Flight Log XL - VFR easy planner
FlightLog XL is a software application written for Microsoft Excel2000® and needs it to be installed on your computer in order to work.
FlightLog XL comes as a self-extracting file that can be freely downloaded from the Internet at the site www.flightlogxl.com .
When the executable file, called FlightLogXL.exe, is opened, a form is shown where you'll be prompted to specify the position where the program will be saved on your computer (the default path 'C:\' is supplied).
Clicking the 'Unzip' button, a directory named FlightLog XL will be created and filled with the following files:
FlightLogXL.xls It's the Excel® worksheet containing the actual program
Wmm.cof It's the geomagnetic model file
FlXL_Help_ita.htm It's the Italian-language Help file
FlXL_Help_eng.htm It's the English-language Help file (the one you are reading)
To start FlightLog XL just open the file ‘FlightLogXL.xls’ (double click). Microsoft Excel® is launched and the program executed.
Depending on your Excel settings, you could be asked whether or not activating Macros. For FlightLog XL to work it's absolutely necessary that Macros be activated.
The starting screen shows a brief disclaimer that can be viewed in Italian or English language. The language you select at this point will be retained for program execution and determines the language for the error messages that FlightLog XL can generate and for the Help the program will show.
When you close the disclaimer window by clicking the OK button the Flight Log is ready for filling in.
user can input data on green cells and shouldn't write on all other cells.
1) Input the date of flight on the upper left side of the sheet
2) Input the ground speed you want the log to be computed for. FlightLog XL takes into account of climb and descent performance of the airplane computing some default parameters that depend on the selected speed. If you wish to modify these parameters, introducing those specific for your aircraft, click on the “Aircraft …” button.
3) Move the cursor on the first row of the log (row no. 6 of the Excel sheet) clicking on column A. Click the arrow on the Waypoint list box and choose from the dropdown list the waypoint you want to start the navigation from. The list will only show the type of Waypoints selected by the corresponding option button: simple waypoints (geographical points), airports or radio aids (VOR or NDB).
4) Click on the arrow inside VOR and NDB list boxes, selecting the radio aids useful for the navigation on that point. The program calculates on which VOR/NDB radial the waypoint lies. Input the altitude to be kept over that point.
5) Enter the altitude in feet to be kept over that point.
6) Select the next row and start again from point 3).
The program computes the magnetic bearing to be kept on the directional gyro to get to the point, the distance to the point in nautical miles and the time needed to reach the point at the chosen ground speed.
Here follow, in detail, the instructions related to the different parts and functions of FlightLog XL.
FlightLog XL was born 'for fun' as a simple program to plan a VFR flight without having to manually gather the route and distance information from the geographical chart and manually write them down on a paper log to keep in the cockpit during flight.
The FlightLog XL printout is a paper report of the flight log substantially identical to what you should obtain filling out manually the traditional planning form.
The purpose to
avoid the manual phase of the flight planning is to eliminate the possible
mistakes while collecting and rewriting heading and distance dat
The FlightLog XL working relies on a database of waypoints that can be either simple geographical points of known coordinates or airfields or VOR/NDB radio stations.
Of all of these points, FlightLog XL must know the geographical coordinates and possibly other suitable information like radio frequencies for airports and radio aids or the field elevation and so on.
Any added information on airports ad radio aids used in the log of a particular flight is automatically printed on the log itself, in order to supply the pilot with all (or nearly all!) the planning information he needs.
The pilot will only have to input, once for all, the data concerning any single point that he'll be able to re-use any other time.
FlightLog XL is distributed by the author under the GNU/GPL license. It is allowed to copy and redistribute the program, provided it is transferred on its entireness and not partially.
It's important to understand that the use of FlightLog XL does not relieve the pilot from the responsibility to check all the data on the log; both the ones already available inside the program, like waypoint lists, and the ones generated by the program through calculations. It is clear that a mistake entering a waypoint coordinate would affect calculations related to the track from and to that point, and the pilot should become aware of that before flying, by checking the sense of what printed.
The author doesn't supply any warranty and doesn't assume any responsibility on data retrieved using FlightLog XL.
