Manual flight management was done away with as a result of high rate of accidents. Flight planning software refers to programs that are used to manage and execute flight and other processes undertaken when the plane is airborne. After the pilot has issued the requisite flight specifics, the software ensures all the instructions are maintained. Advanced software also includes a provision to alert the pilot of an impending collision with another vessel.
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CoPilot Flight Planning and E6b
This refers to planning software that performs flight planning calculations and stores the data for future reference and modification. Its course of action considers four procedures, which are believed to constitute the concept of a flight. These are the flight depiction, flight route, a computation of the weight and balance in the vessel and a flight plan. They have association forms, on which information stored in the database is entered. The quantity of entries held is limited only by the storage space available in the device chosen for use (cnet.com, 2010).
They can be customized to process information in any set linear units. Data coded to any geodetic datum can be accessed and converted to suit the user’s needs. Basic flight information is processed by the description form. It contains flight details and records of both the pilot and his crew. Before processing is done, data elements have to be fed into a database (cnet.com, 2010). The form allows the user to formulate a new record, edit an existing record and delete all unwanted records from the database.
The routing form serves to establish the course to be taken during the flight. For every section, the expanse, magnetic heading and track are displayed, along with the estimated time of flight. It is imperative to have the details on the available way points and vessel performance. Several calculations, for example, time to climb, rate of flow of fuel and cruise speed of the aero plane have to be performed. They are founded on the craft information as it exists in the database. These details are fine-tuned with reference to altitude; temperature and pressure, while take off and landing velocity are determined by velocity and direction of the wind (cnet.com, 2010).
The weight and balance form aids in determining the weight and stability of the vessel during the flight. Fuel usage rate is determined the difference between the fuel required, which is recorded in the routing form and the fuel on board reflected in this form. The flight plan reflects information appearing on all the other forms. Information is sampled from them when filling it, with a large part happening automatically. Its format functionality is in conformity to those specified by the aviation society (cnet.com, 2010).
e FLITE Aviator Pro
This professional software for is for airplanes, and it computes planning information for commercial and general piloting missions. The program is equipped with quality features that enable like a cargo manifest, which allow the maintenance of documentation (aviation software solutions, 2010). Users are empowered to visualize maximum allowable take off weight, which varies with altitude, temperature or regulations established by aviation authorities.
This software can also be installed on mobile devices, like mobile phones and notepads. They are highly sensitive and efficient. This allows them to download data from different aircraft models, carry out tangential computations and save the data. The device can print and dispatch all pertinent information through email. All data relayed through this device is safe due to the encryption codes put in place. This program allows users to edit flight and cargo manifests easily by the touch of a button (Aviation software solutions, 2010).
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The program calculates weight and balance to precision in both empty and operating weight precision. With its user friendly interface, it allows operators of all skill levels to perform operations with it, including colorful indicators denoting central reference points. Instant display of the centre of gravity during critical take off and landing moments also happens. It has mechanisms that allow maximum weight monitoring and control hence keeping pilots from violating the maximum structural weight violators. Developers ensured the program compliant with universal consignment manifests set by aviation authorities (Aviation software solutions, 2010).
Flight Management Systems (FMS)
This is a program application integrated with moving maps and GPS services. It facilitates aerial travel by designing the flights course, incorporating data on weather patterns, working out performance, incorporating weather information and computing performance. This entails comparing the weight and balance of the craft. The program is then able to determine the required gasoline quantity to suffice the journey. It can also suggest alternatives either to save on costs or to avert potential peril (Honeywell, 2010).
The user is required to install compatible hardware components. The program is then installed, and it will guarantee safety during the flight. They have access to an up-to-date aero database, with information on beacons, radars, elevation, airports and much more. The hardware components have the capacity to display altitude, ground speed and the plane’s present location (Honeywell, 2010). This program is recommended because installation on your planes system is not mandatory. It is compatible with many computerized devices. It can, therefore, be used with laptops and pocket GPS receivers.
