Dear Voyager User,
It's that time of the year again
when everyone with a pilot's license flocks to an otherwise sane
Wisconsin town. I speak, of course, of Oshkosh, WI. Or as we
in-the-know say, OSH.
Last year the sales and
marketing folks at Seattle Avionics took wing to
OSH in one of the partner's Bonanza and this year promises the same.
Like many of you, we're paying extra-close attention to fuel prices this
year and hope Voyager's unique "cheap fuel finder" feature saves us
enough money for some snacks enroute. We've also studied
OSH's FISKE arrival procedure and even made a
Google Earth video clip of
it so everyone can take a look.
When you get to OSH, be sure to
stop by Booth 1130 in Building A. While I can't promise you an
ice-cold drink or $1.00 AvGas, I can promise great deals on Voyager.
Normally I'd have a Tips and Tricks
section but, as they say, I've got a plane to catch so I have to leave
it out of this issue.
Hope to see you in OSH.
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of the Month
Separated at birth? An
evil twin? You decide which is the better deal.
Hopefully the Pictures of the Month above
got your attention. With all the recent attention on synthetic
vision, we decided to show GlassView, our vision of 3D Highway In The
Sky that doesn't require a second mortgage to afford. With this
special, which expires on August 3rd (the last day of OSH), we're
offering a bundle of our GlassView moving map module plus a WAAS-enabled
GPS, with your choice of either Bluetooth or USB connectivity.
See it in action with a brief video:
Call us at 425.806.0249
to buy or for more info. Or click to:
All Planes Fly to OSH, Part I
First, if you're planning to fly into OSH,
please have a look at the
video we made using Voyager and Google Earth
that shows the
actual FISKE arrival.
(Didn't know Voyager could do that?
With a flight plan open, simply select Send to Device/Application from
the File menu and select Google Earth.)
Now, let's talk about flying from the
Seattle area to the Oshkosh area. We're taking off from our home
airport, KPAE (Paine Field) which is about 40 NM north of Seattle and
planning to land at Appleton (KATW).
Before doing any planning, I had to get my
laptop ready for planning a flight with someone else as a pilot and
using his plane. I did that by asking one of the partners, John Rutter, to export his pilot and plane information to files
and email them to me (that's Export from the File menu in
Voyager). Then I used Import to get them onto my ThinkPad.
I didn't use Voyager's Web Synch feature because I didn't want all of
John's settings, just his profiles.
Then, also before doing any planning, I
checked the Chart Viewer to see which Sectionals and Low Altitude
Charts I'd need. Most were already on my computer's disk but a few
weren't. I clicked on the Charts I needed to get the downloads
started while I did the planning (remember that scanned charts download
in the background so long as Voyager is running).
Instead of using the QuickPlan feature
(where you just enter the takeoff and landing idents and click OK),
I ran the whole New Flight Plan Wizard because I wanted to review
all the settings.
In the first step of the Wizard, I entered
PAE (you don't need to type the K) and Appleton as
the takeoff and landing airports (I didn't remember that Appleton was
ATW), used John's name and his plane, and set the Mode to IFR.
I changed the takeoff time from the default of one hour from now to 9 am
tomorrow. While we aren't actually leaving tomorrow, I wanted to
get winds that might be more accurate by at least picking the right time
as our actual takeoff, albeit for the wrong day. I also knew that
we'd be taking off heavy, with four people plus a considerable amount of
baggage, including items we need for the show. Using the Fuel
calculator button on the Wizard page, I figured the best we could do
was takeoff with 60 gals of fuel. In fact, 60 would probably have
been a bit high given the weight except that I knew we'd be taking off
from an 8,000 ft., sea-level runway while it was cool. I also used
the Alternate button on the first page of the Wizard to select
Green Bay as our Alternate.
I skipped the pages about adding specific
waypoints and SIDs/STARs.
In the SmartRouter options page, I
selected GPS Direct and put in high values for Max distance
and time between waypoints because I know that John likes to fly as
direct as possible. I also lowered the Max altitude from
the Bonanza's theoretical ceiling of FL180 to a more realistic 17,000
ft. I kept the default ground clearance at 2,000 ft. but changed
the Min cruise altitude to 7,000.
In terms of Wind Optimization, I
set Voyager to Best Time (as opposed to Best Economy) and
Vary by Leg (as opposed to One Best Altitude). For
fuel stops, I turned on the fuel stop planning feature and clicked the
Options button to ensure the default settings as my laptop gets
used for testing and demos so the settings could be almost anything.
