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FlyWay ReadMe


ReadMe file for FlyWay

a VFR/IFR Route Planner for Pilots

Written by Doug Bell
Version 0.2.2
January 2, 2002



This program was made possible after I found an airport and navaid database available for download from an FAA web site. I decided that the data would come in handy, it just needed a program to utilize it. So I wrote one (actually several variations of one). I think it's useful, so I decided to make it available to other pilots.

Flyway allows the user to find and enter U.S. waypoints (airports, navaids, and fixes), then it calculates courses, wind corrections, and travel times. Information about the waypoints is provided (including frequencies, elevation, fuel availability, and runway descriptions). The route data can also be used to fill in an editable FAA Flight Plan form, and a very rough map of the route can be displayed.

Since I'm not in the software business, I'm making this program free for anyone to use, distribute and modify, as long as it is not incorporated into any proprietary programs. If you like the software, feel free to let other pilots know about it. And let me know what you think - my e-mail address is doug101 AT xecu DOT net

Legal Issues


This program is to be used for preliminary flight planning only. It is not to be used as an official source of navigation information. The database it uses is furnished by the FAA for research purposes only and is not guaranteed to be accurate or current (it was labeled as current in January 2002). Also, the program itself is likely to still contain some bugs and is not intended to be a substitute for official flight planning information.

Copying and License

FlyWay is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY. See the LICENSE file provided with this program for more information. As a special exception, the author gives permission to link and distribute this program with the Qt Non-Commercial Edition without including the source code for Qt.

System Requirements


FlyWay requires the Qt Library (Version 2.3.0 or higher), Python (Version 2.1 or higher), and PyQt (Version 2.4 or higher - see <> for more information).


Using the files provided in the binary distribution, FlyWay should run on any computer running Win 95, 98, NT or 2000.



Extract the source and data files from the 'flyway.tar.gz' file into the directory of your choice (such as '/usr/local/lib/flyway/'). All files must remain in the same directory. A symbolic link to may be created in a directory included in your PATH ('ln -s /usr/local/bin/flyway').


Extract the executable and data files from the '' file into the directory of your choice (such as 'c:\Program Files\flyway\'). Then extract the extension files from '' into the same directory. The extension files only need to be downloaded once for all of my programs (rpCalc, ConvertAll, FlyWay, and TreeLine), but must be copied into each program's directory. A shortcut may be made to link to the flyway.exe file.

If you wish to modify the source code or write your own PyQt programs for Windows, do not use the above procedure. Instead, you need to install Python (see <>), Qt (see <>), and PyQt (see <>). Then extract the source code and data files from the Linux version (treeline tar file) to a directory of your choice and execute the '' file.

Using FlyWay


FlyWay starts up displaying a blank route. Use the 'Edit->Insert Waypoint After' command to input the desired waypoints. The Return key may also be used as a shortcut instead of using the pull-down menu.

A line editor will appear, allowing a search string to be entered. The three or five letter ID of the airport, navaid or intersection may be used. Also, a search string can find the desired waypoint from its name or its location. If multiple waypoints match the string, a dialog will allow the desired one to be chosen.

Once waypoints have been entered, clicking on the waypoint line will select it and show an arrow to the left of the line. Details about the selected waypoint will show up in the lower pane of the window. The Edit menu commands that refer to waypoints generally operate on the selected one. Also, clicking on a waypoint with the right mouse button will show a context menu with the applicable edit commands.


The search strings used to find a waypoint allow the use of multiple keywords. The keywords may match any of the following: the waypoint's identifier, name, city or state. The '*' wildcard may be used at the beginning or end of a word to search with a partial string. Wildcards in the middle of a word are not supported.

In the search results dialog, the list of waypoints can be filtered to show only certain types of waypoints (only airports, for example). The search may also be repeated by adding a new search string at the top of the dialog.


The Edit menu also has the 'Change Parameters' and 'Change Departure Time' menu items. These allow you to change the airspeed, the wind conditions, the departure time and the time format. The most recently used airspeed and time format will be recalled when the program is restarted. The wind will default to none.

Flight Plans

Selecting 'Flight Plan->Show' will either toggle the display of an existing flight plan or create a new one. The flight plan will be displayed in a separate window. Clicking in a flight plan field or using the arrow keys will change which field is selected (shown by a thicker border). The field can then be edited by hitting enter. Double-clicking will also edit a field. The Departure Point, Destination, and Time Enroute fields can not be selected, since they are set from within the route.

Once a flight plan is created, it will be saved when the route is saved. There are also defaults for most entries stored as user preferences. To update the preferences with the settings from the current flight plan, choose 'Flight Plan->Update Defaults'. To set the current flight plan back to the default settings, use 'Flight Plan->Reset to Defaults'.


Selecting 'Tools->View Map' will toggle the display of a rough map for the route's waypoints. The map scale is not 100% accurate, but it is good enough for a quick graphical look. Buttons at the top of the window will show additional airports, navaids and fixes within the map bounds. Moving the mouse near any waypoint will show the waypoint's description below the map.


When printing with the default options, the route table is printed first, then the flight plan (if it exists), then the detailed information for each waypoint. Any of the three may be turned off in the Print Options dialog. A preview will be shown before printing (but after hitting 'OK' on the normal print dialog box) by default. The print preview will show more detail if its window is made larger.

Database Notes

The waypoint database for FlyWay is a heavily modified version of the data available for download from NIMA (the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency). Unfortunately, this means that the useful data is restricted to the United States. There are also a few small airports missing, since the agency doesn't see a military need to include them (luckily, the vast majority of U.S. airports are included).

I am on the lookout for a more complete source of data that is freely available. Please let me know if you come across any useful information.

Revision History

0.2.2 : Toolbar buttons are now disabled when entering search strings to avoid unintended operations. Also, the waypoint database has been updated.

0.2.1 : Fixed a bug that caused fixes to be shown twice in the waypoint search dialog. Improved the printing code. Added a table of contents to the ReadMe help file.

0.2.0 : The mapping feature was added. A context menu was added for waypoints in the route view, and the Esc key cancels the entry of a waypoint string or a flight plan value. The database was updated and some minor bugs were fixed.

0.1.1 : The program name was changed to FlyWay to avoid conflicts. Minor bugs were fixed, including problems with saving options, recent files, and error handling. The MS Windows binary files were upgraded to PyQt Version 2.5.

0.1.0: Initial release.

Questions, Comments, Criticisms?

I can be contacted by email at: doug101 AT xecu DOT net
I welcome any feedback, including reports of any bugs you find. Also, you can periodically check back to <> for any updates.