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Logbook/employment improvements for next release


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I plan to release version 1.24 within the next few weeks. Even though version 1.23 is less than a month old, I've been making many improvements to the new logbook/employment-feature. While developing the logbook/employment feature I was mostly "faking it" using my debug/cheat-form, and the majority of my focus was to make sure the data was stored/retreived correctly, that I had all the data I needed and that everything was robust, and working ... so I didn't do many "real flights" in the simualtor while developing this feature.


After the release of version 1.23 I decided to create myself a brand new logbook and do some "real flying". Having just bought the FSR500, I decided that in my new logbook I would only have an initial type-rating for this single aircraft, and then work my way up from there (in the aircraft-DB for version 1.24 the Piper PA-46 have been split in 3, so there are now specific types for both the M500 and M600). I then planed to take the FSR500 from KVRB (Vero Beach/USA) to EKYT (Aalborg/Denmark), but naturally I had to do it in multiple flights as the distance far exceed the range of the M500 (KVRB - KCPK - CYUL - CYZV - CYYR - BGGH - BIKF - EGPK - EKYT). Doing these flights I came to realize various improvements I would like to add to the program ... and it gave me something to do during the cruise-phase of those flights 😉


Grab UTC-time and payload-/fuel-weight via FSUIPC
I am still a long way from being able to "record" and "analyze" the full fligt, but with the next version you no longer have to "write down" the various OUT/OFF/ON/IN-times on paper. If you have FSUIPC on your system, these (UTC)-times can be extracted from the sim with a push of a button (so during a full flight you would have to switch to FV 4 times, and each time press a different button). Pressing these buttons will both extract the UCT-times from the sim (while also logging the real-times), but it can optionally also extract your payload (at the start of the flight) and fuel-weights (both loaded block-fuel and remaining fuel):


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How to use these new OUT/OFF/ON/IN-buttons.
E.g. with the check-box next the OUT-time field checked, when you press the button, it will both obtain the UTC-time from the sim (based on the time-setting within the sim) and it will also obtain the amount of loaded payload and loaded fuel (block-fuel). The bullet-points below describe how/when to use these 4 new buttons, while you perform your flight:


  • Create/save the log-entry for the flight (as explained video describing the logbook/employment feature).
  • Start your simulator and chose departure airport/gate and set the weather/time as you want.
  • Setup and load your aircraft till the point where you are ready to leave the gate, or start taxi.
  • Switch to FV and ensure the checkbox is checked, and press the button next to OUT-time.
    • Will update both UTC- and Real- OUT-times, and also update Actual payload, and Actual block-fuel.
  • Taxi to the runway from where you are are taking-off
  • Switch of FV and press the button next to OFF-time
    • Will update both UTC- and Real- OFF-times
  • Take-off, fly the flight, and land
  • Switch of FV and press the button next to ON-time
    • Will update both UTC- and Real- ON-times
  • Taxi to the gate
  • Switch to FV and ensure the checkbox is checked, and press the button next to IN-time.
    • Will update both UTC- and Real- IN-times, and also update Actual remaining-fuel.
  • At this point the log-entry in FV can now be completed/commited


In order to use this new feature you must be connected to the sim using FSUIPC. I've only tested with the paid FSUIPC, but it should work just as well with the free version of FSUIPC. In settings you can choose if FV should connect with FSUIPC automatic or manually (using the "Connect" and "Disconnect" menu-items in the File-menu). I've chosen to simply automatic connect to FSCUIPC, and based on your settings you should hear the "Connected" and "Disconnected" sounds when connection is made or dropped. But if you for some reason don't want to use FSUIPC, you are still able to manually enter these times.


Make it more easy to load your aircraft according to load-sheet
In the GUI when hoovering the mouse over the various payload-fields the weight is now shown in the tool-tip window both as lb and kg, and the tool-tip window for the fuel-fields will both show the fuel as weight in lb and kg, along with the volume as US-Gallon and Liter (using 3 different densities for JET-A1, JET-A and AVGAS). Typically small GA aircraft have a left- and right tank, and for this reason all values are both shown in full, and half (what to load in both the left- and right tank). This will make it much more easy to dial in the correct payload/fuel-weights in the simulator, whether you use the default "loader" in MSFS, or your aircraft have its own dedicated loader (e.g. via a cockpit-tablet or perhaps via the FMS).


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Regarding the various weight-fields defined for the aircraft-types in the database (and the Simulator-aircraft you create) my idea have always been that the weight of the crew should be ignored (expected to be included in the EOW of the aircraft). While this works fine for large commercial aircraft, it does not work as well for small GA-aircraft. The FSR500 (Piper M500) comes with an in-cockpit tablet where you can set the weight for each seat along with additional cargo ... however one of these seats is occupied by the pilot. Hence ideally the weight of the pilot, should be included in the load-sheet, so it is also included in the calculated total payload of the load-sheet. In MSFS you should ideally load the same amount of payload/fuel as specified in the load-sheet within FV (as of now it is not the case, but in the future I would like to "judge the pilot" by his/her abillity to load the correct amount of payload/fuel ... especially for chartered and assigned flights).


