34. Flight Plan Route Calculation

The route calculation is done in a floating window which is opened from menus -> Flight Plan -> Calculate Flight Plan or Window -> Flight Planning. The floating window does not dock into the main window when moving around except when double clicking on its title bar.

The window can be used to calculate the following:

  • Whole flight plans from start to destination.
  • Routes between selected waypoints in the flight plan table.

You have to build the route again by pressing the button Calculate after changing any parameters.

_images/routecalc.jpg

Flight Plan calculation floating window. Flight plan is valid for calculation.

34.1. Window Header

Shows start and end of calculation or an error message. Click on the tooltip or hover the mouse cursor above to see more details.

_images/routecalc_error.jpg

Error message with tooltip showing details.

34.2. Calculate from departure to destination

Calculates a flight plan between start and destination.

The dialog header will show a red error message if the flight plan is not valid for calculation. Hover the mouse cursor over the message or click it for details.

Procedures are not affected by this calculation method. The route will be built from SID exit to STAR or approach entry, if present.

34.3. Calculate for selection in flight plan table

This button is only valid when more than one flight plan leg is selected and neither the first nor the last selected leg is part of a procedure.

The dialog header will show an error message if the selected range is not valid for calculation.

A selection is also valid for the last leg of a departure procedure or for the first leg of an arrival procedure.

You can either select the first and the last leg (Ctrl+Click) in the Flight Plan Table or you can select a whole range of legs (Shift+Click and drag) for route calculation.

The route will be calculated in a way that the first and last navaids are not modified.

The new calculated range will be selected in the table once calculation is done.

34.4. Cruise Altitude

Sets the cruise altitude which will be used to select airways based on their lower and upper altitude limits when calculating the route.

The value will be assigned to the flight plan (Cruise altitude) after calculation.

Note that a change in the Flight Planning window will not be automatically transferred to this window.

The calculation might fail if using too low or too high values here.

34.5. Adjust

Changes the flight plan altitude according to a simplified East/West rule and the current route type (IFR or VFR).

Same as Adjust Flight Plan Altitude.

34.6. Airways

Selects the airway calculation method and enables all fields to the right of this button.

This method uses airways and/or direct waypoint connections to build a route. Which connection type is selected depends on settings in Prefer.

Criteria for airway selection are always direction for one-way airways and altitude restrictions.

34.6.1. All Airways

Calculation will select any appropriate Jet or Victor airway for the route.

34.6.2. Jet airways (high altitude)

Limit calculation to Jet or high altitude airways. Calculation might fail if using a too low cruise altitude.

34.6.3. Victor airways (low altitude)

Limit calculation to Victor or low altitude airways. Calculation might fail if using a too high cruise altitude.

34.6.4. Avoid RNAV airways

Check this for non-RNAV equipped aircraft. This will select only airways which can be followed by using radio navaids like VOR or NDB.

Calculation might fail or give unexpected results if this is selected unintentionally.

34.6.5. Use NAT, PACOTS or AUSOTS tracks

The calculation will also consider tracks like NAT, PACOTS or AUSOTS, if selected. This button is disabled if no tracks were downloaded.

See Tracks for more information.

Note

You have to use the correct cruise flight altitude in your flight plan. This has to match the track levels shown in the information window. Otherwise, tracks will not be used.

34.6.6. Download Tracks Download Tracks

Downloads Oceanic or other tracks which are NAT, PACOTS and AUSOTS. Download tracks first before using the option above.

Same as Download Tracks.

34.6.7. Prefer

This slider allows to adjust the preference of the calculation method between airways and direct waypoint connections.

Putting the slider on the leftmost position instructs the route calculation to use only airways. The calculation might fail or give not optimal routes if the region between departure and destination has no airways or no appropriate airways for the given cruise altitude.

This is the fastest calculation method which gives instant results.

_images/routecalcairways.jpg

A flight plan calculated using airways only. The flight plan is longer since the region above Austria is void of airways due to European airway restructuring.

Putting the slider on the rightmost position instructs the route calculation to use only direct waypoint connections. The calculation ensures that the selected waypoints are not too close together and have a distance of around 200 NM where possible. Cruise altitude is not relevant for calculation since no airways are used.

This calculation method is slower depending on the covered region. A progress dialog might pop up which allows to cancel the process.

_images/routecalcdirect.jpg

Same plan as above but calculated with the slider on the far right. The plan is shorter and uses direct waypoint connections only.

Putting the slider on an intermediate position uses more or fewer airways or direct waypoint connections depending on position. Move the slider step by step and calculate again if you’re not satisfied with the result. Note that not every slider movement will result in a changed route.

This calculation method is slower depending on the covered region. A progress dialog might pop up which allows to cancel the process.

_images/routecalcairwaysdirect.jpg

A flight plan calculated using airways and direct waypoints. The plan uses mostly airways and skips the airway void above Austria with direct waypoint connections.

34.7. Radio Navaids

Selects the radio navaid calculation method and enables the field to the right of this button.

Creates a flight plan that uses only VORDME, VORTAC, VOR and optionally NDB stations as waypoints. This method tries to ensure reception of at least one station along the whole flight plan.

Note that VOR stations are preferred before NDB stations. Calculation can fail if not enough radio navaids can be found between departure and destination. Build the flight plan manually if this is the case.

34.7.1. Use NDB

Use NDB stations too when selecting navaids for the route when checked. Otherwise, only VORDME, VORTAC and VOR.

34.8. Direct

Deletes all intermediate waypoints and connects departure and destination using a great circle line.

Does not delete procedures.

Same function as Calculate Direct.

34.9. Reverse

Swaps departure and destination and reverses order of all intermediate waypoints. Deletes airway references and procedures.

Same as Reverse Flight Plan.

34.10. Calculate

Calculates the route considering all the parameters given above.

Airway restrictions quite often do not allow optimal routes. You might have to change the cruise altitude to get better results.

You might also have to change the slider Prefer to adjust for airway and direct waypoint connection usage if not satisfied with the result.

In any case check your flight plan before using it. Remove any wrongly selected waypoints near departure and destination manually.