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Tips and Suggestions for FLTDUTY Users (Vista and more...)

WINDOWS VISTA and 7 ISSUES

  • Early Editions (before serial #2860)

All FLTDUTY editions prior to November 2008 with serial numbers less than #2860 will work in Windows XP but are NOT Microsoft Windows Vista compatible.  Nor will they work in Windows 7/8/10.  There were many issues with missing library files and unsupported features (including among other things the Help file and the calendar tool...) as well as issues with the Read Only properties and User Account Control for the original C:\Program Files installation location.  After some development work, these problems were solved and a new issue installation Setup package was released.  Users with Windows Vista or Windows 7/8/10 need to contact me for an updated installation package with the new Setup.exe. 

Old data will be preserved and is able to be imported from good backups.  Should backup habits be poor, there are ways to tranfer almost all the data from the original early versions to the new edition in the new location without losing much.

  • File Access errors

If on startup an error message comes up indicating that the object has been disconnected or is unavailable, check to see if the FLTDUTY XLS folder has somehow been set to "Read Only" in Attributes.  To do this, use Explore (right click on Start button) or Computer and browse to C:\FLTDUTY XLS folder.  Right Click to highlight and select C:\FLTDUTY XLS folder.  Click on the Properties item in the menu that appears.  You may see that "Read Only" has been checked for some users (including yourself...).  On the Security page, select your user group and use Edit, Advanced and Apply to make sure that "Read Only" is not set and Full Control is checked. 

If you are unable to make a permanent change to the attributes of the FLTDUTY XLS folder, then it cannot Read and Write to its own data files.  Try uninstalling FLTDUTY XLS using Remove Programs and re-installing using the Setup.exe from CDROM or Zip file and send the installation destination to your Documents folder instead of the root C:\ drive.

Vista may initiate some undesireable security changes to any application installation and restrict the EXE file from writing to data files within the FLTDUTY XLS folder.  You need to reset these Properties to Full Control for you as a User.  If you cannot do this, get Help from Microsoft.

  • INTRUDER ALERT Error Message

If INTRUDER ALERT comes after a Vista upgrade, copy the SaveSettings.sav file from your CD ROM or download Zip file into C:\FLTDUTY XLS folder (Do not use the original destination C:\Program Files\FLTDUTY XLS for Vista installations).  I haven't figured this out yet, but the work around seems to get rid of the problem if not fix it...

If you want a new edition patch that includes the Vista and 7 fixes to this point, just contact me for a free download and refer to your original purchase company name.  Let me know if you encounter other Vista or 7 related issues.

 

More Tips and Suggestions ...

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REGIONAL SETTTINGS - ENGLISH (CANADA) ONLY

It may be possible to load FLTDUTY onto a computer with a French version of Windows and Control Panel > Regional Settings set to French (Canada), but there will be issues eventually with date and number entry formatting that will make some of the features inaccessable.  Most common will be Run Time Error #13 Type Mismatch (or the equivalent in French...) and a shutdown of the program.  Calculations will drop the decimal portion of hour entries; some numbers may show up as dates; reports, tables and printouts may show inaccurate, incomplete or inappropriate presentations; and entries that show properly intially may change randomly to decades later dates or numbers.  You may lose data (from Pilot Records profile section) after completing a session the next time you re-visit.

Make sure that your Control Panel > Regional Settings is set to language English (Canada) and your Short Date Format is set to dd/mm/yy.

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NEXT DUE DATES FOR "SAME AS 90 DAYS"

New for 2011!  In previous releases, FLTDUTY was calculating the renewal dates as if the test were taken on the expiry date and therefore adding another month as if the re-test were done on the 1st day of the 13th month.  This is not the current interpretation for renewals done within 90 days of the expiry date.  FLTDUTY will now add the 13th month to the initial test date, and upon renewal the calculations will move ahead 12 months (not to the 1st day of the 13th month, but 12 months from the previous expiry date).  This is in line with current interpretations for renewals done within 90 days of existing expiry dates.

Medical due dates are also available for the "same as 90 days" option as per guidelines from TC. (CARs 404.04(8))

Users of older releases of FLTDUTY can update for free with me at any time (email a request for update download...) but the option is always available to type in manually the correct or desired "Next Due" date in the text box after a default suggestion is displayed that seems incorrect.

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SHARE AND SYNCH RECORDS BETWEEN COMPUTERS AT REMOTE SITES

In Windows Cloud - Windows 7 + Windows Live Mesh (click Connect) - you can set up your office computer to automatically synch or update with your remote computers.  This means that a pilot on an assignment away from the HQ can make FLTDUTY entries on his own copy of an installed FLTDUTY on his laptop, and have it automatically updated on the office computer as it happens.  This avoids any exporting and importing of your records via email, and makes it possible for the Chief Pilot or dispatcher to see updates of duty times, flight times and rest schedules as they happen at the remote work site.

