Q3 - Do I need to process the sidewind component at all, as my tutorials all seem to assume perfect head/tail winds which is seldom the case.Regarding procedures...I'd like to use SID/STAR and I was told about a 'dot notation' which implies to ATC that you expect SID/STAR. I believe the correct flightplan format uses '{airport}.{dep fix} {space delimited enroute fixes} {arr fix}.{airport}' structure ... where the {arr fix} and {dep fix} are taken from SID/STAR sheets.Is this right ?Finally... at which point in the flight should be aware of my STAR ? And, how do I go about querying for this information if it hasn't been given by ATC ? What exactly is the correct 'RT' for requesting this information and when.so...Q4 - Are my assumptions regarding 'dotted' flightplan format correct ?Q5 - When should I expect to know my STAR and how do I explicitly request it in the correct RT and at an appropriate time.Sorry, quite a few questions thereIf anyone can help me out, even just on a couple of those questions I'd sure appreciate it.Also, if anyone has any link to examples of finding, planning, using Atlantic and Pacific daily/static tracks I'd love to check that out too... I've seen real-world atlantic tracks published online but I'm guessing they'd not apply to VATSims weather. Are there actual VATSim approved ocean tracks you can use and how do you go about getting an entry schedule ?Apologies if I'm asking too much in a single post, but I'm just eager to nail all of this.Best regards,-Gary

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hi Gary,I'll try to do my best for answering of your questions;Q1 - Can anyone tell me how to get VATSims enroute wind and weather prior to filing an FP.A1- You can't get that information from VATSIM. Also you don't need to fille those information on Fligtplan.VATSIM is giving basic weather conditions va SquawkBox or FSINN interfaces. Weather generators (by SB3 and FSINN) are producing layered winds conditions via FSUIPC but we can't see as visible text format. You may montior current winds condition on navigation display while you are at cruise altitude and it may be matches with active sky even you don't use Active sky. The best way is, using Active Sky 6.5. Active sky is getting all weather information with layered, When you enter your route into AS(active sky) it will be give you every 5000ft layered weather conditions. You can get printout and enter that information on your FMC/MCDU if necessary , or you can use your manually flightplan calculations.Q2 - How do you isolate head/tail wind components from crosswind components for use in my per-leg fuel calculationsA2- Actually so many pilots haven't got any information or don't care such as theese professional calculations. But you can check the manuels that you used airplane and you may add fuel calculation how much you need additional fuel. Generally pilots are flying "fully tanks" :) so they don't make "sensitive" fuel burning during flight.but basicly, head wind will be slower you than your planned groundspeed. You have to calculate ETA with flighttime. If you slower than your planned speed your ETA will be extend, so you will be burn much more fuel. Example your airplane is burning 1.5 tons each flight hours, your planned groundspeed 450knt and you have to fly 450nm in per hour.if you get headwind as 45knt, your groundspeed decreases to 415knt, so %10 less than your planned. you have to add %10 more fuel per flight hour. If you get cruise altitude winds conditions from Activeskyi alredy you know that when and where you get headwinds. Do not mistake about Groundspeed, TAS,IAS and MAchspeed.Q3 - Do I need to process the sidewind component at all, as my tutorials all seem to assume perfect head/tail winds which is seldom the case.A3 - As I said , as you wish :) If you don't want to make calculation, I advise add your tanks at least %20 more fuels.Don't forget, wide boddy aircraft can not be climb directly cruise altitude, so you may makes "step climb" for burning fuel (for loosing weight).I'd like to use SID/STAR and I was told about a 'dot notation' which implies to ATC that you expect SID/STAR. I believe the correct flightplan format uses '{airport}.{dep fix} {space delimited enroute fixes} {arr fix}.{airport}' structure ... where the {arr fix} and {dep fix} are taken from SID/STAR sheets.Is this right ?affirmative, that is correct. The correct flight plan includes end of SID fix, flight toute and begin of STAR fix.Q4 - Are my assumptions regarding 'dotted' flightplan format correct ?A4- yes it is.Q5 - When should I expect to know my STAR and how do I explicitly request it in the correct RT and at an appropriate timeA5 - firstly, SID and STAR are not mandatory for an airport operations. Sometimes, Air Traffic Controllers ignores SID and STAR for getting more capability of traffic flows, ofcourse within coordination with sub or over controlling sectors. Although pilot must be fill SID and STAR (if able--in VATSIM) and must be ready to apply if required by ATCO.(air traffic controller)for your question; ATCO will be inform you about STAR which one in use for that airport. all ATCO's knows (by their airport operaiton procedure) when/where you informed about STAR.If not you can required like as;" - ****approach, (this is) ABC123, can we get which arrival in use?"" - ABC123, you are cleared inbound to ***** via DELTA1A arrvial, expect runway36"or, ATCO already be informed you with the same order.ATC release you STAR altitudes for crossing/check points or can be give you just only point for crossing altitude which is include STAR" - ABC123, follow descend path as published charts, report passing CHARLIE point" in this order, you have to follow chart's altitudesor" - ABC123, you are cleared DELTA1A arrival, cross CHARLIE at 4000ft qnh1013" in this order, CHARLIE crossing point may different from published chart so you have to cross at by ATC order.ATCO can be anytime cancel the STAR while you are performing to use STAR route. Possible causes of ; traffic flow, traffic management, near miss, protection from conflict, help for to give you shortway to land etc. Be ready for unexpected orders.example, you are flying on STAR route"- ABC123, after CHARLIE left heading 030, you are cleared ILS app rwy 36, report established"or " -ABC123, after CHARLIE maintain present heading expect radar vectors for ILS 36"or " - ABC123, turn right heading 090, expect radar vectors ILS app 36"Also, if anyone has any link to examples of finding, planning, using Atlantic and Pacific daily/static tracks I'd love to check that out too... I've seen real-world atlantic tracks published online but I'm guessing they'd not apply to VATSims weather. Are there actual VATSim approved ocean tracks you can use and how do you go about getting an entry schedule ?I advise VATUK webpage for actual NAT routes and informaitons how to you fly NAT route. For your informaiton NAT routes can be change daily and two times in a day.good luckHakan GUVEN