Please refer to the License agreement section of this manual for copyright and distribution information.
The date when the flight is going to take place must be entered in the green cell on the upper left corner in the format DD/MM/YY.
It's an important piece of information because it allows the program to calculate the magnetic declination, which varies with time, to determine the magnetic heading starting from the geographical one.
Dates preceding the current date won't be accepted.
FlightLog XL calculates the log for a given ground speed that the pilot issues.
In this version the program disregards wind effects.
The Ground Speed the program uses for planning calculations is supposed to be constant during the level flight, while a decrease is calculated for climb and descent phases. The Ground Speed of the airplane in level flight must be entered in the specific green cell on the top of the log.
Information related to the selected waypoints or radio aids are shown on the row that is active at the moment.
To make a row active you must click on the first column of the row itself, or move the cursor on it using the arrow keys.
A red border surrounding it marks the active row. Any selection or modification made will reflect on this row only.
It is possible to enter and recall four different kinds of waypoints on the first column of FlightLog XL.
1) Simple Waypoints:
these are geographical points like cities or reporting points and no other information is associated to them except geographical coordinates.
It's possible to select them by activating the option button 'Waypoint' and clicking the arrow inside the listbox in the first column. A dropdown list will appear from which you'll be able to select the desired waypoint.
If the waypoint is not in the list yet, just enter it by clicking the 'Waypoints …' button. The Waypoint Manager form will be displayed and the entered data will be saved in the Waypoints sheet.
these are either airports or airfields.
It's possible to select them by activating the option button 'Airfield' and clicking the arrow inside the listbox in the first column. A dropdown list will appear from which you'll be able to select the desired airfield.
In addition to coordinates (to be found on Jeppesen charts or Bottlang), some more information has to be entered which are the ICAO identifier, the type of air traffic control to establish contact with on the radio (AFIS, TWR, …), the radio frequency, the available runways and the field elevation in feet.
The additional information on the airports selected for a particular flight will be printed in a specific box on the log to be available during flight. See 'Airfield Info'.
Airfield data are entered through the Waypoint Manager form shown by clicking the 'Waypoints…' button and saved into the Airfields sheet.
see below …
see below …
VORs are the VHF radio beacons. It's possible to use them as waypoints that it's easy to point to with the help of instruments by selecting them in the waypoints column or use them as stations from which to get a magnetic bearing to check the flight progression.
In the first case select them from the waypoints list clicking the down-arrow of the listbox in the log's first column, after selecting the 'VOR' option button among the others placed above the listbox itself.
In the latter case select them on the active row in the VOR column clicking on the proper listbox and choosing from the dropdown list.
The value shown in bold by the program in the ‘radial’ column, is the magnetic VOR radial the airplane is on when overflying the waypoint shown on the selected row (magnetic bearing FROM the station or QDR).
Setting the instrument OBS on this value you'll get the index centred when overflying the waypoint.
DME: (from rel.5.0.0)
The value written in the lower part of the ‘radial’ column, preceded by a D, is the DME distance of the waypoint from the DME station co-located with the selected VOR (VORDME).
The DME distance is the ‘slant’ distance in nautic miles shown by the DME receiver (Distance Measuring Equipment), when available on board.
To calculate the DME distance the program needs to know the flight level of the airplane, to be entered in the ‘Alt’ column, and the VOR elevation, that is its height above ground, to be entered among the VOR data in the waypoint manager.
If either of these piece of information is missing, the DME-distance box shows a small red triangle with a short comment that explains the error.
VORs have the following information associated, retrievable from Jeppesen charts, in addition to coordinates:
3-letter code (Ident), Morse code, radio frequency, elevation (height above terrain).
The additional information on the radio beacons selected for a particular flight will be printed in a specific box on the log to be available during flight. See 'VOR Info'.
VOR data are entered through the Waypoint Manager form shown by clicking the 'Waypoints…' button and saved into the VOR sheet.
Starting from FlightLog XL version 2.2, it is possible to show a second VOR column, thus relying for navigation on two VORs and one NDB for each waypoint of the route. This function is particularly helpful on aircraft provided with two NAV receivers and so two VOR indicators.