Finally, I reviewed the Avoid settings to make sure they were
default (avoid NSA, TFRs, etc.).
Then I clicked OK and let Voyager
do its thing. In about a minute, my four-year-old laptop plotted
the flight, wind-optimized it and found me cheap fuel. I completed
the Weight and Balance step in the usual way and I took a look at the
Well, almost. Of course, I
wanted to review the computer's plan and probably make some changes.
I also wanted to download other information that we might need in-flight
such as AOPA airport info and all possible scanned Sectionals, IFR Low
Charts and Approach Plates. More on these below.
Voyager picked two
fuel stops, which matches what we've seen in past years' actual flying.
The first stop was planned for GTF (Great Falls, MT). I
pulled up the airport info on it (right-clicked GTF in the NavLog
and picked Show Information) and saw that it has an enormous
10,500 ft runway (great when taking off heavy) and lots of restaurants
in the area, including one on-field. I also saw the fuel was $5.30
which, while not great, sounds pretty good these days. To be sure,
I clicked the blue price link to see the prices at other airports in the
vicinity. Interestingly, I saw that HLN (Helena) was a
little cheaper and seemed slightly more direct on our route.
That's odd, I thought. So I replaced GTF with HLN in
the NavLog. Then I looked at the second airport Voyager selected
for a fuel stop ─
a small airport named Todd Field (14Y) in MN. Wow!
Fuel was $3.99 and verified less than a week ago. The runway
length was OK and there was a courtesy car available so it was hard to
pass up this airport. Just to be sure about distances, I went to
the NavLog and clicked the Expand (<->) button to check how much
fuel we'd be landing with at each stop. Hmmm. Then I saw the
reason why Voyager didn't pick HLN; using HLN rather than
GTF would save 55 cents per gallon but would take us too far
south to reach 14Y. Don't you hate it when the computer is
right? Clearly the combination of GTF and 14Y made
the most sense so I went back to the NavLog and re-typed GTF.
At this point, I had the flight planned
and all the scanned charts I needed. I would also need current
approach plates. I could have created a Plate Pack and downloaded
the plates along the route, but given the length of the flight and our
fast Internet connection, it was easier to have Voyager download
all plates for the whole country (that's Update Procedures from
the Tools menu then Download All Procedures). Of
course, if you already have most or all of these plates, creating a
plate pack might make more sense. Tip: To create a
Plate Pack for an on-screen flight plan, select New from the
File menu while the flight plan is still open, select the Plate
Pack tab and use the Create a Plate Pack for the current flight
plan option to download all the plates either all along the route or
near your landing and fuel stops.
I also wanted the AOPA airport info for
all the airports along the route. I mass-downloaded that by
selecting Download Airport Information from the Plan menu.
I made sure that only FBO and services info and All airport
along the route were checked. I also set the Maximum
distance from the route to 100 NM, just to be sure.
As it happens, we were taking several
computers with us so I didn't need to print anything. However, if
we only had one machine, we would have needed a paper backup. I
would have used Voyager to print the NavLog, Airport Info
for the fuel stops and the scanned Sectionals along the route. Not
sure how to print the Sectionals? With Voyager 4.0, it's easy.
With the flight plan on the screen, click the Chart button to
select Sectional (Scanned). If you're zoomed to within 100
NM, you'll see the scanned chart appear on the screen very quickly
(remember, I downloaded all the relevant scanned Sectionals before I did
any planning). Now, if you print the flight plan, Voyager uses the
Chart settings you see on-screen, so since the Sectionals were
on-screen, I get a printout with the scanned Sectionals.
Well, that's enough planning for now.
Just before we fly, we'll run Voyager again to get current weather and
file the flight plans.
In the next issue of FlightLog,
I'll discuss how the flight actually went and cover the return flight.
If you're going to OSH, be sure to stop by
Booth 1130 in Building A and say hello.
Seattle Avionics Software will be showing Voyager
at the following upcoming events. Stop by to say hello, see the
latest Voyager features, and ask the experts any questions you have about
July 28 - August 3, 2008: AirVenture 2008. Oshkosh, WI.
Booth 1130, Building A.
November 6 - 8, 2008. AOPA Expo.
San Jose, CA.
Until next time, happy flying.
- Steve Podradchik, CEO (and Editor)