Thursday, December 24, 2009


It's funny that people have the urge to split everything in periods of a day, a month, a year and at the end of the period they set some goals, look back at the period that has just passed. At the end of the year that is always very much so. Sometimes people act like one could wake up in the morning of January 1 and all problems are solved, diseases are cured and the clocks start from zero. I assume most of you know that this is not the case but maybe it is in the nature of the human being.
So, I will join the orchestra :-) and say thanks. Simply because I have a period of easy going and energy reloading. Thanks to everybody who was part of my life in this year and makes it what it is: Interesting and joyful.

Friday, December 11, 2009

SBAS APV e-learning available

Dear Friends,
After the launch of the e-learning course for APV-Baro VNAV that has already been purchased by some "keyplayer" organizations in the industry, I have now also finished the full package for SBAS APV I/II. The course provides - as all ANI distant learning packages - a detailed step-by-step guide through the criteria. What I am specially happy with is the detailed description of the FAS Datablock and guidance on how to use one specific publicly available software tool that encodes it.

Monday, December 07, 2009


As I have announced in one of the previous posts, the world should prepare itself for the arrival of a new procedure design software tool PANADES. Now the company that developed it has published a website for it. On the "news" page I assume you will soon see that they will exhibit at the ATC Global in Amsterdam in March 2010.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

If you ever wondered about GPS accuracy

Recently I adopted an idea from Maurizio, one of the ANI Geodesy teachers, to record some tracks with a GPS receiver in order to illustrate the tracking accuracy on a satellite image. I didn't have my Garmin with me here in Japan, but I have a GPS application called MotionX on my iPhone. So I did some experiments when I was riding a train and a bus on another occasion and recorded the track. I then exported the track into kmz format which can be opened with Google Earth. It is quite amazing: on the picture here, you see the blue track, which is what the GPS thought where I was going, but obviously the bus was driving on the street.
If you click on the picture you will see a larger version of it. What I then did as a little experiment was that I drew the NOMINAL track (the street) and offset it by 2 RNP with RNP = 0.1. This literally represents the containment area in an RNP AR APCH procedure. Now if you remember that I didn't record the track with a receiver that is certified for such operations and has an acceleration sensor that is a bit more sophisticated (I did it with an iPhone in case I haven't mentioned or you forgot... The antenna of the receiver inside a bus, the signal partially shaded by buildings, multipath etc.), the I would say the result is quite nice.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Software providers, put some warm clothes on!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to see the new Flight Procedure Design tool PANADES (PANS-OPS Airspace Design and Evaluation System) from the Japanese company NTT data. Just to let you know what kind of company we are talking about: NTT data is a subsidiary of NTT with 7500 employees (!) and the development team of that software had roughly 35 people available. What do you think is the quality of a tool like that? This company is in a position to invest a lot into development an also does not need to be profitable within the first year or so. They have time...
So right now when we have only one big player on the IFP software market (FPDAM) and just two small players to be taken seriously (PDtoolkit and PHX, all the others: let's FACE IT, it is as I say) the market will probably came to live when PANADES is going public.
For those who are interested in that tool, they will be showing it at ATC global. From what I saw it is a really good tool, with a high degree of automation, but nothing hidden in the blackbox. You can reveal the calculations and obstacle assessment methods at anytime. Furthermore it's the only tool that I ever saw that fully complies with the PBN concept and has automated design functions for RNP AR. They will have a website public in about 2 weeks, I keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

To all those who invite me to some kind of network:

Whether it's LinkedIn, Xing, Pling, Ring, YorkshirePudding, hi5, hi7 or any other social network: Please stop inviting me. I have made comments on another occasion that I do not want to be a member of 70 different social networks. I have a life. There are 2 communication platforms I use regularly for business and privately and THAT'S IT. If you want to know more about my private life, marry my brother or my sister.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Google Street View

Let me tell you something really absurd: A couple of days ago, Google launched the Street View service for Swiss cities. What a great tool this is! You can virtually walk through streets, check out places you want to go to or you have been to. But Google obviously didn't expect the Swiss privacy paranoia. Street View has a pixeling tool included so faces and car license plates are automatically pixelled and cannot be identified. Now it seems that this protection has some blunders as once in a while a license plate can be read and a face can be recognised. My view: SO WHAT??!! The day you actually were in the street, why didn't you wear a mask then, if nobody is allowed to know that you walked through street XX? Why did you not cover the number plate when you parked that car that day??
The people's view: A scandal! Intrusion of privacy!!
Okay let's think: You parked your car in front of a whorehouse and now that you see it in Street View it pops up in your mind that your wife may not be too impressed and an excuse difficult to find? You are not aware that already a thousand people could have seen the car while it was actually parked there? Well, if you're THAT stupid, then help is difficult.
I find it also quite amusing that people talk about protection of their privacy and personal data, bashing Street View and 2 minutes later publish their holiday pictures on Facebook, buy something on ebay, book a flight online with their credit card and finally close the day by surfing some XXX internet sites. The next day they stick their business card into a box somewhere, because there is an announcement saying, there will be a lottery and the business card that gets pulled wins a Salami...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Corrigendum Nr. 2 to PANS-OPS is available

