The Flight Operations Management System (FOMS) is NAVBLUE’s proprietary flight operations management software. It is a complex system comprised of many programs working together. These programs include background applications (flight planning, in-flight revision, fuel/payload analysis, etc.), reports (company/station NOTAMs, weather briefs, flight status reports, etc), and large data files storing data (for aircraft characteristics, airports, routes, performance profiles, ETP policies/scenarios, etc). For NAVBLUE Flight Plan users, FOMS operates transparently behind NAVBLUE Flight Plan, with the exception being instances where data fields are automatically populated by FOMS while flight planning.
Program Number Sequence
NAVBLUE FOMS is not just a single program. It is a complex system made up of more than 150 programs. Some of these are background programs which you will rarely be aware of other than that they "make things happen." Others are file managers which enable you to maintain the dozens of data files that are necessary to make it possible to complete flight plans etc. FOMS is not just a flight planning program it also integrates weather, NOTAMs, and messaging facilities that permit you to do your work from a single terminal.
At the end of the day, the system can generate a variety of reports to facilitate management control over this most critical area of company operations: flight operations.
Messaging facilities are also available which permit the user to transmit to local or remote locations through the system network, SITA, ARINC, AFTN, or FAX.
The Final Flight Plan writes information back to the Flight Status file so that an accurate record of the flight’s statistics may be maintained. As the flight is completed, closing data can be entered, enabling reports on flying time, block time, planned and actual fuel burns, fuel uplift, delays, planned and actual payloads etc. to be created.
A variety of other utility programs are also available to enable dispatchers to solve the sorts of problems they frequently encounter.
FOMS is menu driven, with the various programs grouped on the menu screens. Each program is assigned a menu number and is accessed by entering the number. Some menus have a corresponding web based menu. The web menus have the same functionality as their menu counterpart, see Web FOMS for more information. It is not necessary to ever go to menu level once you are familiar with the system, except perhaps to log in and out, or to refresh your memory on the numbers of programs that you seldom use. The rest of the time you can go directly from one program to the next once you know the numbers.
FOMS is comprised of the following five standardized menus:
Management Menu (Menu 100)
Aircraft Maintenance Menu (Menu 200)
Database Maintenance Menu (Menu 300)
Dispatch Menu (Menu 400)
Communications Menu (Menu 500)
Note: The FOMS help file topics represent the typical access and privileges afforded to users designated as Dispatch Managers/Supervisors. Users with dispatcher privileges will have limited access to a subset of the screens presented. The FOMS access level can be set using the NFP User Administration tool.
There are literally dozens of data files on the system, and each has a program that will allow you to maintain the file. To ease the burden of learning how to use them all, they have been standardized as much as possible so that if you know how one works, you will be able to handle any of them.
Standard FOMS Program Modes
The standard FOMS program modes are:
Add mode allows you to add new records to the data file. Add mode does not allow you to add a duplicate record if you attempt to add a record that is already on file the old one is displayed with a Record Already EXISTS warning. Add is separate from Edit because all files on the system are sorted alphabetically so that data can be retrieved more rapidly by other programs. It also establishes a privilege difference between the two functions.
You cannot edit the key to a record. Generally speaking all other data in a file can be edited, although limits and checks are implemented as much as possible to help avoid finger trouble. If you want to know what the acceptable range of an entry is, just enter a value that is obviously wrong. To be able to change the key values of a record (for example, the key for a flight record consists of the flight number, day of departure, and origin Airport identifier) you have to delete the incorrect record, and add a new one.
Some information gets used hundreds of times in other files (for example an airport may be used in SIDs, STARs, ENTRIES, EXITS, City-Pair Routes, or as the Alternate for another airport). Deleting one airport could corrupt countless other files. In such cases an attempt to delete a record invokes a usage check. This check runs in background and generates a report of every instance where the record to be deleted is referenced in another file. Deletion will not take place unless the usage report comes back empty handed, (for example, after you have eliminated any usage for the record in question).
Video mode is useful for viewing particular records, or if you are trying to locate a particular record. Enter the key and press <Enter> if such a record can be found it is displayed, otherwise a Record Not Found - Press <ENTER> for NEXT AVAILABLE warning is issued and you can view the next record in the file alphabetically. You can use the up and down arrow keys to scroll up and down through the data file, record by record.
Screen mode differs from Video mode in that it displays a range of records, rather than just one at a time. A range selection screen is invoked, and the resulting report is displayed to the screen. Pressing <Enter> causes successive pages of the report to be displayed.
Hardcopy mode works the same as screen mode, with the exception that the report is spooled for printing a hard copy. The spooled print file is then sent to a specified email address, where it can be retrieved and sent to a printer. Alternatively, the system can be configured to create a PDF print file, which NFP will find and then open the PDF in a new browser window. The file can then be sent to a printer.
