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Guest j-mo

Flight Planning

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Hi all,When I do a commercial jetliner flight, I select the High Alt. Airways as my planning type, I'm sure this is a real-life procedure. However, when going Trans-Atlantic, such as New York-Germany for example, I am forced to use Direct-GPS because with the Airway route selected, the sim calculates a route that takes me ALL the way back to the heart of Alaska, makes me turn there, THEN makes me fly the conventional arc near the pole to the German airport, thereby extending the flight time by 10 hours. How can I fix this?Thanks!

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This is one of the shortcomings of the FS flight planner. You can do either of the following:1. Go to the edit page and "correct" the plan to your liking;2. Use a different flight planner.There are a couple of popular payware planners that are popular: www.fsnavigator.com and www.fsbuild.comAlso a freeware one: www.superflightplanner.comOr, you can do what many of us do: head over to www.flightaware.com and grab a RW flight plan. This is my preference because I use Active Sky, and I like to combine a RW plan with the weather that it was used with. Once you find a plan you want to fly, go to SimRoutes "route parser" here www.eleventhstreet.com/fb2/ParseRoute.aspx and paste in the flight plan from flightaware. IIRC, SimRoutes tries to keep current with NATS tracks. In you want to cross check, you can also go here www.gofir.com/general/nat_tracks/index.htm to grab the en route NATS coordinates (note that these are updated a couple times a day to reflect current winds) If you do it this way, be careful not to duplicate the entry and exit gates, as they will probably be on both flightaware and gofir , and make sure to replace "NATX" with the coordinates. SimRoutes Flight Parser can then be used to generate the route which you can then export not only to FSX, but also your FMC if you are using one. You can even throw in your DP and STAR if you are using them!Neat, huh?Hope this helps.Regards,

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Thanks a bunch, Alex,I did what you said, I'm a long time FlightAware fan, and I'm glad that the routing was useful.When you say avoid the departure gate, how else can I get the planner to plan a flight which starts at a gate?Thanks!

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Also, one more question,I generated a flightplan using SimRoutes, but when I select it in FSX, it acts like nothing was selected at all. I hit "OK", but everything on the Flight Planner still stays blank. Any ideas?Thanks!

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Hello, BoeingGuy-I didn't say "departure gate," I said "entry" and "exit" gate.In case you're not familiar with NATS routes, the purpose is to take advantage of the jet stream when flying east, and minimize it when flying west. Depending on how far north or south your route is, you file a route to the "entry gate" of one of the NATS, e.g. NATW or NATX, then fly the NATS route, then exit through the "departure gate" once across the pond. The course of each NAT is defined by lat/long coordinates. The coordinates are what change with changes in the wind.Think of the entry/exit "gates" as "collection points" for entering and "dispersal points" for leaving a track, similar to entrance and exits ramps on a highway. Aircraft can depart from multiple locations, then flow toward the "gate" for the NAT they need.In the sim, you can see the gates in the flight planner, by zooming out and making sure you have jet routes visible. Naturally you won't see NATS because they aren't constant, but you can easily see the gates. Now zoom in on one and you can see a pair of intersections. These are like the beginning and end of an entrance or exit ramp, to continue the analogy. You'll see these intersections on flightaware plans as well as NAT routes. However, you would only enter these once in your flight plan.=====================================================================Now, for your questions.There is no way to get FS flight planner to plan this for you. But you can do it yourself by having the sim plan a direct route, and then go to the edit tab, where you can make any changes you wish. What I do is this:a. zoom out a ways and disable everything except VOR's and J routes to make it easy to find the VOR's in my plan; occasionally, you may need a V route, but not often.b. now turn on intersections and find them and add to the plan; play around with the zoom if you need to.c. if you are flying a complex add-on where you can tell the FMC to follow a jet route, you'll need to add all waypoints along any route in your FS plan; otherwise ATC will bug you about being off course.d. add waypoints that match the coordinates in the NAT; just click to add a waypoint that's close to your target, then hit the edit button to get it precise.If this seems like a lot of work, everything is relative. After a few times, you'll get to know where to look for the gates, and it won't take more than 15-20 minutes to plan a transatlantic route. I don't know how many others do it this way, but I'm a bit of a strange breed, and I've learned a lot by planning my own routes. I figure if I were doing this RW I'd be doing other things that take longer than this before conducting a flight. It's worth it for me because I am drawn to the realism of duplicating a RW flight and the conditions it was flown in. I actually enjoy it (go figure!).Now, your other question about exporting a SimRoute in FS format. I've noticed it in the dropdown, but confess I've never used it. My mistake. I tried it today, and you're right. Even though it says for FSX, if you compare it (as I did today)to one generated through FS, you'll see it's not the correct format (from memory, it looks like FS9 to me IIRC). My apologies for suggesting this. I can tell you that they do work in PMDG, and I assume other products (crossing my fingers here).I'm currently flying the PMDG 747X, and using ASX. When I do it this way, I end up with a realistic plan, and weather that allows me to plan fuel use very accurately. Add Radar Contact to the mix, and I have a pretty immersive experience.Reply if you have any other questions, as there is a bit more than this, but not worthwhile to go any deeper at this point.Regards,

