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The Places To Fly User’s Guide and FAQ

Fourth Edition  - November 22nd, 2006

 

 

How does this new “Places To Fly” work?

  • It is a “user-editable” database that displays airport information on the Internet directly. That means that you can enter information and the program immediately posts it to the Internet for everyone to read.
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Why a “user-editable” database?

  • The idea is to make it very easy and quick for people to submit information on airports, including time-sensitive information, like fuel prices and airport fees. The old Places To Fly required users to submit information to our Webmaster who edited it and then posted it – it was very labour-intensive and slow and people rarely sent updates. After almost 8 years on the Internet we only had 133 airports listed and most entries were 6 years out of date. This new system should be much easier to use and you can see the results almost instantly.
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How does it work?

  • You can find information on an airport you are looking for by selecting a province and then searching the list of airports for that province.
  • If the information you find is incomplete, out-of-date or wrong you can simply correct it by clicking on the “Help us keep our airport information up-to-date. If you see some incorrect data, please update it now” option and adding the new information to the appropriate fields.
  • If the airport you are looking for isn’t there then you can start a new page for it by clicking on “Don't see the airport you are looking for? Add it now!” option at the bottom of any provincial page and then entering what information you have. Don’t worry if your information is incomplete – other users will come along and complete the entry. The process is designed to be collaborative!
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Who can edit the pages and create new pages?

  • Anyone can enter information, change information, add a new airport and upload pictures.
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Why isn’t Places To Fly “COPA Members Only” like the old section was?

  • We want to make sure that airport information could be read, entered and updated by airport managers and visiting foreign pilots, too, as well as COPA members. This project is a COPA aviation “public service” for everyone running or using airports in Canada.
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Who is monitoring or supervising what is posted to make sure it is correct?

  • Other users are. The whole philosophy of this project is that it is easy to enter information, right or wrong, and easy to fix it. COPA doesn’t have enough staff to monitor Places To Fly regularly to make sure the information posted is correct – so if you find a mistake please fix it!
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What stops people from entering wrong information or from vandalizing the pages?

  • Nothing. The key is that someone else will probably come along and either enter correct information or restore the page to a previous version within a few minutes. The more people use Places To Fly regularly the more pointless it becomes to vandalize pages or enter wrong information.
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Doesn’t this all mean that the information isn’t reliable?

  • If enough people participate in this project on a regular basis then the information should be pretty accurate most of the time. The question of reliability is why each page has a warning on it that says “This information is user-submitted and has not been verified for accuracy by COPA or anyone else. COPA does not accept any responsibility for this user-submitted information. Pilots are urged to verify its accuracy prior to relying on this information”. The best idea is to cross-check the information with official publications or call the airport to confirm.
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What if I change something and someone else changes it back?

  • That will happen – it is part of the process of this new collaborative Places To Fly project. We suggest that if someone changes something back then rather than getting into an “editing duel” just leave the page and come back to it in a few days time.
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What if I find information that I think is wrong or out of date, who do I complain to?

  • Don’t complain, just change it – that is the whole point of this system!
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Do I have to put my name and e-mail address on any changes I make?

  • No, the system will take your entry without that – it is voluntary. In fact the project has no mandatory fields – you can just enter whatever information you have. All existing information remains, unless you change it. The only fields that come up blank each time you call up a change are the submitter’s name and e-mail address. If you don’t enter that information they stay blank.
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Some fields seem to only take numbers, while other ones will take text and numbers. Is it working right?

  • It is working right – we designed it that way. The program will not accept anything that isn’t a number in “numbers-only fields”. Fields like “fuel prices” and “runway length” and “width” fields are set up to not accept anything but numbers. Do note that this means that you can’t put commas in the numbers (i.e.: it won’t accept 10,000 for a runway length, but it will accept 10000 – decimal points are okay, though). If you have comments on the fuel prices, runway length or any other “numbers only” fields then you can enter them under “fuel dealers”, “comments” or other appropriate text fields.
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Aren’t the pages going to end up looking rather “non-uniform” as different users will enter different information in different places?

  • Yes, they probably will, although we have edited and entered the first 138 entries from the old Places To Fly to at least serve as an example of one way to enter information. The loss of uniformity across the pages is probably the price to pay for having thousands of pilots and airport managers collaborating on this project. This definitely isn’t the Canada Flight Supplement but Places To Fly has features such as photos, suggestions on accommodation and much more that is not in the CFS.
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How many Canadian airports do you hope to eventually get in the database?

