CSC DUATS on the Web
Operating Instructions

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Browsers Supported
  3. Using CSC DUATS on the Web
  4. General Information
  5. Planning the Route of Flight
  6. Copyright Information


Note: This document is updated periodically.

1. Introduction

CSC DUATS on the Web is an interface to CSC DUATS, the Direct User Access Terminal Service, which provides pilots with up-to-date flight planning information and allows them to manage FAA flight plans. To access CSC DUATS on the Web, pilots must have (1) access to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and (2) one of several supported WWW browsers. The presentations have been optimized to provide quick service even over relatively slow modem connections to the Internet - they are not "graphically intense" so that less bandwidth is consumed when information is presented to the user.

Throughout CSC DUATS on the Web, the user will find many hypertext links, which are typically shown in your browser by underlining. Clicking on one of those links will usually "pop up" a new window with helpful information. (Occasionally, a hyperlink will transition the main window to a new page.) For example, when filing a flight plan, clicking on "Color of Aircraft" will pop up a window which explains valid abbreviations and color names. When entering data in a field which typically contains an airport name (departure, destination, alternate), clicking on the hyperlink will pop up a window which allows the user to search for airport identifiers. There's a lot of information available to you, the pilot, via these pop-up links, so please do use them!

CSC DUATS on the Web utilizes the existing "telnet-style" terminal-based DUATS computer to obtain weather information and manage FAA flight plans. All interactions with users through the World Wide Web are performed by the CSC DUATS on the Web system. Certain functions, such as flight route planning and plain language translation of weather briefings, are also performed locally on the CSC DUATS on the Web system.

For the user, this means that certain requested functions will happen very quickly, as they can be accomplished completely on the CSC DUATS on the Web system, whereas others may take some time to complete, as the DUATS host system must be consulted for the information.


2. Browsers Supported

CSC DUATS on the Web has been tested primarily with Netscape Communicator (Navigator) versions 4.06, 4.5, and 4.6, and Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 4.01 and 5.0. Limited testing has been done with other browsers, including AOL 4.0, Netscape Navigator 3, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3. CSC DUATS on the Web may function correctly with other Web browsers, but there may be anomalies in the display of information, product navigation, or availability of certain features, so it is strongly recommended that all users of CSC DUATS on the Web utilize one of these major browsers.

Certain features that are present in all modern Web browsers are required for CSC DUATS on the Web to operate properly:

In addition, CSC DUATS on the Web makes use of JavaScript for checking of data that is entered into forms, as well as to support pop-up help windows. If you have JavaScript disabled in your browser, many of the features of CSC DUATS on the Web will not be available to you. CSC DUATS on the Web does not currently use Java.

If you cannot use one of the supported browsers and wish to access CSC DUATS via the internet, we suggest that you use telnet to access DUATS at direct.duats.com instead of CSC DUATS on the Web. In particular, note that older versions of the AOL Web browser are not supported.

Cookies are used within CSC DUATS on the Web strictly to associate the multiple screens that constitute a session. No personal information is maintained in cookies. CSC DUATS on the Web uses a single cookie which expires automatically 30 minutes after it is issued to your browser during the sign-on process. The CSC DUATS on the Web server maintains information about users of the system and their use of the system. Similar information is also maintained on the CSC DUATS back-end system.


3. Using CSC DUATS on the Web

A user must first sign on to CSC DUATS on the Web using the user's CSC DUATS login identification and password. Once the user has signed on, the main menu presents all available functions.

For a typical session, the user might do the following:

  1. Utilize the flight planner to plan a flight between two airports.
  2. Obtain a weather briefing based on the parameters of the flight just planned.
  3. File an FAA flight plan with the same information as was produced using the flight planner.

The pilot may choose to print the results of each of these steps to bring along in the cockpit.

CSC DUATS on the Web is designed to make this process very easy for the pilot - information needs to be entered only once, and it is automatically transferred from one form to another as the user visits different functions on the site.

A single sign on session is limited to 30 minutes. If a user exceeds this time limit, a new sign on will be required.

