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pellelil

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About pellelil

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    Developer of Flightplan Visualizer

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    https://forum.aerosoft.com/index.php?/forum/919-flightplan-visualizer/

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  1. Version 1.9 of Flightplan Visualizer have been released, and it can be downloaded from AVSIM using this link: https://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=p3dutil&DLID=208889 For those of you who have been following the "What is - most likely - included in FV 1.9" thread at this forum, it will come as no surprise that version 1.9 is all about METAR and TAF. I guess many people (at least myself) will use FV to find inspration of which flights to fly. We will want to chose these flights based on our preferences. E.g. we want to fly between our favorite airports, served by our favorite aircraft, and perhaps we want to limit the fligt-time to last less than 3 hours (or whatever). So we use the "Search Legs" feature to find the legs (flights) that are on par with our preferences. Its always important to check the weather prior to a flight, however especially at this time of the year its extra important, as runways or perhaps entire airports will be closed due to snow (e.g. "R/SNOCLO" meaning all runways - hence the entire airport - is closed due to snow). For this reason I wanted to be able to check the weather directly in FV (when deciding on which leg to fly), before planning the flight in SimBrief, PFPX or whatever you use. These messages are automatically obtained and displayed when you open the Airport Info form (e.g. by double-clicking an airport marker on the map-view): When I initially thought about adding support for METAR and TAF I wanted to offer some kind of decoding, so users who are not used to read these messages, would have a change "understaning them". To be honest I have never looked as much at METAR/TAF as I have done during the last month or so, and I have learned to "read" a lot of codes, that I was not able to read before. In retrospect this was the perfect time of the year, for me to implement METAR/TAF-messages, as it is now common to see codes that specify: runway visibility (e.g. "R10L/2400VP6000FT") runway conditions (e.g."R08/810295"), runway windshear (e.g. "WS R26"), and so on. Anyhow I was able to add decoding of the most METAR/TAF "codes", including "codes" you only see in the "RMK" (Remark) -section of METAR/TAF-messages. I am pretty happy with the result of this decoding, and it has no known bugs. In the remark section you can basically expect to find anything (e.g. the initials of the person generating the METAR/TAF message), so you should not expect that everything will be decoded. All known "codes" (and MANY common short-cuts) will be decoded and displayed with an asterisk on their own "line" below the remark-line. All "unknown" codes/words will only be displayed in RMK-line. Clicking the "Decode" button will open the decode window. This window contains 2 columns where the left-most show the raw-codes from the METAR/TAF-message, and the right-most shows the decoded text: The METAR/TAF-messages (weather reports) can either be downloaded from the internet (NOAA) or obtained from ActiveSky. You don't have to do anything to use NOAA (real-time METAR/TAF downloaded for the internet) as NOAA is selected by default, and it does not require any configuration. However if you use ActiveSky as your weather-provider in P3D/FSX I suggest that you use the ActiveSky provider in stead, as it ensures the METAR/TAF-messages you see in FV will match the weather that AS is injecting into your sim, even when you fly with "Historic" or "Custom" weather. On the flip-side this will naturally require that you have ActiveSky in the first place, and that ActiveSky is running. The updated manual (enclosed with this version) will both tell you how to configure the ActiveSky-provider in FV (page 15-16) and how to select this as the active provider (page 33-34). Remember the manual can be accessed from within FV using the "Help", menu. But also remember that you should NEVER change the settings-file while FV is running. Reading page 29-34 of the manual will give you more info on using the METAR/TAF functionallity, and inform you about the Pros/Cons of the 3 different providers. Here below is the full changelog (what is new in version 1.9): Added METAR- and TAF-messages to the Airport Info form. METAR and TAF-reports can be obtained using 3 different weather-providers: NoaaWeb (NOAA via the web), ActiveSkyFile (obtained from the file that ActiveSky generates) or ActiveSkyNet (obtained via ActiveSky's network-protocol). NOAA offers real-time reports, wheras ActiveSky both offers real-time-, historic- and custom-weather (based on the selected mode in ActiveSky). Added decoding of METAR- and TAF-messages to assist those who are not used to decoding these themselves. The decoded messages can be copied to the clipboard, in case you need these elswhere (e.g. to be inserted in the documents you perhaps prepare before a flight). Added menu-items to the main-menu, to select weather-provider. The Airport Info form now shows both Zulu- and Local-time for the selected airport (Zulu time is the same all over the globe, but Local-time is dependant on the time-zone of the airport). Removed the Route-listview form the main-form (used the extra space for the Airport-listview). Don't forget that METAR/TAF-messages do contain errors/typos from time-to-time, and there will be remarks that are not decode. However if you notice some METAR/TAF-codes that you think the decoder is not decoding correct, please post the entire METAR/TAF message and write which part of the code you think is not decoded correctly (I will need both the "raw" code" and its decoded counterpart). You can use the "Copy to clipboard" button in the lower/left-corner of the Decode-form to both grab the raw message, and the decoded text, but don't forget to specify WHICH code you think is not decoded correctly.
