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01-09-2012, 07:35 PM
Really dumb question:
Is the AF/D my best source or reference to find the information that I used to get from the IFR supp and FIH? How about the General Planning pub as well? FAR/AIM is my bible, but I always flew with an IFR supp and FIH by my side.
I'm a former mil pilot, out of the cockpit for nearly three years (completely removed from aviation due to career choice). Knocking the rust off again, beginning with flight planning, weather, IFR procedures, etc. I don't have access to the pubs I am familiar with so I thought I might ask for some info from those who are much smarter than me :)
01-10-2012, 03:07 AM
Sporty's Pilot Shop Chart Doctor for my route. I have an ongoing subscription for all IFR/VFR AF/D, Plates for my local area, I just get what I need for the longer trips.
Airnav.com or Aopa.org to get the AF/D info and a nice big PDF of the destination and alternate. I still lug the AF/D around to keep the FAA happy.
DUATS - basically FSS online. Get a route briefing as close to departure as possible.
Call FSS to verify the DUATS breifing (wx, notams) and to get an update from the only FAA approved source on TFRs just prior to departure
I also use RMS' Flightsoft program. Lets you create routes, it knows all the SIDS/STARs, weight and balance for your plane, speeds, downloads wx, creates flight plan - too much other stuff to mention.
HTH -- 73M
01-10-2012, 08:20 AM
Yes, is the simplest answer.
The two official best sources I use for my own planning when I don't have access to the .mil sites when I do my own planning are the AF/D and the Class II notam publication still available to everyone on the mil notam site or the FAA website. The FAA website makes it a little tough to find, but here is the link: Notices to Airmen (http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/notices/)
What I try to relate the young padawans when teaching flight planning is where the sources of info are and how are they different.
The AF/D takes what lives in 3 or 4 different mil pubs and puts most of what a civil pilot needs into one source. All the airports by region, except the military only thus eliminating the IFR/VFR supplement as a separate book. In the back live the preferred IFR routings from the various terminals. The airport diagrams which most GA pilots did not see until they began IFR training, so in the last 10 years they started putting the more complicated diagrams for those regions into a place where a VFR pilot would have access in an effort to fight the runway incursions. CHUM for sectionals, if you care to update your sectionals. Who flys that low to need to CHUM sectionals? I know the pipeline people do, but do they really update their sectionals? The places where there are VOR Test facilities, airborne and ground checkpoints for navaid tests. Two things that live back there that are not in the military books are the actual locations of those Army Controlled Fire areas, the AIM says the Army guy is supposed to have a visual or radar spotter and cease fire if someone enters the area, thus they are not charted. Well I for one don't trust that system, so I like to know where they are and they are listed in the AF/D. The other thing you can find are the actual lat/longs and 5 letter identifiers of all the visual waypoints on the CLASS-B Terminal Area Charts. The FAA rightly recognized early on that people were trying to make their own waypoints to stay out of trouble in Bravo, so they created a waypoint system with official lat/longs and names. The GPS units have these in there now, so if you are trying to navigate the LA Class B and want to go from DisneyLand to the Queen Mary, you can find these waypoint names--they all begin with V to indicate Visual Waypoint.
The only thing that isn't readily available anymore are the locations of low level routes, especially the SRs. In the old days of 300, then 61 FSS stations, you could walk into FSS to get a brief and file, and they had the AP 1 low level charts for their region under the plexiglass on the desk so you could see all the low level routes in your area not just the IR/VRs that are on the sectionals. Again probably only important to the pipeline people, but important nonetheless.
For internet fuel planning, I use DUATs and have profiles built for everything I fly.
For unofficial sources, I live off the AOPA flight planning stuff. I print the knee board versions of their airport directory, so I get a little diagram, the FBO info, the ASOS/AWOS freqs and most of the Nav data which I compare with the sectional or approach plates to check for accuracy, and I am out the door.
Skyvector works well for route planning, kind of like Falconview, but you can't print a route on a chart overlay. I am sure the younger guys have more efficient methods, but I route plan on skyvector because I can see the airspace and get distance and course info. Then type it into duats for a winded nav log.
There are tons of unofficial sites with good info. Find what works for you and I guess I should say what works for you, your computer, your ipad and your smartphone and go with it.
Welcome back to flying!!