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Offer the ability to build in a “buffer” time when leaving or joining a circuit


Offer the ability to build in a “buffer” time when leaving or joining...
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Flyingearly
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When planning a flight, SkyDemon estimates from time on a point to point basis. That is, it routes to an exact spot from the centre of one runway to the centre of another runway.

What I think would be useful would be for an option to be available to automatically include a bit of “buffer” time at the departure and destination airfields to factor in typical circuit leaving or joining times.

As an example, if I need to takeoff West, but my departure orientation is East, then I will need to climb out, turn crosswind and then turn downwind before I can proceed en-route. This can readily be a 5 minute time period in some micro lights.

Example image is shown: in practice, you don’t just takeoff mid-runway and head direct en route!

Similarly, when joining an airfield, a full circuit can be 5 - 10 minutes longer than simply arriving at a point overhead the airfield.

This problem is more acute on shorter journeys. A flight between A and B might be 60 minutes from one overhead to another, but there might be 10 - 15 minutes of time exiting and joining the circuit at either end.

The same applies for taxi time.

In non-aviation circles, Google and other mapping providers are starting to include that “interchange” time in travel time calculations and it would be great to see SD offer it too (eg if planning a route from A to D, it factors in that it takes time to change trains at B, walk across the platform etc at C and so forth).

Currently, if I’m planning a flight, I have to manually zoom right in at my departure and arrival airfields and I’ll map the route to include cross-wind/downwind/base turns - it adds more distance onto the flight than you realise and in slower aircraft really throws the estimated flight time calculation out.

To implement this, I would have a toggle option in the settings to automatically include buffer time on each takeoff/landing.
grahamb
grahamb
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Flyingearly - 9/19/2020 11:26:39 AM
When planning a flight, SkyDemon estimates from time on a point to point basis. That is, it routes to an exact spot from the centre of one runway to the centre of another runway.What I think would be useful would be for an option to be available to automatically include a bit of “buffer” time at the departure and destination airfields to factor in typical circuit leaving or joining times.As an example, if I need to takeoff West, but my departure orientation is East, then I will need to climb out, turn crosswind and then turn downwind before I can proceed en-route. This can readily be a 5 minute time period in some micro lights.Example image is shown: in practice, you don’t just takeoff mid-runway and head direct en route!Similarly, when joining an airfield, a full circuit can be 5 - 10 minutes longer than simply arriving at a point overhead the airfield.This problem is more acute on shorter journeys. A flight between A and B might be 60 minutes from one overhead to another, but there might be 10 - 15 minutes of time exiting and joining the circuit at either end.The same applies for taxi time.In non-aviation circles, Google and other mapping providers are starting to include that “interchange” time in travel time calculations and it would be great to see SD offer it too (eg if planning a route from A to D, it factors in that it takes time to change trains at B, walk across the platform etc at C and so forth).Currently, if I’m planning a flight, I have to manually zoom right in at my departure and arrival airfields and I’ll map the route to include cross-wind/downwind/base turns - it adds more distance onto the flight than you realise and in slower aircraft really throws the estimated flight time calculation out.To implement this, I would have a toggle option in the settings to automatically include buffer time on each takeoff/landing.

Does it really matter? When you planned on a half mill paper chart did you get the magnifying glass out and draw and measure a circuit at each end?
Look at the wind direction and the airfield info and make a judgment on how much time/fuel to add on in your head.

Tim Dawson
Tim Dawson
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We kind of like this idea, and I've toyed with the idea of simply hard-coding a certain amount of time to all flights planned, certainly at least five minutes, for the approach phase and other fiddling around. The trouble is, that would then impact the PLOG as the times wouldn't add up, the fuel calculations would also need revising to cope with the extra time too. I think doing this would actually make things more confusing much of the time, for the user trying to decide whether our calculations look right.

We are of course open to suggestions. It cannot be complex.

pilot-byom
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I see nothing preventing one to add waypoints of the traffic circuit to get the same effect.
Tim Dawson
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That is true, only one does not know what sort of approach one will make (or even what runway will be in use) until one gets there, often.
ArnaudC
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As much as possible I draw the pattern. Makes your fuel calc right, descent heading, TOD etc...
If the weather is predictable the correct one, if not the longer one. That way I'm on the safe side for fuel planning.
I find it easier to remove than to add points while in the air, if you get a direct or join on base you just remove the extra points.


pilot-byom
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Tim Dawson - 9/22/2020 9:44:39 AM
That is true, only one does not know what sort of approach one will make (or even what runway will be in use) until one gets there, often.

I'd guesstimate the difference between different approaches is negligible.

Flyingearly
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Thanks for all your replies.

I accept that for some people, the difference is negligible. However, as a Product Owner myself, I think it’s useful for Tim and the team to think about the user persona (like me!) I’m trying to solve for here.

I am a low hours pilot, whose reliance on SD might be greater than a more experienced pilot. I am also a club renter, so unlike an owner/syndicate member, there is more pressure to get the aircraft back “on time”, either for the next renter, or for a student’s lesson after mine.

As a low-hours renter, I’d also wager that people in my position might be more cost-restrained. All of which is to say, knowing potential flight time is more important, or at least more stress-inducing, than an owner who can do what they want, when they want, for whom the arrival time isn’t that important.

