Western727 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 872 posts, RR: 4 Posted (14 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3543 times:
I recently found a flight planner program, and I got curious and decided to run mock flight planning session to see what would happen. It took me about 45 seconds to do what used to be a very time consuming process. My one concern with all this great new technology is that I'll go "soft" - forgetting how to work my E6B and plotter. On the other hand, working my E6B and plotter are pretty much second nature by now, and I've already passed my private checkride. And time seems to be a slim commodity lately - the more I can speed up the flight planning process, the longer I can sleep, or the more homework I can finish up.
What do you guys think - will I forget everything and go soft if I don't do it the old way? What is a strategy for not forgetting all that essential E6B and plotter stuff.
Incedentally, this discussion doesn't just have to be about flight planning. It could include such topics such as "GPS dependance", and other areas where old technology is being replaced by new.
Jetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (14 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3518 times:
In our company everyone was given laptops and a copy of one of the various versions of "Flitesoft" flight planning program. At first I was very sceptical - for years we had been using one of the national flight planning services and I didn't see how this "cheap" little program could possibly compare to what we were getting from our flight planning service. Long story short, boy was I wrong. What a great program. We literally fly coast to coast and border to border on a weekly basis and this puppy is dead on. I've had several flights from Oregon to Florida and the time enroute and total fuel burn calculations were accurate to within 1 (one) minute and 10 (ten) pounds of fuel! Of course, ATC has to cooperate to get results like this, but the point is these programs are accurate. It's late and I'll discuss this more at another time because there are definately other points to consider when it comes to "recreational" flight planning and basic pilot proficiency.
ChrisHabgood From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 4 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3485 times:
Well what you have to think about is what do the programs do??
They do EXACTLY what you do with an E6B, BUT they are able to do it more accurately because of the technology involved.
I feel if you can't manually plan a flight then there is something wrong.
Even on the ailriners there are loading charts, flight planning charts, weight and balance, V-speed calculations and what not in the AOM manuals. This is even with the FMC that does all of the calculations for you.
It would be important to be able to plan a flight manually, but as long as long as you are able to back up yourself with a manual way to do it there should be no problem.
The problem of the automation has been recognized by the airline industry and in at least the 747-400 manual there is a note describing this. With the automation comes complacency on the part of the individual relying on the computers to do the work and just punch buttons. There have been numerous airliners with GREAT FMC and MCP integration--2 PILOT CREWS, but have STILL managed CFIT( controlled flight into terrain).
The automation is fine but you need to have an underlying understanding as to what is going on.
I read an article in FLYING a while back about GPS and there have been students who went for there SEL check ride. They turned on the GPS after starting the engine and the examiner reached over and turned it off and the student could NOT fly the plane, UNBELIEVABLE!!
I was just thinking about something else that is relevant.
During my college career, I had a math teacher who was phenominal. He could do complex arithmatic in his HEAD, AC analysis and such. Someone asked him how does he know if the answer is correct. He said determine if the answer is logical. Think back through the problem and determine if the answer could be accurate or even close.
This has a direct bearing on your question because if you know how much fuel burn your airplane produces and you know the wind, then you should be able to come up with a best guess as to what you should expect. The flight software has to know this in order to do the calculations so accurately as well as interpolating the winds and what not. HOPEFULLY this was helpful.