Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Changes in Flight Procedure Design

Once in a while I am asked whether it would be possible to only get trained in PBN/RNAV design and skip the conventional part of training. "We will never ever design conventional procedures" is the reason for that question. My answer is: no, not possible. Because all the basic concepts, turn protection, reaction time, fix tolerance area principles etc. are covered in the conventional part of a) the criteria and b) the course. PANS-OPS is structured in a way that the conventional part is the general criteria and everything else build onto that "as amplified or modified by the criteria in this chapter". So the bottom line is, the way it works now, one needs to learn the conventional basics as a foundation and then add the PBN competencies on top of that.

Now, when ICAO asked me the same question I thought that maybe it's time to at least think about it. My conclusion is: Well, it is of course possible to teach the basic concepts without "bundling" them with the conventional ground based concepts and then just build the PBN tuition on top of that. But: 1. As long as classes are a mix of students from different countries, we will always have the need for conventional procedures, even if it is just to maintain existing ones. So it would not be appropriate to say we do not cover conventional anymore. As long as there is no global policy that flight procedures are PBN only and anything is no longer supported or maintained, it will not be possible to just skip the conventional stuff.
The other question that I asked myself: Would we really gain that much time? I do not think so.

And the main question remains: Is it a good idea to get rid of the conventional training? Are pilots today just learning how to use a flight management computer and to load procedures from the database or are they still learning how to navigate with ground based navigation aids, interception procedures etc.? Does an engineering designer just learn how to use a CAD tool or does he develop some manual drafting skills?
My view for at least the next few years is: It is good for a flight procedure designer to learn where the criteria are coming from. Maybe one day it will be different. Maybe one day all VORs and NDBs will be gone and all we do is satellite navigation. This is the time where it won't make sense anymore to cover VOR no-FAF procedures etc. just like today it doesn't make much sense anymore to cover the DF chapter in classes.

What does the community out there think?

Monday, October 10, 2011

After the death of Steve Jobs

People who know me know: I am an Apple user. I know both worlds and I was always of the view that Apple is less time-intense regarding support etc. especially for small businesses. But that is a personal view based on some experience. No need to discuss that.
However, whenever there is an article about Apple and especially now after Steve Jobs' death I always read the comments from the readers of the online news platforms.

The anti-Apple community always tell something about Apple users being fanatic and would act as following a religion. It's funny, but my impression is that these anti-Apple guys are way more fanatic than the Apple users. Also I don't see too many Apple users commenting away on online platforms and bashing Microsoft and Bill Gates. But that's probably why their computers actually run and are not downloading Service Pack Nr. 247 (See, I am the exception to the rule above...).

One of the funniest recently was a guy stating that Apple was never innovative and would never be. If that is true I really wonder why all smartphones developed by Samsung etc. look like an iPhone clone...

I don't understand why people cannot simply accept that a guy like Steve Jobs is very rare and that his visions led to something that is definitely a unique achievement. I have greatest respect for such personalities and that actually also includes Bill Gates.

Friday, September 16, 2011

DEMETER users, check this out

For all Flight Procedure Design organisations using the DEMETER software to assess DME/DME update areas and coverage, please note that Eurocontrol holds a training session on October 11, 10.00 to 17.00 in conference room Sirius at the Eurocontrol headquarters in Brussels. I reckon this is open to ECAC Member States and free of charge for them (no guarantee though).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Important Info for Flight Procedure Designers

For those who work with the doc. 9905 RNP AR manual, please be aware that a corrigendum was published in April. That corrigendum addressed a few issues in the diagrams as well as typos in the text.
Those who have access to the ICAO Net will find the full document with included corrigendum there.

Furthermore there is an update to the PBN Manual coming out soon (soon in ICAO terms, okay?). There will be new Navigation Specifications:
Advanced RNP
RNP 0.3

The idea of the advanced RNP is to leave the RNP value open and specify that in the procedure. Advanced RNP will amongst other require the RF functionality.
RNP 0.3 will be for Helicopters and can also be used for the enroute phase for helicopters. That is today's status, I'll keep you posted if there are any news.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dog phobia- go see a therapist

Here are the facts: Phobias are anxiety disorders. They are a medical condition and can be cured. Phobias are typically disproportional to the actual danger posed and can therefore be considered irrational. I know that getting rid of them is not as simple as "hey, no need to be afraid of that spider, it cannot harm you". If a statement like this was helpful, phobias would not be irrational.
Now as an outsider it is of course not understandable why somebody can pour hot wax on legs and other bodily areas, rip of body hair by their roots and still be afraid of a spider... But that is not the issue.
I see a lot of people that are afraid of dogs. Again, in principle I do not understand but I am aware that phobias exist. But what I do NOT understand is why people who say their hobby is hiking in the nature and who have a dog phobia at the same time do not go and see a therapist. How likely do those people think it is that when they go for their walks in the nature that they will NOT see a dog? Once, when we walked our dog in a forest along a river in the mountains, a lady approached and one could tell from the distance that she was afraid. Those people always act so they actually attract the dog's attention (like staring at the dog for example). Our Dog walked by, but quickly raised its nose to sniff the lady and then walked on. The lady said "always those dogs running freely in the forests!"
My answer to the lady: "What do you honestly think is more natural: A dog running freely in the forest, or a human being that has its trousers full because of an animal that weighs about a third to a fourth of a human being?
Going out, knowing that you will encounter something you are afraid of several times and not doing anything against it has the same logic to me as a surgeon with a blood or syringe phobia and rather trying to avoid the object than to cure the disorder.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

iPhone and iPad store the actual position in a file?