  • All of them. Plus we are hoping that owners of many private aerodromes will enter their data as well. We eventually hope to have all the airports, registered and non-registered aerodromes in Canada, along with photos of them, and there are about 4000 of them total.
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Can I enter seaplane landing areas, heliports, gliderports, ultralights fields, balloon launch locations, military airfields, etc into the database?

  • Yes, please do – we hope to have entries for all the places to fly to in Canada for all types of aircraft.
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Can I enter model airplane airports?

  • Only if you want real aircraft landing there. Please restrict your entries to places that “people-carrying” aircraft can use.
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What about airports that are “Closed to the Public”, PPR or PNR?

  • You can still enter those anyway if you want to and just indicate the status in the “Comments” section, including who to call or e-mail for permission, if applicable.
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What about fuel prices?

  • In the space for fuel prices enter the most recent price you know of at that airport for avgas, mogas or jet fuel. Some airports do not include the GST or HST in their posted prices in an attempt to make the price look better. Since we are trying to catalogue the “real” price it would be best to list the price including all taxes and other fees. Please provide clarification whether or not the price includes taxes in the fuel price comments box below the price box. Availability and other comments can be added in the “Fuel/Dealers” box.
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Can I restore pages to previous versions of the page?

  • Yes you can – to do that from any airport page just click on “Help us keep our airport information up-to-date. If you see some incorrect data, please update it now.” And then on the airport edit form page click on “If you wish to view previous versions and restore an existing version, click here.” You can then view and select a previous version to restore. Places to Fly creates a new page that is a copy of the old page which means that the old page is retained in the system permanently. This is a great anti-vandalism tool as it makes vandalism pointless and very easy to fix."
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How can I compare versions of any airport page?

  • Places to Fly allows you to compare any historical page against the current page posted. You can do this by clicking on “Help us keep our airport information up-to-date. If you see some incorrect data, please update it now.” And then on the airport edit form page click on “If you wish to view previous versions and restore an existing version, click here.” That will show you the previous versions of that page along with a link beside each one that says "Compare with current". Clicking on any of these links will bring up a page that shows the current page version on the left and the archived version on the right with differences indicated on the current version by yellow highlighting. This allows you to quickly determine if changes made by a previous user were worthwhile or should be edited or the old page restored.
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I entered a website URL, but it doesn’t automatically create a link – what happened?

  • The program will create automatic links for website URLs – but you must start it with http:// or it ignores the address. The links it creates will open a new window automatically.
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The program doesn’t seem to create links for e-mail addresses.

  • That is correct, it doesn’t do that. We are hoping that this may reduce spam somewhat. If you want to write to someone via e-mail please just “cut and paste” the address into your e-mail program.
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Can I submit pictures?

  • Yes you can. You do this by clicking on the “Image Upload:” box at the bottom of the edit page for any airport. There are some limitations – the images cannot be more than 750 X 570 pixels, so please reduce them to that size before uploading them. The program will tell you if you try to submit a picture that is too big.
  • You can shrink picture sizes using any image manipulation software, including the Microsoft Paint application that comes with all Windows computers. This is just to keep the file-sizes small enough for users who are on “dial-up” connections.
  • Please name your pictures with distinctive names as the program will replace any pictures with the same name as those already posted. Try adding numbers to the photo, so that it is “Ottawa712” instead of just “Ottawa” to avoid future overwrites of your photo.
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What picture types can be posted?

  • The program should accept Jpgs and Gifs up to the limit size. Please note that all photo file extensions have to be “lowercase” (i.e. “.gif” and “.jpg” and not “.GIF” or “.JPG”). The jpg file extensions must be “.jpg” and not “.jpeg” or other variations.
  • The program will accept upper case extensions and other picture extensions, but the thumbnails that appear on the airport page will not display properly – you just get a “red X” instead of a thumbnail. Due to this limitation please stick to pictures with “.gif” and “.jpg” extensions.
  • You can rename any picture file extensions (i.e. by changing .JPG to .jpg) on your own computer prior to upload. Please do not upload “.bmp” files as they do not create working thumbnails and the files sizes are too large.
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What types of pictures can I post?