  2. The decoding of METAR and TAF is moving along nicely, and I have managed to add decoding for the most common remarks as well: As you can see in the screen-shot the entire remark (the line with "RMK") is listed as one item. Then below all of the codes within the remark that can be decoded will be listed with an asterisk in front (to tell these are part of the remark). If the remark contains words/codes that cannot be decoded these will only be visible in the remark-line. As of now there are no known bugs, but I still want to put in some more testing time before packing it up for release. Edit: DOH !!! Just noticed a bug in the screen shot above. A free copy to the first who spot it 🙂
  3. TAF decoding is moving forward as well (here a screen-shot from my test-platform): Next item on the todo-list is to look at the most common remarks
  4. It have been a hard work, and it is still an ongoing work. When I planed to add support of METAR- and TAF-messages it was my hope that I would be able to decode these messages for those who are not so strong at reading METAR and TAF-messages. To be honest there were many codes I did not know myself. However during the last month or so I have look more at METAR and TAF-messages than I had done in all my life, and I am happy to report that the next installment of FV will include a decoder: As of now the decoder can handle the most important METAR-codes. But I have still more codes to implement, and I am sure there are cases where it will not be able to decode some of the codes in their more obscure forms. I would like to add support for the codes that are common in the remark section as well as support for decoding TAF. I am sure it will not be 100% complete when released in version 1.9 and I will need your help to report the cases where it is not able to decode some of the codes correctly. EDIT: Here is another containing Runway-conditions:
  5. I have never looked as much at METAR- or TAF-messages as I have done for the last month or so. In the beginning I was naive enough to think that METAR-/TAF-messages were so important that people would make sure they were "without errors", but I have since learned this is far from the case. Look at this following (downloaded / not constructed) TAF message: SBGL 110830Z 1112/1218 04005KT 7000 NSC TX36/1117Z TN24/1208Z BEC MG 1116/1118 15015KT 9999 FEW030 BECMG 1122/1124 10010KT CAVOK BECMG 12 03/1206 07005KT BECMG 1207/1208 32005KT 7000 NSC PROB30 1208/1211 01005KT 50 00 BR BECMG 1213/1216 15015KT 9999 FEW040 RMK PGB In this single TAF-message "BEC MG" (1st line) should have read "BECMG" which would otherwise had triggered that my code would add a line-break. Likewise "12 03/1206" (in the 3rd line) should have been "1203/1206", and last but nut least "50 00" (5th line) should have read "5000". Also I have seen examples where the visibility in a METAR-message was listed as "11/2SM" where it should have been "1 1/2SM" (one and a half statute mile of visibility). Likewise I am sure this line "BECMG 0413/0415 04003KT BKN015 S CHECK TEXT NEW ENDING ADDED KATLYTAA" could do with a "RMK" somewhere. I will add some additional code trying to fix some of these simple typo's in METAR/TAF-massages, as it will make it more easy for beginners to decode these messages.- however at the same time not adding errors by "correcting typos that are not there" (introduce new/additional errors in the messages). Anyhow I am working on something "interesting" (at least I think so myself) regarding these messages, I hope to be able to share some more info on, if this work pans out 🙂
  6. The Airport Info form in version 1.9 will show both (current) Zulu- and Local time in the upper/right corner:
  7. Added a 3. weather-provider in form of an Active Sky network-provider (ActiveSkyNet). The "other" ActiveSky provider (ActiveSkyFile) needs to be able to access the file that ActiveSky generates, which can be a task in itself to setup if ActiveSky (AS) and Flightplan Visualizer (FV) are not running on the same PC (in which case you would need to share drives). However AS have a web-interface, which most likely makes it more easy to access AS running on another PC than FV. Having said that you most likely would need to configure the firewall on both PCs to allow traffic on port 19285 (but at least there is an alternative if you have problems getting access to the file that AS is generating). Unfortunately the web-interface of AS only allows access to METAR-reports (no TAF-reports). It does however allows you to request METAR-reports with a time-offset (METAR-reports into the "future"). I decided to use this feature in order to generate pseudo TAF-reports when using the ActiveSkyNet-provider. So beside requesting the current (active) METAR-report, I also requests 6 additional METAR-reports each offset by 4 hours i relation to the previous (6 * 4 hours = 24 hours are covered). The 6 reports (+ the current METAR) will look like this: EDDF 060850Z 31009KT 280V340 9999 FEW014 SCT017 BKN042 07/03 Q1030 NOSIG EDDF 061315Z 30011KT 9999 BKN012 07/03 Q1030 EDDF 061715Z 30011KT 9999 SCT012 BKN020 07/03 Q1030 EDDF 062115Z 30011KT 9999 SCT012 BKN020 07/03 Q1030 EDDF 070115Z 30011KT 9999 BKN012 07/03 Q1030 EDDF 070515Z 28006KT 9999 SCT020 07/03 Q1030 EDDF 070915Z 28006KT 9999 SCT020 07/03 Q1030 And after having been transformed into a pseudo TAF-report, it will in stead look like this: EDDF 060850Z 31009KT 280V340 9999 FEW014 SCT017 BKN042 07/03 Q1030 NOSIG FM061315 30011KT 9999 BKN012 07/03 Q1030 FM061715 30011KT 9999 SCT012 BKN020 07/03 Q1030 FM062115 30011KT 9999 SCT012 BKN020 07/03 Q1030 FM070115 30011KT 9999 BKN012 07/03 Q1030 FM070515 28006KT 9999 SCT020 07/03 Q1030 FM070915 28006KT 9999 SCT020 07/03 Q1030 I realize its not an actual TAF-report, but its the best I can do with the data available to me when using the ActiveSkyNet-provider. I added a small text to the METAR/TAF-labels, so you can see which provider was used to obtain the reports: In order to setup the ActiveSkyNet-provider 2 additional tags were added to the settings-file: <ActiveSkyNetIpUrl>localhost</ActiveSkyNetIpUrl> <ActiveSkyNetPort>19285</ActiveSkyNetPort>
  8. METAR and TAF are now added to the Airport Info form (as visible in the screen shot below). When using the "NOAA Gov" (real-time) weather-provider the weather messages that are downloaded are by default cached for 10 minutes (to not having to fetch the same METAR/TAF-messages over and over). Manually clicking the update button, the weather-messages will be re-fetched no matter how long time since it was cached. If in stead using the ActiveSky weather-provider these buttons will be disabled as the program automatically detects if/when Active Sky have created/updated its "current_wx_snapshot.txt" file, in which case the new/updated weather is automatically loaded. As of now I can only switch between the two weather-provilders manually editing the Settings-file. but I plan to add a selection in the lower/right corner of the main-form. However in order to use the ActiveSky provider you must (once) edit the settings file and add a full path to the location of the AS weather-snapshot (e.g. "<ActiveSkyCurrentWeatherPath>C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\Hifi\AS_P3Dv4\Weather\current_wx_snapshot.txt</ActiveSkyCurrentWeatherPath>"). Edit: Please remark that line-breaks are added to the TAF-message on "BECMG", "TEMPO" and "FM######" in order to make the TAF-message more readable.q
  9. Regarding the METAR and TAF-messages I plan to implement two different providers. A real-time provider (downloading weather from the web) and an Active Sky (AS) provider, accessing the weather from the file that AS generates (e.g. "C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\Hifi\AS_P3Dv4\Weather\current_wx_snapshot.txt"). The latter will allow access to historic METAR /TAF-messages provided via AS. As you might have guessed I use AS myself, so thats why I plan to add an AS-provider. If other weather-engines will be requested down the line I can probably add providers for these as well, as long as someone can provide me with the info I will need to implement these (however that will be for a later version, as 1.9 will only have support for a real-time- and AS-provider).
