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Newsletter - March 17th, 2010

Why Re-invent the Wheel?
FltPlan.com's Stored Routes feature

Did you know that you can store up to 500 of your personal flight plan routes and notes by selecting Stored Routes? The Link is located on the left side of the MAIN MENU PAGE.
In addition to saving your routes, you can also add notes associated with these routes. For example, you could add fuel burn numbers from a trip, ATC maximum altitudes, or any other notes that you feel would be helpful for the next time you fly between the same airport pair.

After saving a route (and notes) for an airport pair, the next time that you create a flight plan between these same airports, the Stored Route and Notes will be displayed. Now you can easily select the route for use in your flight plan.
For faster viewing, the Stored Routes section also sorts your different stored routes between city pairs by the departure airport and arrival airport.

How best to use Stored Routes:
   1. After flying a trip, go to Stored Routes.
   2. The Stored Routes page will have your recent flights listed with the filed route.
   3. If necessary, make any changes to the route that was assigned by ATC that will help on the next trip.
   4. Add any notes that will help for future flights.
   5. Save the changes.
   6. Go to Delete Flt Plan, and remove old flight plans (see previous article on recycling flight plans) to keep your Active Flight Plan List current, and 'uncluttered'.
   7. Next time you create a New Flt Plan, your Stored Route and notes for the same city pair will automatically be displayed.


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Cast your vote in the Pilots' Choice Awards
There's still time to vote in the first annual Pilots' Choice Awards. Go online to www.FltPlan.com between now and March 31st to make your voice heard. Do you have a favorite FBO? Help them get the recognition they deserve. Let us know your favorites in such categories as Best FBO, Best Tower location, Best ATC Center and more. Make the Pilots' Choice Awards - and FltPlan.com - the voice of the pilot.

We'll announce the winners online in April.


FltPlan.com moves to our new Data Center
FltPlan.com continues to invest in the infrastructure needed to provide you the best and most reliable flight planning and flight tracking capabilities available.

On March 7th FltPlan.com completed its move to our new state-of-the-art data center, with new facilities, new increased backup electrical generator power (capable of 5 days of operation without refueling), new increased capacity dual networks, and high-speed computers.

FltPlan.com also continues to have additional levels of redundancy, with www.FltPlan2.com and www.FltPlan3.com. This ensures that FltPlan.com will be there for all your flight planning needs.


New Feature: Quickly reorganize your aircraft order
You can now easily change the order of your listed aircraft, by going to the Change or Add Aircraft section (left side of Main Menu page).
The order of the aircraft entered on this page determines the order on various other pages on FltPlan.com. This includes the Flight Plan entry pages, Flight Tracking, and Quick Info pages.
Just enter the order desired for up to 10 aircraft (up to 20 aircraft with FltPlan.com's premium service), and we'll take care of the rest.

Runway Analysis Coming Soon
Starting later this month, FltPlan.com will offer Runway Analysis as part of our service. With over 100 aircraft types available, and integrated with your flight plans, FltPlan.com continues to provide the services needed by our users. Look for more about this on our website in the coming weeks. We'll also keep you posted in our next FltBrief Newsletter.
Don't Be Confused by a STAR's Names
If you are flying turbine equipment, then most likely you deal will STARs on a regular basis. No, we're not talking about the ones in the passenger cabin, but rather Standard Terminal Arrival Routes.
For most of these STARs, it seems pretty intuitive for flight planning and programming the FMS. Select which STAR best suits your needs, get yourself onto the first fix on the STAR, and your routing for the flight plan is set for filing.
In the plane, you program the FMS with the applicable STAR and transition, and you're done.

There are some STARs however, with names that can lead you down the wrong path.

To illustrate
We are accustomed to most STARs having names that use the first fix of the arrival in the name of the STAR.

Figure #1
For the QUAILSIX arrival (KAPA)
HGO.QUAIL6 (HGO is the first fix)
LAA.QUAIL6 (LAA is the first fix)
TODDE.QUAIL6 (TODDE is the first fix)
-------------------------------------------
For the BARIN ONE Arrival (KIAD)
COATT.BARIN1 (COATT is the first fix)
FAK.BARIN1 (FAK is the first fix)
RIC.BARIN1 (RIC is the first fix)
-------------------------------------------
For the CAMRN FOUR arrival (KJFK)
SIE.CAMRN4 (SIE is the first fix)


Notice in Figure #1 that the name of the STAR also gives you the first fix of the arrival. Simply put, the identifier for the STAR gives the pilot the starting/lead-in fix for flying the STAR.