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> Can anyone tell me how to get VATSims enroute wind and weather prior to filing an FP.--8<-- snip --8<--The best way is, using Active Sky 6.5. Active sky is getting all weather information with layered, When you enter your route into AS(active sky) it will be give you every 5000ft layered weather conditions. You can get printout and enter that information on your FMC/MCDU if necessary , or you can use your manually flightplan calculations.
So if I want to fly with realistically calculated fuel I should get ActiveSky6.5 and use it for generating my winds during the flight and it will also provide me with predicted winds for the route. I can use this info for calculating my fuel margins and finding my optimum step climb points and final cruise altitude based on a realistic fuel burn.Great, that sounds like just what I need : )
How do you isolate head/tail wind components from crosswind components for use in my per-leg fuel calculationsbasicly, head wind will be slower you than your planned groundspeed... --8<-- snip --8<--
Yes, I understand this already...I mean, if I am heading 000 degrees and I have wind 30kts @ 045 degrees ... then I have both headwind and sidewind no ?In this case around 15kts of headwind maybe ? Although, since I have to fly *into* the sidewind slightly I guess my headwind is more like 18ktsI'm sure there's probably a simple chart for estimating this somewhere.
Do I need to process the sidewind component at all, as my tutorials on calculating fuel all seem to assume perfect head/tail winds (coming from in front of, or behind, the aircraft) which is seldom the caseIf you don't want to make calculation, I advise add your tanks at least %20 more fuels.
Yes, I am taking :HOLD_FUEL: 45 minutes hold at my planned arrival weightALT FUEL: Fuel to reach my Alternate from my Destination + 50%MARGIN_FUEL: Based on length of route, a percentage of the ROUTE_FUEL for a safety marginIt is just the ROUTE_FUEL I'm trying to figure out, for that I need :- Expected winds for each leg (You suggest ActiveSky, sounds good)- A way to turn the forecasts 'incident wind' into a useable head or tail wind component- Optimum cruise weights for step climb calculation (I have this in the aircraft documents)All of the tutorials on calculating fuel all seem to give headwind or tailwind in the calculations, but don't show you how to find out how much of the wind will be headwind.For example, how much headwind is 50kts @ 050 when travelling due North ? Most of the 50kts is sidewind... so what is my headwind ?And, also travelling due North, a wind from 090 seems like 100% sidewind but it still has a headwind component because I have to fly 'into' it to keep my track.So... how do you know your headwind ?Does that make sense ?
> When should I expect to know my STAR and how do I explicitly request it in the correct RT and at an appropriate timeFirstly, SID and STAR are not mandatory for an airport operations. Sometimes, Air Traffic Controllers ignores SID and STAR for getting more capability of traffic flows, ofcourse within coordination with sub or over controlling sectors. Although pilot must be fill SID and STAR (if able--in VATSIM) and must be ready to apply if required by ATCO.(air traffic controller)for your question; ATCO will be inform you about STAR which one in use for that airport. all ATCO's knows (by their airport operaiton procedure) when/where you informed about STAR.If not you can required like as;" - ****approach, (this is) ABC123, can we get which arrival in use?"" - ABC123, you are cleared inbound to ***** via DELTA1A arrvial, expect runway36"or, ATCO already be informed you with the same order.ATC release you STAR altitudes for crossing/check points or can be give you just only point for crossing altitude which is include STAR--8<-- snip --8<--
Great answer, thanks.
I advise VATUK webpage for actual NAT routes and informaitons how to you fly NAT route. For your informaiton NAT routes can be change daily and two times in a day.
I will check that out, thanks : )Thanks for the help Hakan.If anyone knows how to work out the headwind/tailwind component from a forecast wind at some arbitrary angle to the route then please let me know or post a link... I'm hoping to make an Excel spreadsheet for fuel planning on the LDS B767 and the PMDG B747.Meanwhile, I'll go check out ActiveSky's wind.thanks again,-Gary

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Hello Gary,your welcome, I'm glad to help you if I could :)ok let wee see your headwind issues.basicly all headwings slower you but as you sad that angle is important point. you are flying heading 100 degrees and winds 040@50 knts. This would not be the same effect winds 100@50, you are right. In real life, pilots are using "crosswind companents calculation charts". It is a diagram for calculation of side (as you says)/cross winds. Crosswings also slower you but not like as headwind, but 90 degree winds (your heading 100, winds 190@50) is effect you different. You can't slower but you can drifted your original flight route. ok,internet world is unlimited and I'm rally appreciated there are som excellent persons who are living with aviaiton spirit.here you are a web site which is excellent in both of aviation lovers,virtual pilots or real life pilots. http://www.luizmonteiro.com/Wind.aspxI strongly advise to add your favorites. I think you will find your question's answer about crosswind and effect on flightplan.take care and have a nice flight Hakan GUVEN

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your welcome, I'm glad to help you if I could :)
You've helped a lot... I should buy you a beer now, haha
here you are a web site which is excellent in both of aviation lovers,virtual pilots or real life pilots. http://www.luizmonteiro.com/Wind.aspxI strongly advise to add your favorites. I think you will find your question's answer about crosswind and effect on flightplan.
Wow, thanks Hakan... that is EXACTLY what I'm looking for.That site is amazing, it is definately getting added to my favourites.See you in the skies my friend : )-Gary

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