Dear all,

The first result of the new error reporting process is now out. For those who have no access to the ICAO publications I provide a link to download it:
Corrigendum Nr. 2

Please enter the corrections immediately and log the corrigendum on the page after the cover.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Self Check-in

As many other airlines, Swiss has announced that Economy passengers will have to use the self check-in machines in the future and will not be allowed to use the check-in counters anymore. Now you should read the comments everywhere :-) "was always terrible", "the service got worse and worse and now it's below zero", "just ignore Swiss and use other airlines, they are MUUUUCH better", "they will go down the drain" etc.
A couple of years ago the people probably said the same, when banks said that only ATM machines would be available to withdraw money. Did they go down the drain? Well, yes actually some did, but not because of that...
However, the above statements are probably made by people who fly 1 flight every 4 years. They book Z├╝rich - New York for 550 US Dollars and have the arrogance to think that the airline should unroll them the red carpet. Fact is: either aviation is an exclusive product, then it will be pricy and the service level will be high. Or it's cheap but then flying Economy class is like taking a bus. And I honestly can't remember taking a bus anywhere, where a Stewerdess asks me if I wanted a Newspaper and serving me a drink of my choice. And in the first and business classes where flying is still more expensive, one can't really complain about the service. It may not be as it was 20 years ago, but I have to say that the seats are way better than 20 years ago. And to me that is what counts in the end. Because if I want a good meal, I either cook it myself or I go to a good restaurant.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Something about traffic

Maybe you have heard of the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland. I mean the Gotthard Road Tunnel not the one for the railway. It is the third longest road tunnel of the world (16.9 kilometers, roughly 10 statute miles). It was built between 1970 and 1980 and it is one of the three major transit axis through the alps and part of the shortest motorway link between Hamburg an Sicily. So you can imagine that everybody who thinks it's not to be topped to spend summer holidays together with 2 Million other intellectually challenged at a beach in Italy has to pass that tunnel (and back). That's nothing special except that the tunnel back then was built with one lane per direction only. The motorway leading to the tunnel has 2 lanes each direction. What does that mean? Right, traffic jams. Now, since 1980 this is pretty much predictable: you don't wanna go there southbound at the beginning of the easter weekend, the ascension day weekend and the pentecote weekend and you don't wanna go northbound at the end of those weekends. Furthermore you don't wanna go anywhere near that tunnel during the summer school holidays, neither south- nor northbound. So far so good. Now if you listen to traffic reports you hear about traffic jams of 4, 5, 9 and sometimes 15 kilometers in front of both portals. 5 kilometers means roughly two (TWO) hours of waiting time... Now here is what I don't understand: What exactly do those people think? Something like "you will see, there was ALWAYS a queue on this weekend for the last 29 years! This year they will all go on Friday and we will go on Saturday and it will be FREEEEE" ? Or what? Fact is it doesn't matter what day you go, IT'S ALWAYS BLOCKED! So my conclusion is those people just don't care and don't mind sitting in their cars on a motorway for 4 hours in the heat with the kids in the backseat moaning. But when I think about it now, it probably doesn't male a difference: Those guys just spend 4 hours on the motorway together with the same 2 million of idiots they will see again at the beach in Rimini or Jesolo.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How many social networks does one need?

Interesting... I mean my main communication platform is iChat. It has the best video quality that I have ever seen on any platform and it is a native mac software. Furthermore I can videoconference with 4 people with the same quality. Then of course I use skype quite extensively. It is useful to make calls to landlines or have my family call me in skypeIn when I am on the road. MSN messenger? Hardly ever. Yahoo Messenger? Used to use it to contact a friend of mine in Hong Kong. Other wise there is Facebook that is quite popular. But there is Myspace, Twitter and I dontknowwwhat and I get invitations to join the hi5, low5, letsbe5 network every other day. I don't get it. Do people use 20 different platforms to chat with the same friends or what? Or with different friends? Do they have a life at all?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

GPS accuracy

The GPS system has an accuracy of ±15m guaranteed when using no augmentation like SBAS (WAAS in the USA). Often it performs better than that or maybe I should say in most cases it performs better than that. So when you set your system on your boat on autopilot and the route you entered were coordinates of waterway markers, then it would be a good idea not to go under deck to make a sandwich or even worse to play around with your girlfriend. Because you may encounter some nasty surprises. The navigation system might perform better than you think...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hard(er) to believe

