Thursday, March 18, 2021

Saved Searches and Flight Coloring

Do you ever find yourself doing the same search over and over?  Want to highlight your flight reviews or IPCs to make them easy to spot in a printout?

MyFlightbook allows you to name a search (aka "query") for future use.  It's pretty simple to use.  To give a search a name, use the drop-arrow next to the search box:

Just type in a name, and when you click "Find Matching Flights", you will not only see the results of the search, but the search will have been saved in your account as well.

The image above is from the website, but it's the same basic idea on the mobile apps; you can give it a name on the bottom of the screen where you fill in the search form.

Previously created queries are listed below the edit box where you type the name:

Click on the name of the search to apply it, or click the red "X" to delete it.  

You can update an existing saved query by simply re-using its name with a new search.

This can be super handy for common searches.  Each year at tax time, for example, I want to know about my angel flights from the previous year (that's the query that's shown above).

Flight Coloring

Saved searches are a nice power feature, but where they get really powerful is when you combine them with a relatively new feature: Flight Coloring.

Flight coloring allows you to specify a background color to use in the logbook display for flights that match a saved search that you have created.

Flight Coloring is a two step process: first, save the search with a name.  Then, go to Preferences (under the Profile menu)

You'll see all of your saved searches there; next to it, you'll see a sample area.  Click that and you can choose a background color (pale colors work best), or click "Remove Color" to remove the color.  

Your logbook will then display matching flights using the color you've selected:

You can even choose to have these flights highlighted in the print layout - this can be useful, for example, if you are going for a job interview and want to make it easy to find finds that are significant to demonstrate experience or training.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Pending Flights

Can a flight be in your account but not in your logbook?  Yes.  MyFlightbook supports the notion of a "pending flight", which is simply a flight that is awaiting (pending) addition to your logbook.

Pending flights are designed primarily to address two scenarios:

  • You fly professionally and have a schedule of upcoming flights.  You might want to get those into the system before you fly them, but obviously you can't claim the time or experience before actually doing so.
  • You perform a bulk import and some of the flights have errors.  The flights with errors can be moved into the list of pending flights, allowing the error-free flights to be added to your logbook.  You can then fix the errors at your leisure.

There are other scenarios as well, of course, but those are the big ones.

There are two main features of a pending flight that distinguish it from a regular flight.  The first is that it is NOT included as a flight in your logbook: it is ignored for purposes of computing totals, currency, visited airports, and so forth.  Think of it as a scratch pad for flights.  The second is that error checking is basically suppressed.  You can have a pending flight in the future, you can have one that does not have an aircraft assigned, or that violates other integrity checks.  Obviously, a pending flight with such errors in it cannot be added to your logbook until the errors are addressed.

Creating Pending Flights

The most common way for pending flights to be added to your account is via Import.  If you import a file and some flights have errors, you'll have the option to import anyhow, with flights containing errors shunted over to the pending flights list.  If so, you'll see something like this at the end of the process:

In the example above, 5 flights were imported but 2 of them had errors; they ended up in pending flights, and the other 3 were added to the logbook.

MyFlightbook can import from a variety of sources, including some scheduling programs, which often lack required information such as the aircraft used for the flight.  These sources can only import to pending flights.  If you import debriefed flights from CloudAhoy, the same holds true - you will need to review these flights before adding them to your logbook.

The other way to create a pending flight is to do so explicitly when creating a flight.  Use the drop-menu next to the "Add Flight" button and you'll see the option to save as a pending flight instead of as a regular flight in your logbook:

Note that pending flights can have telemetry associated with them, but they cannot have images; you'll need to add any images after you add the flight to your logbook.

Reviewing Pending Flights

Go to "Pending Flights" under the Logbook tab to view any flights that are pending addition to your logbook.  You'll see a list of your pending flights (if any).  At the bottom is an option to bulk-delete them if you decide they were added in error or are an artifact from an import attempt prior to a successful import.

Otherwise, you can selectively delete pending flights that you don't need, or click on a flight in the list to edit it.  When you're done editing, click "Add Flight".  If you've addressed any errors in the flight, then the flight will be added to your logbook and removed from the pending flights list.  You can also use the menu next to the "Add Flight" button to update the pending flight.  Updating the flight preserves whatever changes you made, but keeps the flight in your pending flight list.

Mobile App Support

Both the iOS and the Android apps support pending flights.  The basic model is exactly the same, except that the pending flights are integrated into the recent flights list.  You can explicitly save a new flight as pending as well.  On Android, you can do this from the menu.  On iOS, tap the "action" icon (the box with an up-arrow) along the bottom toolbar.

Note that because the mobile apps can work while offline, they have another sense of the word "pending" that does not have meaning on the website: namely, the notion of having a flight that has not yet been uploaded to the server.  I am using the terminology "Awaiting Upload" to describe these flights.  So a flight that is "awaiting upload" is still local to your device, and may be waiting to go into your logbook or into pending flights, whereas a flight that is in your pending flights list is in fact up on the server and therefore available to any of your devices.