To show the second VOR column just select the “Show VOR2” checkbox located on the VOR1 column (see figure above).
To make the selection of radioaids quicker, from version 2.2 the button “As Previous” is available on VOR and NDB columns, which allows to select on the current row the radioaid already selected for the previous row.
NDBs are the non-directional radio beacons. It's possible to use them as waypoints that it's easy to point to with the help of instruments by selecting them in the waypoints column or use them as stations from which to get a magnetic bearing to check the flight progression.
In the first case select them from the waypoints list clicking the down-arrow of the listbox in the log's first column, after selecting the 'NDB' option button among the others placed above the listbox itself.
In the latter case select them on the active row in the NDB column clicking on the proper listbox and choosing from the dropdown list.
The value calculated by the program in the '(QDR)' column is the bearing FROM the station that the airplane gets when it overflies the waypoint shown on the selected row. Turning the instrument knob so that the airplane actual heading value is on the 12 hours, the indicator's TAIL will show the value printed on the log in this column. This is also true if an RMI or HIS is available, with the obvious difference that no manual setting will be needed.
NDBs have the following information associated, retrievable from Jeppesen charts, in addition to coordinates:
3-letter code (Ident), Morse code and, obviously, radio frequency.
The additional information on the radio beacons selected for a particular flight will be printed in a specific box on the log to be available during flight. See 'NDB Info'.
NDB data are entered through the Waypoint Manager form shown by clicking the 'Waypoints…' button and saved into the NDB sheet.
To make the selection of radioaids quicker, from version 2.2 the button “As Previous” is available on VOR and NDB columns, which allows to select on the current row the radioaid already selected for the previous row.
In the 'Alt' column you'll have to enter the altitude in feet to be kept over the waypoint.
If the point is an airport, it will be helpful entering here the traffic circuit altitude.
FlightLog XL also uses altitude in the magnetic declination computing and for climb and descent performance calculations. See 'Declination Computing and Geomagnetic model' for any further information about this subject.
It's the heading to be kept on the directional gyro or on the compass to get to the selected waypoint coming from the previous one (disregarding wind effect).
It is calculated algebraically subtracting the magnetic declination from the true heading (geographical).
It is worth pointing out that FlighLogXL calculates the heading by ‘great circle’ formulae, that is considering an ‘orthodromic’ path, which is the shortest. The heading shown is the initial outgoing heading from the starting Waypoint which is not constant, as in the case of a loxodromic path. Nevertheless, considering the short distances between two Waypoints in a route, it is possible to disregard the error and consider the heading constant all along the route with very good approximation. Calculating the loxodromic path instead, would have made the program inaccurate getting next to the poles.
The formulae used for geodetic calculations are the Ed Williams’ work http://www.best.com/~williams/avform.htm, and we want to thank him.
It is the distance, expressed in nautical miles, which separates the considered waypoint from the previous one. As the magnetic heading, it's calculated by the same set of geodetic formulae.
In the distance column header (Leg Dst) the total distance of the flight is shown (TOT DST).
It's the time, in minutes, that the airplane will take to cover the Along Track Distance, disregarding the wind effect and flying at the speed entered in the 'Estimated ground speed' cell. During climb and descent, the program calculates a proper ground speed decrease.
In the time column header (Leg Time) the total flight time is shown (TOT TIME).
This column is not compiled by the program and remains blank for the pilot to check waypoints during the flight. It's also helpful to mark, during flight, the future reporting points that the traffic control asks for, in such a way that the pilot doesn't forget them.
These columns are left blank by the program for the pilot to fill them in during flight as in a traditional manual flight log.
This box contains information on the selected airports, entered by the user in the Waypoint Manager form shown by clicking on the 'Waypoints …' button, that can be retrieved from Bottlang.
The information is the ICAO identifier of the airport, the air traffic control to be contacted (AFIS, TWR, Radio …), the radio frequency of the airport, the runway or runways available and the field elevation on the sea level expressed in feet.
This box is printed on the paper log so that the information related to all of the airfields touched during the flight is quickly available for the pilot.
This window shows the frequencies of the Air Traffic Services (ATS) affected by the route.
