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pegruder

Some flight plan assistance / Questions

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So I'm starting to notice some discrepancies in my flight plans which I think causes me to run in to some issues.  This may be by design as I'm no pilot and have no idea what should or shouldn't happen here.  For example, I planned a flight from KATL to KMCO in EFASS.  EFASS chose KATL Depart RWY 28, VRSTY2 SID, Arrive 36R @ MCO, PIGLT4 STAR.  I export this plan for the PMDG 737NGX and for P2A.  I import in to P2A (I have auto load recommended procedures checked to save me the time), set my planned ground speed, and file accordingly.  I see P2A picks a new runway (I'm assuming based upon weather) and a new arrival (now changed to BAIRN3 35R).  No big deal I figure - I just need to select accordingly in the NGX.  So I head over to the FMC and start programming, choosing my runways, SID & STAR.  I head over to the legs page and start to verify and clean up and breaks.  In doing so I notice some issues.  Interestingly, it seems P2A has a few extra and different waypoints.  For instance, after AMG, I have JAFAR ~> PIGLT ~> RFIKI then BAIRN.  My FMC in the NGX shows AMG, then BAIRN.  The STAR also appears to be slightly different as well.  P2A reads BAIRN ~> NOBBS ~> FESHA ~> HEWES > KMCO 35R.  The NGX Reads BAIRN ~> NOBBS ~> MICKX ~> RAMEZ ~>POPYE ~>(vector) ~> FESHA ~> HEWES ~> RW35R.  

 

It seems I run in to this often enough which im noticing is my cause for P2A yelling at me to get back on course as the NGX is going a different route then filed with ATC.  When I reroute EFASS to match P2A, it seems it also matches the NGX, so I'm not sure why P2A is adding additional waypoints.  Now for this route its not a big deal to match and correct as I did for this flight (which was probably my most successful with P2A to date), but for longer flights this could be alot of programming.  I guess as I don't know expected behavior, is this normal?  If not, is this a bug - or am I just plainly doing something wrong somewhere along the lines.  At this moment all nav data is updated and should match the current 1701 rev 1 release.

 

As a side note: looking between the two plans it almost seems when P2A changes, its keeping part of the previous STAR.  JAFAR & PIGLT seem to both be part of PIGLT4, which was what EFASS exported, which P2A changed to BAIRN3, but kept these 2 points.  Not sure if this means anything or not.

 

Sorry for the lengthy post!

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Though I haven't pulled up your routing to compare, what you're experiencing sounds correct.

 

The reason is that different arrivals will have different transitions. As an example, you may get off the airway sooner or later on one arrival (STAR) than you would on a different arrival.  This would affect the number of waypoints you're seeing on the arrival.

 

When in doubt, I'd use SkyVector to map your flight plan, along with the arrival chart (also available on SkyVector).  Using the charts can really bring things into focus when you're using automated tools.

 

I have access to many payware and freeware tools, but I usually use the freeware tool SimBrief. It's fast, accurate, very easy to learn, and very comprehensive (just shy of PFPX). Since it's web based, the author can update it immediately.  I've never gone wrong or had any problem with SimBrief.

 

My very best wishes!

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Haven't noticed the problem you're describing, but it does look like P2ATC is incorrect in how it sets up the BAIRN3 arrival at KMCO.  MICKX and RAMEZ are on the actual chart so not sure why P2ATC isn't picking them up.

 

I'm using FF 757 and frequently notice minor differences between FMC and P2ATC. For example there are often altitude restrictions that show up on P2ATC, but not in FMC. I make it a habit of comparing the two before requesting clearance delivery to make sure they are the same. Takes a couple extra minutes, but results in better flight and I now have pretty much 100% success rate with P2ATC.

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Haven't noticed the problem you're describing, but it does look like P2ATC is incorrect in how it sets up the BAIRN3 arrival at KMCO.  MICKX and RAMEZ are on the actual chart so not sure why P2ATC isn't picking them up.

