The Routes section contains some of Dispatch's most powerful capabilities, leveraging ForeFlight’s routing engine to quickly produce optimized routes that you can select right away, or customize using a wide selection of constraint types in the Route Builder. You can also review and select routes from other sources, see which ones are likely to encounter turbulence, and manually adjust them as needed.

Selected Route Details

The three fields at the top of the Routes section reflect your currently selected route, whether you entered it manually, selected it from the Route List, or built it using the Route Builder.

1. Initial Flight Level

Specify the initial altitude planned for the flight. For flights that include a step climb, this should be the initial level-off altitude before beginning the climb. Altitudes are entered as flight levels with 2 digit or 3 digit values, for example, 9000 ft would be entered as 90 and FL430 would be entered as 430.

2. Flight Rules

Specify the flight rule under which the flight will be conducted.

  • IFR - the entire flight will be conducted under instrument flight rules.

  • VFR - the entire flight will be conducted under visual flight rules.

  • YFR - the flight will begin as IFR and will then change to VFR at some point in the flight. Dispatch will automatically insert a transition to VFR at the last point in the route if a transition to VFR is otherwise not specified

  • ZFR - the flight will begin as VFR and will then change to IFR at some point in the flight. Dispatch will automatically insert a transition from VFR to IFR at the first waypoint in the route if a transition is otherwise not specified 

3. Selected Route

Specify the route string to be used for your route. This will be automatically populated when you select a route from the Route List or use a route produced by the Route Builder. You can also manually type a route into this field or modify a route you’ve selected.

4. Route List

The list of routes below the Selected Route Details provides potential routes from a number of sources, including ForeFlight’s own Recommended Route, routes that have been cleared by ATC for previous flights, Preferred Routes published by the FAA, and more. The Route List will automatically refresh after you make any change to the route.

Recommended Routes - ForeFlight recommended Route is Dispatch’s primary route proposal for your flight. The method and criteria for how this route is generated depends on the region of the flight. Also, note that any routes created using the Route Builder will appear under the Recommended Route section. Any route that you generate using Route Builder will appear in the Recommended Routes section, with the specific constraints used to generate each route shown below the route string.

  1. Flights within US Domestic airspace Within US domestic airspace, ForeFlight’s Recommended Route gives you the best route based on your detailed aircraft performance profile and time/fuel savings, while also accounting for preferred routes, recent ATC cleared routes, and how frequently a given route is assigned. ForeFlight evaluates all available route options and picks the one that provides the best balance between time/fuel savings and the likelihood of being “cleared as filed” by ATC. If no previously cleared routes are available for an airport pair, ForeFlight will generate a wind- and temperature optimized route based on your selected aircraft and performance profile.
  2. International flights (outside US Domestic airspace)
    Outside US domestic airspace, Dispatch uses its sophisticated route optimization algorithms to produce a wind and temperature optimized route. If the flight crosses into European airspace, Dispatch will evaluate any RAD, CDR and FUA restrictions and produce a EUROCONTROL Valid route.  

ATC Cleared Routes - This section is shown for flights within North American airspace and lists routes cleared by ATC between the departure and destination airports, if any exist. Cleared routes are listed in reverse-chronological order based on which route was most recently cleared by ATC.

EUROCONTROL Routes - lists routes suggested by EUROCONTROL NM or routes recently filed by other airspace users between the selected city pair.

Preferred Routes - lists any routes that are published by ATC as preferred routes and commonly assigned by ATC for the selected airport pair.

Currently, these are available for

  1. United States: FAA Preferred routes, TEC routes and Coded Departure Routes 
  2. United Kingdom: Routes from NATS Standard Route Document (SRD)

The Route List provides information about each route in five columns:

  1. Altitude and Flight Rule - shows the suggested altitude in Flight Level format and flight rule for each route
  2. Turbulence Warning - shows an orange turbulence marker when at least moderate turbulence is forecast for any part of the route at the planned flight time. Mouse over the marker to see details about the forecast, including the turbulence severity, the waypoints between which the turbulence is expected, and the altitude at which it is expected.
  3. Route String and History or EUROCONTROL Validation - shows the full route string for each route in bolded text, and shows each route’s history of clearances with U.S. ATC below that. Depending on how commonly a route is cleared ATC, Route History may show the number of times it route has been cleared that day, or whenever it was most recently cleared (e.g. yesterday), how many times it has been cleared in the past month, how many times in the past year, and for which aircraft types and altitude range the route is most commonly cleared (e.g. Jets in FL340 to FL 430). Dispatch does not provide route history details for routes outside of the U.S.
    For routes that include EUROCONTROL-administered airspace, Dispatch validates each route in the Route List against EUROCONTROL requirements and shows whether each is valid or invalid below the route string.
  4. Distance - shows the route’s total distance in nautical miles
  5. Time - shows the estimated flight time for the route based on the selected aircraft performance profile and other flight details
  6. Fuel - shows the estimated Destination Fuel quantity based on the selected aircraft performance profile and other flight details

