Whilst it was only a week ago since my October platform update blog post, I took some annual leave from work this week in order to really polish off and finalise some of the other recent updates to FsHub and ultimately to clear the way for me to start the development of the new LRM client next week (without any distractions or me needing to jump back into the FsHub code)… this however very quickly turned into me working on requests from the User Survey too and tackling some “annoying things” that I’ve been meaning to improve for a while. I’m really pleased to say that everything (FsHub related) is running silky smooth and have ironed out the bugs that crept in earlier this week that affected the new “Duty Schedule” system (more info on this cool new feature can be found below) more importantly though, everything is now set for me fully dedicate my time and to start working on the new LRM client as of Monday!

The past two weeks have probably been the busiest two weeks (in terms of new features and improvements) for the past 12 months!

I have a ton of things to share with you (mainly so I don’t forget myself too – haha – this week has been a blur!) in addition to what my priority (the roadmap is looking like between now and March 2023) and what and when you can expect new shiny stuff and other improvements 🙂

So here are the key points of new features and improvement this week (you can scroll down this blog post if you’re not interested in any particular item):-

  • Major improvements to the departure and arrival airport detection system (combats against other nearby airports, seaplane bases, helipads, and balloon sites being incorrectly detected) – This is huge and should be a massive improvement to FsHub in general!!
  • SimBrief integration improvements – this is now an optional integration (users can enable it through the integrations page) and will provide you with “one-click” flight plan generation on the majority of pages and FsHub features.
  • A new “Duty Schedule” system has been added enabling virtual airlines to, using their VA published company routes, generate a realistic, joined-up, “daily flight schedule”, designed to simulate a real-world short-medium haul pilots’ day which can optionally pay bonus XP/v$ for each consecutive leg completed.
  • Airline profile and portal page styling options (VA’s can now customise the experience for their pilots and visitors to their public profile and crew portal pages with banner images)
  • Major improvements to the manual PIREP system (VA-approved PIREPs are now automatically awarded v$/XP, duty schedules payouts, airline achievements and the new “basic pay” rewards too instead of requiring manual VA admins to validate and reward pilots XP/$v or airline achievements – One click of the “approve” button and it’ll do it all for you)
  • Five new webhooks (fully Discord compatible) for virtual airlines to share VA member achievements being obtained, duty schedules being completed as well as “admin” webhooks so you and your fellow VA managers can be instantly notified in your own Discord server when a new pilot applies to join your VA, has left your VA or if there is a new manual PIREP to approve!
  • Virtual airlines can now award XP/v$ etc. for any flights (not just company route and duty schedules) – it’s fully optional and probably a great feature for flying clubs and other non-commercial simulated airlines (where they don’t have set routes) – If your airline is flying “charter” style flights too maybe you’d like to enable this feature – although, on the roadmap, I do have some specific goodies for GA and charter pilots – details at the end of this blog post! 😉
  • New flight log filter options added and the ability to download your filtered logbook as a spreadsheet (for easier data manipulation, VA statistics collating and custom/internal VA leaderboards etc.)
  • Our video hosting service is now live and ready for you to share your cockpit videos, awesome landings, virtual airline promotion videos, or even FsHub tutorials 😉
  • Loads of new achievements to be earned! We are keeping you topped up with fresh achievements, badges to obtain, and new places and challenges to complete.

Read on to learn more about these features in more detail!

Just want to know what the next new features/what the roadmap looks like?

Skip to the end of this blog post where I have set out the roadmap leading to March 2023 with expected delivery dates!

Ok, so what’s new this week?

Without further ado, let’s talk, in more detail about the latest features that have gone live this week…

Remember that several new features and improvements went live last week too and so, if you didn’t read last week’s “October Updates” blog post, you can check it out here.

Major improvements to the departure and arrival airport detection

You may have previously realised that you landed at an airport and yet your flight report detected either the arrival or departure airport incorrectly and instead, detected a very close-by airport, helipad or seaplane base?

