Monday, March 13, 2023

Import and ambiguous aircraft

A pilot today had a question about how to do an import when a tail number has been re-used across multiple airframes/models.

There are really two scenarios here.  The simple one is where there are multiple versions of an aircraft, but you've only flown one model.  The more complex scenario is where you've flown Nxxxx as, say, a C-172 and as a Kodiak.

If the former, this is pretty simple:

  • Add Nxxxx to your account.  
  • You might get the wrong version if the wrong version is also in the system; that’s fine – if so, on the website go to Aircraft->My Aircraft, click on Nxxxx and you’ll see a section titled “Other versions of this aircraft.” Click on “My flights are in this aircraft” next to the version you want.  If you don’t see your version at all, then click the pencil icon next to the model and you can edit the model.  The system will see the change as a “major” change (assuming that you’re changing from, say, a 172 to a 182 but not from a 172 N to a 172 S) and will clone the aircraft automatically and put you into the clone.
  • Now, import your file.  Since you only have one Nxxxx in your account, it will pick up the correct version.

If the latter (you've flown the same tail across different models), the process requires a few more steps:

  • Add Nxxxx to your account.
  • If the alternate version of Nxxxx is already there, then click on “Don't change any flights, but add this aircraft” next to the other version.  This will allow multiple versions of Nxxx to coexist in your account side-by-side
  • On the other hand, if you don’t see the other version, then click the pencil next to the model name and you can edit it to be the other version; this will create a clone of the aircraft and switch you to that clone; you should then be able to click “Don't change any flights, but add this aircraft” in the clone.  I.e., if Nxxxx is the 172 and you don’t see the Kodiak, then edit it to be the Kodiak and now it will be the Kodiak but not the 172.  You can then click to add the 172 alongside the Kodiak
  • One caveat to the above step: if you’re the only pilot in an aircraft, it won’t clone.  Look at the top where it tells you how many pilots use the aircraft:

    If it says it’s used by multiple users, then the step above will work.  If it says only 1 user, that’s you and the edit to the model will actually modify the underlying model instead of cloning.  If so, let me know the aicraft and the model you want and I can clone it for you.
  • Once you have all of the relevant versions of Nxxxx in the system, you need to get the unique ID for of each variant.  Go to Aircraft->My  Aircraft and click on one of the versions of Nxxx and look in the address bar:

    Right after “…id=” you’ll see a number.  That’s the unique identifier for that specific aircraft.
  • Now, go to the CSV that you’re using to import.  Add a column titled “Aircraft ID”; I suggest putting this next to the Tail Number column, but it doesn’t really matter.  For the aircraft that might be ambiguous, fill in the correct ID in the “Aircraft ID” column.  You don’t need to do this for the unambiguous aircraft because the tail number is sufficient.

    E.g., suppose I had two versions of N30322 but only one version of all my other aircraft, then my spreadsheet might look something like this (aircraft ID's below are made up for illustration)
You should now be able to import.  For the sample screenshot above, the system will see, for example, N2939J and there'd be no ambiguity because there's only one version of N2939J in your account.  But for N30322, it would use the Aircraft ID column to determine whether it needs to use 38473 or 103948.