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-   -   CFMU E-Helpdesk (https://www.pprune.org/biz-jets-ag-flying-ga-etc/442424-cfmu-e-helpdesk.html)

flowman 11th Feb 2011 09:03

CFMU E-Helpdesk
A replacement to the current CFMU telephone Helpdesk has been developed. It is called the E-Helpdesk. It has been in operational use since January of this year with an increasing number of users.

ALL airlines and flight handling agents will be given access from 22nd June 2011. The telephone Helpdesk service will be reduced from 29th June. The E-Helpdesk will have priority over the telephone helpdesk from the 29th June.

We would like to encourage all business jet operators with operations centres to transfer their Helpdesk queries to the E-Helpdesk system.

The E-Helpdesk is accessed through the protected NOP portal. If you have a software token to access the NOP you will automatically have access from 22nd June. You will have to log out and log in again to activate the service

A short training package is available at: \\cfmufs01\group\OPSD\Support\TC\internal_user_guides\CFMU_E-Helpdesk\cfmu_ehelpdesk_viewlet_swf.html

The system is very easy to use and it will take no more than 20 minutes for your staff to follow the tutorials.

If you are a bizjet operator and cannot access the E-Helpdesk (pilot on duty for example) please PM me and I will send instructions on how to overcome this problem.

clivewatson 11th Feb 2011 10:43

I wonder if our Eurocontrol charges will decline in line with the proposed reduced level of service? Of course they won't!

The telephone help line is a service vital to the needs of us in the biz jet world, and especially to those who may not have the full support of an ops department. The staff are mostly helpful, and problems are generally solved in less than 30 seconds or so. Sometimes of course it is not possible to resolve delays, but immediate contact with someone enables us to convey the reasons and likely outcome to our passengers!!

What are we supposed to do now? Tell our passengers that everything will be taken care of as soon the crew nip back to the terminal to email Flow Control and wait for their reply?

Flowman, I appreciate that you are only the messenger, and I applaud you for working on something that may partly ease the situation, but I suspect that neither you, or those higher up in your food chain, have ever suffered the wrath of a passenger who has been given the news that there is no news!

And another thing! Why does your telephone help line answer immediately, and then pipe me a "thank you message" for calling, while I wait for someone to talk to? Did it not occur to the designer of that system that pilots would be calling from around the globe, using extortionate mobile phone rates? What is wrong with a connection ONLY when someone is ready and available to take a call? End of rant.

Miles Magister 11th Feb 2011 10:52


If you want to discuss the policy how about opening a new thread so the Mods can put a sticky on this very useful and helpful info.

Flowman, you are a goodman as well, thank you


His dudeness 11th Feb 2011 11:56

clivewatson +1 (also on the messenger part)

I can understand that if you work in an organization such as Eurocontrol where possibly everything is done by a workgroup (we donīt have to be cost effective, do we? After all, if our approach to things costs more, there is the never ending spring of user fees that we just can adjust...) its hard to understand that there is people out there that work without backup. Without operations. Without a computer that is permanently online.

But as usual with eurocontrol, we will not be heard, we will be ignored.

The intention is that the telephone Helpdesk service will be reduced to a bare minimum this summer season. A live date for the E-Helpdesk is currently being decided and we will inform you as soon as we have that information.
:ugh: :ugh: :ugh: Actually Iīd require a vomiting smiley.

Flowman, could you please post the email address of the guy in charge?

I am putting together a business case for a smartphone application that would enable pilots to access the CFMU E-Helpdesk directly from the flight deck (or anywhere else for that matter). This would be most beneficial to pilots of bizjets who need more flexibility to meet their passengers' demands. I would value your opinion as to whether you would see this as beneficial to your customers or not.
No backoffice therefore no CFMU-NOP access when not in office. So if the telephone helpline is shut down we MUST have something to use in the cockpit. And that is not only because of the flexibility of my pax, but to be able to cope with all the crap that can go wrong when flying (no coach available to take you to the airplane, congestion at the security check, handling agent vanished and not reachable via phone, fuel late, catering late, gnd freq congested etcetcetc)

To use a computer - handheld or not - is definately less effective and takes longer than using a phoneline.

hawker750 11th Feb 2011 12:18

This is a serious issue and I hope that now you have given us the bad news you will not dissappear and not reply and address the issues members on this forum are raising. I will re-iterate what others have said: many GA operators do NOT have access to a computer when they need CFMU help. They are probably sitting in the cockpit with ranting passengers behind them.