The ATS frequencies are picked up from the information associated to the Waypoints as, for any single Waypoint, it is possible to specify the airspace it belongs to. See The ‘ATS Information’ section of the Waypoint Manager for further information on this subject.
These boxes contain information on VOR and NDB radio aids selected in the flight log, entered by the user in the Waypoint Manager form shown by clicking on the 'Waypoints …' button, that can be retrieved from Jeppesen charts.
The information is the station 3-letter identifier, the Morse code (automatically generated by the program) and the station transmission frequency.
This box is printed on the paper log so that the information related to all of the radio aids selected for the flight is quickly available for the pilot.
In the upper-right box next to the Ground Speed cell, the pilot can write down TakeOff and Landing time.
In the same box the program shows the aeronautical sunrise/sunset time considering sunrise on the first waypoint of the log (supposed to be the one where takeoff takes place) and sunset on the last airport selected on the log (supposed to be the landing airport).
Ephemeris are recalculated upon variation of the 'date of flight' issued.
Caution: UTC time is used (i.e. referred to the Greenwich time zone); the pilot has to take into account the time-zone difference at his location and possibly the daylight-saving time.
From version 3.0, FlightLog XL takes into account climb and descent performance of the airplane for a more accurate computing of times.
Climb and descent parameters are automatically calculated by the program whenever the planning speed (Ground Speed) is modified, using default values reasonable for the average general aviation low-performance planes.
It is however possible, other than advisable for a better planning, to personalize climb and descent parameters entering them into the “aircraft data & parameters” mask (figure below), shown by clicking on the “Aircraft…” button.
Although aeronautics should be the world of standards, getting aboard an airplane, even if identical to another we are accustomed to, it’s unfortunately very common running up against instruments calibrated using plenty different measures, for reasons that spread from installation at different times, to the original registration of the aircraft in a foreign country. Thus we happen to get by radio a QNH in hectopascal and to have an altimeter calibrated in “inches of mercury” (!), or to have a checklist in knots but to read an anemometer in mph. Or we happen to pilot an airglider where all the unit of measurement are metric (hurrah!). All this stuff is in shameful contrast with the need for standardization and safety in aeronautics but, that’s it: “the good thing about standards is that everyone can choose the one he likes most”!
In FlightLog XL the main parameter that calculations are based upon is the Ground Speed which is, for clarity, always expressed in knots on the main sheet.
To make pilots’ life easier, anyway, in this mask for flight parameters it is possible to use different units of measurement, by selecting them in the boxes on the top separately for horizontal speeds and for climb and descent rates.
Switching from one unit to another, FlightLog XL makes the proper conversions.
For our purposes, and disregarding wind effect, it coincides with the Ground Speed of the airplane in level flight, used to plan the flight and written on the main sheet.
The ground speed, in this mask, is expressed in the unit selected above but, on the main sheet, it is always converted and printed in knots.
The climb and descent rates:
They are the vertical speeds (those read on the variometer) assumed by the aircraft during climb (Climb Rate) and descent (Descent Rate).
Note that FlightLog XL considers the climb rate constant throughout the whole climb, disregarding the actual decrease it suffers with the increase of the flight level. Thus, when you enter the climb rate of your airplane, it is advisable to use a value related to an intermediate flight-level among those reached during that specific flight.
The “Reset Defaults” button:
It allows to reset the values that FlightLog XL sets by default:
Climb Speed = 85% of the Cruising Speed, Descent Speed = Cruising Speed, Climb Rate = Descent Rate = 500fpm.
It closes the mask saving values on the “Aircraft” sheet.
All data regarding waypoints, airports and radio aids are saved on different sheets of the Microsoft Excel® Workbook.
To enter or modify
To enter a new Waypoint you have to select its type in the Wpt Type frame on the left side and fill in the relevant text boxes starting from the name to be given to the Waypoint itself.
The input boxes in this form are enabled or disabled by the program depending upon the type of waypoint to be entered. For example, when the user selects a simple waypoint, all the input boxes not significant for a waypoint are disabled (see figure above).
When moving the mouse pointer on input boxes and buttons, a brief help text is shown to assist in the data input.