CSC DUATS on the Web stores a number of pieces of information for each individual user, including user profile data, flight planner preferences , up to 10 aircraft profiles, etc.

Note: Although CSC DUATS on the Web is closely associated with the CSC DUAT system, it maintains its information in a completely separate manner. Thus, flight planner aircraft profiles on CSC DUATS are not available to CSC DUATS on the Web; similarly, flight planner profiles entered on CSC DUATS on the Web do not affect flight planner aircraft profiles stored on CSC DUATS.


4. General Information

This section outlines the features of the main components of CSC DUATS on the Web. Feel free to explore and try out each part of the system.

4.1. The Main Menu Page

The Main Menu Page is divided into three main sections, Weather, Flight Plans, and System Functions. From the top of the main menu page, you can jump to any of these sections by clicking on the hyperlink.

4.1.1. Weather

Weather includes both textual weather briefings and weather graphics. The textual weather briefings are designed to be similar in content and organization to the briefings a pilot would receive by calling a briefer at an FAA Flight Service Station. There are three types of briefing available: Within each type of briefing, there are choices which determine the reporting locations which will be included in the briefing: The weather products for a standard or outlook briefing are those which a standard FAA weather briefing would give to the pilot. In the case of an outlook or abbreviated briefing, the user is presented with a matrix of all available weather products, and may check or uncheck products as desired. The pre-selected list of products is different for outlook and abbreviated briefings, and correspond to the reports a pilot would get from a flight service specialist for that briefing type if the pilot did not request a different set of information. Information on fields in the individual weather briefing pages is given below.

4.1.2. Flight Plans

The Flight Plan section of the main menu includes two major functions:

The Flight Planner is discussed in the Planning the Route of Flight section below.

FAA Flight Plan filing is done using one of two electronic forms, both of which are designed to closely resemble their paper counterparts. Users should note that there are a number of helpful hyperlinks on these pages which will pop up windows which provide either helpful information (aircraft color, alternate requirements, etc.) or search pages (aircraft type designators, airport search, etc.).

In general, if you've used the flight planner to plan your route of flight and you have appropriate default values stored in your personal profile, you'll only need to type in two or three things on the domestic flight plan filing page: fuel on board, number aboard, and (if applicable) alternate airport. You should be sure to check all of the other fields to see if they're what you want, particularly type of flight plan (VFR/IFR/DVFR), aircraft identification, aircraft type and equipment, proposed departure time, and estimated time enroute. Don't just flip to this page and hit "File This Flight Plan" without glancing at it!

If you're going to print the flight plan filing request to take with you in the aircraft, it's suggested that you print the page which comes back after you hit "File This Flight Plan" rather than the flight plan filing form. The page which is returned contains the actual data which CSC DUATS will transmit to the FAA, and it's in a more compact, easily printable format.

There are certain limitations imposed on the flight plan filing functions of the system by the FAA, including that flight plans may not be filed with a proposed departure time of less than 30 minutes from the current time. (Typically, if you file a flight plan for 30 to 60 minutes from now, it will be available to the flight service station and/or air route traffic control center within a couple of minutes.)

Flight plans are stored within the CSC DUATS computer until one hour before the proposed departure time, at which time they are transmitted to the appropriate FAA facility. If you have a flight plan in the system which has not yet been transmitted to the FAA, you may use the "cancel" facility to remove it from the system. If a flight plan has already been transmitted to the FAA, it cannot be cancelled - you must file a new flight plan. If you do file a second flight plan, please be very careful to ensure that you activate or pick up the flight plan you want, as it's easy for flight service or controllers to simply match your aircraft's tail number with the first flight plan they see!

4.1.3. System Functions

System Functions include a number of miscellaneous features:

Encode, Decode, and Contractions access the CSC DUATS system to look up information on facilities by name and by identifier (code). You can also look up an FAA contraction in the official contractions list. These functions interact with the CSC DUATS host system, so they're not as fast as the search functions which are available from pop-ups on many of the other pages.