And finally, low hours renters are - on the whole - less likely to fly faster, high performance aircraft.

Taken as a whole, I think my situation is entirely typical. I fly a C42, which is slow (70kts) and light. And no matter how accurately I plan, SD is always hopelessly optimistic with my flight time.

At Deanland, I believe that a circuit easily takes me a full 10 minutes and can take up to 15 at times.

So if I have a 2 hour slot, by the time I’ve pre-flighted and am ready for departure, the time available to me is limited.

If I have to factor in 5 minutes leaving the circuit and 15 minutes joining (in an overhead join, for example), that can be 15 - 20 minutes, or potentially 25% of my available flying time. If I were in a faster aircraft, this would be reduced.

I know that some will say that 15 minutes in a circuit is laughable, but in a slow microlight try timing it. From the overhead approaching from the dead side, there’s a 180 turn on the live side at 2,000ft, deadside descent, then crossing over the numbers for the remainder of the circuit.

So, to Tim’s question: what’s the MVP? For me it’s simple: just give users the ability to toggle on or off an arbitrary XX minutes (to be calculated based on several different aircraft types) buffer time in the settings:

“Automatically add a small additional time to cover landing procedures and time in the circuit on departure and arrival”

Longer term, I’m sure you can calibrate this VERY accurately. You have runway length, aircraft cruise speed and you must be able to work out the size of a circuit from your circuit shapefiles that you overlay onto the map; a GIS tool could do this for you readily.

But for now, an arbitrary buffer would be fine!


grahamb
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Flyingearly - 9/22/2020 9:18:23 PM
Thanks for all your replies.I accept that for some people, the difference is negligible. However, as a Product Owner myself, I think it’s useful for Tim and the team to think about the user persona (like me!) I’m trying to solve for here.I am a low hours pilot, whose reliance on SD might be greater than a more experienced pilot. I am also a club renter, so unlike an owner/syndicate member, there is more pressure to get the aircraft back “on time”, either for the next renter, or for a student’s lesson after mine.As a low-hours renter, I’d also wager that people in my position might be more cost-restrained. All of which is to say, knowing potential flight time is more important, or at least more stress-inducing, than an owner who can do what they want, when they want, for whom the arrival time isn’t that important.And finally, low hours renters are - on the whole - less likely to fly faster, high performance aircraft.Taken as a whole, I think my situation is entirely typical. I fly a C42, which is slow (70kts) and light. And no matter how accurately I plan, SD is always hopelessly optimistic with my flight time.At Deanland, I believe that a circuit easily takes me a full 10 minutes and can take up to 15 at times.So if I have a 2 hour slot, by the time I’ve pre-flighted and am ready for departure, the time available to me is limited.If I have to factor in 5 minutes leaving the circuit and 15 minutes joining (in an overhead join, for example), that can be 15 - 20 minutes, or potentially 25% of my available flying time. If I were in a faster aircraft, this would be reduced.I know that some will say that 15 minutes in a circuit is laughable, but in a slow microlight try timing it. From the overhead approaching from the dead side, there’s a 180 turn on the live side at 2,000ft, deadside descent, then crossing over the numbers for the remainder of the circuit.So, to Tim’s question: what’s the MVP? For me it’s simple: just give users the ability to toggle on or off an arbitrary XX minutes (to be calculated based on several different aircraft types) buffer time in the settings:“Automatically add a small additional time to cover landing procedures and time in the circuit on departure and arrival” Longer term, I’m sure you can calibrate this VERY accurately. You have runway length, aircraft cruise speed and you must be able to work out the size of a circuit from your circuit shapefiles that you overlay onto the map; a GIS tool could do this for you readily.But for now, an arbitrary buffer would be fine!

I still don’t understand why you just can’t add that 15 minutes, or whatever, yourself rather than make a complex product even more complex.

I really don’t get why some people set so much store in SD producing an immutable plan, written in letters of fire on tablets of stone and handed down from the gods like the Ten Commandments, which will perfectly model the proposed flight, and must be flown as planned.

If one thinks this through a bit more, to do this ‘properly’ one needs to examine the reasons for adding the buffer. Taxying time at a large airport might vary according to where you are parked and the runway in use. Circuit time will vary according to direction of arrival, runway in use and circuit join type. En-route time might vary due to things like wind not being as forecast, or having to fly round an obstacle rather than over it due to cloud base, for example. At a regional airport ATC may ask you to hold on the ground, or orbit in the air, due to their traffic. Some of these additions will require fuel at a much lower burn rate than others, but my point is that to try and model all of these in an accurate way adds an undesirable level of complexity to the product. 

If all you are asking for is for SD to add on a simple user definable number of minutes, then my response is ‘what’s the point, when you can do that yourself according to what only you know about that particular flight on that particular day’. SD is already well beyond MVP, otherwise Tim wouldn’t have sold thousands of copies of the less feature-rich earlier versions. 


Edited 9/23/2020 7:10:46 AM by grahamb
Tim Dawson
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Graham is right, there is a lot stacked up against this feature. We could implement an optional number of minutes to add, but this couldn't be a software-wide setting because it is dependent on aircraft and airports you're using. It can't be an aircraft-specific setting because it will vary with the airports you're using. However we implemented it, the output could easily confuse someone who wasn't clear where the numbers were coming from.
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