19. Flight Plan Elevation Profile Icon Elevation Profile

This dock window shows the ground elevation, flight plan with cruise, climb, descent legs and altitude restrictions together with all flight plan waypoints. It is only available when a valid flight plan is loaded. The user aircraft will be shown if Little Navmap is connected to the simulator.

Note

The elevation display covers only the flight plan and will not change the depiction if you get off the flight plan with your simulator aircraft. You need a valid flight plan (i.e. a departure and destination airport) and a valid aircraft performance file to see the elevation profile.

The elevation profile also does not cover missed approaches and legs to alternate airports. Create a new flight plan from the destination to the alternate airport if you wish to use the elevation profile.

Movement of the aircraft and the trail in the elevation profile is tied to the active flight plan leg and will not be correct if flying away from the active leg.

19.1. Top Label

Following information is shown in the top label if connected to a flight simulator with a valid flight plan:

  • Distance from user aircraft to flight plan destination
  • Distance from user aircraft to the top of descent

Example: To Destination: 1,213 nm, to Top of Descent: 1,109 nm.

The label is hidden if not connected to a simulator.

19.2. Tooltip Label

Additional information is shown in a tooltip label at the right or left side in the window if the mouse is hovered over the diagram. The corresponding position is highlighted on the map with a black/cyan circle. The label changes the side depending on mouse position.

The label shows the following information for the mouse position:

  • Distance from departure and to destination plus calculated altitude and next waypoint.
  • Course for the flight plan leg at the cursor position.
  • Heading for this flight plan leg at the position. This is calculated based on wind conditions.
  • Ground altitude and calculated altitude above ground.
  • Safe altitude of the flight plan leg at the cursor position (orange line).
  • Wind direction and speed as well as head- () or tailwind () component.
_images/profile_label.jpg

Information for position between waypoints GIGIR and OBITI. Indicating a headwind of 28 kts at this position. User aircraft still climbing. Note the image showing German number format with dot as thousands separator.

19.3. Bottom Label

This is only shown if the profile could not be built due to errors in the flight plan or aircraft performance.

The error messages are the same as in Error Display in the flight planning window.

Hover the mouse over the label or click it for more information about the error.

19.4. Zoom Sliders

The right side of the elevation profile contains the zoom sliders. The following controls are available:

  • Splitter Splitter: You can resize the right part of the elevation profile window using this splitter button. The part containing the sliders will be collapsed if you drag it to the far right. You can open the collapsed part again by dragging the splitter to the left.
  • Expand to Window Expand to Window: Resets the view back to 100 percent showing the whole flight plan.
  • Zoom Vertically Zoom Vertically: Move the slider up to zoom in vertically. Maximum zoom results in 500 ft height for the whole profile window.
  • Zoom Horizontally Zoom Horizontally: Move the slider up to zoom in horizontally. Maximum zoom results in about 4 NM distance for the whole profile window.

19.5. Mouse Movement

  • Hover: The corresponding position within the flight plan is highlighted on the map with a black/cyan circle.
  • Wheel: Zoom in and out horizontally.
  • Shift+Wheel: Zoom in and out vertically.
  • Left Click and drag: Move map up, down, left or right.
  • Left Double Click: Zoom to position on main map.
  • Right Click: Show context menu.

19.6. Keyboard Movement

Click on the elevation profile window to activate it before using the keyboard.

  • Cursor keys: Move map up, down, left or right.
  • + and -: Also on numpad. Zoom in and out horizontally.
  • * and /: Also on numpad. Zoom in and out vertically.
  • 0 or Ins : Reset view to 100 percent and show the whole flight plan.
  • Home and End: Jump to departure or destination.
  • PageUp and PageDown: Move forward or backward one page.

19.7. Context Menu Elevation Profile

19.7.1. Show Position on Map Show Position on Map

Zooms to the corresponding position on the map. This is the same as double clicking into the elevation profile.

19.7.2. Expand to Window Expand to Window

Resets the view back to 100 percent showing the whole flight plan.

19.7.3. Center Aircraft Center Aircraft

If this option is selected, the aircraft remains centered on the left of the altitude profile during flight.

The aircraft will be kept on the upper part of the window if the aircraft is descending and on the lower part if climbing.

See also for more information on jump back in the options dialog on Simulator Aircraft.

19.7.4. Delete Aircraft Trail Delete Aircraft Trail

The aircraft trail is saved and will be reloaded on program startup.

This menu item removes the user aircraft trail from the elevation profile only. It does not remove the trail from the map. Use this if the trail appears in the wrong place or shape after creating of modifying a flight plan.

The trail in the elevation profile is of no relevance for the GPX file export.

19.7.5. Show VASI Show VASI

Shows a VASI slope if an approach procedure with a runway (not circle-to-land) is selected in the flight plan and if the runway has a VASI.

The slope is drawn with the correct angle to be usable as an approach guide. The vertical opening angle is only meant for depiction and has no relation to the real VASI accuracy.

_images/profile_vasi.jpg

Display of VASI slope at destination airport. Slope is 3 degrees and VASI type is PAPI4. Final approach fix is marked with a Maltese cross.

19.7.6. Show ILS Show ILS

Shows an ILS glideslope if an approach with a runway is selected in the flight plan and if the runway has an ILS.

