The club is transitioning to Schedule Master (SM) as the primary source for squawks, billing, and maintenance tracking. The paper system continues as a backup. For this to work, it’s critical that members and board members enter data correctly and in a timely basis.
While the club’s keeping the inspections and maintenance quick reference sheets in the plane (in case of system outages), you should expect SM to be more up to date – it’s easier and quicker for maintenance directors to enter data in SM than it is to get to the plane to enter the data on paper. Occasionally though, a mechanic (who don’t do entries in SM) will note a completed inspection/maintenance in the paper version first.
If you have an upcoming (or even started) plane schedule in SM, when you log in, you should have a link under “outstanding preflight”. One advantage of doing this through SM is that you can do this before arriving at the airport, possibly finding an issue before driving to EMT. You can see the status of inspections, as well as a list of all open squawks.
Unfortunately, the list of squawks shown during the preflight does not allow you to see the history and comments for the squawks (an improvement we’ve asked for). If you want to see more detail on squawks, navigate to Resource Info->Maintenance->Squawks and select which aircraft’s squawks you would like to see. By doing that you can see comments and updates on the squawks since they were entered and can add your own comments.
Preflight dispatch shows you the data/time of the last time entry for the airplane, but this may not be the current tach time if the last member to fly has not yet entered their time (this can be an issue as we get close to things like 100 hr inspections).
Once you have reviewed the preflight data, please check “I reviewed…” and click the Save button.
Prior to flight, members should also check the paper record of maintenance, squawks, and enter starting information in the paper log sheets.
Once you have completed your flight, you should log into to SM and complete your postflight – there should be a link under “Outstanding Postflights”. PLEASE do this on a phone or table while you are at the airplane – this ensures you have access to the necessary data, makes it less likely to forget, and helps all the pilots who fly after you have more accurate and timely information.
Please carefully enter all the digits of your starting and ending tach time (or Hobbs as used by the plane). DO NOT ASSUME that any numbers pre-entered for you in the form are correct. We recommend that members take pictures of the tach at start and end to help confirm the data. At the end of a flight, if the 10ths digit is between two digits, please enter the higher number (if it is in between, it’s going to roll to the higher number very quickly after the next start). If you did not fly, please click the “NO FLIGHT” checkbox and then enter the reason (a few common ones are available, but you can enter almost anything).
For “CFI“, if this was an instructional flight, please enter the last name of the instructor (student’s on solo flights should not enter an instructor). Leave blank if no CFI on board.
For “starting oil level“, enter the oil reading (in quarts) just prior to start (i.e. the level after you added any oil)
For “oil added” enter the quarts of oil you added (anything besides 0 and 1 is very unusual).
For “starting fuel level“, enter the total gallons of usable fuel you estimate to be in the plane when you were ready to start the plane (i.e. after you added fuel)
For “fuel added“, enter the total gallons of fuel you added, whether purchased personally or charged to a club account.
Once you have rechecked and confirmed that all this data is correct, press the “Calculate Charges” button.
Check to see that the amount you are being charged seems correct. If no, click the “Edit Inputs” button and correct any errors. The system immediately calculates the amount that will be added to your bill. One possible error message at this point is if the numbers don’t make sense (start greater than end or if the amount of time was longer than your schedule). Once the data is correct, press the “Save Entry” button.
The next screen will allow you to input receipts for reimbursement. This feature should not be used for fuel provided through the club’s fuel account(s) at EMT.
If you did purchase fuel on your own credit card (or cash), click the link and enter the number of gallons and cost per gallon the fuel. Take a picture of the receipt and attach at this point as well. Fuel reimbursement will be limited to a per gallon amount slightly above the current rate at EMT. If you have no receipt or have entered it, make sure to select “On Account” (for now in 2020) and then click the “Submit” button. You’ll then be given a summary of your current billing account status.
If you have NEW squawks from your flight, there is a convenient “Click here to enter a squawk” link.
Please complete entry of ending time and billed time on the paper log sheets as well as adding any new squawks in the paper version.
Entering time if you weren’t on the schedule
We REALLY want members to make sure they are only flying when they have an airplane reserved in their name. However, there are some occasional situations where this didn’t happen and you need to enter time and be billed, even though you don’t have a schedule (and as a result, SM is not giving you an “open postflight” link).
Navigate to My Account->My Pre/Postflight and click on the link “Click here for Postflight w/no schedule”. Enter the approximate start and end date/time of your flight. Schedule Master expects flights and tach entries to be in order. Therefore, it’s important that if your flight was before another pilot’s flight, but overlapped with their schedule, please enter a start time that is before their reservation. If your flight was after another pilot’s flight, make sure the start you enter was after them. This comes up a lot when “splitting” flight schedules with another pilot.
Splitting time with another pilot
Ideally, we would like every pilot who plans to fly a plane to show on the schedule. So, if two pilots are sharing the plane on a trip, it would be preferable to have reservations under both pilots accounts and in the order they plan to fly. If this is not possible, you will need to use the procedure for entering time if you weren’t on the schedule and be very careful about the start and end times, as SM expects flights to be “in order”.
Entering time for long reservations/flights
When you do “postflight” in SM, it deletes the remainder of your schedule. This is a great feature, as it allows another pilot to potentially use the remainder of your schedule. However, if you are flying a longer trip, this would be a real problem. For longer trips, you will need to keep track of the total time, total oil added, and total fuel added for entry when you have completed your flight and no longer need the remainder of your schedule.
Reservation superseded by maintenance
If you have a reservation, but maintenance overlays your schedule, you still need to postflight (and SM will send you reminders to do so). Simply mark check “NO FLIGHT” and reason as “Plane Down”. Simple.
Squawks are to planes what bugs are to software – a list of problems for diagnosis and repair. There are a few things to be aware of when entering a new squawk.
- Don’t enter a squawk for a problem that already has an open squawk. This clutters the system, makes everyone wonder if you read the squawks, and generally creates confusion. If you have additional information about an open squawk, then please add a comment to the existing squawk – this could be a change in condition, more information about when something does or doesn’t happen, or a correction to something previously entered (for instance, left/right gets messed up a lot).
- There are 3 priorities: Plane Down, Medium, and Low. Plane down should be used when you feel an airplane is unsafe or unusable for further flight; examples include a flat tire, inability to start from a dead battery, a failed required instrument, or something broken or damaged requiring evaluation by a mechanic before further flight. Medium priority should be used when a problem may restrict the types of flights, but the plane may be usable. It also may apply where the problem might be likely to get worse. For example, a burned out landing or nav light is unlikely to affect day flight, but may make night flight impossible. Low priority is for all other problems and generally indicates that the problem can be deferred until a later date when the plane is in for other maintenance, but should be checked/monitored by each subsequent flight to avoid flying with a worsening problem.
- Don’t use squawks to indicate passed inspection dates – this is better tracked through the scheduled maintenance functionality or through direct communication with the appropriate maintenance director.
New squawks can be entered easily from a screen during postflight, but you can also always check current (and recently closed) squawks by navigating to Resource Info->Maintenance Info>Squawks. This the right navigation path for checking the latest on a squawk or entering a comment/update.
Why are we still using paper?
Electronic systems fail – Schedule Master was down for a day in January 2020. While we don’t expect that to be common, the overhead of paper backup is reasonably small. While duplicate systems can lead to confusion, on a monthly basis, we’ve had situations where the paper helped to solve a mystery in the data entered in SM.
Please help make this more useful by letting the Board know if there further questions that should be answered by this article