See the instructions with Windows 7 and Windows Cloud, Live Mesh on setting up folders like C:\FLTDUTY XLS or C:\FLTDUTY XLS\Pilots on any computers, that have internet access, as synchronized and automatically updated.

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SAMPLE REPORT SHEETS FOR COMPANY OPERATIONS MANUAL (COM) AMENDMENT

I have created some sample report sheets that have been accepted by Transport Canada as examples of the type of information that is recorded in FLTDUTY XLS and can be gleaned in a periodic report.  There are numerous combinations of column headers that can be included in any report.  Set your choices in Options > Printout Options and check only those columns you need to show the type of report you want.  Check "Include Summary Information" and set Font Size to "Small" for Portrait paper orientation to dublicate the default printed report.  (Click "Return to Default")  You can download this PDF Sample Report template here. 

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RESIZE TABLE ON SCREEN

After Serial Number #2893 (Jan 2010) if you place your mouse cursor on the edges of the main form then click and drag, the form will resize.  You can also click the Maximize button in the upper right corner of the form.  When you resize the form, the Table and the CARs text box will expand to fit into the new space.  Only these 2 features will expand.  The other graphics remain the original size.  The buttons will move to remain on the right edge of the form and if you click Table ON, the new table will be there.  You will still need to use the scroll bars to see the entire Table in most cases, but more is visible both horizontally and vertically if you resize the form to fit your screen.  Click Restore icon in the upper right corner to get original form dimensions back if you haven't dragged the edges (drag back to near original if you have manually adjusted size).  Original dimensions will appear on initial startup in any case.

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PREVIEW/SHOW PRINT REPORTS

Some Printers (Canon...), in their Printer Preferences, have a Print Preview feature that can display the print commands prior to going to the hard copy.  If you want to see a display of the printed report (before or instead of the paper version), select Print Preview on your Printer Preferences setup features if this is available.  This will display the printed report prior to going to the printer.  If you set your Zoom to 100%, you can see actual information.  If you have set Landscape page orientation, this will show the report rotated so you don't get as good a preview, but in some cases this might show you the information and you can decide if you want to go on and have the hard copy.

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INTRUDER ALERT!  INTRUDER ALERT!

If you get INTRUDER ALERT message, copy the SaveSettings.sav file from your installation CD ROM into C:\FLTDUTY XLS folder.  Your passwords will have to be re-entered if you use this feature.  If you are locked out after the dummy SaveSettings.sav file is copied in, contact me directly for a password.

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TOOL TIP TEXT

Hold your mouse cursor over any text label, value box, entry box, button or object to see a pop up tip.  Any time you see an asterisk *, try double clicking in the general area to see more tips and hints.  Double click some labels, icons or text boxes to have more hints or features shown.

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HELP 

You can get Help by clicking Help > Contents or Help > Search in the main menu.  Or you can press F1 on your keyboard at any time and have the Help File window pop up in HTML.  For special problems or issues, contact me directly.  Email is best.  Windows Vista users may see Unsupported Format for older copies of FLTDUTY.  If you are working with a copy of FLTDUTY that doesn't have a Help file (old versions on Vista...), you can download the User's Manual as a PDF.  Right click link.  Save Target As... to your desktop.

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EXPLANATION OF REST REQUIREMENTS CBAAC #0241

Double click on the grey Days to Go logo (DDD, 36, ...) to have a more detailed explanation of your options under required rest for 704/705 operations or any pilot On Call.  CBAAC #0241 compliance.

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IMPORT/EXPORT ONLY WHEN PILOT RECORD IS NOT SELECTED OPEN

The Import and Export features are only available before you open any pilot record for modification or data entry.  To Import or Export for backup, click File > Close to have the initial screen with the pilot list visible and file management features available.  Then click File > Import/Export and select your choice and your files.

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GET ENTRY DATES BEFORE DAY 1

To create a record with an earlier start date if you want to go back and make archive entries, first Export the record in a Move to a secure location - like My Documents or a flash drive. 

Then create another New Pilot record with the identical name but this time enter a Start Date farther in the past.  

Then Import as an Update the old record choosing the start date and end date for the update that corresponds to the records you have previously entered. 

Once the new record is created with earlier blank entries, go ahead and make earlier entries at your convenience and Save in the normal way.  Be sure to Delete any copies of the original record (using My Computer or Explore) and make a good backup of the new record to ensure that you don't accidentally Import the old start date as an over write sometime later.