Personal Profile Management is divided into two areas: CSC DUATS on the Web Profile and security information.

The CSC DUATS on the Web Profile includes the information about the pilot (name, address, phone, email), a security authentication word, a user specified access number, and default aircraft information.

Information about the pilot includes the pilot's name, home address, home telephone number, and e-mail address. The pilot's name cannot be changed here - to change the pilot's name, you must file a change of name request with the FAA. (Actually, you can change it here, but changing it here won't do anything other than change it locally on the CSC DUATS on the Web system.) If you change the address (street, city, state, zip) or telephone number, the new information will be stored both on the CSC DUATS on the Web system and will be forwarded to the CSC DUATS host; this information will be used when you file a flight plan. The e-mail address is used only within CSC DUATS on the Web for the feedback facility. It will be kept completely confidential and will not be used for any other purpose without your express consent.

The Security Authentication word is used by the CSC DUATS support desk to authenticate you if you call the toll-free support line. It may be changed via CSC DUATS on the Web but for security reasons is not displayed.

The user-specified access number allows the user to select an easier-to-remember number than the arbitrary number which was picked by the CSC DUATS system during registration. This number must be either 9 or 10 digits, and should be something which is easy for you to remember, such as your 10-digit home phone number or your pilot certificate number. You may then sign on using either this user-specified access code or your CSC-assigned DUATS Access Code.

4.2. Weather Briefings

The nine weather briefing request pages are similar in format and use. Simply enter data in each of the boxes and click the "Submit request" button to obtain a weather briefing.

Some fields will be filled in for you automatically. If you've run the flight planner first, almost all of the fields will be filled in. If you've already obtained a weather briefing, the fields will be filled in with the values you most recently entered during this session with CSC DUATS on the Web.

Many of the fields names include hyperlinks which give you access to pop-up pages that will help you fill in the fields. Below are some helpful hints on several of the fields.

Departure and destination airport
Click on the hyperlink to bring up the airport search page.
Alternate airport
Click on the hyperlink to bring up a summary of when you need an alternate airport.
Cruise altitude
Enter the altitude in hundreds of feet, e.g., 50 for 5,000 feet, 270 for FL270, etc. Click on the hyperlink for a reminder.
Route of flight
If you leave this blank, a great circle route will be used between your departure point and the destination.
Departure time
You may specify this as a number of minutes from now or as a 4-digit time. If you specify a time, you may enter it in local time and select the time zone which applies, or you may enter it in UTC ("Zulu") time. See the note on "output format" below if you use minutes from now or UTC.
Corridor widths
Specifies the width of the "corridor" which is used to select weather reporting facilities. The system sets these to 250nm for winds aloft reports and 50nm for all other reports. You can change them to a value between 25nm and 500nm.
Weather product selection
Check or uncheck boxes to determine which types of reports you will receive. The primary difference between an outlook briefing and an abbreviated briefing is the default selection of reporting products.
Output format
Allows you to select plain language translation or an untranslated "raw" briefing. If you select plain language translation, you must either choose the timezone for translation here or must enter your departure time with a specific timezone. Note that plain language translation always takes into account whether or not daylight savings time is in effect, so if you're in an area which does not observe daylight savings time, you may wish to select the output format for the timezone immediately to your west (e.g., if you're in Arizona, which doesn't observe daylight savings time, select Pacific timezone, which is UTC+7 during daylight savings).

Users should note that state/collective briefings can often be slow; this is due to the way the state/collective selection is implemented in the CSC DUATS host system.


5. Planning the Route of Flight

The CSC DUATS on the Web flight planning system is a complex, optimizing route planning system which is designed to be very easy and quick for a pilot to use. It is not a graphical planner in which the pilot must mouse and click - it's designed so that a pilot simply states "take me from X to Y," and the system produces a good flight plan which can be printed and flown.

The flight planner provides several automatic routing options, as well as choices of output formats. Detailed information on flight planner inputs, including using the various routing options, is given in the flight planner input documentation. A separate page gives details on flight planner output formats.

