Summer brings a few new features and updates to autorouter.
NOTAM & METAR/TAF subscriptions
Instead of scanning airfields for NOTAMs are continuously polling airports for METAR/TAR updates, you can now create a subscription to receive updates as they become available. NOTAM subscriptions are valid until cancelled and METAR/TAF subscriptions come with a timeout — 12h unless configured otherwise. NOTAM updates can be sent out via email and/or Telegram instant messenger whereas METAR/TAF updates are only distributed via Telegram. NOTAM subscriptions can be performed on both airports and FIRs.
If you want to know when the heliport of Boondocks Municipal Hospital was accidentally not swept, perform a NOTAM subscription on the chattiest FIRs in the world: EDGG, EDWW and EDMM.
NOTAM and METAR/TAF updates are sent out immediately after they become available.
You can list your subscriptions and cancel them at any time.
Additional information about the SUBSCRIBE command can be found here.
Better NOTAM briefings
autorouter uses Eurocontrol EAD as its NOTAM source. Until now we would send each flight plan to EAD where it was parsed and then the list of applicable NOTAMs returned. This was both slow and very unreliable. In many cases briefing packs would not contain NOTAM briefings. Now we keep a real time mirror of the NOTAM database and perform the selection ourselves which increases reliability.
Obviously the safety situation in Syria and Libya has direct implications when going from Shoreham to Blackbushe for training approaches. However, after reading the NOTAM for the 20th time on page 850 of the NOTAM briefing, one starts to become aware of the risks and can do without the warning.
For less clutter and more useful briefings, autorouter now allows you to suppress NOTAMs which causes them to no longer appear in future briefing packs. You can either use the NOTAM interface of the website or the briefing pack directly in your PDF viewer. Next to each NOTAM you find a link which opens a browser page (without login) and adds the NOTAM to your personal filter list.
You can always view your filter list and reactive individual NOTAMs. At the end of each briefing pack, a list of all suppressed NOTAMs is shown with a link, allowing you to view them in the browser.
More information about NOTAM briefings can be found here.
Climb profile based on mass and temperature
Another feature for the cabin class pilots among us. autorouter has two basic methods of representing aircraft climb profiles: climb rate at altitude or time/distance/fuel to altitude. Mostly larger jets have a climb rate very much depending on their takeoff mass and atmospheric conditions. Therefore you can now supply climb performance data tables for different conditions, just like for cruise settings.
great. thanks a lot
I do not even know how I will ever be able to use all these features. It is somewhat overwhelming!
Great stuff, thanks Achim!
I haven’t renewed my sub to Rocketroute.
I thought the Telegram feature was a bit of a gadget, but I use it all the time…
Excellent work. Thank you guys!
I there any chance you can add a update briefing when we delay a flight plan ?
Let’s say at least if moved 30 minutes away…
The way it works today is that when filing a flight plan, you can choose to receive an updated briefing pack at a certain time before EOBT (down to 30 min). We then store the absolute time based on your filed EOBT and the briefing pack batch processor checks regularly if there are any overdue jobs. If you delay a plan, it would still produce the updated briefing pack at the original time, meaning that if you e.g. delay by 15 min and chose to get an update 30 min before EOBT, you would receive the updated briefing pack 45 min before your updated EOBT.
It would be possible to adjust the briefing pack update time on delays — provided the pack hasn’t already been produced. However, would this really be of value? Typically pilots delay by short periods of time. We’ve recently replaced the “Download” button with an “Email” button for the briefing pack because due to the complexity of creating it, the delays often caused connection issues on various devices and browsers. Therefore if you like to get an update out of schedule, you can simply perform a request.
Another convenience feature I thought about is to add a command to the Telegram BOT to request an updated briefing pack. It would require a plan to be filed and choose the next leg. Telegram is good at handling documents, passing them to the PDF reader. Would that be useful?
Yes, that would be very useful.