  • Please keep the pictures you post “on topic” and please do not upload copyrighted material unless you are the copyright holder. That means no airport diagrams from official publications like the Canada Flight Supplement and no copyrighted Google satellite photos! You can add links to other websites displaying copyrighted information if you like.
  • Feel free to draw your own diagrams or post your own photos of airports!
  • The most useful photos for visiting pilots are probably aerial photos of the airport, but you are also welcome to post photos of the facilities, such as the ramp area, terminal buildings, local attractions, etc. If you have a good aerial photograph you can even post two versions – one original and another with the runways and taxiways, ramps, etc labelled. Just make sure you give them two different file names! Have a look at Ottawa/MacDonald-Cartier International ON or Montreal/Les Cedres QC for examples of this.
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What is a “GA Friendly” airport?

In order to qualify for a “GA friendly” logo, an airport should meet the following criteria:

  • No landing fee for privately registered aircraft or landing fee waived with any service purchased at the airport.
  • No landing fee if there is a fuel concession fee (usually 5 cents per litre) in place on avgas.
  • Landing fee of $10 maximum is acceptable only if there is no fuel concession fee.
  • No parking fee for less than six hours.
  • Tie-downs on pavement or prepared grass area with tie-down points available for itinerant aircraft.
  • Avgas available.
  • Any fees applicable to private aircraft are listed where they can easily be found on the airport’s web site and a notice of fees is in the Canadian Flight Supplement.

 

How can I post one of those “GA Friendly” or other logos I have seen on some pages?

  • Find the logo on another airport entry, such as Ottawa/Carp (not the thumbnail of it -click on the thumbnail to get the full size image) and then right-click on the picture and save it to your own computer. Then when you are editing the information on the airport edit page just submit it like any other picture. You do this by clicking on the “Image Upload:” box at the bottom of the edit page for any airport and then click on the image file on your computer to upload it.
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Can I make up a different logo to put on some airport pages?

  • Sure – go ahead. That is the fun of this type of collaborative project – you can be a bit creative. If you do post a new logo, just make it clear on the logo picture what it means and please keep it polite!
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Can I change the name of the airport?

  • Yes you can – just change the Airport Name box at the top of the airport edit page. The program will move the airport on the provincial list so that it remains in the alphabetical order you have chosen. We encourage users to use the same naming convention for airports that TC uses – which is to put the name of the community first (i.e. “Ottawa/MacDonald-Cartier International Airport” and not just “MacDonald-Cartier International Airport”). It makes them easier to find, gives them the same name as on the VNC charts and groups airports for the same community together on the database lists.
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Can I delete airport pages?

  • No – the program is set up so that only the system manager can do that. If you find a whole airport that doesn’t belong on the list (i.e. because it is a fictional airport, etc) then please send a note to jnault@copanational.org.
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Can I delete pictures?

  • No - the system only allows you to add pictures. To get rid of an undesirable or off-topic photo send a note to jnault@copanational.org and it will be removed.
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Can I enter airports for places outside Canada?

  • No, the system requires you to select a Canadian province to enter an airport. This is designed to be a directory of Places to Fly just for Canada – we don’t have the space to do the whole world!
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How can I print this information – when I print it from my browser it prints lots of pages?

  • Probably the most efficient way to print an airport page is to cut and paste it into a “straight text” editor such as MS WordPad or MS Notepad. All Windows PCs come with these two “.txt” applications and they are great for stripping out extra formatting that you don’t want to print. The result is a nice short document with all the text and no extra spaces.
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Where Can I access the actual Place to Fly pages?

 

How can I tell when an airport page has been changed?

  • It will appear on the list of Recently Changed Pages. This page lists airports that have been changed in the last month, by date, from the most recent changes. A page will appear on the list any time an update is saved or a reversion to an older version of the page is saved. It will also show new airports that are entered. This page makes it very easy to pick up vandalized pages or to keep tabs on a groups of airports you are interested in - if they aren't on the list then they haven't been changed in the last month!
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How can I use Places to Fly to shop for the best avgas prices?

  • That is easy! On the main Places to Fly page is a link labeled Fuel Price Listing which takes you to a page where 100LL avgas prices are listed from cheapest to most expensive for airports across the country, along with the date they were posted. There are also links to each airport page, too. This feature is great for a quick national survey of fuel prices - but not as useful to find out where to go within a smaller area to get the best gas prices. To accomplish this Places to Fly has a similar Fuel Price Listing link on the page for each province that takes you to a page with avgas prices from cheapest to most expensive within that province only.
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