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Flight Plan Automation Introduction

Note that Flight plan automation functionality needs to be enabled before it can be used.


Flight plan automation gives you the ability to assign events (scheduled actions) to flights that are triggered automatically by the system in order to schedule, plan and execute larger volumes of flights. Flight plan automation is determined primarily through the Automation screen and the Automation Defaults tab.

While a flight is in Automation mode, the system performs actions on it at scheduled points in time. The scheduled time represents an offset relative to the estimated departure time (ETD). The scheduled actions are called automation events. Each event has a Mandatory flag. Throughout its life cycle, a flight may be switched between the Automation and Manual modes. While in Manual mode, it is possible for the flight to miss events due to the event's schedule time being passed. At the time the flight is put back into Automatic mode, the system has the ability to perform unexecuted events even if they are past their scheduled time. Marking an event as Mandatory tells the system to make sure it is performed even if missed.

Automation States

There are three automation states that indicate the on-going status of the flight in question.

  1. Automation In Progress: The flight is currently automated and is waiting for the next scheduled event to commence. This state is represented by the icon.
  2. Automation Exception: The flight is no longer automated due to a problem—not necessarily an error—that was encountered during the completion of one of its scheduled events. This state is represented by the icon.
  3. Manual: The flight is not currently automated. Either the flight was created by a user and has not been switched to automatic mode, or a user has chosen to switch the flight to Manual mode.

Automation Events and Actions

There are two basic actions possible: Compute and Send. These actions can be configured using several options, and can also be set up together as a Compute and Send option. Once an action is paired with a scheduled time, it is considered an event.

While a flight is in Automatic mode, the system executes the scheduled events. Depending on whether an event has been executed or not, and depending on the execution outcome, events may have one of the following statuses.

Pending: Pending execution, indicated by the lack of any mark. The event has not been processed yet by the system.

Successful: Executed successfully, indicated by the green check mark .

Failed: Executed, but failed due to errors, indicated by the red X mark.

Skipped: Skipped, indicated by the gray round strike-out mark . Only events that are not marked as mandatory may end up in having this status.

For events that have either the Successful or Failed status, the list also includes the actual execution time, in ISO format (YYYY-MM-DD hhmm). The user can see details about an automation event status. This information for the selected event is shown on the Information panel.

Compute Actions

The automated compute action computes a pre-existing flight based on the most recent input parameters available. The compute action supports the ability to be retried (executed again) if it fails.

The decision to execute the optional features is determined based on the compute configuration. The compute aspects that can be configured are:

  • specify whether or not the compute is saved
  • specify whether or not an IFPS check is completed after the flight is computed, provided that the flight uses European airspace
  • if the IFPS check fails and the route was defaulted by the action, specify whether or not the system obtains an IFPS compliant route and computes the flight; specify whether an exception is generated if the subsequent compute and/or IFPS check fails
  • specify whether or not a RAIM check is completed after the flight is computed
  • specify whether or not the system generates an exception if the RAIM check fails
  • specify whether or not the system can retry the compute using a MTTA if the compute fails and the route was defaulted by the action to a city-pair route
  • specify whether or not compute inputs that have already been set in a previous compute can be locked so they cannot be changed; this currently only applies to the route
  • specify whether or not an automation exception is raised when any warning is generated
  • specify a list of warnings that, if generated, will cause an automation exception to be raise
  • perform runway analysis, a runway analysis failure will be treated as an automation exception

Contact support to configure your desired compute actions.


Automated Compute for Pending Inputs Only 

If you use the Automated Compute for pending inputs, only flights with pending inputs are computed. For example, if you have your parameters set to Automate Computes at 12, 8, 6 and 2 hours before departure, a new flight plan will be generated every time.  You can add Only If Pending which means a compute is only performed if there are pending inputs (tail swap, payload change, etc). The system still looks at the flight and if there are no pending inputs you will see No Pending Input: Compute Skipped on the Info screen.

Send Actions

The automated send action references the most recent successful compute of a flight. The send supports the ability to send one or more package types including; ATC, ACARS, ATC CHG and Flight Papers. The Send Configuration includes the option to override the Flight Plan Package layout, the ACARS format, and the Address List. Unlike the Compute action, the Send action will not retry itself in the case of failure.

The send aspects that can be configured are:

  • a list of packages to send; ATC, ACARS, ATC CHG, Flight Papers
  • the flight plan package to be used when sending flight papers
  • when the flight plan has changed a message can automatically be sent to ATC
  • the format to use when sending ACARS
  • when a flight plan is sent to ATC and ACARS message can be automatically sent
  • a text string that contains a list of addresses to ‘send to’ instead of the default address list
  • The last five items in the send aspect list are optional overrides. If left out, the system's existing defaults are used.

Contact support to configure your desired compute actions.

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