The most efficient mechanism for operations planning starts from the map. By starting on the map, you’re able to draw a flight area and pull that into an operation straight away. Let’s examine this process and take a deeper dive into planning an effective operation.
From the Skyward home page, select the Map menu at the top of the screen to be taken to the map.
From there, use the Search option in the top-left corner to search for the area where you’d like to plan your flight operation. You can use Latitude/Longitude, POIs, Landmarks, Addresses, etc. in the search pane.
Once you’ve zoomed into the area in which you’re planning to operate, clicking a point within the area you’d like to operate will bring up the airspace card at the lower-left.
In addition to showing any controlled airspace, TFRs, or airspace advisories, these airspace cards allow for the planning of a new operation directly from the map. Just select New Operation to draw the Area of Operation for the flight.
After selecting the New Operation option, you’ll be prompted with a box that allows you to enter the operation name. This will be the name that persists into the operation configuration screen, but you can always change it later.
Once the Operation Name has been added, the next step is to draw the flight area for the Operation. You’ll enter Draw Mode, where you can begin to draw your flight area. The polygon tool is selected by default, but there's also an option to use a circle tool as well. Look for the tools in the map toolbar at the top-left.
Using the polygon tool, select the points that you want to make up the boundaries of your flight area. Once you’ve outlined the entire flight area, make sure you close the polygon by clicking back on the original point. Once the polygon is closed, you’ll see the Next button at the bottom of the screen become available.
Using the Circle tool, click a point on the map to see an overlapping circle for your flight area. Use the outer solid point on the circle to drag the circle to the appropriate circumference, or the inner point to drag the circle and center it over a point on the map.
Once a flight area has been drawn, you also have the ability to add Hazard and Point of Interest markers to that area. Select the POI marker from the toolbar at left (it looks like a little map pin), and then click the areas of interest to add a marker:
Note that you have the option of adding the markers as either a Point of Interest or a Hazard, and that each marker can be named and given a description.
Add markers and associated descriptions as needed, selecting Save after each one.
At this point, you can either click Next at the bottom of the screen to continue to the operation, or if this shape corresponds to a flight area that you’ll fly more than once in the future, you can select Add to Library to save the shape to the Flight Area Library.
For more on finding and using the Flight Area Library, click here for our Flight Area Library tutorial.
Now that you’ve successfully defined a flight area for an Operation, visit the Building an Operation article for help with other specifics on the operations management page.