The slope is drawn with the correct angle to be usable as an approach guide. The vertical opening angle is only meant for depiction and has no relation to the real ILS accuracy.

A label on top shows name, frequency, heading, glideslope angle and DME indicator if available

_images/profile_ils.jpg

Display of ILS at destination airport. Final approach fix is marked with a Maltese cross.

19.7.7. Show Top of Climb and Top of Descent Show Top of Climb and Top of Descent

Hides the climb and descent slopes as well as the top of climb and top of descent indicators when disabled. This affects the map and elevation profile display but not the altitude calculation in the fuel report or elevation profile.

This is the same function as Show Top of Climb and Top of Descent in the menu View.

19.7.8. Follow on Map

The map view will be centered - not zoomed in - on the position below the cursor if hovering above the elevation profile when this option is selected.

19.7.9. Show Tooltip

Hides the mouse hover tooltip Tooltip Label if unchecked.

19.7.10. Show Zoom Sliders

Show or hide the zoom sliders and buttons at the right side of the elevation profile. You can still zoom using the mouse or the keyboard.

19.7.11. Show Labels

Show or hide the altitude labels at the right side of the elevation profile.

19.7.12. Show Scrollbars

Show or hide the scroll bars at the bottom and the right side of the elevation profile. You can still use the mouse or keyboard to navigate.

19.8. Profile Display

The colors, symbols and font of the elevation profile follow the style of the main map as set in the options dialog. Colors, patterns and symbols for airports, navaids, procedures, active and passed flight plan legs are the same. The profile display also follows other map settings like visibility of flight plan line, aircraft and aircraft trail.

Aircraft heading will turn if a backward movement relative to the active flight plan leg is detected.

For more information see the Elevation Profile.

The elevation profile uses actual altitude for display of restrictions, slope and cruise.

The aircraft icon is shown using indicated altitude to ensure matching to cruise altitude line at the higher flight levels.

You might see vertical aircraft movement of the aircraft symbol and jumps in the trail when adjusting barometric pressure in the simulator altimeter.

Note

Note that the profile display depends on the correct sequencing of the active flight plan leg (magenta line). The aircraft will be displayed in the wrong position and the aircraft trail will be erratic if the active leg is not correct or manually changed.

The aircraft trail will be displayed incorrectly in the elevation profile if the flight plan is changed (i.e. the flight plan length or geometry changes). You can delete the profile aircraft trail in context menu Delete Aircraft Trail while keeping the trail on the map.

_images/profile.jpg

Flight plan elevation profile with line indicating the mouse hovering position. Orange lines show minimum safe altitude for flight plan segments. Red line shows overall minimum safe altitude. Top of climb and top of descent points shown including slope. Orange flight plan lines show procedure legs. Waypoint EV501 has an overfly condition and there are several altitude restrictions shown for the approach procedure below the tooltip.

19.9. Top of Climb and Top of Descent Paths

The elevation profile will also display the top of climb and top of descent which are calculated based on the current Aircraft Performance profile and wind situation.

Note that the TOC and TOD calculation is influenced by altitude restrictions in procedures. Little Navmap will calculate a climb or descent path always adhering to these restrictions. The resulting path might use a higher or lower climb or descent speed than expected.

The path is also forced to the lowest allowed altitude at the final approach fix (FAF) and the final approach course fix (FACF) to avoid arriving above the ILS glide slope or too high at the destination runway.

You can safely follow the descent path as shown by Little Navmap, provided you can manage your aircraft speed at the same time. For large aircraft you might want to descent around 10 nm earlier to reduce speed to 250 knots below 10,000 ft.

I recommend to make the descent path manually more shallow (i.e. use a lower sink rate) to take the deceleration phases into account.

The climb and descent paths are affected by wind and are moved accordingly for strong head- or tailwinds. The climb path will be steeper in the elevation profile if you climb in a strong headwind, for example.

See chapter Winds Aloft for more information.

The plan will switch to a flat display showing only a flight plan line at cruise altitude if the TOC and/or TOD cannot be calculated or if the plan violates altitude restrictions. A red warning message is displayed if this is the case. Click the message for more information.

_images/profile_descent.jpg

An approach procedure which requires the aircraft to descent early due to a restriction between 7,000 and 10,000 ft at ARTIP.

19.10. Elevation Data

Elevation processing is done in the background since data has to be downloaded and computation is CPU intensive. Therefore, the update of the elevation display can take from a few seconds up to half a minute. This background update is started after creating or changing the flight plan or when new elevation data was downloaded. The display will be updated accordingly whenever new data is available.

Close the Flight Plan Elevation Profile window if you think that it causes performance problems or stutters. All updates will stop once the window is closed.

19.10.1. Online Elevation Data

Note that the third party online elevation data does not cover all countries and currently ends at 60 degrees north. The data contains several known errors which cannot be fixed.

The calculation of online elevation points is limited to flight plan segments not longer than 2,000 NM to avoid overloading. Add more waypoints or calculate a flight plan to avoid this limitation.

19.10.2. Offline Elevation Data

Using the recommended freely downloadable GLOBE - Global Land One-km Base Elevation Project elevation data has several advantages:

  • Faster updates
  • World wide coverage
  • No known errors
  • Display of altitude below the cursor in the status bar

Resolution is a bit lower than the one for the online data, though.

See Install GLOBE elevation data in the options dialog for instructions how to download and install the GLOBE data.