FileSmart: Not Just for Bug Smashers
- John Frazier
File Accurately: We pilots, by nature being both practical critters and not looking for extra work, are sometimes shooting ourselves in the foot in three ways – by filing for departure times ahead of what we really expect; by defaulting to filing ‘GPS Direct’ routings, and in some cases, by not having mastered the new ICAO flight plan format required for all IFR flight plans. It’s easy to imagine how each of these elements, multiplied through all the flight plans filed every afternoon in an airspace like the Northeast U.S. can gum up the works and slow things down, while the airspace managers have to sort it out. Thus, File Accurately.
The NAS factor: FileSmart wants us to get in the habit of checking NAS status just as we check weather and NOTAMs, and responding to what we find in the same way. “Just a mouse click away”, they say, and it’s almost true. www.fly.faa.gov is the place to start, then check under the Products section, for the specific sites that can tune you in (OK, so it’s three mouse clicks). It seems fair to observe that many of us are operating without these tools in our bag, so time to ‘get hip’.
If you haven’t already, give these suggestions a try. At the end of the day, you will decide whether there is a practical benefit based on the times, places and frequencies that you fly.