I am overwhelmed! What news!
All those guys who criticize Apple now: Don't you have more important problems? Do you know that pretty much all the smartphones do that? What's the deal anyway? Somebody could eventually see where I was if he got hold of my phone or could access my computer? Wow, unbelievable! All that somebody can see in such a file is what most people know anyway: I get around quite a lot. What do you want to do with that information? Send me tailored advertising email? I have a rigorous filtering system you won't have any luck with that. Send me a list of great restaurants for the places I've been to? I'd appreciate, eventually I'll try one the next time I will be in that location. And I'll even let you know so you don't have to check the logfile...
People are a bit paranoid. They publish every fart they make on facebook but then they get worried about a phone logging positions. All that logfiles tell anybody by the way is that the PHONE was there. I do not see what that has to do with the person.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

ICAO Technical Cooperation Programme - fancy 10 days in Grenada?

The ICAO TCB is looking for an expert to perform some duties/assessments/aeronautical studies on site in Grenada for 10 days plus 10 days at home. The work is mainly Annex 14 Obstacle Limitation Surfaces related.
Fully trained and experienced experts (as in: FULLY trained and EXPERIENCED!) could apply to join the Technical Cooperation Programme.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

To all financial departments

Who of you financial guys did start the habit that when you receive an invoice and you make a bank transfer for it, you let the receiving party pay the bank transfer cost? Are you aware that this is not quite legal? When I invoice amount X, I want to receive amount X and not X minus transfer costs. It a) triggers administrative costs on our side and b) is simply not correct. Companies that have that practice probably rely on the fact that such missing amounts (in the area of 12 to 15 USD)  are too small to initiate an action on it. Imagine how much a large company can save with this method, which is factually illegal.

Actually I have this mentioned as part of the terms and conditions when somebody submits a registration form. Therefore such practice is actually a breach of contract. In the future I will expand this paragraph and mention that failure to transfer the invoiced amount will result in an additional invoice, covering the missing amount plus an administrative fee of CHF 100. Let's see if that does the job.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ICAO Technical Cooperation Programme - Procedure Designer required

Here is a request from the ICAO TCB. Anybody who is interested please let me know and I will forward your email to the TCB so they can contact you. Even if you are not particularly interested in the following assignment, you might be interested in other openings in the future. Procedure Designers are quite demanded at this time.
To receive the job description and salary information of this assignment, please email me.


We have the following urgent requirement within our Technical Co-operation Programme for a Flight Procedure Design Expert (OPAS) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for an initial duration of 12 months to commence as soon as possible.

The job description, salary information and other pertinent information are attached.

Kindly email to advise if you wish to be considered, amongst other candidates, for the above post with indication your earliest availability date and prospect of release from your Administration, if applicable.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

This is the crap I have to deal with sometimes...

Today I received this great email sent from an address


My name is Engr. Donald Clinton. I want to know if there is any availability for 2 guests who needs Flight Course services. They  are coming for training in your place. If there is availability,  kindly let me know about the dates and the quotes. 

They are looking forward to Arrive on 5th June 2011, get back to  me with an update on the list of the courses you offer, prices and duration for further clarifications. 

Engr. Donald Clinton


My immediate reaction: You don't say, is that right?
So who are you working for? What country?
What do you mean by "guests"? I do not have any guests I just have paying students :-)
What do you mean by "Flight Course"?
No, they are not coming for training in my place, unless I say so and only if the meet ICAO pre-requisites :-)
Who arrives where on June 5? If somebody arrives here on June 5 make sure you tell them about Jungfraujoch and Piz Gloria, because that is all they will be doing, as I will be on holiday.

I did some inquiries on the net and that name was mentioned a couple of times in forums detecting scam. I don't quite get what the intentions are. Maybe something like: You pay us first so we send the candidates :-) Then you will get paid. Bad plan if the target has an IQ that is higher than the scammer's body height in cm...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Forum Spammers beaten

I do not quite understand the logic of those spamming idiots who let bots register themselves on various forums to post their crap. Nobody in a forum about flight procedure design will ever click on their ridiculous links or read their posts. The only slightly logical explanation is link popularity for their trash-sites.
As the captcha technique did not provide a hurdle high enough for those losers, I applied a very simple trick: On registration, the systems asks a few questions that only the target audience can answer. Good by you stupid spammers!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Flight Validation Course - day 5

Today we went out flying an LPV approach to Interlaken Hospital with an Agusta Westland DaVinci. The exercise was absolutely awesome, perfect conditions.

The full set of pictures of the flights can be seen on the ANI Facebook page.