Happy Holidays 2023!

Firstly the team and I would like to wish you and your families a very happy, festive, and merry holiday season!

As a reminder or for those that haven’t seen it as yet, our Christmas/Holiday event for 2023 is live and pilots have until the 1st of January to complete it to obtain the special edition badge (you otherwise won’t be able to obtain this in future).

Those who have also enrolled their account into the new Aeroconomy platform will also benefit from a bonus payment that they can use in the future to purchase aircraft, property, and/or other commodities within the Aeroconomy world – it’s therefore well worth doing especially if you plan to participate in the new (optional) economy world.

If you haven’t noticed, and for those pilots that enjoy the daily flight challenges, I have overridden the “automatic selection” for the daily flight challenges to Christmas-themed ones and I plan to override them again tomorrow too for those that plan to fly on Christmas day so you can be sure to have festive themed ones πŸ™‚

Whilst I have been posting many updates recently on our Discord Server and on our new forums, for those that don’t visit the Discord server (or forums), I thought I’d quickly cover some things that are in the works, recent features and releases in addition to a few other bits in this blog post…

Our new forums

Over the last four weeks, we rolled out our new community forums, originally planned as a place for discussions and “business dealings” for the new Aeroconmy platform but it also provides a messaging platform for pilot-to-pilot communications (private messages aka. PMs) in addition to forums for FsHub/LRM help and support discussions too!

If you are a long-time user of FsHub and have attempted to click on the new “Forums” link (of the mailbox icon) that you might have noticed having landed on the main FsHub site recently but have experienced getting “bumped back” to the FsHub homepage – you will need logout of your FsHub account and back in again – this will federate (sync) your account with the forums and enable you to access them without issues going forward.

The forums provide a better (more structured) and easier to re-locate previous discussions as opposed to our Discord server – rest assured though, our Discord server remains one of our primary support channels but we have archived and sign-posted many of the more complex discussion channels (such as “Developers Discussion”) to the forums as it is better suited for this kind of content/discussions.

I will also personally use the forums to push less important (still super interesting though, of course) platform updates and news; this blog however will remain in place for more formal announcements.

Whilst we understand that the forum theme (design) doesn’t exactly match the FsHub website at this time, we’ll be updating the style to better reflect the current FsHub website design and provide a more seamless UI experience – this will also improve how it renders on mobile devices too.

Virtual airlines will also have the ability, in the near future to have a private (hidden) forum and link it to the “Staff Room” module (in the Crew Portal section) if they feel they would benefit from their own private forums for their airline staff in the coming months.

Platform upgrades to FsHub

This year has been really busy and behind the scenes, I’ve been working on many projects including the new LRM client, the XBox client, the Aeroconomy platform and of course, updates and new features on FsHub, and as such, the platform is growing and future demand on the platform, I suspect will only increase especially with the release of Aeroconomy.

Part of the reason why I decided to hold off on releasing further updates for Aeroconomy last week was due to the potential for a large uptake in Aeroconomy fights (I suspect many pilots may start grinding the new PFH jobs to get a head start and have cash readily available to kick start their virtual airlines, side-businesses or purchase personal aircraft/properties, etc) and so, without wanting to stress the platform, especially over the holiday season – as I suspect the platform, in general, it will be busier than normal with (virtual) pilots having more time on their hands and being able to/wanting to fly – I’ll be adding, even more, compute to the main FsHub platform between Christmas day and New Year’s (we’ll be increasing the number of database servers in our cluster to help spread the projected additional load and offloading API (read requests) to a dedicated slave database. We’ll also be increasing the number of web and worker nodes.

The majority of this work will be transparent (we can spin up additional web nodes automatically) but extra/additional work will be required for the upgrades to the database cluster – While I’ll aim to keep this as minimal as possible, I may need to put the platform into “offline mode” for up to an hour on Tuesday 9th of January – I will however communicate this well ahead of time if this is required and I’m unable to get around this requirement!

These upgrades (to the infrastructure) with further future-proof the platform and allow us to handle over 5x the amount of traffic that it is currently designed for.