When finished just click the ‘Add/Modify WPT’ button, or press ‘CLOSE’ to quit the current input.
To modify a Waypoint you have to select it from the dropdown list shown by clicking on the down arrow in the Name box. The list will contain only Waypoints of the type selected in the frame on the left: that is, it will only contain simple Waypoints or only Airfields or only VOR or NDB radiobeacons.
Once you have selected the desired Waypoint it is possible to modify its fields (except for the name) and then to save it clicking ‘Add/Modify WPT’.
Please note that the name of a Waypoint identifies it in the list and so, if you modify the name, a new Waypoint will be saved instead of the selected one modified.
The only way to modify the name of a Waypoint is to select it, change its name and save it, and later delete from the list the Waypoint with the old name (see below).
Recall the Waypoint to be deleted selecting it from the dropdown list shown by clicking the down arrow in the Name box. The list will contain only Waypoints of the type selected in the frame on the left: that is, it will only contain simple Waypoints or only Airfields or only VOR or NDB radiobeacons.
Once selected, click the “DEL Wpt …” button to cancel it from the list.
The button “Erase Wpt List …” allows you to cancel the whole Waypoints list of the type selected in the Wpt Type frame on the left. It will then be possible to erase in a single shot all the geographical Waypoints or all the Airfields or all the VORs or NDBs.
FlightLogXL allows, starting from release 2.0, to export on a file the Waypoints previously entered or to import them from a file which has formerly been created through the Export functionality.
In this way the user can save his own personal lists of Waypoints / Airfields / Radioaids and re-import them in future versions of the program, or make his lists available to other FlightLog XL users (see below).
The “Export Wpt List …” button allows to save on a file the list of Waypoint of the type selected in the Wpt Type frame. The program asks for a file name to save the list that can be freely chosen by the user. The only mandatory part of the name is the file extension (the three letters following the dot) which must correspond to the following scheme:
.wpt simple waypoints (that is geographical points)
.vor Vor radiobeacons
.ndb Ndb radiobeacons
The “Import Wpt List …” button allows the user to import a list of Waypoints previously exported from FlightLogXL. In this case the extension of the selected file will identify the type of Waypoints to load. Selecting a file with the .afd extension means to import Airfields, aside from the type selected in the Wpt Type frame.
The “Import Wpt List …” button also allows, from version 4.1.0, to import waypoints in GPX format (see below).
Starting from version 4.1.0 FlightLogXL allows to import waypoints in GPX format generated by other programs or downloaded from some Internet sites.
There are also Internet sites which give the opportunity to download waypoint collections in GPX format, as the great GPX Aviation Waypoint Generator by Paul Tomblin which can generate a GPX waypoint archive related to a specific area.
A GPX file may contain geographic waypoints, airports and radioaids contemporarily.
To import a GPX file in FlightLogXL you just have to select in the Import form the GPX format, as shown below.
The Waypoint lists belong to the Excel Workbook. All Waypoint additions or changes are then memorized along with the Excel sheet when it gets saved.
The program does not allow to cancel a single add/change operation but it is clear that exiting Excel without saving means to cancel all of the changes or additions made to the Waypoint lists.
Beginning from 4.0 release, the ‘Waypoint Manager’ mask contains a new section related to airspace information.
To show and hide the ‘ATS Information’ section, click on the ‘Show Airspace Info >>>’ button, well visible on the bottom part of the mask.
In this section it is possible to link the selected Waypoint to the proper airspace it belongs to; selecting the airspace on the ‘ATS Name’ box and saving the Waypoint by the ‘Add/Modify WPT’ button, the information associated with the Waypoint will include the pertaining ATS, whose frequency to be contacted during flight will be printed in the ‘ATS Info’ window.
The adding and managing of the ATS services take place like the corresponding functions relative to Waypoints.
See ahead for a brief explanation about any single control.