This logic works well until you fly the BUZZY.BUZZY6 arrival into KRDU, the BITHO.BITHO7 arrival into KMCO, the TERKS.TERKS2 into ORF, or the DIFFI.DIFFI1 into the Atlanta area.

Figure #2
Buzzy Six arrival (KRDU)
BUZZY.BUZZY6
Bitho Seven arrival (KMCO)
BITHO.BITHO7
Terks Two arrival (KORF)
TERKS.TERKS2
Diffi one arrival (Atlanta area including KPDK, KFTY, KRYY, KLZU) added 08/26/2010
DIFFI.DIFFI1


These STARs have names that do not follow the normal naming convention, which can cause confusion and pilot error.

Why?
The BUZZY.BUZZY6 arrival begins at CAE and not BUZZY.
The BITHO.BITHO7 arrival begins at OMN, and not BITHO.
The TERKS.TERKS2 arrival begins at MOL and not TERKS.
The DIFFI.DIFFI1 arrival begins at LGC and not DIFFI.

The problem lies in the way a pilot files a flight plan, programs their FMS, or just tries to figure out what he/she is supposed to be flying.
Using the BUZZY SIX arrival as an example, we see many pilots file to the CAE VOR direct to the SDZ VOR and then the BUZZY.BUZZY6 arrival.
If you view this arrival, you will see that the pilot will end up doubling back to the CAE VOR if he entered a route of CAE SDZ BUZZY.BUZZY6 into his FMS.

Figure #3

In our opinion, the BUZZY.BUZZY6 should be named the CAE.BUZZY6, and the BITHO.BITHO7 should be named OMN.BITHO7.
This is much more intuitive for a pilot to understand where the arrival begins and how the arrival should be flown.

Here's a list of STARs that we have identified as having bad naming nomenclature.

The following STARs do not have the entry fix in the name of the STAR.
BITHO.BITHO7 (KMCO - Orlando FL) Entry point is OMN VOR (BITHO is the last fix on arrival)
BUZZY.BUZZY6 (KRDU - Raleigh Durham area) Entry point is CAE VOR (BUZZY is last fix on arrival)
TERKS.TERKS2 (KORF - Norfolk VA. area) Entry point is MOL (TERKS is last fix on arrival)
PRTZL.PRTZL3 (KIAD - DULLES VA) Entry point is PSB VOR (PRTZL is the second fix on the arrival)
RUBER.RUBER1 (KSWF - NEWBURGH, NY) Entry point is LHY VOR (RUBER is the last point on the STAR)
TANDY.TANDY3 (KLGB - Long Beach, CA) Entry point is SADDE int. (TANDY is the third fix on this arrival)
WAATS.WAATS3 (KSLC - SALT LAKE, UT) Entry point is BVL VOR (WAATS is the third fix on this arrival)
DIFFI.DIFFI1 (Atlanta GA area) Entry point is LGC VOR (DIFFI is the last fix on this arrival) added 08/26/2010

STARs are not the only culprits. There are several SIDs that also have the same naming issues. These SIDs have exit points that are not in the published name of the SID.

The following SIDs do not have the exit fix in the name of the SID.
AFTON2.AFTON (KAFO - AFTON, WY) Exit point is JAC VOR (as a note, AFTON is an intersection just north of Venezuela)
ATKA1.ATKA (PAAK - ATKA, AK) Exit point of this SID is EIVRS intersection
AUREL2.AUREL (KSUN - HAILEY, ID) Exit point of this SID is SIRPE intersection (there are 3 transitions named correctly for this departure)
HOR4.HOR (KCLT - CHARLOTTE, NC) Radar Vector departure with heading after TO (there are 3 transitions named correctly for this departure)
PUBLO1.PUBLO (KAEJ - COLORADO, CO) Exit point of this SID is PUB VOR
RIF1.RIF (KRIF - RICHFIELD, UT) Exit point of this SID is DTA VOR

For now, you'll have to deal with these names, and take the extra time to verify that what you enter in your flight plan and FMS is what you really want.
To do this, check the mileage on your FltPlan.com NavLog and on the aircraft's FMS; check the maps of your route on FltPlan.com when creating a flight plan and on your aircraft map display (if you have one) once in the aircraft.


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