Browsing available flights
The missions available list will likely be the feature of AFIDS you use the most as a pilot. This is the place where you will find missions you want to fly and request them, that is, petition the coordination staff to be the command pilot, mission assistant, or backup pilot for the flight.
Filters (mission selection criteria)
The missions available list has a number of filters you can set to reduce the number of missions shown by increasing the relevancy of the missions to your location, availability, aircraft, and so forth. At first, the list will probably be broader than you would like, depending on the nature of your organization and the number of available missions. But, you can set the filters, and save them as defaults to make future searches more relevant.
Note that missions consist of one or more mission legs, and an available or open mission would be a mission with one or more available mission legs. You may see some missions with a mission leg that has been filled, but at least one will be available. Also remember that mission legs can be air or ground legs, so all the air legs may be filled, but a ground leg is available, causing the mission to appear on the list. Likewise, the all the ground legs are filled but an air mission is available.
Once you have re-set any of the filter criteria, click the "Find" button to update the list.
Initial filter settings
When you first display the missions available list, some filter settings may be pre-populated. These filter settings can come from:
- Your user settings, which are created when you "save filter settings" described in further detail below.
- Your availability settings, which are set in Account Settings for your profile.
Note that some of these fields may be hidden initially. For example, if you have saved settings that include an airport ident, only missions to or from that airport are shown. You need to click on the link for "Airport" to see if there is a value specified for the airport.
Date range. You can select a date range to reduce the number of missions displayed. Click in the field to bring up the calendar and choose a start and end date for the period you wish to search.
Days of the week. You can filter by day(s) of the week.
Geography. You have three choices to filter by the geography of the flight.
- Wing. Some organizations divide their territory into wings. You can search for only missions in a wing (typically your wing) to narrow the selection.
- Airport. Enter the ident of an airport to narrow the list to only flights to or from that airport.
- City/st/zip. Enter the city, state, and zip code to match against the origin or destination of a mission leg. This is probably the best option to use if you are looking for ground missions, which use addresses more then airports.
You can also choose to match these geographical criteria by only the origin or destination, or both.
Needs Show open or filled mission legs. Most often, you will want to show only open missions, which are the same as available missions.
Maximum Specify a maximum for the number of passengers, total weight, or distance. For any of these fields, you can leave them blank or enter 0 to remove the criterion from the filter.
Efficiency This is a calculation based on the efficiency of the flight based on the home base airport in your account settings. A flight that starts or ends at your home base airport will have an efficiency of 100% for you, and the efficiency will be lower depending on the distance of the original or destination airport (whichever is closer) from your home base, and how far it is out of the way of the path of the flight. If you don't see many available missions, this is probably due to the efficiency being too high. To ignore efficiency as a criteria, set the efficiency to 1.
Match personal flights If you have entered personal flights in your profile, then this option allows you to match the available missions against those personal flights. For more information about personal flights, see xxxxx.
Ignore my availability If you have entered information about your availability in your profile, the missions available list will only show missions that match your availability. In some cases, you may want to see all missions, regardless of your general availability. For example, if you're normally not available on weekdays, no weekday missions are shown. If you're on vacation and are available on weekdays for a limited period, you can use this feature to show weekday missions.
Available missions are sorted by the mission date. Drop down the sort selector to change the sort order from ascending (missions sooner first) to descending (missions later first).
The mission list
The list of available missions is really a list of available mission legs. Remember that a mission may consist of multiple legs, which are linking flights to cover longer distances or cross into territories covered by other organizations. If a mission has multiple legs, some may be filled and some open, so you may see a mission with both. Of course, you can only request the mission legs that are open, in other words, do not yet have a command pilot assigned.
Itinerary number and mission number. A passenger's travel experience with your organization has a hierarchy of information.
- Itineraries capture the information that applies to the entire travel experience, such as the passenger, the origin, and the destination.
- An itinerary may consist of one or more missions. A mission captures the information that applies to a specific travel day. A good example is an itinerary which covers a passenger's travel to a medical appointment. Such an itinerary will often consist of travel to the appointment on one day, and return home on another day. In this example, there would be two missions (to treatment and then back home) divided into two missions because they take place on two different days.
- A mission may consist of one or more mission legs. If a mission is too long for a single flight, coordinators will sometimes divide a mission into several legs. Each leg has it's own origin and destination, which will overlap with the origin and destination of the mission. For example, a mission goes from point A to point D, but leg one goes from point A to point B, leg 2 from point B to point C, and leg three from point C to point D. A mission leg is the part of the passenger's travel experience that a single pilot will fly. Therefore, when you request a flight, you are requesting a mission leg.
You can use the itinerary and mission links to review the itinerary and mission data.
Missions you may be interested in
There is a secondary list which shows some additional missions. These are missions which may not meet your filter criteria, but which may interest you anyway. This list shows all the missions and legs in an itinerary for which at least one mission leg should be of interest to you. Mission legs that are filled or cancelled are hidden, and can be shown by clicking on the icon in the route navigation.
Saving your filter settings
For your convenience, you can save your filter settings so that they are pre-populated every time you display the missions available list. These setting are used to filter the list when you first display the page. You can then change the filter settings and click "find" again to revise your list.
To save your settings, set the filter fields the way you want them to be saved, and then click the link to "Save filter settings."
What to do if you don't see enough available flights
To show more missions, you can progressively remove filters which are preventing missions from appearing. Start with ignore my availability, and then decrease the efficiency figure (or set it to be blank). The maximum range and maximum passengers may also be limiting the number of flights you see.