Oil Rigs coming to FsHub

If you’re a helicopter pilot and love flying to remote platforms/oil rigs or think that you’d love to fly helicopter missions (jobs) in Aeroconomy, this week, I will be adding the 196 North Sea Oil Rigs that are provided as part of the Aerosoft Offshore Landmarks addon and will be available to fly to/from 1st of January within both FsHub and Aeroconomy. This feature is designed specifically for Helicopter pilots and will help support the additional Helicopter flights (missions) that will be available in Aeroconomy.

This is in addition to the other boats, ships, and aircraft carriers that I added last year – these oil rigs will also be “purchasable” as business properties within Aeroconomy and as such, can be used to generate landing/service fees and generate PAX and cargo!

Be sure to check out the MSFS Store sale at the moment, this addon (Aerosoft Offshore Landmarks: North Sea) can be snapped up for ~$15 (or Β£11) during the December sale! – This isn’t a sponsored post/ad, it just looks like a really decent addon and many FsHub users are already using this πŸ™‚

Aeroconomy features / rollout

I got a little carried away with some of the “Pilots for Hire” board jobs this past week and I actually decided to add even more fictitious businesses and job types, so in addition to what I have already covered at our forums, the PFH job board (from day one) will also now include the following:

  • More realistic (real world) “contract/jump pilot” jobs for several European and American airlines – Jobs that require you to fly the actual aircraft of the real-world airline (eg. B738, A320/A20N, A339, etc) and the routes being actual routes flown by real-world airline include:-

    As a reminder, the “PFH Jobs” are designed to help players earn money in Aeroconomy in “the early days”, these “jobs” are designed/intended as “quick missions”/”contract work” and are just one way to make money without having to job an established airline in Aeroconomy – you’re essentially paid “per hour” to fly the provided aircraft.
  • The list of real-world contract jobs now also includes:
    • EasyJet (A320/A20N/A319/A19N/A321)
    • Virgin Atlantic (A339/A30N/B789/A350)
    • Ryanair (B738)
    • Southwest (B737)
    • UPS (Cargo) (A330/B744/B748/B752/B763)
  • I wanted to go one step further for Helicopter pilots too and whilst our Royal Australian Flying Doctors’ service jobs do utilize several helicopters in addition to their famous PC-12 and the B350 fixed-wing aircraft, I decided that adding Oil Rigs into the simulator would provide additional benefits/flying styles for Helicopter pilots – specifically “Crew Transfers” and flying in supplies – these will be available as soon as the PFH jobs board goes live.

The new LRM and XBOX client

LRM client and Xbox support is still in the works – At this point, it’s mainly testing that I need to complete and then submit the XBOX client to Asobo for them to “vet” and publish on their store.

I’ve been a little short on time this past week – hence me not being able to keep my promises to have the “Pilots For Hire” board feature live just yet… but it’s coming, shortly after New Year’s day, I hope!

That’s all for now!

This post was. a bit rushed (I’ve been at work today) and very aware that Christmas day (at least in the UK is just a few short hours away!)

So finally, if you’ve attempted to access the forums but realise you keep getting sent back to FsHub, please logout (of FsHub) and back into your FsHub account – this will fix the issue and will thern enable you to check out the many posts and further details about Aeroconomy (maybe this is the first time you’re hearing about this now?)

We’ll be putting a ton more effort into the forums over the coming months too and hope to make it a really great community area for discussions about FsHub, Aeroconomy, LRM and flight simulation in general too. We’d love for you to participate in that too πŸ™‚

Well, guys, keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks for many new features being released – check out the forums too, and finally, from Clorix, thunfischbaum, Aurora, and me (ballen) – I hope you have a great Christmas/holiday break and hope you’re getting as excited as we are with all the new things we’ll be releasing in 2024!

Platform updates June 2023

Welcome back to another platform updates blog post where we aim to provide you pilots with the latest features and goings-on within the FsHub team!

As usual we’ve been pretty busy and been working on many features across the FsHub, LRM and even the Aeroconomy platforms and am excited to share the latest new with you today – this should have gone out a couple of weeks ago but other things have been getting in the way/we’ve been busy working on various bits and peices so thank you for your patience!

