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CFMU E-Helpdesk

Old 17th Feb 2011, 17:01
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: schermoney and left front seat
Age: 54
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Thanks flowman, now even I understand how it works...

However... I tried one that made me a tad mad whilst planning the other day:

LFMU - EBCI, upper levels (FL390)

IFPUV answer is: DCT. (7 errors) Not very helpful, is it? Does this use the route catalogue?

Thats the route I came up with usinfg our fpl system:


Pretty much zig zag. 560nm vs. 431 overhead - overhead. How good we pay for emmissions to save the planet....apparently no one in France flies South-North, just the other way round.

(sorry for the sarcasm, but....)
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 18:21
  #22 (permalink)  

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Yes, the IFPUV does use the route catalogue. Accepted and acknowledged FPLs ARE added to the route catalogue, routes flown as plotted in ETFMS (the flow management system) are also added.

We just tried the same route in IFPUV, FL390 gave 642nm vs 431 direct
FL 350 gave 583nm vs 431.

One of our FPL supervisors could only manage 559nm using his system plotting the route piece by piece, so IFPUV performed quite well. The zig-zag is all to do with the necessity to avoid military airspace in [email protected], there is a large military area just North of your dep aerodrome and another one in Reims ACC area just West of your destination. So not a shortcoming of the FPL system!

Do you complain that you cannot drive straight over roundabouts? Don't shoot the messenger!

Anyway, the best route between the two aerodromes mentioned that gives you climb to 350 (not 390) as fast as possible is North through Bordeaux, it is 583nm but probably more economical (only you will know that):


Play around with the FL, it makes a difference.

To all other posters, this service will not be repeated so don't start posting routes all over Europe!
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 18:31
  #23 (permalink)  

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Time for some light relief!

Just so that you can see that the French Military are not wasting their time in those huge blocks of airspace that get in your way, here is some REALLY cool flying by them:

YouTube - Maroc Mirage 2003

Best watched at full volume (Musique : Silmarils - On n'est pas comme ca)

Seems they have to do lots of zig-zagging too.

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Old 21st Feb 2011, 12:40
  #24 (permalink)  
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cool vid!

The flight LFMU-EBCI has just been cnl. All this effort wasted...

Thanks flowman!
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Old 22nd Feb 2011, 11:59
  #25 (permalink)  
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Try this one:
EDTG - EBAW in a jet so may be F/L 220 +
Nightmare, trying CFMU to sort it does not work
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 15:37
  #26 (permalink)  
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At FL180, you could use OBORN/N0440 F180 IFR V17 GTQ N852 LNO LNO1A

lots of French Airforce airspace there above the Alsace...
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Old 10th Mar 2011, 12:45
  #27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Cessnapete
I fly a turboprop GA aircraft around UK and Europe IFR. Every flight usually takes multiple attempts to get a acc for the route or a call to help desk.

Why not accept our Plan first time and TELL us the route You require between our dep and dest with the acc ,easy, as most times we get airborne the route flown is different to the acc.

With modern GPS based nav last minute route changes are no problem.
Perhaps too radical a proposal!!
An interesting discussion and thank you, Flowman, for participating in the dialogue.

My point is not germane to this discussion, but while last minute route changes are "no problem" to Cessnapete, please don't think that this is the case for all of us.

A last-minute nav change in my {single-pilot} operation is most certainly a big deal, as our modern GPS nav gear needs each waypoint to be added manually. I can't just specify an airway, start point and end point and have the nav kit fill out the rest as per a shiny FMS. I need to get out a chart and add each waypoint as required, taking time. If a segment is START UW123 ENDSS then it may not be as simple as adding the two waypoints only, as there may be several turning points on that airway between START and ENDSS.

Secondly our aircraft is often weight-limited and so a reroute can change our fuel plan beyond what we can accommodate -- extra track miles & different winds along a changed route can increase our Trip/Contigency fuel beyond what the original fuel plan had available in the Extra box.

This is all highly off-topic since you have nothing to do with routing but as an old mentor of mine used to tell me, "every misunderstanding starts somewhere." Re-routes are not necessarily as convenient easy for all of us. We omit the IFPS REROUTE ACCEPTED remark deliberately, for this reason, and would hope that opt-out is retained.

Anyone having problems with FPL acceptance based on routings should be following the sage advice offered and begin validating your FPLs via the IFPUV first. I know guys who don't even know what the RADs/Standard Route Documents are, let alone consult them before flight. Even my Chief Pilot still thinks you can pull out a chart and connect the dots from where you are to where you want to be in whatever way you wish. Sadly not so these days, try explaining that to him with his 40 years experience...