New for 2011!  Newer versions (after serial number #2900) can accept any dates, both before Day 1 and after 120 days in the future, by simply typing in the desired date in the Entry Date box or selecting in the pop up calendar.  If this date is prior to Day 1 of the record, all existing data will be preserved with a new Start Date, and data entries (archive) can be included for any earlier period.  Files with empty dates at the beginning and end of the current record will be trimmed for storage with a minimum of blank entries left at the start and at the end.

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SEE CARs REFERENCE FOR EACH VIOLATION

Any time there is a Violation showing and red flags, click on CARs ON to see the particular regulation or standard in effect in the CARs text box.  Select (blue highlight) each violation to have the particular reference shown. 

Double click on the highlighted line in the CARs Violations box to have the reference pop up.  Click on CARs ON to see the text of the Regulation or Standard.

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SERVER INSTALLATIONS

FLTDUTY XLS has been installed on a server with success.  When doing the initial installation, set the server as the install destination.  All terminals that will be using FLTDUTY must also have their Windows library updated by running Setup.exe as an install from Control Panel > Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs in XP) > Install to the default destination.  Then on the terminals, you must uninstall FLTDUTY using Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs in XP) and when the prompt comes up asking about shared files, select "Remove None" to leave the remote copies of Windows updated with shared files required for FLTDUTY to run.  Make a Shortcut on each terminal desktop that points to the Fltduty.exe file resident on the server.  This will preserve a single copy of the program and the data on the server that all terminals can access.

There is no exclusivity built into the FLTDUTY code so any file that is opened by multiple users simultaneously will be over written as it is closed so that only the last copy saved will be preserved.  None of the other changes will remain.  It is important that any pilot record modifications or data entries be done by only one user at a time.  Others can read and make reports, but only one should be doing data entry at a time when it is unlikely that others will be accessing the same file on the server through other locations.

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MAC INSTALLATION

Mac users must have a "Windows emulator" in place so that a Windows Registry exists and shared files can be installed in the Windows/System folder as library files.  You can check out a possible solution based on Parallels third party application for Mac's.  Try CrossOver from CodeWeavers.

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CUSTOM LABELS

Any of the black text labels can be custom set in the PLUS Edition Pilot Records section.  Hold your mouse cursor over the black text label and double click.  A new window will pop up that allows you to change the label for this and every pilot in your records.  For the "Last..." and "Next..." options, the changes will be made in pairs as a default although you can change any of these directly if you choose.

You can also change the validity period for the label items in the PLUS Edition Pilot Records section by double clicking on the grey text and selecting any appropriate validity period from the pop up window drop down list.  These will be identical for all pilots.  Also check to select the 90 day option if you want renewals done within 90 days of the due date to be treated the same as if they were done on the due date.

In the Notes section of all FLTDUTY editions, you can change the totalizing labels (like Option Entry #1) by double clicking on the black text or clicking on Options > Optional Parameters in the main menu.  Type your custom labels in each of the 4 text boxes (blank labels will not appear).  These will appear from the Entry Date forward for this pilot only, in Notes and in reports.  You can change the lables at any point (and also blank the entries if you change your mind) between Reset selections.  Choose reset to zero for the totalizers by checking the small box to the right of the labels and text boxes.  

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CHANGING THE SPLASH SCREEN PHOTO

If you have a photo you want to use in the splash screen (the first screen you see when you open FLTDUTY XLS), you can create a Bitmap image of your own and place it in the FLTDUTY XLS folder.

The original bitmap image was created using Paint in Windows 95 after exporting a scanned photo from Adobe PhotoShop.  The bitmap image attributes are Width 4.94" and Height 2.31".  You will need to create an image of the same dimensions for it to fit in the form.  If your photo is a different size, use the Paint features to crop or stretch your image to fit in a file with the attributes 4.94" x 2.31".

One way to accomplish the fit is to create a blank file in Paint with the attributes set to 4.94" x 2.31" size; then copy your scanned photo in a larger size and paste it to the sized file without expanding the attributes to fit your photo.  Position the pasted image for the best display within the set dimensions and save it.

Once you are satisfied with your 4.94" x 2.31" BMP file, save it as SplashScreen.bmp.  Transfer this file (only a file named SplashScreen.bmp will be recognized) to C:\FLTDUTY XLS (C:\Program Files\FLTDUTY XLS in older versions) and when you open your copy of FLTDUTY, your new photo will be in place.