Whilst users could always edit their flight report and manually correct the airport, it was, with other recent features becoming a pain as achievements wouldn’t automatically be awarded and generally just a straight up be a pain point for pilots – whilst this might not have affected you personally, there are several airports (major ones even like KORD and KRNT and no doubt, others too) with nearby heliports or seaplane bases of which, depending on which runway you took off and/or landed at would frequently register the airport incorrectly- This is made worse by the fact that FsHub actually has even more airports, helipads, balloon bases, and seaplane bases than the standard MSFS data/XP data so we can really cater for all simulators and even custom airports that might not yet exist within the standard MSFS/XP/P3D/FSX databases.

With this in mind, Cody (Clorix), Uwe (thunfischbuam), and I had a late-night chat on Discord earlier this week, we bashed about a few ideas as to how to be precise in this automatic detection, taking into account that we support ALL major simulator platforms and custom (real-world) scenery to come up with a solution that would detect the correct landing airport each time and within a few hours, I developed an improved system and was available for testing…

The new system then went live for a select few users (and all anonymous user flights) who responded to my call for help over at our Discord Server to fully test this before I made it “live” for everyone.

I would also like to that send a special thanks to Caspey1UK and Clorix of whom relentlessly tested the changes at KORD and other known airports that we knew had issues whilst I was tweaking the logic and internal parameters based on their feedback…

We’re happy to report that the new system went live yesterday morning (3rd November 2022) and seems to be working a treat, now there are some super rare scenarios that might crop up but I’ve also now built into our system the ability to instantly “fix” these edge cases permanently as, if and when they crop up.

With this in mind, if you do find issues, you can always report them using the airport’s page “Report a data issue” link as shown here:

…the team and I can then investigate and fix any airport-specific issues (permanently) if found.

SimBrief integration improvements

Essentially, FsHub users can now go and enable site-wide SimBrief integration which, will drastically speed up your workflow, and automatically populate things like the departure ICAO, arrival ICAO, flight number, pilot name etc.

The optional, new SimBrief integration features.

I blogged about this earlier this week with screenshots and full details (if this is of interest), if you’re a SimBrief user, I’d highly recommend you go and give it a read, it does a lot more than you might think – so far the feedback from SimBrief users’ has been super!

A new “Duty Schedule” system

I’ll be honest, this is one of those features that I’ve personally wanted to add to FsHub for a while now, it’s designed to simulate a real-world commercial airline pilot’s daily routine – eg. an EasyJet/Ryanair pilot (and I’m sure countless other real-world airline pilots) would turn up for work and be given a flight list (I’m not sure of the proper term) but it essentially tells the pilot all of the legs they will be flying that day, each leg will depart from where it previously landed at.

An example “Daily Duty Schedule” for Alaska Virtual VA.

The system I have implemented does just this, we’ve been testing it this week and it’s super fun and really does add to the immersion (especially if you like to simulate a short/medium haul pilot’s daily routine) – I’ve added a ton of options for VA’s and pilots too and so, if this sounds interesting to you, go and read the full details (with screenshots and explanation) in this blog post.

This feature didn’t originally get off to an easy start though, the complexity of generating these schedules and testing it fully has been a little bit of a headache but, I’m pleased to say after a full day of testing this today and help this week from pilot DadInCommand and Wokninja (thanks for your help guys), the final “bugs” have now been ironed out and pleased to say that it’s working really well!

Airline profile and portal page styling options

As you may know, the FsHub website consists of dark grey backgrounds (unless you’ve enabled the “light mode” in your Profile settings – ahhh see, you didn’t know about that did you 😉), virtual airlines, bush flying clubs, special-ops, heli-med and other types of virtual airlines only had a few options to personalise their public profile pages such as some colour scheme settings and their airline logo.

Whilst this is only the first step (I’ll cover shortly what’s next in store and further improvements to this going forwards in a second…) I can confirm that virtual airlines can now, not only upload and personalise their public profile page with a banner image as per this example:

Example of a custom airline “profile’ (public pages) banner.

I’ve taken it a step further and given airlines the ability to customise their private crew portal too (with some additional new VA colour scheme styling on the buttons too):

Example of separate “Crew Portal” styling features

Whilst the ability to customise your airline’s profile pages and crew portal sections are available to all users, In the near future, FsHub Supporters (those who donate and choose to support the platform) will additionally be able to fully customise the background colour of the page too and advanced custom CSS so you can get super creative, personalise and show off your virtual airline.

