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Newsletter - July 21st, 2010

"A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted"
The above saying was coined over 400 years ago, but there are some people who continue to make it applicable today. Every few weeks we hear from a person who spent $700 or more with another flight tracking website to get their tail numbers (N#) blocked. What they didn't know at the time is that getting your tail number blocked is free.

Yes, some flight tracking companies will gladly take your money and neglect to tell you that the NBAA will block your tail number from the public for free (whether you are a NBAA member or not).
Click here for info on blocking your tail number.

If you need to track your blocked tail number, that's not a problem either. FltPlan.com lets you track up to 10 aircraft for just $14.95 per month versus over $7,000 per year for 10 aircraft on another website.

"A sucker is born every minute." Don't be one of them.
Remember:
1.) Getting your tail number blocked from all websites and all of the public is a free service of the NBAA: Click here for info on blocking your tail number.
2.) Tracking your blocked tail number should be inexpensive ($14.95 per month on FltPlan.com for up to 10 aircraft).
If you need to track your blocked aircraft, give us a call at 1-203-262-8900 or go to http://www.fltplan.com/FlightTrackinginfo.htm for more information.
3.) FltPlan.com is the largest provider of tracking services for blocked tail numbers in the U.S.

To coin a new phrase, "The smart money is on FltPlan.com."


Multi Printout: (New Enhancement)
You can now email all your FltPlan.com documents in one easy step!

Did you know that you can easily print -- and now email -- all of your FltPlan.com documents (NavLogs, FAA-certified weather, NWS 7-day forecasts, Winds Aloft Matrix, T.O.L.D. Cards, and CDR Routes) from one simple-to-use page?
This can be helpful for sending your trip data to your fellow pilot the night before the flight or for sending your flight information to your dispatch/scheduling department for flight following and archiving.
It can also be used by pilots, to email to their PDAs/smartphones for retrieval while in the air or for fast reference without an internet connection.

Click on Multi Printout (on the left hand side of the Main Menu Page). You can select which flights and which documents you would like to display, and then use the Print feature on your browser to print the pages out.

Use the email link to send them to your smartphone or to any email address.



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NRS Waypoints for High Altitude RNAV equipped Aircraft
A number of pilots have never heard of NRS (Navigational Reference System) waypoints, let alone know what they are or how to use them. NRS stands for Navigational Reference System. The FAA has created these NRS waypoints to create a grid across the country for high-altitude, RNAV-equipped aircraft.

NRS waypoints have a coded 5-letter identifier (e.g. KD72W or KJ90S) and are based on latitude and longitude located at the intersection of major latitude and longitude lines (e.g. N40 00.0 and W085 00.0).
Notice we said 'coded'. The 5-letter IDs are broken down as follows:
First letter:
The first letter is the ICAO regional designator. This means, for the U.S., they will all begin with a "K" (similar to the ICAO airport identifier in the U.S.).

Second letter:
The second letter usually represents the first letter of the ATC Center that the NRS waypoints lie within.
Unfortunately, two centers begin with the letter A, S, or C, and three centers begin with the letter M. Thus, a little decoding of the coding is required. In the end, Atlanta got the letter T , Minneapolis got P, Chicago got G, Miami got R, and Salt Lake in Utah got U.

BBoston NNew York WWashington JJacksonville CCleveland
IIndianapolis TAtlanta RMiami HHouston FFort Worth
KKansas City GChicago MMemphis PMinneapolis DDenver
AAlbuquerque USalt Lake City LLos Angeles SSeattle OOakland

The Third and Fourth letters:
These are numerical, and represent increments of latitude (they do not match the latitude). They range between 03 and 90 (with increments of 3).

Fifth letter:
The last character is a letter between and A and Y and skips every other letter (i.e. A C E G H J L etc.).

So basically, the only things you can really figure out from the naming of 5-letter NRS waypoints without looking at a chart, are that the waypoint (K) is in the U.S. (first character) and what ATC center the waypoint (B, D, J) lies within (second character).