Anyway, very off-topic. Sorry for that, just wanted to prevent another unhelpful piece of 'percieved wisdom' entering the cosmos.
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Old 27th Mar 2011, 10:45
  #28 (permalink)  
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route planner

Maybe a dumb question but why doesnt Eurocontrol have a route planning tool where we can enter a time, departure and destiantion incl FL, and it will give a recomended route.

I know this sounds easyer than it actually is but, if you think how many manhours are waisted (both on our side as on the CFMU/eurocontroll side) this is something that should deffinatelty be considdered. I mean if a computer can tell me in 30 seconds that a route is not accepted than it should also have the info give me a good route.

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Old 4th Apr 2011, 14:33
  #29 (permalink)  
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Yes and no. To my knowledge there is the just the route catalogue - which you can acces with a CFMU access or via some fpl programs (Aviationoffice -which I use - for example) This catalogue does not have all the city pairs, so I use it as a crutch sometimes, planning, e.g. from LKPR to EDDF and then alter the bit from OKG to the real destination EDFM...
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Old 21st May 2011, 11:03
  #30 (permalink)  
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There is a way.
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Old 11th Jun 2011, 08:51
  #31 (permalink)  

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So we have been running with 1 helpdesk phone for a while now. Any adverse comments? There have been several busy days so similar loading to summer traffic levels. Would be interested in your comments. Good ones on here, bad ones PM me
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Old 22nd Jul 2011, 11:01
  #32 (permalink)  
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pilot dude asks
why doesnt Eurocontrol have a route planning tool where we can enter a time, departure and destiantion incl FL, and it will give a recomended route
and I agree.
I asked this question twice before and got a politically correct answer: "data quality control", in other words jobs!
I understand everything needs time despite you (flowman) saying the staff numbers are being reduced. Another big cost is individual salaries, but I should not address it because of obvious reasons. There is a certain CFMU appeal, well, at least there was if it isn't the case nowadays.
Eurocontrol has improved (loads), but the tool I am referring to, flight planning, would be something that would definitely reduce dramatically solicitations to the Brussels or Paris guys.
The Central Flow Control Unit voice should always remain there and available because many times all I hear from the office guys is that "there is no REA in the system" despite my asking locally. The local ATC did not promptly make the request through to the Central Flow or then let's blame the system" as usual.
This is a constant evolving process. Thank you Flowman for coming forward and answering everything you possibly can.
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Old 6th Sep 2011, 16:31
  #33 (permalink)  

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I refer you to the answers given on this thread in posts #18, 19, 20 and 21.

IFPUV supplies exactly what you refer to.

Incidentally, I am told that the NOP is now accessible from an i-Pad so you should be able to do all of that from the flight deck if you so desire.

Don't know where you got the "data quality control" answer. We have a dedicated section in the ops room (ADS) who are there for exactly that purpose, to maintain the database of airspace and to keep on top of the interminable changes to airspace, airways and other routes including real time opening and closing of same.

As for salaries and jobs I can only repeat that staff numbers have been drastically reduced, but not in ops. The overall cost of Eurocontrol has been reduced in line with the budgetary demands enforced by our stakeholders who will, I would imagine, continue to apply downward pressure.

The salary was a factor in my shifting my wife and kids 1200kms to a new life. Had the salary been lower I would not have come here. We all make choices....
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Old 6th Sep 2011, 17:43
  #34 (permalink)  
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But IFPUV does not have every possible A/P pairing in the database. Why donīt you (IFPUV) not collect fpls that are okay to add them to the database.

One thing that drives me mad is the sheer amount of changes (RAD etc). Every 14 days someone reinvents the least thats my impression.

The salary was a factor in my shifting my wife and kids 1200kms to a new life. Had the salary been lower I would not have come here. We all make choices....
And you did the right one, me thinks.

Why so often ready messages donīt work, but a call to you does is one of the mysteries of Eurocontrol... that should be solved.
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Old 15th Sep 2011, 16:18
  #35 (permalink)  

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Why do REA messages not work but a call will make a difference?

Mimimum improvement by the ETFMS is 15 minutes, any less and it will not send a new slot. Humans can improve by the smaller amount. Equally, the machine will not disturb the pre-allocated sequence, humans will. This can create bunching of the traffic when delivered to the sectors. For example our count periods are one hour chunks every 20'. If the traffic all arrives at H+20', H+40' or on the hour the counts will look perfectly normal but the controller will definitely not be happy when he/she receives 20' worth of traffic in the same minute. So we do this with caution.