Let’s jump right in…

Our new Assignments (Mission) Generator feature

If you’ve been keeping up with our announcements on our Discord server you’ll see that earlier this month we released a new Assignments feature whereby virtual airlines (of any kind) can now configure different types of randomly-generated assignments (or “missions”) which Fshub, based on the settings entered by the VA can randomly generate assignments and missions for your pilots to fly.

This particular feature has been designed and I guess you could say that this is my “solution” to cater for other types of airlines/flying groups such as Heli-med, Chater, Cargo, Military, Bush flights, and Aerial Firefighting etc. etc.

Whilst the new (optional) Assignment Manager module is happy to generate flights to and from established airports that exist within the simulator (and we have a ton of options for randomly generating these kinds of assignments) this system, based on what it was actually primarily designed for, really shines when generating assignments to non-airport specific locations such as GPS locations (such as in the bush, oil rigs, ships, hospital helipad and road-side locations) and opens up a whole load of fantastic possibilities for STOL, float planes, Military and Helicopter flights.

Here are just a few example use cases and ideas that I had in mind when developing this feature which I hope might serve as a creativity booster if and when you and your airline staff create assignments (obviously these will depend on the type of airline you are running):

  1. Heli-med operations (you could either use completely randomly selected GPS locations or set a list of specific GPS locations within the area that you operate to give your pilots a more realistic experience) such as at skiing resorts (sport-related incidents) or major roads (vehicle collisions), and built-up cities (cardiac arrests etc.).
  2. “Poacher Patrols” and Veterinary Missions – Using STOL aircraft potentially in Africa or the Australian outback to patrol or tend to animals in the wild!
  3. Cargo missions in remote areas – Flying in the Amazon, using STOL aircraft, requiring expert piloting skills and landings/departures to, from or both heavily obstructed and vegetated areas.
  4. Military reconnaissance flights (flights can land and depart from a specific airport but you could impose a minimum flight distance and specific aircraft types) or delivering soldiers and/or supplies to soldiers at make-shift, war-torn landing zones.
  5. Aerial fire-fighting operations (land on water to “collect” fire retardant) from specific GPS locations that are at lakes, riverways or in the sea.
  6. Visit obscure locations – You could set up assignment templates for “helicopter charters” to custom scenery locations such as visiting Sealand (a sovereign Principality built on a WWII military fortress in the north sea!)
  7. Charter flights – You could use your existing airline’s hub airports and then configure the assignment templates to generate random flights to or from airports within a set radius of your operating area (hubs)
  8. Scientific/Expedition charters – Using specific GPS locations you could configure a list of places where scientists may need to be taken such as glaciers, the Artic Circle and other remote areas.
  9. Re-creation of charter flights to remote islands (that don’t have actual airports) such as the luxurious Fyre Festival where VIPs paid thousands to attend a remote party island.
  10. Police/SWAT – Busting drug cartels and other criminals in parts of South America (think “NARCOS” – I loved that Netflix series ;)).
  11. Helicopter Transfers – To transfer staff to custom scenery locations such as oil rigs, wind farms or static ships.

Whilst the above are just some examples, you can combine the power and available options that our assignment system provides to literally cater for any kind of assignment or “mission”.

In addition to the above, this system can also be combined with our existing Routes and Duty Schedules features (for conventional, commercial airlines), you could, for example, choose to set the value of the rewards on your Company Routes to zero (0) and then use the assignment generator to generate flights to and from “Any company route” and by setting the value of a reward on the assignment template specifically would entice pilots to fly the company routes using the generated assignments only (as the rewards would only be available and “paid out” when flying them as an assignment) or, equally, pay a “bonus” for flying the assignment (such as an “overtime” achievement).

The official FsHub demo airline (Alaska VA) is using this system to automatically generate tasks based on our routes, hubs and spoke airports such as pilot stand-in (sickness cover), maintenance flights and VIP transfers. I’ve personally really been enjoying using this as a way of finding “jobs” and flying other routes that I wouldn’t otherwise normally fly and as an added benefit, we’ve configured our assignments to pay the pilot a “bonus” (as overtime) on top of the existing Route based rewards.

Conventional airlines, whilst they primarily fly route-based flights (and probably have their routes and hubs set up in FsHub already) could use this feature to generate other assignments such as maintenance, lost baggage, repatriation flights and/or “fictional” pilot cover (for example, if a pilot calls in sick) – so don’t think this is just for bush, helicopter or military flying!

