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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:22 pm 
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Airman
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 42
Hello,

Some of you might have tried earlier versions of a self calculating nav log I created a while ago. I know earlier versions have had limitations and also lacked a guide or manual. I have kept working on my log and I am getting close to something I am satisfied with and willing to share.

Concept:
The log is a MS Excel worksheet that runs on my laptop while I fly on my desktop. As I pass a waypoint I enter details such as time, position, altitude, speed, heading. The log then calculates groundspeed, wind correction angle, ETA etc. After landing I press a button and my details are entered in my logbook. This adds to my immersion because there are always errors in my flying and varying winds over time so my navigation is always a bit off (sometimes very much off). Just like I imagine a real navigator working his s*xtant and flight computer would be. Of course doing it all by yourself with your own E6B would be the most realistic way, but this is a compromise that works for me!

Disclaimer:
I am completely self taught when it comes to both MS Excel and air navigation. I believe that the log calculates correctly but I would be very grateful for feedback from all the knowledgeable members here! The flightplan and nav log pages are based on the WW2 era Form 21 USAAF navigator log sheet. If there are any civilian counterparts out there I would be very interested! The logbook is also based on a WW2 USAAF logbook. There might still be bugs that must be ironed out. This whole thing is a bit cumbersome to work with, but I think also very rewarding compared to flying by GPS or map-view.

Credits:
All credit goes to Ed Williams. With his permission I used his MS Excel E6B-worksheet as a basis and this is really the engine behind the calculations.

Features:
A logbook where details about your flights are stored.
A flight planning tool where you create a flightplan in Plan-G and paste it into the log. You enter winds, your power settings and your required fuel is calculated as well as predicted flight time etc.
A nav log where you enter details as you fly along and your next heading, groundspeed etc. is calculated.

Some screenshots, BOAC flight 655, New York to Nassau, 1951:
Green cells are cells are required information or input cells, yellow are optional or for reference only. Red cells are output cells, black are not used, blue are standard values.
Image
My logbook, it is page one of the worksheet. Details about your last flight are transferred from your nav log to create a new logbook entry. Your total flight time is automatically calculated.

Image
The flightplan page. Here you select your flight from the schedule, select your crew, enter the number of passengers and the weight of your cargo. You divide your route into five segments and enter wind for each segment (you can easily do this by copying and pasting from Active Sky. The five segments are a leftover from the USAAF version that I did where the real world sheet has five zones.) Your flightplan is displayed. The logo in the top left corner depends on which operator you fly for. :-)

Image
The notes page where you enter more details about your aircraft, power settings between which waypoints, holding time and diversion distance. This is to calculate your required fuel. Of course you need access to performance charts. Up to seven different power settings can be used as well as dedicated climb and descent settings. You decide between which waypoint to use each setting - as you get lighter and faster or climb higher. You can also do certain calculations on the lower half of the page.

Image
The nav log page. You enter from left to right: Position by selecting a waypoint from a drop-down or enter lat/long, time (Z), magnetic variation, temperature, altitude, IAS, your next waypoint, your current amount of fuel. You then get: true course to your next waypoint, drift correction, true and magnetic heading to your next waypoint, true air speed, average wind and windspeed, groundspeed, time and distance since your last waypoint. You also get distance to your next waypoint, groundspeed to next waypoint, ETA at next waypoint and destination, you get fuel used, range and endurance. You don't have to plot anything on any map, courses and distances are calculated when you enter coordinates or select waypoints.

On this flight I used celestial navigation as well as triangulating my position by tuning two different NDBs. I did not want to use VORs. You can see that the calculated winds are reasonably close to those on the flightplan page that I copied from Active Sky. Even though the log tells you what heading to steer you must use your judgement if it is unreasonable. For maximum accuracy every change in heading, speed or altitude must be recorded. If your results are unreasonable you can do your own calculations on the notes page. This might be needed if your calculated winds are unreasonable. This might be due to having changed heading, speed or altitude without doing the required records in the log.

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This is the schedule page where you enter your flights. I fly real world flights that I get from http://timetableimages.com/ and I try to depart and arrive on time. You also add your operators and their logos to have them displayed on the flightplan page.

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On the hangar page you enter details about your aircraft. You enter MTOW, fuel capacity etc. You also enter registrations for each individual aircraft. The aircraft flown will be recorded in your logbook! It is selected on the flightplan page.

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On the Plan-G flightplan page you paste your Plan-G flightplan. Only the coordinates for the waypoints and courses are used. Altitudes and speeds are entered by you on the notes page. Up to 28 waypoints can be used. Coordinates for ToC and ToD are calculated automatically and ToC and ToD waypoints are created.

Would the community be interested in this? What sort of features would you like to see?

Would you like to try? Send me a PM!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:57 pm 
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Airman
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 42
I discovered that the pictures were no longer visible so I found another host for them. I hope they stay visible now!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:31 pm 
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Airman Basic

Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:28 pm
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This is my first post, and I don't think I can PM yet; but I really would like to try your spreadsheet. Could you please send it to apape716(at)gmaildotcom?