It allows to select the ATS type among the following:
- FIC (Flight Information Centre), the ATS which controls a FIR (Flight Information Region) airspace, for example ‘London Information’
- ACC (Area Control Centre), the ATS which controls a CTA (Control Area), an AWY (Airway) or a TMA (Terminal Area), for example ‘Alexander Control’
- APP (Approach Control Centre), the ATS which controls a CTR (Control Traffic Region), for example ‘Georgetown Approach’
It allows to enter the name of an ATS. The user will enter the complete name for the ATS, like ‘London Information’ for a FIC, ‘Georgetown Approach’ for an APP and so on.
Enter here the radio frequency for the ATS. It will be displayed inside the ‘ATS Info’ window on the Log.
They work like the corresponding buttons in the Waypoint section but they just affect the ATS list.
The lists of ATS are exported on files whose extension is ‘.ats’ .
Starting from release 4.0 the ‘Waypoint Manager’ window has a new feature to create a new Waypoint “relative” to a known one, by supplying ‘polar’ coordinates, that is distance and course to reach the new Waypoint starting from the reference Wpt.
By clicking on the ‘Relative Wpt’ button, a mask pops up showing the following controls to let the user enter a new Relative Waypoint:
It’s the name of the Waypoint taken as a reference, that is the one selected in the Waypoint Manager, to be used as a starting point to create the new Wpt.
It’s the name of the new Waypoint to be created.
Enter here the distance from the Reference Waypoint to the new Waypoint. The distance may be expressed in nautical miles, in kilometres or in statute miles according to which option button is selected on the right-hand side.
It’s the course, in degrees, to reach the new Waypoint starting from the Reference Waypoint. It may be a “true” course (reckoned from a chart) or a magnetic course, in accordance to the proper option button selected on the right-hand side of the box.
It’s advisable to supply a true course as the computation of a new Waypoint through a magnetic course is necessarily less accurate.
Anyway, the creation of Relative Waypoints has to be used on short distances only, to avoid the errors committed by measuring distance and angle from becoming relevant.
By clicking on ‘OK’ the window is closed and the name and coordinates of the new Waypoint are written in the ‘Waypoint Manager’ mask. Now it is possible to fill-in the remaining fields and confirm the input.
The FlightLog XL web site (www.flightlogxl.com) contains a section to download Waypoint lists related to specific zones. In this section are present Waypoint lists that other users have freely made available to everyone, in the friendly cooperation spirit that characterizes all the public domain software.
Those who appreciate and use FlightLogXL are strongly encouraged to make available Waypoint lists they have created for themselves. The lists will be as useful to other users as they are complete for the covered zone.
Please export and send the author (email@example.com) your Waypoint databases. They will be published on the web site reporting your name. It will be highly appreciated the contribution of those who will send, for a given zone, the four files containing simple Waypoints, Airfields, VORs and NDBs; for example: “North California.wpt”, “North California.afd”, “North California.vor” and “North California.ndb”.
Thanks to anybody will cooperate!
Clicking this button, the current row (the one surrounded by a red border) is deleted and the following rows are shifted upward.
Clicking this button all the log rows are cancelled, the information boxes are cleared and the flight log is ready for starting again with a new planning.
It's the button that allows printing the flight log at the end of the input work. Clicking on it, the program asks for a name for the log that will be printed as a title on the page. Then the standard Excel mask for printer selection is shown. Clicking OK the flight log is sent to the printer.
Shows this file opening the default browser.
FlightLog XL doesn't provide, at the moment, for the possibility to save a planning with a specific internal command. Nevertheless, the log obtained is just a normal Microsoft Excel® Workbook that can be saved by specifying a name.
The user who might want to save the flight planning for the flight Wichita - Tulsa could save the whole workbook selecting the menu command 'File->Save as …' and choosing a proper name for the flight log, for example 'FL Wichita-Tulsa'.
This implies some disk memory wasting but, for modern machines, this really represents a little problem.
In order to calculate routes and distances among different points, FlightLog XL has got the need to know the exact position on the terrestrial globe of any significant point present in the log.
For all of the waypoints that the program saves, either simple waypoints or airfields or radio aids, the geographical coordinates have to be specified. It is upon the accuracy of these coordinates that the precision of FlightLog XL's calculations depends.
The coordinates of any single saved waypoint are entered trough the input form displayed clicking the 'Waypoints…' button.