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PAPER ORIENTATION - LANDSCAPE

The FLTDUTY code doesn't control the printer.  It merely calls the Printer Dialogue box to allow you to select options and send commands.  If you are having trouble getting landscape paper orientation setting to take, try resetting your defaults in the printer setup box before you open the FLTDUTY program.

To change the printer defaults, open your Printer Properties window from your desktop (with FLTDUTY and other programs closed) and make selections to have landscape paper orientation set as a default.  Click to Apply changes.  This should then be set when you send a print command from FLTDUTY when making reports.

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OVERNIGHT PRONE REST

The display of Rest Since Last Duty is not actually the time between duty periods for any period less than 12 hours.  The program displays the maximum possible time for prone rest by subtracting 1 hour from the difference in the previous released from duty time and the subsequent report for duty time.  This assumes that the pilot requires at least 1 additional hour to travel to his residence, have a meal and look after personal hygiene, then get the required minimum prone rest of 8 consecutive hours, then get up, eat, shower and travel back to the airport for flight duty.  If the 1 hour period is not required for these things, then the prone rest could be increased up to an additional hour and the user needs to over ride the default and type in the actual time of prone rest (by clicking the "Change" button and making manual entries for the prone rest actually taken).  It is assumed that there will be no CARs violation for not eating or coming to work unshowered... but there would be a possible violation for not getting enough prone rest between duty periods. 

The minimum rest period defined by the CARs includes the time it takes for travel, meals and hygiene plus the minimum 8 hours of prone rest.  Therefore this time is no less than 8 hours, and could be something other than 8 + 1 hours for the prone rest and the other elements of the rest period.  The User needs to manually enter a time for the prone rest if this appears inaccurate in an overnight situation - click Change.  The violation and red flag will appear for any manual entry less than 8 hours of prone rest, and any entry between duty periods that is less than 9 hours.

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CARs DAY OFF SHOWN WHEN DUTY IS ENTERED

Sometimes when you have duty entered the program will still show a CARs DAY OFF on the right side of Section 1.  Since the CARs define a "day off" as 24 consecutive hours free from duty, you may have a rest period longer than 24 hours and still have duty on each day.  For example, if you were released from duty on Monday at 1:00 PM and then reported for duty on Tuesday at 2:00 PM for a flight, you had 25 hours of rest and therefore qualified for a day free from duty.  The date on Tuesday would be considered a day off for future calculations.  When there are a few days off in a row, check back to the last Released from duty time and the current Report for duty time.  They will be separated by more than 24 hours and all the dates in between will also be considered "days off".

Check the value in Rest Period Since Last Duty.  This will be greater than 24 hours (or a multiple of 24 hours).

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CANNOT USE FLIGHT TIME HIGH LIMITS OR RESET FLIGHT TIMES TO ZERO ALLOWED UNDER THE STANDARDS 720.15 AND 720.16

Check the High Limits Summary Table under View > High Limits Summary in the main menu bar.  These options are available for 6 non-overlapping 30 day periods within each 365 days.  The Table will show you which blocks of days have been used in the past year and whether or not there are any remaining for use today. 

If you need a block today and have not been selective in your use of the options - especially the reset flight times to zero following a 5 day break - then you might find a block with single or non-consecutive dates that you can clear without negative ramifications.  Note the single day dates in any under used block from the Table.  (You can also double click on the area by the asterisk * beside Accumulated Flight Times frame in Section 2 to get the dates that might be affected.)  Select one of these dates in the Entry Date, record the data report, released and flight time values so you can re-enter these later.  Click Reset button.  Are you sure?  Yes.  Re-enter the report, released and flight time data and click Calculate.  This time when you are asked if you want to reset the flight time totals to zero, click No.  Do this until a block of dates has been cleared up.  Check today's date periodically to see if you have the option now available. 

NOTE:  The High Limits Summary Table (click View) is not available to those operators who do not have the Ops Spec 092, 093, 094.  If you check this item "No Ops Spec 092, 093, 094" on the startup screen, only the Regulations (CARs) will be applied and you cannot use any of the options allowed by the Standards (CASS). 

If you suddenly lose the ability to reset flight time totals to zero or use high limits for flight time, look to make sure you haven't accidentally checked the "No Ops Spec 092, 093, 094" option.  This label flashes red on startup for a few seconds, if it is checked, to remind users the selection has been made - intentionally...?

