A visual altitude track would be cool.


Mabey consider a visual track of an aircrafts altitude. Kind of like a cross section veiw of the flight as opposed to the over head view. This can be based on the info from the track log. Mabey include the geographical elevation in the altitude track.


Not really. The “climbing” and “descending” parts vertically would show up as virtually nothing on a 1000 nm flight. 6 up and 1000 across.

As for the AGL stuff, it’s not that big a deal. Most flights on FA are in the FLs so it really doesn’t make much difference what the AGL alt is. The real difference would be in MSL (i.e. A UAL 744 at FL330 flew over a Song 752 descending through FL310).


Allow me to revise. I wasn’t sure how to describe my thoughts before, but mabey this will be more clear. I guess what I am talking about, would be considered a Flight Altitude Profile. Below I have inserted a link to a site that includes data from a record flight of an unmanned solar plane. There you’ll find an example of a Flight Altitude Profile Graph. How ever, It would be nice to show the ground elevation on the graph as well. Also, I don’t know if it would be better to replace the time variable with a distance variable.



If you exchanged the distance with time, wouldn’t it exaggerate the Altitude profile as to give you a better view? It may work better as a Post-flight graph, considering you may need to know the length of the flight in order to compress the graph to exaggerate the profile. I agree about the AGL. However, to show the Elevation or the profile of the earth undeneath the FL may be interesting.


You can do this through Excel by taking the values in the track log and importing them into Excel… While this method doesn’t take into account AGL, you get a clear profile of the flight.

I did this, and was rather dissapointed as CCx pointed out, the variation of flight is very minimal, even if you set the scale to a smaller value.

Level flight is level flight whether it be at 6000 MSL or FL60 MSL

In addition, if the ATC facility or approach is not compatible with FA, then you lose most of the climb or descent anyway (the part where you get most altitude changes for us pistons anyway).

There is a free flight planning program you may want to look at called Voyager. This program does an outstanding job in showing flight profile in relationship to airspace, ground and even ceilings. PM me with your email addy if you are interested in screenshots.

You could then just put in the filed flight plan and get a profile shot of the flight path. Best program out there IMHO. Between that and AOPA flight planner, is all I use to get all I need in my flight planning.



I will say the AOPA planner does a terrible job on the Nav log. ETE is the main problem. But I like it too for the other reasons.


Got me “a wondering”? How can the AOPA planner mess up the ETE?

First thought to erroneous ETE would be is your aircraft data set up right?

All AOPA does is pull in the winds aloft data from DUATS and base the calculations on the aircraft performance data you put in (I am not at home, but I could have sworn I put in aircraft data performance)

Also, default times that the program selects may make a difference on which winds aloft forecast that it based it’s calculation on.

Now, one thing lacking that I remember is that AOPA does not take into account climb and descent speeds which will affect ETE which only amounts to a couple of minutes difference between AOPA and Voyager, not even enough discrepancy to bring in fuel calculation issues.



Actually, just after I last posted, I started messing around with Excell. The only issue I had was I was unsure on how to import the data from the track log without doing it manually, which for some flights is almost not worth it due to the flight length. I’d like to look into that Voyager program. Thanks for the source.



I copy and paste. I copy starting from the column titles (second row, Central TZ) down to the last log entry.

When I paste into Excel (using 2003 here, I have 2007 at home) it pasted nicely in Columns A through E.

I then delete the GPS coordinates column and ground speed columns (B, C and D) so that I only had two columns. Highlight the two columns and use Chart Wizard and you have your profile down to the minute.

The default will fall to the Y axis being the altitude and X axis will be the minutes. Using flightaware.com/live/flight/N194 … O/tracklog you will see it starts at 6000 (Birmingham Approach doesn’t do something to capture my climb) and you will see my descent profile nicely displayed down to 2300 where I cancelled my IFR.



My GPS software does altitude profiles from tracking data. It really isn’t that special to see after you’ve seen it.


You can import that into Google earth and get a cool 3D graphical representation of your flight path.


Keep in mind, the image you provided shows the full flight if you are using the Garmin software. With a scale of 2000+ miles, you don’t get much out of it.

You can zoom in to a particular segment if I remember correctly which does show nicely the rate of climbs and descents as well as level flight deviations in increments of 100 feet. Scale does autochange based on zoom level. This becomes useful when you are trying to analyze the quality of your rate of climb and descents over a period of time or distance. I do this on my own flights in Excel though, to see visually the flight profile, if my rate of climb is constant over a period of time.

I never thought of importing existing flight logs, only used actual data downloaded from my Garmin 296.

Now if Garmin could have improved on the map feature and added more detail to their maps, that would have been nice.



It’s fun replaying my flights in Google earth, but you can’t put in a “fake plane” to visually see on the profile how you look in relation to the terrain.

Now that would be a slick option if Google would be able to look up toward your plane and you get to see what you look like from the ground up at any given point of your flight.

Of course, most Google users rather look down then up, so it would be for the few and far between pilots as I can’t imagine a land lubber wanting to see what an airplane looked like in Google when all they have to do is step outside their door. :smiley:



You can import 3D model planes into Google Earth. They’re available to download by other users. I think they are static, but can be placed at any location and any altitude. Not long though till you’ll be able to animate it.