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autorouter: VFR/non Eurocontrol filing, instant briefing

After a longer period of silence, I’d like to point out a few new features in autorouter that might be of interest. Over the course of the last 8 months we have completely rewritten the web interface using the most recent architecture and technology out there. This explains why people were seeing issues that were not there before and why there hasn’t been a lot of new feature development. The look and feel is mostly the same as before.

VFR and non Eurocontrol IFR flight plan filing
Finally autorouter lets you file flight plans that do not have a segment under IFR within the Eurocontrol zone (IFPZ). We have deliberately delayed the release of this feature because, other than for IFR routing, we believed there were other good products available under favorable terms (EuroFPL, SkyDemon, Aeroplus, local AIS) and we wanted to first focus on Eurocontrol IFR before giving attention to anything else. We file directly ourselves via AFTN and perform the addressing, not relying on any third parties. Our addressing database has been under development for several years as it is equally important for Eurocontrol Z/Y flight plans.

At this point, you need a special privilege to file AFTN flight plans as we want to gradually grow the number of users as we gain experience. To gain access, please create a support ticket asking for the AFTN filing privilege. Later we plan to offer the feature as part of the standard feature set.

autorouter is not the world’s greatest VFR flight planning tool so this targets more IFR pilots that also fly VFR and pilots that fly outside of the Eurocontrol region. When you create a route that cannot be filed via Eurocontrol, you see a validation message like this:

Once you click “Fie flight plan”, you will see the list of AFTN target addresses. Usually this should be correct but you can click on the pencil and supply additional addresses. If you believe our addressing isn’t 100% correct, you should always inform us so we can improve it.

Instant NOTAM briefing
When creating a route, it is often good to check airport NOTAMs. To save you the roundtrip to the Briefing menu, autorouter now automatically queries all applicable NOTAMs once you select an airport, using the given day of flight and in case something is found, presents you with a little “NOTAM” badge next to the airport.

Once you click on the NOTAM badge, a list of NOTAMs is presented. This list does not show NOTAMs that you have previously suppressed. You can also suppress any listed NOTAM from being included in future briefing packs. This is useful to weed out the useless long term NOTAMs.

Instant weather briefing
Following the idea of the instant NOTAM overview before creating a route, we also added an instant weather briefing. Once you enter a city pair, an additional section “Weather” appears at the bottom. There we present METAR/TAF and webcam images if available.

If you click the little “GRAMET” button at the bottom, you get an instant route GRAMET which takes your route, departure date/time and aircraft performance into account.

DEPARTURE command for BOT
The instant messaging BOT supports the DEPARTURE command via SMS and Telegram. Similar to the ARRIVAL command, you can issue a DEPARTURE message when departing from uncontrolled aerodromes. This is also known as “opening a flight plan”. For a specific time (in UTC) send “DEPARTURE 0830” or to use the current time just “DEPARTURE NOW”. As always, the command has a few synonyms for frequent users such as “DEP” so you can even do “DEPNOW”.

Fantastic progress !

Abeam the Flying Dream
EBKT, LFQQ western Belgium, north France, Belgium

Achim,

I love you.

Sorry, someone had to say it

Thank you for making a perfect service better.

EGKB Biggin Hill

Wonderful!!

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Great improvements to already great product. Why isnĀ“t the whole world working as Achim? Thanks a lot

LKKU, LKTB

Another great set of features! I particularly like the instant weather briefing which I have been missing over the last couple of weeks.

LFPT, LFPN
6 Posts
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