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"PATH NOT FOUND" ERROR WHEN LOADING/UNLOADING PILOT RECORD TRAINING INFORMATION (Pilot Records Window open/close)

This was a glitch found when working with a fresh install of FLTDUTY and attempting to import training records from another copy of the program.  If the error message appears that Path Not Found is a problem, the program is looking for a Profiles folder in C:\FLTDUTY XLS (C:\Program Files\FLTDUTY XLS in older versions) to input the data into.  This folder is not created at installation time, but will appear anytime there is training record information stored in the PilotProfiles.txt file.  If the Path is Not Found, you can manually insert a New Folder named Profiles into the FLTDUTY XLS folder using Windows Explore or My Computer.  Place this empty folder on the same level as the Pilots folder and the Animate folder and then try your Import again.

I have a patch EXE file that includes this fix if you want to get the latest code (before serial number #2808).  Email me for the update.  This problem should only occur once at initial startup when trying to create the first pilot training record or trying to import a training record to a blank copy of the program (new install).  If you haven't had the problem, you probably won't at this point.

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"TYPE MISMATCH" RUN TIME ERROR 13 ON STARTUP

This glitch occurred in a few copies around Serial number #2800-2809 during a fresh install.  The problem had to do with the INTRUDER ALERT security settings in the Windows Registry.  A work around solution is to manually copy the SaveSettings.sav file from your install CDROM into C:\FLTDUTY XLS (C:\Program Files\FLTDUTY XLS folder in older versions).  Use My Computer or Explore.

Other serial numbers should not be affected.  I can send a patch EXE file if you experience this error.

Language setting in Control Panel > Regional Settings must be set to English (Canada).  French (Canada) will not work.

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CORRUPT FILE ERRORS

There are different ways that a pilot file can become corrupt.  The most common has been when a Pilot Name.txt file is sent as an email attachment to update an office copy of FLTDUTY.  The best way to send files email is to Zip them and send as a Zip file and then Extract them at the destination for Import into the main copy of the program.  If Zipping is not an option, then just changing the file extension from .txt to any other 3 letter combination that isn't recognizable as a text document will also work.  Remember to change the file name extension back to .txt when it arrives...

The corrupt file may occur because the sender's (or receiver's) copy of Notepad or Wordpad is set by default to have the Word Wrap feature turned ON.  This must be selected OFF to avoid any unwanted line feed characters in the pilot file inserted during the transfer.  Check your settings (in View or Options on the menu bar) and try the email again after no word wrap is set.

If you still have file corruption problems, the best way is to send me the problem file and I can see where the Read Error is occurring and can try to fix things up manually.  I have had good luck with this, so you probably won't lose data.  But it is always best to have good backups on a regular basis just in case this file corruption problem suddenly appears.  Use the internal file management features in File > Import/Export before you open any pilot record from the main screen and store backups of all your records regularly.

Send your files as Pilot Name.txt (Eric Bradley.txt) files from the C:\FLTDUTY XLS\Pilots folder (C:\Program Files\FLTDUTY XLS\Pilots in older versions) if you suddenly get corruption errors, to my email with an explanation of what was going on when things went wrong.

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CUSTOM "LABEL TEXT" NOT SET UP ON SERVER TERMINALS

When a new installation is made with FLTDUTY XLS, there is no transfer of the labels and custom settings.  Even though the information for the day to day schedule for each pilot is transferred and the information for the Pilot Records is displayed, there are not the correct custom lable settings as were in the original.

The custom labels are transferred in an Export with "Include Label Text" checked (along with "Include Profile Information" for the Pilot Records information) and during an Import to the specific computer.  To get labels to transfer, first do an Export from a computer or terminal that has the correct custom labels to a USB drive or any unique location on the server or network of any pilot name and be sure to check "Include Label Text"; then do an Import to the new computer or terminal and be sure to select the pilot name and check "Include Label Text".  This can be an Import as an Update for a single day or any range of dates if you want (or a complete overwrite duplication of an existing record...) and the destination can be the server copy of the pilot records, but be sure that "Include Label Text" is checked.  This should bring across the label settings which are transferred and stored in a file called "FltdutyRegistrySettings.txt" in the Profiles folder on the backup.  This file is only written and read during an Export (from the original) and then an Import (to the new installation of FLTDUTY XLS).

New for 2010!  After serial number #2893 in January 2010, I coded the feature to have some of the Registry Settings (mainly the PLUS version Labels in Pilot Training Records and the Recurrent Items in Flight Time Details) copied into the Profiles folder after each shutdown of the program.  These settings will be read on each start up (no matter which terminal is used on a server installation) and will be copied preferentially from the saved settings there before checking the Windows Registry.  This means that on server installations, most of the custom labels and settings will show up on all the terminals once they have been set or changed on one computer in the network.  For other standalone computers, the Export/Import with "Include Label Text" checked will still transfer custom settings, but now all the computers on a server network will update these settings automatically without doing the Export/Import.

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