GA operators have long suffered from the "airline" aproach taken by Eurocontrol. One of the biggest bugbears is why cannot an aircraft leave early on its flightplan if there is no delay? The answer I have always received is that the "system" was designed that way because "airlines" never want to go early. In GA that is different, our passengers may turn up (without any warning) 1 or 2 hours early. The procedure we are told to follow is "cancel and refile". Fine if you are at a computer. Also the danger of doing that is that by cancelling the original flight plan one may pick up a long delay sometimes even after the first flight plan departure time!! It seems to work in the USA/Canada so why not here so please do not answer this one with "it could not work"

We in GA pay a diproportionate amount in Eurocontrol fees compared to the airlines based on both aircraft weight and passengers carried but we are not being listened to.

Flowman, we do not want to shoot the messenger but PLEASE forward our comments on to those who make the decisions and also please keep contributing to this forum so we can monitor progress (or more likely the lack of it)

flowman 11th Feb 2011 13:30

Well I'm glad I posted now.

The name of the guy in charge is me, as invited at the top of the thread you can PM me any time. There was no working group, there are two of us. We have access to a team of engineers who have developed this very quickly on top of their existing projects.

My purpose for posting was:
1) to alert you all to our proposals
2) to reach out to the bizjet community to try to establish your requirements

From my own experience I am aware that CFMU flow management activities and ETFMS in particular work best for scheduled operators. I will NOT be leaving the bizjet community out in the cold. If we have to leave the phonelines open until a solution can be found for you all then that is what will have to happen.

This has quite serious implications for Flow Management though, and for the wider aviation community. We have almost become a call centre. We will receive more than likely around 1500 calls per day this summer. There are 6 people to answer those calls at the same time as doing what you pay us to do, to provide a flow management service.

The best way to reduce delays is to manage flows of traffic, not to deal with the delays one flight at a time which is what happens at the helpdesk.

You will not be ignored, you have been heard. Just a shame we have to discuss this on a public forum rather than through official channels (nobody seems to respond to those) but at least we are now talking.

I proposed the m-Helpdesk specifically with bizjet operators in mind. I am well aware the impact of the withdrawal of the telephone helpdesk will have on your operations, that's why I posted here.

I have to put together a business case so that someone with a budget (I don't have one) will pay for it. As requested please PM me all the good reasons you have for needing it and I can get things moving.

I will be happy to meet, write to, visit, arrange visits, present or represent your views anytime. So please contact me. I will give you my work address if you PM me and mobile number if you need it, I am available H24.


hawker750 11th Feb 2011 13:53

Thanks for replying and expressing your appreciation of the GA community's concerns and problems. I suspect your appreciation may not be mirrored by the people who actually make the decisions!!
IMO the phone lines are brilliant, they are generally answered very promptly by people who appear to genuinely want to help and 95% of the time they do. We need this service and it works. Somebody famous (I cannot remember who) said "If it ain't broke don't fix it". I thnk this is a perfect example.
Our Eurocontrol bills do not go down, so why should we accept a reduced service?

Hawker 750

flowman 11th Feb 2011 14:08

Hawker 750

Our staff numbers have gone down from 80+ in the formative years to less than 50 now (including part time) and looks like it will continue to drop.

Our budget is reducing year on year.

It is broke. We can't continue to answer 1300 calls a day AND fulfil our flow management responsibilities. For example, many airlines follow up every REA message with a phone call. We receive 350-400 REA messages per hour so we need a way to filter and process these differing requirements

I am very pleased you have received good service from Eurocontrol so far, looking at some of the other posts that is not a view shared by everyone.

The trick will be balancing all the differing requirements of the aircraft operators (loco, charter, schedule, flag carriers, bizjet, military) the air navigation service providers (en-route, aerodrome, oceanic and military) whilst managing whatever industrial action or weather event is ruining your day at any given time.