The "Harder" is a local mountain. I climb it 2 to 3 times a week for training then take the funicular train down. Today there was some eastern european guy with his girl walking towards the top station of the funicular. I could hear some music behind me but couldn't locate the source. I found out that the guy had his iPhone out and had some music running on loudspeaker. Needless to mention that there were other people around. I looked at the guy to check if there will be any bodily sign to switch off that crap. Well, obviously not. After about 2 minutes of him ignoring the puzzled looks from a group of british travellers I asked him whether it ever came to his mind that not everybody wants to listen to his (crappy) music. He asked: "turn off?" and I replied "I just wondered whether you ever thought about it at all. Yes! Turn off is the call!". He said "no problem" and switched it off.
Probably he thinks I am an intolerant idiot. Guess what: He is perfectly right. Well, not the idiot part but the intolerance part. I ruddy well don't tolerate crap like this. I have difficulties to understand how somebody can do that in the first place. You need music when you are in the most breathtaking nature? Fine, use earphones, but leave me alone with it. When I want to listen to music, it's gonna be my music and it's gonna be on a high end system and not on a mobile phone loudspeaker. Speaking of tolerance: I will tolerate anything that I cannot influence. For example I tolerate the fact that birds can make quite some noise in the morning or that the german financial minister is a prick. But I will never tolerate behaviour that is egoistic and rude.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Astronomers discovery

Astronomers were excited this week at having isolated a brief sound which occurred immediately before the Big Bang. Apparently, the sound was "uh oh."

Corrigendum Nr. 2 to PANS-OPS

The Quality Assurance work in the IFPP is starting to be fruitful now. A new corrigendum is in the pipeline that addresses many little issues that got corrupted when changing from the fourth to the fifth edition. The corrigendum will be due this month and I will let you know at this place when it is available. I'll provide a downloadable version on the ANI website.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Fishy anonymity

Sometimes when I browse the internet to find some information, I find a website that seems to contain the desired knowledge. When I then want to figure out who is behind the company, because I am interested in PEOPLE rather than anything else, I try to find the page that shows at least some names, although I prefer when also a photograph is shown. Sometimes you can look forever, the only info you get is an address and some email addresses that are like info(at)... or enquiries(at).. etc.
Here is a question: What are those people afraid of? That they don't look good? I am not looking for somebody to love but I would like to know who I am dealing with, especially when it's a small business. Those companies probably don't understand that potential clients might click away just because of that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PANS-OPS course continues

In a couple of days, a class will return to Interlaken to do their part 2 of the PANS-OPS course. Some students will then also join for the RNAV Master Class section. The conventional part took place in deep winter (The picture shows two students drawing a holding template in the snow). Now as it's warmer the more complex stuff like ILS and RNAV will be attacked. This is the first ANI course that has the RNAV material changed according the PBN concept and covering amendment 2 to PANS-OPS.

Monday, March 30, 2009


After another joyful visit to an Apple flagship store (in Montreal) I remembered that Microsoft has talked about the very innovative idea to open "Microsoft stores" around the world. With this thought I fell asleep and had a nightmare: In my dream I owned a windows based computer and after a system upgrade (which took three days in the dream, in other words it was terribly fast...) I had a technical problem with an application. In the dream I therefore went to the Microsoft store to seek for help (as they have such a thing called the "nerd bar", where you can get help by Windows specialists). So the guy listened to my description and his first expert statement was: "Have you tried to switch it off and restart?" Overwhelmed by such expertise, I said yes. Then he asked did you re-download the drivers, and reinstall, but of course you must hold down the key combination of Fn-Shift-Ctrl-Return-F8-F7- Q-Z-? and scratch behind your left ear with your right hand while standing on your head with a room temperature of exactly 21.7° Celsius. I said well, the temperature was probably slightly above that. "I am sorry, then I can't help, you have to take the machine to where you bought it!"
Fortunately that was when I woke up, finding out, that I still had a Mac and the genius (that's what the specialist in the Apple Shop is called) actually fixed a minor problem I had in 2 minutes.
As my doctor always says: Using the Apple everyday keeps the doctor away :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ARINC 424 course in June

We have set a short notice ARINC 424 database coding course with Jim Terpstra from June 22-26, 2009 in Interlaken/Switzerland.
If you want to know about Jim's background, the staff page of the ANI website is a good place to start. Although that's just a very short abstract of his experience there. Anybody who is interested send an email to bz (at)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Spammers on the Forum

Dear all,

As you may or may not know, there is a Flight Procedure Discussion Forum on the ANI website
Recently I have received many account registrations, which are obviously spam. Therefore I have to ask you to send me an email if you have registered on the forum, indicating who you are and under which username you have registered. I will then activate the respective user on the forum.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

RNAV, AMDT 2 etc.

Some people may have seen the Amendment Nr. 2 already, some may not. Fact is that the RNAV chapter has changed to be inline with the PBN concept. For the upcoming courses, I will teach both, sensor based and PBN based criteria, as many states are not yet implementing the PBN concept straight away. Therefore I have modified the training program in the RNAV section of the courses accordingly.
The APV Baro-VNAV online course that is available already includes the PBN (RNP APCH) criteria for lateral navigation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Additional domain

Hi All,

I have now established a new additional domain for the ANI website as well as all ANI email addresses. It is a bit shorter to write and less prone for typos:
similarly, you can reach me with the email address, which I won't post here for obvious reasons :-)