In order to use the flight planner, you must store one or more aircraft profiles. These profiles define the performance characteristics of your aircraft. Naturally, the time and fuel calculations performed by the flight planner are based on this data, so the output of the flight planner is only as accurate as your input!

5.1. Flight Planner Stored Profiles

The flight planner maintains a profile for each CSC DUATS on the Web user. In the profile, the user may store preferences which determine how the final flight plan will look. The user also may store performance data for frequently-used aircraft if the user accessed DUATS as a registered pilot. This profile information is unique to the CSC DUATS on the Web system - it is not shared with the CSC DUATS host system, nor other products which may provide access the CSC DUATS host.

There are two types of profile information stored by the flight planner:

The two types of profile information are accessed by separate buttons on the main menu page.

5.1.1. Aircraft Profiles

When you select the "Aircraft Profiles" option from the main menu page, a page will be displayed which allows you to

Aircraft profiles are always shown in alphabetical order, both on the Aircraft Profile Management page and in the selector on the Flight Planner input page.

The flight planner supports two performance models for aircraft which differ only in the way in which fuel consumption is specified. The Segment Model defines fuel consumption as fixed values for the climb, cruise, and descent portions of the flight; this model is typically used for piston-powered aircraft. A typical segment model profile would look like:

Name of Profile: Piper Arrow III
Tail Number of Aircraft (optional): N6506C
Climb Cruise Descent Units
True Airspeed 90 130 140 Knots or Mach number
Climb/Descent Rate 500 500 Feet per Minute
Fuel Consumption 14 10 10 Gallons per hour

The Hour Model defines fuel consumption as fixed values for the each hour of the flight; this model is typically used for turbine-powered aircraft. A typical hour model profile would look like:

Name of Profile: Boeing 757
Tail Number of Aircraft (optional): N767UA
Climb Cruise Descent Units
True Airspeed 250 M82 250 Knots or Mach number
Climb/Descent Rate 3000 4000 Feet per Minute

Fuel Units Pounds per hour

Fuel Consumption - Hourly Basis
First Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth Seventh Eighth Ninth Tenth
4000 3700 3500 3100 2900 2700        

Note that in this example, the cruise airspeed is listed as "M82" - that is Mach 0.82.

5.1.2. Flight Planner Profile

Three preference items may be selected using the Flight Planner Profile page, accessible from the main menu:

Plan output formats, described in detail here:
Staggered 3-line
Two-line: Lat/Lon, Fix, Morse
Two-line: Fix, Morse, Fuel
Two-line: Lat/Lon, Morse, Fuel
Latitude/Longitude Format:
Degrees:Minutes:Seconds, for example 37:19:59
Degrees:Minutes.Tenths, for example 37:19.98
Degrees:Minutes.Hundredths, for example 37:20.0
If you are using a GPS or LORAN, you may wish to select the same output format which the navigator uses for its interface.
Include Additional Intersections:
The flight planner normally includes only intersections which have navigational significance to the pilot -- the route is switching from one airway to another, or there is a turn within an airway between navaids. You may wish to have all intermediate intersections listed, which will give you many more checkpoints during the flight. These additional intersections are typically of interest only on long airway segments.

Caution: selecting "all intermediate intersections" will increase the size of your flight log by a factor of two to four -- you may find that it is too long for your taste.


6. Copyright Information

CSC DUATS on the Web was developed by Enflight business unit of Peck Labs, Inc., and is licensed to CSC for use by their subscribers. Enflight also developed the Plain Language Weather and Flight Planner components of CSC DUATS; portions of these systems are integrated features of CSC DUATS on the Web.

CSC DUATS on the Web runs on systems operated by Enflight for CSC.

The CSC DUATS on the Web system, its content, and format of displays, menus, and other properties of CSC DUATS on the Web are copyright © 1997-1999, Peck Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.



Copyright © 1997-2004 ENFLIGHT All rights reserved. $Id: web_help.html,v 1.16 2004/01/10 09:48:47 geoff Exp $