Sunday, August 14, 2011

Nerdy Flight Planning Answer

I asked a few days ago how you would file a long IFR climb segment at a speed well below the normal filed true airspeed for the aircraft. I asked on the blog, and I also asked in real life, asked an IFR data centre employee who codes flight plans. I called the same number I call to file a photo plan and asked.

"I have an incredibly nerdy flight planning question ..."

She said that yes, they know that a light airplane won't be climbing at 170 knots and, and if it's 5 or 10 minutes in climb, don't bother filing anything special. But for a thirty minute climb, yes, code it as N120F210, for the 120 kt climb to flight level 210. I like coding IFR flights. I've always liked languages and codes and getting the grammar and spelling right. Such a nerd.

And while I'm being nerdy, I'll let you know I spent a good day's pay on a new camera, a Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS Digital ELPH, which is the same as an IXUS 130. It is smaller than almost anyhting else I looked at, has all the features I need and was on sale. It has almost four times the resolution of the old camera. I also considered a shockproof, waterproof Sony, but it cost almost twice as much, and if I'm in an aviation situation involving shock and water, I probably have better things to do than take pictures. I'm not a camera power user and probably could have spent less on a simpler camera and not missed anything, but while I'm just pointing it at things and pressing the button, I can pretend I'm going to use the zoom someday, or put it in different modes.


Sarah said...

I"m not following you on the flight planning coding - in the US, I guess a note would go in the remarks section of the ICAO std. plan.

I'm glad you bought a real camera. My iphone camera is fun for handy snaps, but the pencil eraser lens usually disappoints when the going gets tough. I have made some cool one handed movies in my glider though... and HDR is fun. This evening's bike ride: Gitche Gumee chocolate bunny

Aviatrix said...

Sarah: The first box is for your initial speed, so if I'm going to fly the SID and continue climbing to FL180 at TAS of 120 knots, then I put 120 in the main box. Reaching my entry point I'm going to level off and accelerate to 155 knots, so at that fix, maybe YEG120053 I enter the group N155F180 then perhaps later a descent for lower level work N170A065. How do you show speed changes in a US flight plan? Do you put your typical or initial speed in box 4 at the top?

townmouse said...

I'm not a power camera user either, but it might be worth sitting down with the manual and trying out all the different functions just once - if only for your own nerd satisfaction. There'll probably only be 2 or 3 functions that you end up using regularly, but it's hard to know from the off which they are - and if you've got the hang of them in advance you can quickly switch to them when needed.

coreydotcom said...

I secretely hope to put a picture on one day with my point in shoot. No success thus far but I don't have a processing software such as photoshop or lightroom or whatever to do it with. Oh well. One day.

Anonymous said...

Contents of a Flight Plan or a Flight Itinerary

602.74 A flight plan or flight itinerary shall contain such information as is specified by the Minister in the Canada Flight Supplement.

CFS Flight Plan/ Flight Itinerary

The following lists the order of filing:
10. Cruising speed

AIM 3.16.6 Item 15: Cruising Speed, Altitude/Level and Route

Canadian and ICAO:


the first cruising speed as described in (a),

(a) Cruising Speed (maximum 5 characters)
INSERT the True Airspeed for the first or the whole cruising portion of the flight, in terms of:

Kilometres per hour, (ICAO only) expressed as “K” followed by 4 figures (e.g., K0830),

Knots expressed as "N" followed by 4 figures (e.g., N0485),

or, Mach number, when so prescribed by the appropriate ATS authority, to the nearest hundredth of unit Mach, expressed as “M” followed by 3 figures (e.g., M082).

Aviatrix said...

So, anonymous CARs quoter, when there is no portion of the flight that constitutes cruise: it's all climb, manoeuvring and descent, what do you put in the box?

Wayne Conrad said...

Aviatrix, I'm surprised you didn't mention whether or not the new camera works well in your hand, without putting buttons in places that make you press them accidentally. I suspect that was actually the most important feature to you, since you mentioned it more than once in previous posts. Does your new camera satisfy you in that regard, or did you end up having to toss that requirement?

Sarah said...

The US flight plan "TAS" box is supposedly the cruise TAS. If your actual speed varies by more than 5% or 10 knots, you're supposed to notify ATC. ( This is from the US AIM, 5-5-5 )

In case of your flight profile, I'd file the climb TAS, and then notify ATC of changes in survey or get-home/descent airspeed.

In practice, I'm not sure ATC cares that much about my reported airspeed - for sure not in the radar rich environment I'm used to. They can see it on my target block.