5. Route Builder

The Route Builder is Dispatch’s tool for customizing a route using “constraints” - user-defined rules about what the route should or shouldn’t include that guide Dispatch in generating a new route. Unlike manual route entry, the Route Builder still uses ForeFlight’s advanced routing engine to generate and validate optimized routes, but the presence of flexible route constraints allow you to steer the routing engine in whatever direction you need to produce a suitable route, saving significant time and effort. 

Click the Route Builder button to the right of the Selected Route Details to enter Route Builder. The Route Map on the right is significantly larger in Route Builder so you can more easily view the selected route and compare it with others. The fields on the left allow you to add and change Route Constraints and view the selected route’s waypoint list in more detail. Route Builder also includes several additional features not accessible from the main Flight Edit view, such as NOTAM search and the manual EUROCONTROL Validator. The Route Report document is also more easily accessible with a dedicated button at the top of the screen.

Route Constraints allow you to specify specific aeronautical elements (waypoints, airways, FIRs, tracks, etc.) that must be included in or excluded from the Recommended Route. You can add an unlimited number of constraints to a route; Dispatch will repeatedly update the route each time you add new constraints as long as it can find a new route that complies with the constraints. Dispatch will generate and return a new route within a few minutes for most flights, with short or simple routes taking less time and complex or long routes taking longer.

Click the Constraint dropdown to select the type of constraint you want to add. “Via” constraints allow you to specify some elements that must be included in the route, and “Avoid” constraints allow you to specify some elements that must be excluded. Different constraint types provide different types of fields for specifying the element to be included or excluded, and these fields appear to the right of the Constraint dropdown. 

  • Via Waypoint - specify a point that must be included in the route. This can be any type of unique aeronautical element that exists in only one location, such as a waypoint, navaid, airport, procedure fix, etc. Type the point’s identifier in the field to the right and click Add Constraint to add it to the list.

  • Avoid Waypoint - specify a point that must be excluded from the route.This can be any type of unique aeronautical element that exists in only one location, such as a waypoint, navaid, airport, procedure fix, etc. Type the point’s identifier in the field to the right and click Add Constraint to add it to the list.

  • Avoid FIR - specify an FIR or UIR that the route must not pass through. Click the first dropdown on the right (Avoid FIR) to view a list of all available FIRs that you can select, and type the name or identifier of one in the Search field at the top to filter the list. Click one or more FIRs in the dropdown to add each as a new constraint. Click the second dropdown (Overflown FIRs) to view a list of all FIRs that the current route passes through. Filter the list and add new FIRs in the same way as the first dropdown. Any FIRs that you add to the list of constraints are shaded gray on the Route Map to indicate their boundaries.

  • Via Track - specify an oceanic track that must be included in the route. Click the West or East dropdowns based on the flight’s direction and mouse over each track system in the list (NAT, PAC, or AUS) to see all available tracks for each one. Click on a track name to add it to the list of constraints. Click the “Use Any” box to instruct Dispatch to include some oceanic track in the route, while allowing Dispatch to select the particular track. Adding any track as a constraint or selecting Use Any will remove the Via Track option from the Constraint dropdown, as only one track can be used on any given route. Removing the Via Track constraint from the list will make the option available again in the dropdown.

  • Via SID - specify a departure procedure that must be included in the route. Click the dropdown on the right to view and select from a list of available procedures for the flight’s departure airport. Click a procedure name to add it to the list of constraints.

  • Via STAR - specify an arrival procedure that must be included in the route. Click the dropdown on the right to view and select from a list of available procedures for the flight’s destination airport. Click a procedure name to add it to the list of constraints.

  • Avoid SID - specify a departure procedure that must be excluded from the route. Click the dropdown on the right to view and select from a list of available procedures for the flight’s departure airport. Click a procedure name to add it to the list of constraints.

  • Avoid STAR - specify an arrival procedure that must be excluded from the route. Click the dropdown on the right to view and select from a list of available procedures for the flight’s destination airport. Click a procedure name to add it to the list of constraints.