Premium VAs will also be able to register their own sub-domain like: {airline}.fshub.io or even port their existing domain name (if they have one) for example, myairline.com and will redirect to their public profile page!

Major improvements to the manual PIREP system

Earlier this year, I introduced the ability (mainly to support non-PC users, such as the XBOX and other simulators – DCS word for example) for pilots to file manual PIREPs to their virtual airline, initially and only up to a few hours ago, this feature, whilst doing what I had originally designed it to do – did provide a limited set of features and I communicated to the airlines at the time that an optional XP/v$ (if they decided to use these features) would have to be manually awarded on a per-PIREP basis (it would be at the discretion of the VA) – I guess I have trust issues 😉

…I have however come to realise that this is becoming a headache for the larger virtual airlines and so, as of yesterday evening, any PIREPs that are manually approved will be handled as if they were any normal flight and so, the automatic reward of XP for company routes, duty schedules, airline achievements and the optional new “basic pilot pay” feature will automatically be processed at the point at which a VA manager approves the PIREP.

As a reminder – if you’re not already using the new airline webhooks to notify your VA or new pending PIREPs to approve, you can get notifications sent directly to your Disord server and enable any of your admins (with the “Approve PIREPs” permission to one-click review/approve them straight from Discord!

Five new webhooks (fully Discord compatible) have been released!

These new webhooks enable you to share and celebrate when VA members complete achievements (again, another request from the recent user survey) and when they complete a daily duty schedule in your own discord server (in the same way that we have on our main global achievements and on the official FsHub Discord server) and, in addition to that, provides some VA management specific notifications to share the load and burden of having to manually approve PIREPs and being notified of new pilot applications.

If this sounds interesting to you, a full blog post on these new webhooks can be found here.

Virtual airlines can now (optionally) award XP/v$ etc. for any flight!

Originally I was dead-set against pilots receiving XP/v$ for ad-hoc/leisure flights and felt that XP/v$ should really only be awarded when the pilot is flying on behalf of the airline and, as such, be awarded for completing routes for the airline.

By popular demand, however, yesterday saw this new feature released and will, depending on the virtual airline settings, reward pilots based on the distance flown and optionally provide a bonus if flying to or from a company hub/base (you can set these up in your airlines “Hubs and Markers” section if you don’t already have some configured).

Virtual airlines can now enable this feature (as long as they also have the “Pilot rewards feature” enabled) and customise the options from the airline’s Crew Portal under the “Airline Settings” page as shown here:

Scrolling nearer the bottom of that page, an airline manager (with the correct permissions) will be able to enable it and customise it using these settings:

Options for rewarding XP/v$ for all flights (not just company routes and duty schedules)

I am already planning some new features for the future, especially for GA pilots and/or charter-style operations whereby pilots (and VA’s) can cherry-pick/bid on a global pool of frequently generated flights and fly them to gain XP, v$ or just another way of them finding new and exciting airports… if you’re new here and this sounds cool, whilst I’m working away on other bits, you could check out our Daily Flight Challenges feature instead (these are randomly generated every day from our massive database of over 2 million already flown flights) and super fun to fly, gives you another opportunity to be on our global stats page and keep flying in order to try and keep building up that daily flight challenge streak 🙂

I’d be interested in knowing if this (charter/contract jobs) for GA pilots feature is something that you would be interested in and something that you would personally use, let me know by contacting us!

If there is little interest (and although it is now on the roadmap) I won’t waste my time and can I can then just push straight on with the Aeroconomy platform 🙂

In case you’re wondering or thinking… “hang on a minute – isn’t this/shouldn’t it be part of the “Aerocomy” platform?” – Well no, the Aeroconomy platform is an Airline economy platform and designed at the airline management level, these features will play a big part in the airline generated finances and will feed directly into Aeroconomy though!

New flight log filter options added and the ability to download your filtered logbook

Another requested feature from the recent user survey was to be able to filter your personal pilot logbook (and the airline logbook) on a few extra pieces of additional information – pilots and virtual airlines and, in addition, can now download filtered datasets from their logbook in addition to filtering flights with (or without) comments/remarks and specifically include duty schedule legs too.