Quit mode allows you select the number of the program you want to go to next. Just pressing <Enter> takes you back to the last requested menu.
Not all fields have defaults. Range selection fields invariably default to 0 (or A) through to 9999 (or ZZZZZ). If there is no default the program will tell you if the field is mandatory, and will give you an indication of what you are supposed to put in through a prompt on the command line.
From time to time you may find that you have selected a program that you did not want, or you may simply need to exit a program to get to other information, or get back to the command line so that you can select a different mode.
To exit a program/mode, do one of the following:
Press <Enter> on the first field of a screen if it is blank to take you back to the command line provided that the field does not normally permit a default value (e.g., the first fields in Range Selection screens do not allow you to exit this way).
Press the up arrow when the cursor is on the first field of a screen. This field must be blank for this to work, so if you have already entered some information, clear the field with <Ctrl>-X first.
If you are in a Range Selection screen it is often just as quick to press <Enter> several times to get to a confirmation prompt, so that you may respond <Q> for Quit.
Several control functions exist to make it easier to do various tasks within programs. These involve pressing the <Ctrl> key and some other key simultaneously.
<Ctrl>-A: <Ctrl>-A takes the cursor to the next @ symbol on the screen.
<Ctrl>-F: <Ctrl>-F scrolls to the next page, or to moves the cursor to the next logical block in a multiple entry screen such as Send Flight Papers.
<Ctrl>-B: The reverse of <Ctrl>-F; this function moves the cursor back a page.
<Ctrl>-E: A fast way to get out of a data entry screen when you have made as many entries or changes as you need.
Note: <Ctrl>-E does not let you get around the must-enter fields.
<Ctrl>-I: insert a new blank line in a data table such as a route, or in message text.
<Ctrl>-D: Deletes an entire line of text, or the entire line in a table.
<Ctrl>-X: Clears the field that the cursor is in. The difference between <Ctrl>-D and <Ctrl>-X is most evident in the Routes programs (<Ctrl>-D deletes a waypoint, its country code, the type designator, and the flight level, whereas <Ctrl>-X only clears the field that the cursor happens to be on).
<?>: In some fields you must enter information in an exact format and it may not always be obvious what the acceptable options are. Enter a ? in the field, and you can use the up arrow and down arrow keys to cycle through the permissible options.
Note: This is not a circular function; when you reach the upper or lower limit of the applicable file the system notifies you.
Enhanced Search function: The Enhanced Search Function enables you to enter a one or more characters, followed by a <?>. This restricts the search to only those items that start with the characters you entered. For example, if you knew that the waypoint you wanted started AB, you could enter AB? in the field, and the program displays only those waypoints beginning with the letters AB.
In most cases you can move from field to field to field using either <Enter> or the down arrow keys interchangeably. To back up into a previous field you have to use the up arrow key. The left arrow and right arrow keys are reserved for moving the cursor within a line of text. The only place where a distinction is made between the <Enter> and the down arrow keys is in data tables such as airways or routes. In these cases where there are many fields on each line, the down arrow key allows you to step down from line to line (once the cursor reaches the first field in the line), whereas the <Enter> key moves the cursor from field to field across the line. The left arrow and right arrow keys only work if you are editing a line of text, such as in the Network Message program, or in those fields that require such lengthy entries that special editing techniques have been implemented.
Airport Code Interchangeability
Throughout the system four-letter ICAO codes for airports can generally be used interchangeably with three-letter IATA codes. All files that store airport codes as part of their key (for example, city-pair routes, alternates) use the ICAO code and simply look-up the IATA code from a cross reference table for display.
Not all airports have been assigned IATA 3100 codes, and there are a number of duplicates that exist in the IATA system. If you enter an IATA code in an airport entry field, it is translated to the corresponding ICAO code.
There are two principal exceptions to this rule:
where airport codes are being entered to define the range of items in a report: in these cases it is not necessary to enter more than one character, that will be translated as the first character in the ICAO code. For example, if you wanted a hardcopy report for Alternates for Toronto, entering YYZ to YYZ would fail because the program would be looking for Airports with ICAO codes in the range YYZ0 to YYZZ. In these cases you must use ICAO codes.
in the manual route screen of the flight plan, you must use ICAO codes to distinguish the destination, since the entry of a three-letter code will always be assumed to be a waypoint identifier.
To log off of the system, enter <0> or <000> at any prompt for next program/menu number.
Note: This is not a circular function; when you reach the upper or lower limit of the applicable file the system notifies you. Be sure to log out at the end of your shift to ensure that no one else is permitted unauthorized use of the system or uses your identifier.