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Thanks for all the help Alex,In the end, I found this thread: http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/a...ead.main/94926/found fsroute.com, and found everything working perfectly in FSX. Here is my flight plan from KIAD-->EDDM:SWANN V268 BROSS J42 RBV PUT EBONY N123A YAY NATW PIKIL NATW ODLUM UN551 BESOP UP6 REMSI UL603 TESGA UZ729 BOMBI T104 BURAMFor a duration of 7 hrs, 45 mins, almost exactly like in real life. However these waypoints:NATW PIKIL NATW ODLUM UN551Were not recognized by FSRoute.com. Is this because FSX doesn't have these NATs? Or does FSX have them, but FSRoute doesn't know about them?Thanks so much for your help!Regards,

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BoeingGuy-You're getting there!Here is what you need to do next. Since fsroute doesn't keep track of NAT routes, you have to put in the coordinates yourself. So, don't input NATW. Instead, retrieve the coordinates for that track. If you go to the site I mentioned http://www.gofir.com/general/nat_tracks/index.htm and scroll down to W you'll find what they are. Currently it's this:W YAY HECKK 53/50 56/40 57/30 56/20 PIKIL ODLUMEAST LVLS 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390 400WEST LVLS NILDecipher it this way:1. "W" identifies which NAT will be used for this flight, which you see in the flight plan you found (NATW). Since this is just an identifier, don't input it directly in your plan.2."YAY" and "HECKK" are your final waypoints (the "on ramp") to the track. So far, so good, right? 3. "53/50" "56/40" "57/30" "56/20" are the lat/long coordinates for this track, so they go into your flightplan. BUT... fsroute doesn't recognize that format. The workaround is to input them as XXXXNXXXXXW. I know that looks weird the I've typed it, but this track translates into "5300N05000W 5600N04000W 5700N03000W 5600N02000W" for the plan you posted.4. "PIKIL" and "ODLUM" are your exit out of the track (the "off-ramp").5. "EAST LVLS " are obviously the appropriate flight levels for this track, and "WEST LVLS NIL" means this track is not being used for westbound flights.The reason fsroute doesn't recognize ODLUM and UN551 is that site uses data that is almost two years old, and intersection and route appear to be newer. These change all the time. Simroute's data is about one year old, which is recent enough to recognize these.You asked about FSX and the sites having/recognizing NATs. NATs are not permanently fixed points. The jet stream undulates much as a snake does as it moves. Due to this movement, the NATs are constantly being updated. The NATW coordinates that I grabbed above (and the other tracks, too, for that matter) are only valid for AUG 28/0100Z TO AUG 28/0800Z. If my explanation isn't making sense (and it can be a bit to grasp at first) it might help to view an animation of the jet stream. Here is one you can view: http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=natla_250Hopefully this all helps to clarify the concept for you. Keep in mind that these winds can be quite strong. I flew from Hawaii to Australia (in the sim) recently and encountered 135kt headwinds. This is why airliners need to take this into account, as it affects fuel planning and en route time significantly.Let me know if you have further questions.Regards,

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Thanks a bunch, I've got it now. I'm replacing the NATW or NATY or whatever with the coordinates you've generously given me, and it works perfectly withouth any deviation from the course. I'm also figuring out a way to merge the FSX-recognized format of FSRoutes with the FS9 recognized format of SimRoutes. By taking the waypoints from the PLN file from Simroutes, I can put them in FSRoutes with a little editing. I have now a seamless flight plan from Denver-JFK-Munich.Thanks a lot Alex for your help!Regards,

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Excellent.Just remember that if you are replicating a flight and using RW weather including winds aloft, you'll want to get the NAT coordinates in use for that time. If you're not using actual wind data, then you don't need to go through this. In fact, might as well allow a great circle route from gate to gate.Happy flying!

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Great, Thanks Alex. By the way, the SimRoutes PLN works in FSX, you just have to edit it. If you look at the plane, all the waypoint.x numbers are out of order. If you put them back into order, FSX will recognize them.Thanks again!Regards,

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Hello again, BoeingGuy-Good observation about the waypoint numbers. I took another look at this, and here is what is going on.The waypoint numbers aren't out of order. Rather, the out-of-sequence numbers represent 'gaps' where waypoints didn't make it into the download. Soooo... after using Notepad to make the waypoint numbers consecutive, load it into FSX and open it in the flight planner. Then hit the edit tab and add the 'missing' waypoints back in, as well as set your cruise altitude. Then you'll have your "seamless" flight plan! :-hah BTW, a departure gate can be added in Notepad as well, if it's important to you.As long as SimRoutes stays relatively current with their data, this may be one of the better 'free' flight planning options.Regards,

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If AvSim had a competition for most helpful contributor, I would give Alex M. a solid 10 in all categories, i.e., maturity, relevance, courtesy, patience, etc. It is refreshing to see a thread such as this that exemplifies the true intent of these kinds of forums. Thank you Alex for being an excellent example of collaboration and helpfulness to your fellow sim captains. Best regardsDave Vega

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I second that. Thanks Alex, you've enhanced my FS experience a hundredfold!Also, for the missing waypoint numbers, does that mean that the waypoints that never made it into the download won't be in the FP in FSX unless you edit it?Thanks again,

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Also, for the missing waypoint numbers, does that mean thatthe waypoints that never made it into the download won't be inthe FP in FSX unless you edit it?Yep, that's exactly what it means. But they should be nearby the almost intact flightplan. If you still have any difficulty locating one, then go www.airnav.com . I think it's limited to North America, although I have found some out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If you find a navaid in a flightplan that's not in the FSX database, you can always enter it by coordinates. Whether you duplicate a plan exactly or not is up to you. The important thing is if you are programming an FMC, then you'll want the FSX flightplan and the FMC flightplan to agree 100% so ATC doesn't threaten to yank your license.Regards,

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