We receive up to 400 REA messages per hour so we do not encourage the practice of following up every REA with a phonecall, it just stops us doing flow management.

IFPUV does not work on city pairs. I asked one of our FPL operators to make a route between two obscure aerodromes and it worked, first time. Definitely no city pair. It tries to compile RAD compliant routes between specified points (aerodromes). As mentioned before, you may have to play around with the levels.
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Old 3rd Oct 2011, 09:32
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Dear flowman

As a bizjet driver with no access to the E-Helpdesk, I am still using the CFMU telephone occasionally.

Despite all mentioned drawbacks of todays world, I would like to thank you and your colleagues for your day to day assistance. It is of great value to our operation and we really appreciate having your support!
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Old 10th Oct 2011, 18:19
  #37 (permalink)  
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I would like to get it back to the topic: Flowman, isnīt the task of the CFMU to make the maximum possible use of the european sky?

Then just do it, g i v e us the routes that work for your computers and nothing else.

In some near future Ops will tell you where we want to go and y o u will tell us how to get there, simply because itīs your job.

Until then I can live with one telephone help line and an average waiting time of 3 minutes.
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Old 13th Oct 2011, 12:56
  #38 (permalink)  

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Yes, it is one of our jobs to maximise use of available capacity.

You say: "Ops will tell you where we want to go and y o u will tell us how to get there"

Most "airlines" would tell us to get lost if we did that. There are a thousand factors in choosing the optimum route for a flight, I don't need to tell you what they are, but we are not the ones best placed to decide that.

Your frustration seems to be in finding ANY route at all. Having looked at the RAD and all the constraints within it I understand your frustration. I go back to the comments made earlier in posts #18, 19, 20 and 21 regarding the IFPUV system.

I will be back at work tomorrow. PM me an example city pair (one where you had difficulty finding a route) and I will check once again if IFPUV can find one.

As I said before, I will not do this for every pilot who is having a bad day, but if it works then perhaps we will have identified a training requirement. If that is the case then we will deal with that. I await your PM.

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Old 27th Oct 2011, 19:36
  #39 (permalink)  
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Dear Flowman, when you write (post #35) to play with the levels, you are perfectly correct, but we can imagine that flow management in Eurocontrol has more efficient tools to suggest the best routes than pilots or some ops offices.
For instance, one colleague filed this route from LSMP to LFMP (kind of "obscure city pairs") F080 FRI G5 WIL/N0352F180 W110 LUMEL T10 TORPA V40 LUL G4 RLP G21 MOU A27 MEN J27 KELAM
The crew asked for a shorter and upper route, which was an understandable request (great circle 300nm, route 540nm, all way Low level).
Colleague called to central flow, and someone told that it was the best route available ! and promised to call back if he found a more suitable routing.
Roughly one hour after, he indeed called, to say that nothing was found.
But in the meantime, i refiled this flight plan with the following routing :
F120 DCT SPR Z65 MILPA DCT 4608N00553E DCT GIRKU/N0398F240 UN852 DIVKO/N0357F180 G7 BGR A27 KANIG which was almost 100nm shorter, and most of the route was in UPPER level !

I must admit that it was very hard to find, but it is quite difficult to understand that central flow could not find this route, or maybe even another cheaper / cost effective one that i still could not find.
If you enter the first route in IFPUV, of course it will say that there is no better route since it just finds routes at the same level. But humans from central flow could play with the levels as well !

Thank you for participating in PPRuNe and giving us the opportunity to explain some of our concerns to involved/concerned people at Eurocontrol !

Best regards
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Old 26th Nov 2011, 06:26
  #40 (permalink)  

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Sorry for the delay in replying, I've been out of circulation for a while.

I agree that humans at CFMU could play around with the levels but my objective was to try to inform you poor people how to find your way around the maze that is the European route network.

I have discussed the routes you mentioned with one of the FP supervisors and he concedes that this is a particularly tricky area in which to find routes, especially at the levels and with the city pairs you mentioned.

Our flight Planning system (including IFPUV) has parameters within it that limit the number of routes it will propose to "sensible" options. As you can imagine, if it proposed or examined every possibility, there would be millions for each city pair.

What you succeeded in doing was finding an option that our system was prevented from finding by its own parameters.

Our human operators, who have experience in searching for such routes can, as you suggest, help you to find routes. They are perfectly willing to do so, if you get stuck, give them a call. They will help.

I'm still trying to work out how this thread drifted from E-Helpdesk and telephones to IFPUV and route finding

Anything to help though

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