So in order for this to work, when you create a simulator-aircraft, beside being able to specify the crew-amount (e.g. 1 for a small GA aircraft) you can now chose whether or not the crew-weight should be included in the load-sheet. Also you are able to specify the actual weight of a single crew-member. This value defaults to the average weight of male passenger (200lb/90.7kg). If enabled, this crew-weight is included the the load-sheet:


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Here I have tried to setup a flight using the FSR500, where the following screen-shot shows the random payload generated by FV including the weight of a single crew (pilot) and the calculated fuel-weights returned from SimBrief (for a flight between EKYT an EKRN):


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This following screen-shot is from the FSR500 tablet used within the sim to set the payload/fuel-weights. These weights are set by dragging a slider (for each passenger, cargo and fuel). I have tried to match the payload/fuel-weights of the load-sheet in the sim.


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As you can see I got really close. The load-sheet said 645 lb of payload and 884 lb of fuel, whereas the (tablet) loader for the FSR500 says 644 lb of payload (1 lb off), and 882 lb of fuel (2 lb off). Thanks to the new tool-tips it was easy to see these values, as the tool tip for the fuel told me to load 65.9 US-Gallon of JetA into each tank (I was 0.1 US-Gal off).


More map-views
It's one thing to see all your performed flights in a list-view (within the logbook), but starting to fly more flights I would like to see these flights visualized on a map. Hence I've added a new "Flight-map" tab-page within the logbook. By default it will display all the flights you have performed (using airport-markers and great-circle arcs between them), however you can filter what is displayed by simulator-aircraft and/or category:


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Likewise when you create a new log-entry (a flight to fly) or you look at a previous logged flight, there will also be a new "Flight-map" tab-page for that log-entry. If you loaded/imported a flight-plan (e.g. from SimBrief) the actuall planned route is displayed on this map, otherwise it will simply draw a great-circle arc between the departure- and destination-airports. Beside departure- and destination-airports, alternate airports will also be illustrated with airport-markers:


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In version 1.23 when creating a flight to fly, you had to seach departure-/destination-airport via the airport-search window that have been in FV "forever" (by searching by ICAO if you knew it, or name of airport/city). In the next version holding SHIFT while pressing the buttons for departure-, destination- or alternate- airport, you can now open a new map window where you can either pick an airport-marker, or you can click a location on the map and perform a search for "nearby airports" (displayed in a list which include all airports within a 500 NM radius, sorted by distance to the location you clicked):


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This same map can also be used to pick an "en-route airport". All flights (log-entries) you create in FV are defined as a single flight between a departure- and a destination airport, but you might have to split a flight into multiple flights if the distance between the departure- and destionation airport exceeds the range of the aircraft. This following screen-shot shows a planned flight between BGBW (Narsarsuaq/Greenland) and EKYT (Aalborg/Denmark) illustrated with a thin/red great-circle arc. In the upper/right corner you see the range of the aircraft as defined in the database (1730 Nm), and below you see that it have been limited to 80% (to leave room for contingency, remaining fuel and so on) resulting in a range limit of 1384 Nm. As the flight between BGBW and EKYT exceeds the range-limit BIKF (Keflavik/Iceland) have been selected as an enroute airport. When an enroute-airport have been defined two blue great-circle arcs (between departure and enroute, and between enroute and destination) will also be added to the map-view. So by using this map you have now figured out that you first need to create a flight between BGBW and BIKF, and when you have performed this flight, you need to create (and fly) the last leg between BIKF and EKYT.


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The label "Dep to enroute" describe the distance from BGBW to BIKF, "Enroute to dest" describe the distance from BIKF to EKYT. The value "Total dist" describe the sum of the preview two distances (from BGBW to EKYT, via BIKF), whereas "Dir.dist" describe the direct distance between BGBW and EKYT (not via BIKF). When the labels are black it indicate the distances are less than the specified "Range limit", and if thet are longer, the labels will turn red.


Last but not least the airline usage-report have now been replaced by a new form, which beside the report (as text) also include a map showing all flights of the selected airline. E.g. you can use this new form when applying for a job to see a visualization of the routes served by that airline, before submitting your application. This map can be filtered by aircraft-type and/or whether to only include flights where the airline in question is carrier or operator or either. E.g. choosing to be employed by Iberia (as depicted below), you can stay employed at the same airline, but switch between flying different aircraft, and as you can see they both have long-range and short-range flights.


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Beside the features mentioned above other minor improvements have been added as well, along with some fixes of things I noticed, and as per usual the next release will come with updated flight-plans as well (a few changes since last month). As I said in the beginning I expect to release next version within a week or two. I have a few things to test still, then record a tutorial-video, build the installer and wait for AVSIM to make it public (they typically take a few days to release it, after it have been submitted).

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