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Night VFR, MSA, SERA and flight planning


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Sbihour
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Good evening,

Sorry if this not the right place for this post, feel free to move it where appropriate.

I am flying both day and night VFR and I am struggling to properly setup SD MSA under planification option (and also under Navigating option, but one thing after the other).

I think my problem comes from the fact that SD allows only one set of rule (Day-VFR or Night-VFR), and you cannot switch easily between both. You always have to remember the appropriate rule (see below !) and set it.

Would it be possible to have a switch in order to select a specific set of rule (day-vfr / night-vfr / Custom / maybe IFR if usefull ?) I think this would be really handy for everyone, as the rules are (should  be?) common across the UE (SERA)

You will find below the (free) translation of french AIP ENR 1.2
[please note that the official translation in this AIP of day-vfr rule seems to be an erronous copy-past of the night-vfr rule, so I translated the french part myself]
Day-VFR : Section 1.2.7 Minimum overflight heights
a)    above high-density areas, cities or other built-up areas or gatherings of people in the open air [you cannot fly] less than 300 m (1,000 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 600 m (0,32 Nm ~2000 ft) around the aircraft;
b)    elsewhere than at the places specified in (a), [you cannot fly] at a height of less than 150 m (500 ft) above the ground or water and at a distance of less than 150 m (500 ft) from any person, vehicle or vessel on the surface or from any artificial obstacle.

Night VFR : Section 1.2.5.3 (Minimum level)
i)    over hilly or mountainous areas, 600 meters (2 000 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 8 km (4.32 Nm) around the estimated position of the aircraft;
ii)    450 meters (1 500 ft) above the highest obstacle within 8 km (4.32 Nm) of the estimated position of the aircraft, other than in the areas specified in (i).

Am I the only one to play with those settings on each NAV ?

Thanks for your comments and suggestions,

Sylvain.
Ipad Pro (10.5’)
iOs 14.0.1 (18A393)
SD 3.14.4.260


Edited 10/12/2020 8:49:57 PM by Sbihour
Tim Dawson
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Are these really EASA rules?
pilot-byom
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Tim Dawson - 10/13/2020 8:00:46 AM
Are these really EASA rules?

No, that is just French. I fear little use for large efforts in implementing the feature request per country. I guess you are not really into parsing the different AIP ...

grahamb
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pilot-byom - 10/13/2020 9:14:30 AM
Tim Dawson - 10/13/2020 8:00:46 AM
Are these really EASA rules?

No, that is just French. I fear little use for large efforts in implementing the feature request per country. I guess you are not really into parsing the different AIP ...

I don't see the problem. Just set up the MSA rules in 'setup' to suit your worst case (i.e. night) and just subtract 500' or 1000' (according to your flavour of regulator) from the PLOG MSA figure when VFR during the day.

You can then check in even more detail by using the 'colour high terrain' option in both planning and flight.


Edited 10/13/2020 11:19:36 AM by grahamb
Sbihour
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Tim Dawson - 10/13/2020 8:00:46 AM
Are these really EASA rules?

Hi Tim, 
Sorry to bother everyone one with regulation. This is not my cup of tea but I prefer to give approriate references.

Yes, these are EU rules (and not only french ones) : 

Day-VFR rules are in the Annex of the 923/2012 regulation, in article SERA.2005(f)
=> those rules are EU-wide

Night-VFR rules are in SERA.2005(c)(5)
=> night rules are defined on a local basis, but the figures mentioned are default one
("VFR flight at night shall be flown at a level which is not below the minimum flight altitude established by the State whose territory is overflown, or, where no such minimum flight altitude has been established: (...)"
=> The only french-specific is that over non-montainous areas, the minimum level is set to 1500 ft, whereas EU defaut rule is only 1000 ft (over montainous areas, the limit is the same : 2000ft)

Back from legal things to much more fun ones (flying !), my problem is not setting the appropriate value in SD, it is that when planning I need to modify back and forth between day or night rules, overwise I have a lot of alerts (when night flying with day settings) or no alert at all while it should (day flight with night settings).

And I do not want to set a night/day setting and have to add/substract 500 or 1000 ft in the sky... things must be simple and set on the ground when planning, not while flying !

To me obstacle clearance is something important, and I'm looking for something easy, for every kind of VFR flight. That's what SD is good at, so I ask if such day/night setting is possible or not.

thanks for reading,

Sylvain.



Tim Dawson
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It's certainly possible, but unfortunately to make it easy for you, it would make it a bit more confusing for most customers who do not require such an easy toggle between settings regimes (because they do not fly at night). This is therefore the sort of thing we resist doing, because we look at the overall cost/benefit of doing it and shy away from the cost to other users.
Sbihour
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Tim Dawson - 10/20/2020 8:02:54 AM
It's certainly possible, but unfortunately to make it easy for you, it would make it a bit more confusing for most customers who do not require such an easy toggle between settings regimes (because they do not fly at night). This is therefore the sort of thing we resist doing, because we look at the overall cost/benefit of doing it and shy away from the cost to other users.

I know that night flyers are rare animals Smile

I understand perfectly that you try to avoid costly developments for a limited number, as it's always an economical equilibrium. To me, these small and continuous enhancements is what makes SD what it is : there is always something handy that you don't know about, until you need it Wink

My I suggest just a simple thing ? : add in the MSA option boxes (under planning and also in navigation) the ability to save the MSA settings to a named-preset, so that you set it once and have just to recall it when needed. By doing that :
- the user can "toggle" between saved-presets
- day-flyers are not confused, they use just one preset as it is the case today
- this could be easy on devs ressources

Thanks for your time,

Sylvain.



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