  • Avoid Airway - specify an airway that must be excluded from the route. You can exclude every segment of an airway by typing only its name in the Airway field, or exclude only a certain segment of an airway by typing the names of the waypoints that define each end of the segment in the From and To fields on either side of the Airway field.

  • Partial Route - specify a sequence of route elements that must be included verbatim in the route. Partial routes can include any type of aeronautical element identifier that can be included in filed flight plans, such as waypoints and navaids, airports, airways, terminal procedures, lat/long coordinates, speed, altitude, or flight rule changes associated with specific waypoints, and more. Dispatch will include the Partial Route sequence exactly as you entered it, working around the partial route to optimize the remainder of the route and comply with any other route constraints you’ve added. Partial Routes are most useful in cases where the filed route is required to follow some predefined sequence of waypoints to comply with strict overflight permits, preferential routing, etc.

Click Remove next to any constraint in the list to remove it. Click Generate New Route after adding all desired constraints to have Dispatch begin calculating the new route. Dispatch will only generate a new route when you click the Generate New Route button, not after adding or removing individual constraints.

You can also define a minimum and maximum altitude for the entire route just below the Route Constraints list. Any changes you make to these fields will be reflected in the new route after you click Generate New Route.

 

6. Route Report

The Route Report is a helpful document to reference as you add and modify route constraints. Dispatch generates the report by searching the digital Jeppesen Airway Manual for all named airways included in your route. It then compiles the matching results in a simple table listing the airway, waypoint-defined airway segment, and the text of any restriction it found for that airway. The Route Report only takes a few seconds to generate, making it easy to refresh it each time you make changes to a route. You can then make further route changes to comply with any airway restrictions found, generate the new route, then check the Route Report again to see any new restrictions for the modified route.

Learn more about the Route Report and other documents in Dispatch here.<—-need link

The NOTAM Search allows you to quickly find NOTAMs that may be relevant for your route. Type the identifier of any airport, airspace, or NOTAM in the search field to show matching results, with commas separating separate search terms. Dispatch orders NOTAM results chronologically by effective date, with the oldest NOTAMs placed at the top of the list. Click the Overflown FIRs dropdown to the right of the search bar to view a list of all the FIRs included in your route, allowing you to click on each one to add it as a search term.

8. Route and Route Table

The Route section below Route Constraints shows the current route’s full route string and a table breaking the route into its individual sections. The route shown here reflects the most recent optimized route generated by Dispatch using the Generate New Route button, or whatever route you selected in the Flight Edit view if you haven’t yet generated a new route. Adding or removing route constraints or changing the minimum or maximum altitude will not affect the route shown here until you click the Generate New Route button.

Like on the Flight Edit view, you can manually edit the route string by clicking into the Route field and making changes, then clicking outside of the field to update the route. Any manual changes you make to the route are automatically reflected in the Route Table below.

The first column of the Route Table lists every waypoint, navaid, or airport that your route passes through, even those not explicitly named in the route string such as intermediate waypoints within airways or procedures. The second column lists the airway or procedure that connects each waypoint to the previous one, or DCT if there is a direct connection between the waypoints. The third column lists the FIR that each waypoint is located in, and the fourth column lists the planned altitude (in FL format) at each waypoint.

9. EUROCONTROL Validator

Experienced flight planners who are familiar with the syntax of ICAO flight plans and EUROCONTROL route validation messages can manually tweak and submit the flight plan for validation using the EUROCONTROL Validator, allowing them to quickly find a valid route when Dispatch isn’t able to. The Validator is only available for flights that pass through EUROCONTROL-administered airspace in whole or in part.

Click the Validate button just below the Current Route field to open the EUROCONTROL Validator. The FPL message associated with the current route is shown in a field in the middle of the popup window; click in this field to edit any part of the message. Click Validate to send the edited flight plan to EUROCONTROL for validation. The validation status of the last flight plan sent is shown near the bottom of the window - valid messages show “EUROCONTROL Valid” in green, while invalid flight plans show “EUROCONTROL Invalid” in red, with information about why the message is invalid displayed in a bright red banner below.

Click Close to exit the Validator. Any changes you make to the FPL Message within the Validator on the Route Builder page are not saved or applied to the flight plan itself, so you’ll need to manually update the flight plan’s details to make it reflect whatever valid message you found using the Validator.

The EUROCONTROL Validator is also available in the ATC Data view where the flight’s raw FPL message is displayed.