automatic routing: airspace config
I still do not find the adequate flight levels using Automatic Routing. For a planned flight which I normally do above 6000'MSL Automatic routing suggests all the way on 1400'MSL. I have to admit that I do not know all the airspace abbreviation you click off or on before starting the Automatic Routing. Do you have somewhere a glossary on those used config criteria? I can only guess that putting my flight on such a low level has to do with airspace setting in my Automatic Routing configuration.
When you have the automatic routing screen there is a button topright that should have a question mark (but is now some random character due to multilanguage setup, thats fixed in the upcoming version).
When you tap that you get a list of airspace abbreviations and what they mean :
Note that when you have the option "Lowest Terrain" enabled then EV4 will try to find the route following the lowest possible terrain. This can be used for example to find the "marginal weather" route. This is also the default setting, so probably effecting your route too?
As an example to investigate, can you give the route you used in the example ?
Thanks a lot, Rob. I never looked at that 'Help" button, which is a 'Y' in my case. - On the other hand, unchecking the lowest terrain button und re-running the automatic routing brings up the same unsatisfactory result as you can see (see the png-files in the attachment). You will see the first and last part of the routing from EDKB to EDWF. In the last sections the suggested flight level never leaves 1400 ft AMSL
Dohle, I think you are misunderstanding how the system works.
If you enter your departure and destination (only) then run the autorouter with the "lowest terrain" active, it will seek a route via low terrain. That gives the route you show (assuming you have left the "Minimum cruise AGL" to the default 500' - I would prefer to set 1,000'!). That has now become your planned route. If you then turn OFF the "lowest terrain and just re-run the autorouter, it starts from the (lowest-level) route it has already created. Not surprisingly, given this valley-following route as its starting point, it concludes that there is no need to change any legs, and that you can indeed fly that route without needing to increase any altitudes from what it showed you in the previous attempt.
If you want to see a route that is NOT constrained to following valleys, you need to go back to the main route planning screen and delete all waypoints it has created between your departure point and your destination, THEN "accept" this new direct route you have just created (to turn it from yellow to mauve) THEN run the autorouter again. Now it will start from scratch and work out an entirely new route from departure to destination and not subject to teh need to minimise altitude. That will generate a route with legs at between 1,900 and 2,400'
Of course normally you can go direct to this solution just by starting with the departure and destination specified (plus any intermediate points you want to force it to use), then run the autorouter with the "lowest terrain" option NOT activated.
To look at it another way, the autorouter *adds* intermediate waypoints as necessary to the route you created before running it, it never removes or changes any point you have already specified
Thank you, Stewart! It feels good to learn some details of this useful software. In fact, I turned the "lowest terrain" option OFF before trying to put autorouting at work again. But I understand now that I would have to delete first hand the (low level) waypoints before the new autorouting attempt. My hope was that the software would always look for the highest possible level within my configuration (max 9500ft MSL and C/D airspace avoidance) although I have to start my flight low under the approach airspace of Cologne airport..
As you suggested, I deleted the former waypoints and activated again autorouting (with "lowest terrain" option OFF). Now EVFR4 suggests to fly almost all the way at 1900ft MSL and still prefers to go west of Duesseldorf which is an unpractical detour.
Can I somehow convince EVFR4 to look for the highest possible flight level? The detour-problem seems to me not that difficult to solve if I drag the flight path more to the east.
It was a learning experience for me, too - I had never played with the autorouter before! I think you can change the routing round Dusseldorf if you insert a waypoint east of Dusseldorf before starting the autoroute.
I think the only way to force it to take a higher level route is to increase the "minimum cruise altitude" setting rather than the default 500ft. But as I have no previous experience of the autorouter I cannot give any advice of the pros and cons of doing it that way, so I'd be interested to hear how you get on.
Perhaps the best solution for a software like EVFR could be to suggest in autorouting results a band of flight levels (f.ex. in the nothern part of my itinery: 500' AGL - 9500' MSL / instead of 1900' MSL) as a solution within the given preselected autorouting parameters from which pilots can chose their specific level.
I agree with you that in general (weather and airspace permitting) higher is safer (and quieter for those on the ground!) and I tend to fly high so long as it does not result in excessive headwinds (though flying here in southern england there is so much mid and higher level controlled airspace that most routes are impossible above 2,500ft.)
If you wanted the autoroute to fly high but to accept lower level legs where needed to pass under some airspace (eg near EGKB) you could insert a waypoint in a position that can only be reached by underflying that airspace before running the autoroute, with a high "minimum altitude" setting?
I don't know anything of the inner workings of the current autoroute algorithms so I have no idea how much work might be involved in providing alternative solutions, but as the present output from the autoroute is a route fed directly into the flight planning stage, which inherently has a fixed altitude for each leg, I think that a solution that instead generated a range of altitudes might require a significant change in approach, and so is unlikely to be provided in the short term at least.
Perhaps instead a change to be able to set a "do not exceed" altitude and a "fly as high as possible" option, then using a logic similar to the present "fly as low as possible" algorithm could be applied "upside down" to generate a high level route?
Overall, though, I suspect that we do not regard the autorouter as being able to always generate the "best" route, only to create a feasible route that the pilot can use as a starting point to develop his own route.
Thanks, Stu, for the clarification and discussion points. I agree that the link of autorouting to flight plan makes it impossible to offer a flight level range as I suggested. Your idea might be much better, indeed.
Still one question which could be beneficient for the preflight docs: can the autorouting flight level results be manually adjusted? In my table of the different legs the suggested flight level appears in green with a small triangle in the lower right corner - it looks like a number ready for adjustment - although I did not find out how to change it..
Yes, indeed that different colour and the are a sign that it can be edited. Just tap or click on it and it should allow you to edit it (on a phone/tablet a keyboard should appear).
There is also another way to edit it - if you have the VPV (vertical position view) at teh top of teh screen open, you can just "grab" the line and drag it up or down (much like rubberbanding on the map). Doing it this way in the VPV has the advantage that at the same time you have a visual image of the airspace levels so you can take that into account when adjusting.
thank you, Stu. The adjustment via number editing worked finally. If I repeat the editing without giving up too early it finally accepts the new numbers .. ? . The idea with VPV seems good, too.