It is advantageous to employ this method. Weather information is easily copied from the Internet, eliminating the instances of speculation. There is a dedicated drag-and-drop feature to facilitate this process. If fed with data bout the departure and destination sites, the FMS will carry out necessary computations, including those on weight and luggage and fuel consumption rate (Thames N. d). Incase the pilot intends to avoid some airways; the FMS will chart a different route that is in tandem with the requirements. Fresh calculations will be carried out, and results displayed for the pilot to see. It also helps with the paperwork, since it avails the option for users to print navigation logs, aerospace reports and flight plans. Depending on the chosen option, some versions allow one to see previews mounted on Google earth images (Thames N. d).
With its customized movable maps, it is possible to view a vessel’s actual location in relation to where it is supposed to be. This is possible since the maps have data showing all land marks, both major and minor. They are equipped with de-cluttering tools. These ensure the pilot sees information relevant to the journey only. It also saves time, because hard copy maps, often with tiny print are took a lot of time to decipher and locate key pointers during the journey. These devices facilitate the reception of warnings and in the course of the trip. These points will be indicated on the moving map in the course of the journey, so the navigator’s only job will be to monitor the flight. Incase of a possible threat, it is easy for the navigator to divert the course of the vessel towards safety. Radio frequencies will also be relayed at regular intervals between the plane and earth based communication centers (Vas, 2010).
Case study: Piper Air craft corporation
This incident best illustrates instances of negligence by pilots on duty when preparing for and in the course of flights. Norfolk isle in Australia is notorious for unpredictable weather patterns. On this occasion, the public flight was initially cancelled as a result of the same. True to its nature, the weather changed abruptly, and upon enquiry, the ban was lifted; although flying pilots were required to carry additional fuel and nominate an alternative landing facility. Piper aero planes lack this capacity and had their flight cancelled again. Later in the day, conditions became favorable and planes were required to carry 60 minutes additional fuel only. The pilot planned his journey based on this brief subsequently taking to the skies (Australian government, 2010).
Two reports showing deteriorated conditions were later released. This implied the pilot had to name a substitute landing site. It is imperative that pilots request for these alerts at regular intervals, and since he did not, it translated to negligence on his part. He was not able to spot a landing site even after making several attempts at the same. This was a result of poor visibility, a phenomenon that had been reported in previous releases (Australian government, 2010). The pilot was unable to use any other landing facility since he had not nominated any hence no preparations had been made to that effect.
The craft later landed safely after the pilot appealed to the radio control official to step in the runway. On doing this, he was spotted by the pilot who used this bearing to locate the runway (Australian government, N. d). No life was lost in the incident. In his defense, the pilot claimed to have made judgments based on the report he used to plan his flight. He did not give prominence to subsequent releases. When he realized the bad conditions, he was beyond the point of no return so going back was not an option. This incident illustrated total negligence by the pilot, since it was his duty to request for regular updates on the changing weather patterns (Australian government, 2010).
With a functional flight management system in place, this scare would have been avoided. The automatic linkage and data sharing with multiple databases would have allowed the pilot access to this information. He would have been forced to nominate an alternative landing port for the flight. Alternatively, the pilot should have considered turning back, because he was not at the point of no return (Australian government, 2010). This situation was rectified by the Aviation authorities in Australia by altering regulations to improve safety. Presently, every vessel flying to the remote islands has to carry a double amount of fuel. This will give the pilot the option of either flying to an alternative airport or waiting for visibility to improve before landing. Pilots are also required to propose an alternative landing site that is outside the islands (Australian government, 2010). This legislation will benefit small vessels without additional fuel storage capacity. By adhering to this, the nominated airport is notified in advance and makes necessary preparations. In the event, their facility has to be used, they will be prepared in advance hence their activities will not be disrupted.
List of References
Australian Government 2010, Aviation safety investigation report – Final: Piper Aircraft Corp PA-31, VH-TWR. Web.
Aviation Software Solutions 2010, e FLITE Aviator. www.eflite.com. Web.
Cnet.com 2010, CoPilot Flight Planning & E6B for Palm. Web.
Honeywell 2010, Flight Management System. Honeywell Space Engineering. Web.
Thames ND, New Flight Management System (FMS) for Airbus. Web.
VAS 2010, vasFMC 1.x – Flight Management Computer, Web.
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