So you know what an NRS waypoint looks like; now how to use them on FltPlan.com
With the NRS grid system, you can plan a trip around weather and winds when use of VORs and airways are not practical along your chosen route.
In addition, instead of just filing DIRECT, by filing NRS waypoints you can help ATC know where you are going and what Centers (remember the coding) you are planning to fly through along your route. The 5-letter IDs are also easier to key in, versus entering a latitude/longitude, and lets ATC know you're a 'player' who knows how to use the system.

How to find NRS that lie on your route
FltPlan.com makes this easy by providing access to NRS waypoints on our enroute charts. Just select Jet Airways, and then select NRS grid fixes.
If you wish, select the weather overlay, and you can find the necessary NRS waypoints to build a coherent route that circumvents the weather.
Enter these points (which can be combined with VORs or other intersections) into your flight plan, and FltPlan.com will take care of the rest, creating your NavLog.

ATC is also proactively assigning NRS routes to aircraft with RNAV capability (see previous ICAO data articles), so being up to speed on NRS waypoints will make you look (and be) smart.


While on the subject of Waypoints... Computer Navigational Fixes (CNF)
A little-known waypoint that can be confusing is a CNF (Computer Navigational Fix).
These waypoints are not the same as the standard 5-letter intersections that you are used to using or RNAV waypoints.
An example of a CNF waypoint is YATDO which is located on V138 between GRI VOR and LNK VOR.

While on the surface a CNF looks like any other waypoint, the FAA places restrictions on their use when filing flight plans and while in the air.

Some background:
AIM (Aeronautical Information Manual 1-1-19-j-2) http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/aim0101.html#aim0101.html.1 .
A CNF waypoint is a 5-letter identifer that's sole purpose is to define a point for use by airborne computer systems (e.g. FMS and GPS).
"The CNF name will not be used in filing a flight plan or in aircraft/ATC communications."
Thus, a CNF waypoint can not be assigned by ATC (e.g. ATC can not give you direct YATDO, where YATDO is a CNF).
Nor can you can file a CNF in the route of a flight plan. (e.g. you should not file GRI V138 YATDO).

How do I know a CNF when I see one?
A CNF can be identifed on an enroute chart (Jepps or NOS) by the 5-letter ID being enclosed in parenthesis (YATDO).
Using FltPlan.com, we will give the following warning if you try to use one:
The Fix "YATDO" is a Computer Navigation Fix and cannot be used to enter/exit an airway or for point-to-point navigation.

What to do if you want to use this point for filing a flight plan
You can work around this by using a Place/Bearing/Distance fix that defines this point (e.g. GRI/092/035), or you can use a nearby intersection that is not a CNF (e.g. GRI V138 GAMBL).
As mentioned earlier, FltPlan.com will not let you file a flight plan with a CNF since it is disallowed by the AIM, however there are some less sophisticated flight planning systems that will. The problem is that your flight plan may be rejected by the ATC HOST computer.
On a slow day, ATC might manually 'repair' your route to get it into the system.
On a busy day, you might be sitting on the ramp wondering why there is no clearance available.

In summary, there is no need to concern yourself with CNFs while using FltPlan.com. We'll give you an error message when you try to use one. If you get the "Computer Navigation Fix" error message, just use an alternate definition of the point (Place/Bearing/Distance) or start or terminate your route segment with a nearby fix.


For Our eAPIS Customers
As a reminder to our eAPIS customers, FltPlan.com is available to handle your questions or concerns about eAPIS. You can call our eAPIS specialists at 731-855-8000, Monday through Friday 8:00am - 6:00pm Eastern Time. At all other hours, please email your questions to Support@FltPlan.com for a quick response.

Coming Soon: FltPlan.com's SMS Service
Starting in October 2010 FltPlan.com will be offering SMS (Safety Management Systems).

FltPlan.com's SMS will be a complete, easy to use system and will be fully integrated with your daily flight planning operations, including FRAT (Flight Risk Assessment Tool). FltPlan.com's SMS system will meet or exceed the requirements of FAA Advisory Circular AC 120-92 and Draft AC 120-92A.

FltBrief will keep you posted on SMS as the details develop. Keep watching for more information in the weeks to come.


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