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Newsletter - June 29th, 2011

Transfer Your Flight Plans Directly to Your iPad for Offline Viewing
FltPlan.com is proud to present our new FREE route-mapping iPad application. This is a first in a series of Apps exclusively for the iPad.

Be sure to keep an eye out for new FltPlan.com iPad Apps in the next few months.

Our new app is full of features and tools for all types of flight plans, making any FltPlan.com user with an iPad a happy camper. The most important feature being the ability to view your flight plans over sectional, jet high, or victor low charts while offline in the air.

iPad's built-in GPS location service can be toggled to give knots and altitude. A large blue airplane marks your location on the map. A moving-map option can also be toggled to automatically center your location while moving.

A straightforward user-interface is merged right into the Apps navigation bar, allowing for quick access to change maps and toggle features.

Logging into your FltPlan.com account is very easy and will remain the default when the App is opened. You can display and update your account's flight plans by selecting the route button on the navigation bar. Selecting a route will display it and zoom in, while dragging the route list in a downward motion will download and update your routes.

Visit the AppStore on your device and search for FltPlan or click here:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fltplan-flight-plans-charts/id442736594?mt=8
The App is titled, "FltPlan - Flight Plans, Charts, Moving Maps".

Contact Support@FltPlan.com with any questions/comments.


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New Feature: Quick Change
Now you can make minor changes to an existing flight plan using our new Quick Change button. For instance, if you need to change your departure time, you no longer need to modify your flight plan and save each page. You can simply use the Quick Change button. Use Quick Change to change your 'Souls On Board', your Estimated Departure Time, Depart Date, and more.

Quick Change will automatically update your ETE and Arrival Time and will bring you back to the Active Flight Plan List without displaying a new NavLog. If your flight plan has already been filed, you will need to re-file it with the new information.


Your FltPlan.Com Takeoff Window Is Wide
by J. Mac McClellan

One of the things pilots worry about most is missing their estimated time of departure and not having a clearance available in the IFR system. We all like to be on time, but you should know that the window for receiving your clearance from ATC is really pretty wide.

FltPlan.com will automatically transmit your flight plan data based on your scheduled departure time. If you select your flight plan for filing far enough in advance, the actual flight plan will usually be transmitted to ATC two hours in advance. (Your flight plan data is also sent to the FAA's CDM program up to 20 hours in advance of your departure time. See CDM ) If you select your flight plan for filing less than two hours before your expected departure time, the data will be sent to ATC immediately.

That means your IFR clearance is in the system at least two hours before you intend to takeoff, or within a few minutes of when you file on FltPlan.com if the EDT is less than two hours away.

Many pilots believe that a clearance is only available 30 minutes prior to the departure time filed, but that's not completely true. What happens is that approximately 30 minutes before the proposed departure time your clearance is transmitted automatically to the ATC facility that will issue the clearance. The controller doesn't need to take any additional action to request your clearance if you call within the 30 minute window.

However, the clearance is in the ATC system two hours before the proposed time off and all the controller needs to do is request clearance from the Center computers. At very busy airports controllers may sometimes grouse about having to put "your clearance on request" but the clearance is there. So if you're two hours or less early for takeoff, don't worry about filing a new flight plan with an amended departure time.

On the other hand, if you're running late, you also get a two-hour window to pickup your clearance. And if you or your passengers will be even later than the two hours, you can ask the controllers to extend the time. If you call the controllers on the radio and ask them to hold your clearance, that will work every time. If you are not at the airport a phone call to the tower or center that will issue you the clearance will also extend the window for as long as you need.

The only possible exception to the two-hour late clearance hold that I have heard of is in Miami Center airspace during some very busy periods. The problem for Miami is that it sometimes runs out of available transponder codes because, in addition to the normal IFR traffic, it must issue a bunch of codes to identify VFR flights crossing the ADIZ. A crucial element of any IFR clearance is the transponder code assigned to the flight so, if a clearance sits in the system waiting to be picked up, the assigned code is unavailable for other flights. With only 4,096 possible codes in our transponder system, it's possible that Miami can run short. They might then need to dump a clearance before the normal two hours beyond proposed departure time expires, in order to put the transponder code to work.

So if you're early or late, don't worry. The FltPlan.com clearance window is four hours wide with your proposed time right in the middle. If your flight fits into that big window, there is no need for any modification of the flight plan.


Save Weather Briefings on Your Android
With the latest release of FltPlan.com Mobile (version 2.0.0) for Android tablet and handheld devices, users can now save location and route weather briefings for offline viewing.

This feature is very simple and easy to use -- and it's free. While viewing a briefing, press your device's menu key and a button will display titled, "Download and Save". Selecting this will save the web page to a local folder on your device.

To view your saved briefings, choose the button located at the bottom of the Location and Route Weather sections titled, "View Offline Wx Briefings". This will display a list to choose from, in a basic identifier/date/time format. Time is displayed in a 24-hour format with an added locale in the case that your device may be set to change locales when traveling (e.g., EDT, CDT, MDT, PDT). Briefings can be saved once every minute and will be formatted with a large, bold header to help identify the briefing as non-current but saved.

Visit the Android Market on your device and search for FltPlan, or click here:
https://market.android.com/details?id=app.fltplan
Devices that run an older version of Android (version 1.5) please download the other version titled, "FltPlan.com Mobile for OS 1.5", or click here:
https://market.android.com/details?id=app.fltplan15

Contact Support@FltPlan.com with any questions/comments.


The Log-Out Button is Your Friend
When you're finished planning your flight, checking your weather, or sending your passenger brief, don't forget to log out of your account. This is especially important if you're on the road and using a computer at an FBO or Hotel. Why take a chance of someone else using the computer and having access to your account? Even better is to actually close out the browser you were using. It's just an extra measure of security. It's also a good idea to log out when you're at home or at the office. Using the Log-Out button closes out your session, so you don't get an old screen the next time you go to FltPlan.com. The log-out button is on the top, right-hand side of our Main Menu page.

Check out Mac McClellan's Left Seat
This week Mac McClellan's blog, Left Seat, is "PC-12 Pilots Love FltPlan.com". You can view Left Seat by clicking on the banner on the FltPlan.com log-in page or by going directly to mac.FltPlan.com.

FltPlan.com On Twitter
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Lead Editor: Claire Warner  -   Claire@FltPlan.com
Contributing Editor: David Wilson
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