  10. Thanks for the kind words Julien. Both glad you like it and mis-clicked 🙂 Happy news year to you as well.
  11. No ETA, have a few other items on "the list" that I need to look into. Depending how much time I have to develop I would guess January or February by the latest 🙂
  12. In this topic I plan to describe the features that are most likely coming in version 1.9. Some of the items are fully implemented, some will be work in progress. Everything is subject to change, and I can't offer a deadline. Feel free to comment, ask questions and suggest other features. A few of you have been contacting me personally, but please use the forum in stead, as it lets everybody see what is asked/suggested, in order to have everybody being able to comment. Back to version 1.9. First of all I want to ask if any of you would be sad to see the route list-view be removed from the main-screen (outlined on the screen-shot below). In the part this view was used to inform the user which route was "high-lighted" (it was actually during the beta-phase that the "fat" (highlighted) route-lines were implemented. Likewise (as visible in the screen-shot below) in version 1.8 we got route tool-tips that shows the details of the last "touched" route (both airports and the distance between them). Hence in my view the route listview have serverd its purpose, and I plan to remove it, to make more room for the airport list-view - which I still think serves a purpose for those not knowing all ICAO codes by memory 🙂 I might still let the Route listview exists in an improved version, but then in a form of its own - available from the main-menu. Any inputs? Also for version 1.9 I have begun looking into obtaining the latest METAR for each airport. I guess many users will use this program to find "suggestions" to which flights to fly (e.g. based on a "Leg Search"). But before loading up external software to actually plan the flight (e.g. PFPX/TopCat, SimBrief or whatever you use), it might be nice to be able to see the weather at the departure/destination airport - hence the "need" for METAR. As of now its simply implemented in an external test-program, but I plan to add a METAR-window to the "Info" tab-sheet of the Airport Info form: Thats all for now. Hope you had a good Christmas and I wish you all a happy new year !!!
  13. Can you convince me why this would be good? What would such a feature offer over importing AIFP flightplans (e.g. those produced by AIG) ? Pelle
  14. The latest version of Flightplan Visualizer (1.8.0) is now available for download (link below). Probably the biggest highlights in this version is the traffic-charts added to the Airport Info form, and the introduction of "Favorite" airports. But these two additions meant a lot of surrounding steps were taken to make it even more easy to use these features. In this release both the full manual and the quick manual was updated. For existing users the quick manual will be automatically fired the first time you start up the software. Regarding the Traffic charts (on the "Traffic" tab-sheet of the Airport Info form), these will always be generated based on the currently selected flightplan or active search. So in order to see all traffic in- and out- of a specific airport you must first execute a "Search legs" where you activly choose to search for traffic in- and out- of this airport. However in version 1.8 you now have a function of doing just this. Pressing "CTRL+Q" you will execute the main-menu item called "Quick search legs". When you fire this menu the "Search Airport" browser will be opened (you will see it now have a bunch of extra filter-options). When you select an airport (by pressing Enter, or double-clicking), a leg-search will be executed to find all flights in- and out- of this airport. The charts are described on page 33 of the full manual, and the "Search Airport" browser on page 51. As mentioned you are now able to mark individual airports as your favorites. One usage might be you want to mark all the airports you own as 3rd party scenery as your "favorite". Because of this new map-markers were designed for versions 1.8 (the markers for favorite-airports now appear with a "star" inside the marker). In previous versions you could also rank your airports and the describe traffic-density at these (choosing one of six values). In previous versions this info was only used with the hint-window displayed when you hoovered the mouse over a marker. However in version 1.8 you can now filter your search-results both by size, favorite, rank and traffic-density. This filtering can use when using the "Search Airport" browser or using the "Search legs" function. It goes without saying that to use this, you first have to mark your airports and favorites and dial