Thank you


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:18 pm 
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Airman Basic

Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:15 pm
Posts: 1
Hi.
I have the same problem regarding PM as supa325.
Would very much like to try your spreadsheet!
My mail: stefan.hillblom(a)gmail.com

Best regards
Stefan


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:11 am
Posts: 2
Same here :)

Thank you very much!

b.schleipen(at)home(dot)nl


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:28 am 
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Location: Beccles, Suffolk, UK
Love the design and look you went with (BOAC :) ), good stuff 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:27 am 
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Airman

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:28 pm
Posts: 17
Wow! That is some serious work you've put in there. I was keeping nav logs with pencil and paper. I had some of my (Delta) old L-1011 nav logs as a starting point, then kit bashed a form together. Your system looks MUCH cleaner and more functional. I would love to take a look at your work, please! jimmyfingers!@bellsouth.net
Thank you!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:43 am 
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Senior Airman

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 10:43 am
Posts: 167
Location: England
Wow, any chance I could get access to this please?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:12 pm 
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Airman
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 42
I have recieved quite a lot of requests over the last few days and I appreciate the interest you are showing!

I just got a bug reported:
- Drop downs do not work in Excel 2007! - I am working on that! I have to redo them in a way that Excel 2007 accepts! (I use Excel 2010 so I can't test it myself!)

Please help me find other bugs! Please bear with me! Most of you are better programmers than me I am sure! My day job is very far from software developing. :-)

/Mats


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:26 pm 
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Airman

Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:33 pm
Posts: 39
Mats,

Just finished reviewing the files and clicking through the tutorials. Wow, good stuff here!

I can possibly foresee some challenges in setting up engine data for aircraft that are not as nicely modeled and documented as the A2A stuff; I'm going to try it out with a freeware M-130 flying boat first, I think. It's a nice model, but obviously not A2A ;-). So I think I'll be purely inventing values like BHP and BMEP... but I guess that'll be all right as long as I get the PPH fuel consumption halfway accurate.

I'm curious about how you manage your workflow with the navlog during a flight. Here's my first thought on what I would try, but if you / anyone has a better idea, I'm up for it:

I'm thinking I'll fill out the navlog with all the planned waypoints before takeoff. Then, once I'm over water and reliant on occasional celestial fixes (or radio cross bearings), I'll update the waypoint crossed with actual position. For instance, let's say I reach my planned time for waypoint 3 (which is currently in the navlog at its planned position), and I take a celestial fix that shows me to be fast and left of course. I'll then update the waypoint 3 lat/lon in the navlog with the lat/lon of my actual fix. This should cause navlog values to recalculate, showing me an accurate groundspeed from last waypoint, as well as an updated course to fly and ETA for the next waypoint, if I'm understanding correctly. It's like a built in off-course calculation, and you'll end up with a navlog of your measured positions (and I'll chart them on GE as well).

Does this sound reasonable? Anyone see any pros or cons to doing it this way or another way?

Thanks again for this. Looking forward to giving it a shot!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:07 am 
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Airman
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 42
Stearmandriver,

BMEP and BHP are not that important and you don't even have to enter them. They are for reference only. So that you know what figures your calculations were based on and you can set those figures during your flight! What is important is altitude, IAS and fuel consumption (in pounds per hour per engine)!

I think you have understood how this works! However the only time I fill in waypoints in advance is when when waypoints are close to one another or if I can tune say an NDB from my last NDB I do it the way you describe. That is when I am reasonably certain I will pass over my waypoint "exactly". I fill in things like position, speed, altitude (if not climbing or descending) in advance and just enter time and fuel when i pass my waypoint and then look up the calculated heading and turn towards my next waypoint. I do this to reduce my workload so I don't have to pause the sim to fill in the log.

When I cross oceans or empty land and do star shots I fill everything in as I go along! I do a star shot when I am supposed to cross my next waypoint and I will get a position that I enter in the log along with everything else and enter my next waypoint to set my next heading! It's a good thing to plot graphically, which you can do in Plan-G!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:18 am 
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Airman Basic

Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:08 am
Posts: 1
Good afternoon.
For me too this is the first post and I cannot send a PM.
I would like to receive the Navigator Log.

alpinna(at)yahoo(dot)com

Thank you very much.
Alessandro


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:44 pm
Posts: 2
If possible, I too would like a copy and cannot send a PM, to iorourke1(at)aol(dot)com. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:44 pm
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If possible, I too would like a copy and cannot send a PM, to iorourke1(at)aol(dot)com. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:49 pm 
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Airman
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 5:34 am
Posts: 42
Just a small update:

I am working on a couple of bug fixes and a way of retrieving power settings from performance tables automatically. I will not be sending this version out to you individually. When it is done I will push it out to all of you here!

/Mats


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