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I would be interested to learn how GA Flight planning tools work regarding the calculation of the necessary information for flight plans where you usually would use the manual charts (performance, endurance, range...) How do these platforms provide this info? Most of the info for old planes is from the 50,60s where no digital data has been provided and manufacturers don't give away these data usually. And data like performance, endurance etc is aircraft specific and necessary to do the right calculations when I do it manually.

My goal is to provide a platform to do it digitially. What do you think is the right approach to provide data like this to the platform.

When I start planning for a flight, charts in the manual are needed to plan properly (Landing and takeoff lengths, enroute information, endurance, range) This is mostly provided just as a chart and would be great to work digitally with.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can you be specific about what information in the flight plan you are looking for? Usually this is pretty basic, things like fuel required, time enroute, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Oct 14 '16 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ just edited the question. $\endgroup$
    – sesc360
    Oct 14 '16 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ In my experience, these tools just ask the pilot to enter a few key performance numbers and then use some very simple, generic calculations to generate the flight plan. That's good enough for most purposes in GA, and it means the tool provider doesn't have to provide the aircraft performance data. If you create an account on fltplan.com or 1800wxbrief.com and play around with aircraft settings you'll see what I mean. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Oct 14 '16 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ The non-digital manufacturer data provided in the form of charts or tables can be analyzed with regression analysis to develop fairly accurate performance models, a single formula to predict takeoff distance given inputs of density altitude, weight, slope, etc., for example. I have done this with many of the older aircraft I have flown; I don't know if that is what the developers of flight planning software use, however. $\endgroup$
    – J Walters
    Oct 14 '16 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ Garmin Pilot requires that I enter my fuel burn (in gallons per hour) for my aircraft. It uses that to calculate fuel required, but doesn't account for things like holding on the ground, taxi, take-off or landing. Endurance is simple from that (capacity/burn=range in hours * speed = range in miles). Take off and landing lengths are not part of a flight plan (but you do have to know it). $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Oct 14 '16 at 19:18
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Many of the modern flying apps like Foreflight do most if not all of these calculations for you once you have programmed your aircraft parameters in. As mentioned in my answer to your other question a good deal of this data is specific to the plane. W&B is specific to every aircraft and will vary depending on how the plane is setup. Things like takeoff performance and fuel burn are generally similar for an airframe but since some aircraft have multiple propellor or engine configurations available there is a variance in the numbers. Foreflight allows you to program in climb, cruise and decent fuel burn and will calculate fuel usage for you. If you have target airspeed (climb, cruise, decent) in it will calculate time en-route for you, and you can select your altitude for wind/heading calculations. The only thing I'm not sure foreflight does is takeoff distance (yet).

I have not spent any time behind a G1000 yet but I am under the impression that the various newer glass panel options can do some of these calculations as well.

Larger aircraft have FMS systems to aid in a great deal of this once you get out of the GA world.

You could try and digitize some of the functions within some of the more common POH's (C172, the various Cherokees, C150 etc) but that would not technically be legal for flight since its not the POH for the specific airframe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Dave! Great answer and thanks for taking the time! This helped quite a lot. $\endgroup$
    – sesc360
    Oct 15 '16 at 7:04

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