More information about this can be found in this blog post.

Our video hosting service is now live!

In a blog post earlier this year, I mentioned that we were looking to provide a community platform where pilots’ could upload and share flight sim-related videos (because we can see from our hosting bills that you guys certainly love to upload a screenshot or two few 😉 and thought you might like to do the same with video clips also).

We personally felt that providing a video-hosting platform might be of interest and could be used by pilots to either show off their landing skills, epic weather and scenery, virtual airline promotion videos and hey, maybe some of you guys might like to even post some tutorials on how to use FsHub (as that would be awesome!) – we’ve been wanting to do this for a while but we’ve just not had the chance what with all of the features we keep cramming in 😉

Our new video hosting platform (an open-source clone of YouTube essentially) is being maintained by Uwe (thunfischbaum), one of the support team members here at FsHub who is dedicated to maintaining it going forwards and whilst I have not yet integrated FsHub with it directly if the uptake in users is fair then in the new year, videos posted by users can optionally appear on their FsHub profile page (fully integrated from the video platform) soon.

So feel free to go and give that a look, several users already have accounts on there and have started to share some cool landing clips and other content.

It’s available over at https://video.fshub.io

Various links back to this site will appear shortly on the main FsHub website over the weekend too.

New flight achievements are available!

For those of you that love to fly and complete our official FsHub flight achievements and collect the badges or enjoy flying these achievement flights to explore new places that you might not have otherwise…

We’ve added a handful more single and multi-leg achievements into the system this week with various themes including:

  • Ferrying PAX to Europe’s favourite Ski destinations in our “The European Skication” achievement (as stand-in pilot)
  • Exploring Norway in our “The Norse Way” (14) multi-leg achievement where we’ll explore from top to bottom – coming in the next couple of days, as it’s a big one 😉
  • Visiting Denmark’s five main airports in our “The Vikings” achievement.
  • Departing Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport, we’ll take a cross-country trip and explore some of the best German views in our “The Black Forrest” achievement, before finally landing in Zurich.
  • Head down to Italy and check out the historical city of Naples and obtain our “Napoli” achievement.
  • Ireland you say? Yep – You will be flying to County Kerry to visit Ireland’s highest mountain “Carrantuohill” and the Lakes of Killarney.
  • Flying the big jets, huh? The USA you say? – We got you covered in our Departing the 10 Busiest Airports in the US achievement.

With only a few days left of our Halloween 2022 special achievement, if you want to pick up this badge for your profile too.. be sure to complete it very soon.

In the next month, we will also publish our annual Christmas special event achievement too – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that… we may also be planning something a little more special this year, a group flight using our Live Traffic system – kind of like VATSIM but no need to worry about procedure or radio comms (it works across all simulators and FSX users, for example, can also see XP11, XP12 and even MSFS2020 players) – We’ll pick a date and a time (that hopefully suits most people) and hopefully we can all fly together and earn the achievement in one go – don’t be put off by this though, the achievement will be available to obtain over a two week period and so, if group flying isn’t your thing or prefer to do it at a more convenient time then the decision is yours.

What’s next on the roadmap?

Well, a ton of the recent updates have been, for the most part, Virtual airline-specific as I saw ideas and features that could be implemented relatively quickly and that I too, felt would be beneficial, that said, it’s only fair that the GA pilots and other (non-commercial) airlines get some love too and so, although my immediate attention will be turned towards getting the Alpha release of the new LRM client out the door for initial testing (planning for within the next three weeks time) the following (in order) will be worked on next:

  • The next-gen LRM client (a complete rewrite) with a modern interface and dropping the requirement for FSUIPC and XPUIPC. – Initial alpha release is in approximately three weeks’ time and will be given to members of our “Test Pilots” group on Discord!
  • (During the Alpha testing phase of the new LRM client…) Re-designing the FsHub homepage and further improvements to the global radar and virtual airline radar pages.
  • (During the Alpha testing phase of the new LRM client…) Adding the ability for achievement editors to specify a remote (non-airport) landing/departure point as an achievement objective/rule – great for pilots and non-commercial VA’s to set up bush flying achievements, helicopter/helimed achievements and more – from the achievement editor you’ll be able to “drop a pin” on a map and specify the radius at which the pilot must land or depart from that point (and it will be AWESOME, game-changing for GA/Heli pilots, maybe?)! – (This is expected to be completed before 20th December).
  • A new dynamic “mission/job/assignment” generator – for GA/Helicoper/Military/Charter airlines (remember, this can be bush flying clubs, military VA’s, helimed operations as well as charter airlines) can enable a feature whereby the FsHub platform will generate (fully configurable) missions around the clock whereby the VA will get notified of “jobs/assignments/missions” that are system generated and then a VA pilot can “pick up” the job and fly it, the generation of these jobs will be generated by the platform with a personalisable message for each type of job (eg. Road traffic collisions, Charter flights, Humanitarian help requests, Outback Animal rescue etc.), they will expire after a certain period of time if “not picked up” and you can optionally choose (given the dynamic nature of these types of assignments/jobs) to configure FsHub to notify your Discord Server when they become available – these jobs can be configured to be generated to destination Airports and/or remote (non-airports) locations within a set area around the VA configured “hubs”, bases or a specific set of GPS coordinates and associated radius area – I’ll be working on how to best identify land vs. sea too (this is expected to be completed by 1st of January).
  • Advanced (optional) styling for airline profiles and crew portals – As I mentioned above, premium VA’s (where the VA owner is an FsHub supporter) will have the option to further customise all aspects of their profile pages and crew portal with advanced CSS editing features.
  • More flight report stats and flight performance metrics – The user survey suggested that pilots didn’t want to be “scored” on their flight performance but would be interested in seeing a breakdown of information such as fuel economy, speed limit restrictions in addition to landing light states and – this is being taken into mind with the new LRM client and I will be adding code in order to retrieve this information and be able to process and present it within FsHub (this is expected to be completed ahead of the public release of the LRM client software in early to mid-January)

With these features done and dusted, I will begin work on the new Aeroconomy platform (where airlines can optionally “compete” against each other in a fair and balanced way) and I realistically expect that to be released in March 2023.

Then, after this point, I’ll review the latest user survey and see what people are interested in and how they would like to see the platform grow…

I want to know how and what features of LRM you currently use, and what you would like to see (or not see) in the next version…

Now is your chance to let me know what you’d like, as you’ve probably seen by now (with the user surveys) I do take your feedback on board and do implement suggestions/features normally at a rapid pace too…

Please, if you can help me out, please fill in this quick survey – I will be reviewing it prior to starting the new client on Monday!

Read and complete the survey here!

What’s the plan for the LRM Client Alpha release?

As per the roadmap above, I expect to have the client in a fully working state (minus the bells and whistles) in about three weeks’ time so testing can commence (by our test pilots) and any bugs identified and squashed ASAP…

I personally feel that it’s best to get a non-FSUIPC version of the client out and into the hands of users as quickly as possible (as long as it works ofcourse), I’m sure that a lot of users don’t even use some of the more advanced features of LRM (such as the Aircraft Manager, LRM Data Connector and AeroPad features) and so, for the initial release, I plan to have the following items fully working:

  • Airline selection and custom airline styling for the client window.
  • Basic cabin sounds (clapping for good landings, screams for bad landings)
  • Route planner (so you can import/setup or sync your flight plan/company route etc)
  • Screenshot Geo-tagging
  • JoinFS integration
  • Blackbox mode (auto-start LRM when your computer turns on)
  • Discord Rich Presence
  • Helicopter support (hopefully, switching away from FSUIPC and XPUIPC this support will be better than the current “experimental support).

…and then, depending on the outcome of the survey that I have linked above, will then work on adding the missing features back in over the months that follow March, these being:

  • METAR lookup
  • LRM data connector
  • AeroPad
  • Charts Browser

That’s all for now 🙂

Feedback and donations are always well received, I hope you found this blog post informative and excited for the new things that are coming between now and early January 🙂

I’m now going to take a few days’ break from working on FsHub and be ready to start afresh on Monday on the new LRM client!

Lets us know what you think!