Something has to change.

hawker750 11th Feb 2011 14:40

Quote: "Our budget is reducing year on year."
One has to ask the question...why? I do not think Eurocontrol's income is going down, the fees have not gone down and traffic levels are up so where is the money going? I believe member states get a divvy up of any excess Eurocontrol fees over expenditure.Would you confirm that this is the case, if so then any reduced budgets mean extra money for the member states.
I find the Eurocontrol charging scheme opaque to say the least. I once enquired why the UK's route charges were so much higher than any other country. The answer was because the UK gets most traffic! It is a bit like British Airways saying our fares are 25% more than Lufthansa because we are so busy! More likely the UK wants bigger divvy up.
Where can one download the audited accounts of Eurocontrol?

flowman 11th Feb 2011 15:03

You are asking the wrong bloke. I am a former air traffic controller, I am not an accountant. Have a look here:


As for route charges my understanding is that they are set to cover costs, they are not allowed to generate a profit. They are cheaper where facilities are more basic. This has the effect of pushing the traffic towards areas less well equipped to deal with it. Don't start me on that!

The divvy up of fees is not as you describe. I think we take 1% of route charges and distribute the rest to member states according to their rates. Things like SESAR are the subject of other contributions from member states. There are others better qualified to answer this :O

clivewatson 11th Feb 2011 15:59

Hawker 750, having PM'd flowman, and already received a positive response from him, may I suggest you do the same. Its rare indeed to get direct access to the decision maker, so grab the chance while the offer is on the table.

Fanjet 11th Feb 2011 16:01

Operations/ flight department of one
Flowman, thanks for the information and the heads up.

I will reinforce the opinions of other posters by saying that my operations/ flight department consists of only little old me, and when I am down route and away from my home computer/ office the only way that I can provide my boss with the service that he is paying handsomely for is to call the ever so helpful help desk.

Please don't make my life any harder by taking away the man that can help me in an instant. Perhaps he can't make the problem go away every time but at least if he can't fix it he can tell me why and i don't look stupid in front of the boss who wants an answer.

flowman 11th Feb 2011 16:16

Fanjet. Understood

His dudeness 11th Feb 2011 16:22

I will NOT be leaving the bizjet community out in the cold. If we have to leave the phonelines open until a solution can be found for you all then that is what will have to happen.
That sounds good.

flowman 12th Feb 2011 08:21

Just so that you don't think I have disappeared off the radar or that I am not addressing the issues raised here I am pleased to inform you that His Dudeness and Clive Watson have agreed to assist.

I will discuss some ideas with them and use them as a reality check when creating any process, procedure or spec for new software/hardware.
I will post here when I have something meaningful to say. PMs from other contributors are always welcome.

Don't forget to look at the E-Helpdesk training package (link on the first post). I know it is not useful to bizjet users in its present state but if we start to discuss an m-Helpdesk you will at least have a point of reference.


ALFRED 12th Feb 2011 08:27

Many Thx Flowman for your commitment :ok:

2/3 of our slot issues are solved with a plain phone call. When you can't, it's easier to report to the boss with a human being explanation instead of an hypothetic software one.

So we'd truly appreciate to maintain this contact with you.


cessnapete 15th Feb 2011 23:13

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!!

flowman 16th Feb 2011 12:59


The Help desk does not handle any FPL related queries. Any issues related to flight planning are handled by FP1 here in Brussels (003227451950) or FP2 in Paris (0033169883820) dependent on area of departure.

If you need to know which to call for which area of departure you can find the areas of responsibility here:


Section 2.1 (pg. 29/555)

In answer to your second question, some FPLs are corrected to the required routeing. Normally this is done if the filer submits "IFPS re-route accepted" in field 18 of the FPL. This, however was a procedure designed for the Kosovo crisis and there is no obligation for the FP operator to correct your route.

Often there are routeing restrictions applied by ACCs meaning that we cannot accept your original route even though you may well end up flying it (danger areas, airway closures, military activity etc, etc).

Have you used IFPUV? It WILL let you put in ADEP- DCT- ADES and then it will supply you with the correct route to file. That will also save an FP operator having to correct your FPL. Too radical? ;)

His dudeness 16th Feb 2011 19:29

I use IFPUV every time I do a planning.

However, I didnīt know:

It WILL let you put in ADEP- DCT- ADES and then it will supply you with the correct route to file
and even after trying hard for the last 30 minutes I canīt get it to work the way you describe it...

What I can say though, is that the route catalog provided very often does not help for flights from regional to regional airfields. I often wondered why accepted and acknowledge fpls are not added to the route catalog ?

flowman 17th Feb 2011 15:37

You need to be in the protected NOP, the one you access with a token.
Go to the IFPUV portlet
Make sure you use the "Propose Routes" tab.
Enter route as described:
-N0450F230 DCT
-RMK/……. )

(you may have to play with the FL)

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