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SimBrief Integration evolves

UKV3428 - Matt Crick

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As flight-simulation has evolved over the years, so too have flight-planning tools such as the popular freeware service by SimBrief.

Given SimBrief's rise in popularity over the years, and in no small part due to the response to our most recent member survey, the time has come to make this a more streamlined and central experience for all of our members.

For clarity, we will not be removing the historical way of dispatching flights using Fly UK's internal systems. If you prefer using this method or don't have a SimBrief account then you may continue to use this if you wish.

Who can benefit?

Fly UK Operations Staff have regularly voiced the challenges of maintaining a route database as large ours. By leveraging our partnership with SimBrief Fly UK members can now directly contribute to updating and improving our internal database by merely dispatching a flight.

Providing a member with an active Navigraph subscription has previously dispatched the same flight on the current AIRAC, even members without a SimBrief account or a Navigraph subscription can benefit as these routes will be saved into our internal database.

With a SimBrief free account you will be given access to outdated navigation data. This solution is ideally paired with a Navigraph subscription as this unlocks both monthly AIRAC updates and consolidated access to charts.

Limitations of the existing functionality

Our current iteration of SimBrief integration is based upon an older version of their API. As such:

  • Fly UK are limited as to what data we can send with the request.
    • Departure Airport
    • Destination Airport
    • Alternate Airport
    • Route & Altitude
    • Aircraft ICAO Code
  • Members wishing to use Fly UK specific aircraft-configurations would need to add Airframe Profiles to their SimBrief account (links for which can be found within Fleet Centre)

In addition, clicking on the existing SimBrief icon within "Dispatch" takes members away from the Fly UK website, destroying the overall workflow.

Route generation is extremly complex and is forever changing. Agreed airways are subject to change on a montly basis (more commonly referred to as an "AIRAC cycle"). Airways get removed entirely in favour of adopting the concept of "Free Route Airspace". SIDs/STARs and overall route can vary on any given day based on the runways in use, and aircraft-type (in some cases). Optimal altitudes may vary depending on the weather in addition to the load within the aircraft. In some cases, entire regions of airspace may temporarily close on any single day.

While the majority of our members are undoubtably just looking at routes that get them from A-B, the utopia is to simultaneously find a way of accomodating our members who may wish to more realistically plan their flights using real-world constraints.

Time to change

SimBrief's latest API allows us to send Fly UK's aircraft configs to SimBrief directly with each dispatch request, and enables Staff to edit this data far more easily going forward if necessary. This essentially renders our SimBrief Airframe shared links obsolete and will therefore be removed from Fleet Centre going forward.

A guide on how the booking process works, and how to link your SimBrief account can be found here

We will be rolling this functionality out to everyone in the coming days, so please keep an eye out on the new drop-down arrow next to the Dispatch icon. As always, we welcome your feedback so please feel free to post via any of our Community platforms should you encounter any issues.

On behalf of Fly UK Staff and our members, we would like to extend our thanks to our Head of Web Development for implementing this system.

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