in the appropriate values of Rank and Traffic-density (these are highly subjective, hence you have to do it yourself). You could start double-clicking airport markers on the map in order pick these values (that is one way to do it). But these values can now also be set from the "Search Airport" browser (CTRL+A or CTRL+Q). In the "Search Airport" browser you can now left-click and airport and in the menu that appears you can see the currently selected values, and change these if you want to (described on page 53 of the full manual). Here below is a full change-log of the things added, changed and fixed in version 1.8 (don't forget the version history is available in the About form in the "Help" menu): The first time version 1.8 is run (after updating from a previous version) the user will be asked if he/she want to change the default setting for time to show as Local-time (from version 1.8 onwards this is the default value, but previous versions defaulted to UTC-time). Added a Traffic tab-sheet to the Airport Info form, where various charts can be displayed (e.g. number of inbound/outbound -flights on an hourly basis, percentage of aircraft types, airline- carrier/operator and so on). All charts are based on the currently selected flightplan, or active search (basically all the legs shown on the previous tab-sheet). Airports can now be marked as Favorites (using the Airport Info form). The search airport browser (e.g. CTRL+A/CTRL+Q from the main-map) can be filtered to only show favorite airports in the browser. Added a new set of map-markers, so you can see which airports are marked as favorites (displayed with a star). Changing the value of the new "UseOldMapMarkers" setting, you can revert back to the old markers if you prefer, however then you cannot see which airports are favorites. Added laywer for favorite airports to the main-map. This layer is controlled by new checkbox (re-positioned all check boxes in lower/left corner of main form). Various Airport info (Favorite, Size, Rank and Traffic-density) can now be set directly from the Search Airport Browser, by using the (right-click) context-menu. If you hold SHIFT down when opening the context-menu of the main-map (right-click the main-map), the 2 Leg Search short-cuts introduced in verion 1.7 can now be executed directly from the main-map, without opening the Leg-Search form (to find/display all flights to/from an airport or between two airports). Pressing CTRL+Q on the main-map will open the Airport search browser. If you select an airport, a Leg-search will be executed (without opening the Leg-Search form) and all flights to/from that airport will be displayed. The Airport- and Airline- search browsers now contains a "Show max" combo-box where you can limit the number of results shown (as showing all items will degrade performance). These browsers still search through all items, but only the first 2000 results are shown when searching. Enhanced map-performance, so the map can better handle many routes being shown at the same time (e.g. using adaptive route-segment lengths to reduce the total number of route-segments). Addressed the Z-order of Markers for the selected flightplan/active search. Favorites are on top of non-favorites, and then ordered by size ("bigger on top of smaller"). Added Route tool-tip to the main-map. With a highlighted route, hovering the mouse over the Aircraf/Airline-text-boxes in the lower/right corner of the main-map, will now show a tool-tip with the full names (the text-boxes only show a list of codes). Added a list-view to the Route-info form, that shows the calculated flight-time (incl. taxi) for all Aircraft-types that - based on their info (range and Rwy-requirements) - are able to fly the same route. FV now tracks the last used version, so it can detect from which version/to which version FV have been upgraded. In version 1.8 the quick manual will be displayed the first time the user runs version 1.8 (if upgraded from a previous version). For new users the quick manual will stil be shown 3 times. Changed the logic/position of the buttons on the Search Leg form. Updated all libraries that FV is using internally, to the latest released versions. Fixed: Some GUI elements were not disabled/enabled during/after leg-search. Fixed: The Leg info form always opened with "Show local-times" unchecked, no matter the value of the setting. Fixed: Minor issue where map-markeres were not updated e.g. if the airport-size was changed via the Route Info- or Leg Info- form, in which case the map-markers should "change color". Flightplan Visualizer 1.8.0 can be downloaded from AVSIM via this link: https://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=p3dutil&DLID=208219
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