The angular distance from the equator, measured at the centre of Earth, is called the Latitude. It can assume values from 0 to +90° (Northern latitudes) and from 0 to –90° (Southern latitudes).
distance from the
There are at least 3 different notations to express coordinates, two of which are most frequently used.
In the first
notation, coordinates are expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds. The three
values are, in this case, integer numbers; for example 45°
In the second notation, degrees, minutes and decimal of minutes are indicated. The number expressing minutes is an integer value, while minutes are expressed as a decimal value, generally indicating decimals and centesimal of minute; for example 45° 31.24’. As one centesimal of minute is a smaller angle than one second, this notation is often preferred because it allows a better precision.
It's important to note the difference between these two different ways to express coordinates 'cause it's quite easy to confuse them and consider seconds what are centesimal and vice-versa. The most of GPS receivers, for example, can be set to indicate coordinates in any of the two methods.
The third notation for coordinates only expresses degrees with a decimal number. For example the value 45.342° is equal to 45° 20.52’. This kind of notation is used in some Internet sites where it is possible to retrieve the geographical coordinates of a given place.
FlightLog XL's data input mask accepts coordinates expressed in any of the three formats above mentioned.
If the user, during data input, enters a decimal value of degrees, it is automatically converted into integer degrees, minutes, decimals and centesimal.
If coordinates are entered in degrees, minutes and decimals, it won't be possible to specify seconds and the program prompts for this when the user tries to confirm the input.
Airport coordinates are always retrievable from Bottlang pages; VOR and NDB coordinates are listed on Jeppesen charts; coordinates of geographical localities can be found in some Internet sites like 'mapblast' (www.mapblast.com) for the USA.
The entire flight planning made by FlightLog XL relies upon the precision that coordinates are expressed with.
Starting from coordinates of the entered points, FlightLog XL calculates geographical routes, that is, referred to the true North and not to the magnetic North. To obtain the magnetic heading to be displayed on the log, the program must know the magnetic declination at all the points on the route, at the indicated flight altitude.
It's very important for FlightLog XL to keep declination into account because planning a flight in some geographical areas without considering declination, could lead to unacceptable errors.
The magnetic declination, that is the difference between true heading and magnetic heading, varies in time and space according to undefined rules, whose long-term progress can be considered substantially random.
To determine the magnetic declination for a point through mathematical calculations is thus indispensable to resort to a model, which represents the progress of the earth magnetic field all over the surface of the globe.
There are fundamentally two models, called geomagnetic models, which describe the earth magnetic field. The first one issued by the US NOAA () and the second, called the WMM (World Magnetic Model, http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/seg/potfld/DoDWMM.shtml) mastered by the US Department Of Defence.
Between the two models, both of public domain, FlightLog XL uses the latter for the simple reason that it's the same used by all GPS receivers.
The WMM is based on earth magnetic field measuring at an high number of sites on the whole globe and on its mathematical representation through a series of characteristic values listed in a file (Wmm.cof) which has a five-year validity. The program starting from data contained in this file makes the highly complex calculation of declination.
The model file used at the moment is distributed along with FlightLog XL and must reside in the same directory that contains the Excel sheet itself.
Every 5 years (2000, 2005 …) an updated geomagnetic model is released and the file must therefore be replaced.
FlightLog XL prompts at start-up when the geomagnetic model is out of date and has to be updated; in this case just download the latest version of the program from www.flightlogxl.com .
release 5.1.0 a survey system to check the satisfaction among FlightLogXL’s users has been introduced, in order to gather
statistic data on the program’s usage and to facilitate sending opinions and
comments by the users which, up to April-2008, have reached over
When a Log is printed for the first time, the program shows a form that the user can fill to express his/her satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 5, also adding a brief comment to be sent to the author.
The survey is shown just once for each release of the program.
The data are collected for statistic purposes only and are not released to third parties for any reason.
Flight Log XL – VFR easy planner
Copyright (C) 2001-2008 Andrea Moressi – Milano, Italy
This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU
General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free
Software Foundation, Inc.,
For any further information concerning this program please contact the author by e-mail at the address firstname.lastname@example.org .