 

I'm using FF 757 and frequently notice minor differences between FMC and P2ATC. For example there are often altitude restrictions that show up on P2ATC, but not in FMC. I make it a habit of comparing the two before requesting clearance delivery to make sure they are the same. Takes a couple extra minutes, but results in better flight and I now have pretty much 100% success rate with P2ATC.

Pretty much what I didi for the first time last night and everything went smoothly.  Nearly every flight since I started with P2A has usually resulted in some sort of discrepancy always leading P2A telling me to change direction because things don't match up.  I usually end up continuing the route as in the FMC and either end up manually switching over to tower or just landing without ATC lol.  Sometimes P2A would sync back up at some point, sometimes not.  I guess all depending on the flightplan.  I assumed it was because I had no idea what I was doing and that it was me haha.  I guess we'll see what Dave says.  Maybe there is some reasoning behind it.

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There are many variables in developing a flight plan.  Different automated tools will create slightly different results.  The bottom line is that the flight planning tools are for planning.  The FMS/FMC/GPS are for flying the route. 

ATC directs what the route to be flown is, not the flight planning tools or the FMC. 

 

So here is a reasonable sequence to follow when planning and flying a route:

1) Use P2A or your favorite Flight Planning tool to develop a planned route. 

2) Enter the route into P2A with only Departure Airport, Airways/Route Waypoints, Arrival Airport - No SIDs, STARs or Approaches

3) If you want to fly a specific SID/Departure Runway enter that into the flight plan and check the "Force Pilot Runway Selection" option in the config panel.

4) Call for clearance and get ATC's approved flight plan.  Enter the approved SID into P2A and the FMC if not already entered.

 If you let P2A modify your flight plan with the recommended STAR and Approach, enter that STAR and Approach into the FMC.

If not, you will have to wait until you get your "Expect the xxxx Arrival to the yyy approach..." call and enter the STAR and Approach into the FMC at that point.

5) As you fly the route, if ATC gives you clearances for different Arrivals or Approaches, change  the FMC to match the clearance.  In general, this would only happen if winds changed at the Destination airport. 

 

Of course, there are hundreds of variations possible on the above process, but the key is to use the FMC/GPS/Autopilot as flight tools to fly the ATC approved route.  When using P2A, it is ATC. 

 

There is actually a separate ATC Flight Plan that is not visible in P2A that reflects the ATC cleared route and procedures.  The visible flight plan will only reflect the ATC flight plan if you update it to reflect all ATC clearances.

 

Hope this helps,

Dave

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So I gave this a shot last night, now while it seemed to work, I noticed two things.  I imported a plan from MCO to FLL without a SID or STAR.  Once I setup and click file (with auto load recommended on) I immediately got a pop-up from windows saying Pilot2ATC_2016 has crashed.  I actually clicked the X on the box instead of close program and after a few seconds of P2A being frozen, it loaded everything in and operated properly.  Strange but seemed to work.  The only oddity I noticed was P2A didn't assign a STAR at all.  Just direct to the destination.  Not really sure if that was intended or not - just my observations.

 

Any ideas on why I got the crash popup?  It seems it doesn't actually crash, just throws the popup that it does.  I can duplicate that on demand if needed.

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Chris,

Without a screenshot of the open error message box (Error Details at top), I don't know why it crashed.  I just tried it with the next update under development and had no issues.

You may or may not get a STAR, even though you ask ATC to assign one because it may make a better approach without one.  It will vary based on which runway and where you are coming from.  In my case, landing on RW28L, I was given GISSH4 arrival for the ILS to RW 28L.

 

Thanks for the report.

Dave

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Thats more or less what I was thinking happened in regards to the STAR.  The crash was just a generic windows program crashed style message - although it didn't really crash.  Very strange.  Ill try again tonight and see if it reproduces and post the screen shot.

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