More details on how this system works from a pilot perspective can be found on this wiki page (full instructions) and, for virtual airline owners/managers, full documentation can be found on this page – this particular page provides a ton of use cases, examples and tips for generating awesome assignments so definitely give it a read if you’re interested in using this optional module.

To date (two weeks since it was released), we already have over 15 airlines now using this feature and between the airlines, have amassed well over 1,000 assignments/missions flown!

I would also like to give an honourable mention to SixKnots and IronBird from FireFly Air of whom were helping me test, providing bug reports and re-testing at the initial release a couple of weeks ago – I really appreciate the hard work you guys did and you certainly saved me a ton of time so thank you, guys!

Other fixes

In addition to the work that I have been doing on the new Assignments system, there has also been a number of other fixes and improvements to FsHub and the LRM client these include:

  • We released LRM version 5.6.1 – Which includes fixes for a bug that we found in the Aircraft Manager feature where under some s – If you’re still on the older LRM 5.5.9 release, you can download and upgrade to the new version from the main LRM website.
  • Based on pilot feedback, we updated the Pilot achievement overview details for aircraft-specific assignments – we added a new Wiki page and linked to it from the pilot assignment overview which details the specific aircraft types that are “valid” and will count towards the achievement requirement.
  • We fixed a bug with the aircraft restrictions feature (due to a duplicate aircraft type).
  • Improvements to the gallery pages (image loading and error handling).
  • The daily challenge now shows a “count down” as to how many hours, minutes and seconds there are until the next set of challenges is generated (should help pilots understand how much time they have regardless of whichever timezone they are in).
  • …probably a ton of other bits too and I’ve since forgotten πŸ˜‰ – It’s been a super busy few months!

Progress on the new LRM client (SimConnect version)

The latest LRM client has had further updates added to it this past month too with the view for me to further expand the possibilities and in-sim experience of the new VA assignments/mission system, this now enables the pilot to “action” certain other (virtual) mission-type objectives such as “lowering a stretcher” (where the LRM client is now able to “track” a period that the aircraft may have to hover for a set time within a range of a new “objective” coordinate (eg. SAR/Helemed), fly a straight and level path for X nautical miles within range of X (for ariel firefighting, military surveillance or bombing missions) and even “load/unload” cargo/passengers/casualties at a certain airport or coordinates – The new LRM client now tracks these optional objectives and provides the user with real-time feedback either through a new AeroPad app or using the new LRM client interface (using the AeroPad is much cooler though and can be used on a separate remote iPad/tablet device too).

Given that Microsoft announced their new MSFS2024 release a couple of days ago, I’m now keen to understand what SDK changes the Asobo team plan to make to ensure that the client will also work with the latest version of the simulator – I’m hoping that more information will be shared ASAP so that I can better plan features and potentially have to an extra layer of abstraction to ensure that this also functions on day one of the release.

I’m also eagerly awaiting any information regarding if the SDK will enable me to track some of the “mission” tasks within the new simulator and hopefully be able to integrate that seamlessly with the new Assignment system that I released earlier this month as if this will be possible, this would be absolutely awesome…. if not however, I know I’ll be able to implement workarounds within FSHub and the new “actions” feature in the latest LRM client – so whilst I wanted you to know that this is on my radar (tighter integration with the new features) for now though, we’ll just have to watch this space πŸ˜‰

Progress on the LRM XBOX plugin

As I’ve mentioned already in our Discord Server, I’m now very close to my goal of “saving up” for an Xbox (planning on purchasing it at the end of the month – 2 weeks’ time!) and at which point, I will be looking to start the integration of the already developed WASM module and testing it. – Really hoping I don’t have to buy a second copy of MSFS now πŸ˜‰

One potential obstacle I may face however, nearing the completion and has only recently dawned on me is the potential need for FsHub (me personally I guess) to form a company/organisation – As many XBOX users know, the only way to get plugins into MSFS (for general use) is to purchase them through the app store – it is my understanding that I’ll therefore need to go through the process of forming a company (I don’t believe that Microsoft will accept submissions from non-organisations) and then going through the process of applying to Microsoft to become a content provider.

There are two potential “issues” that I see:-

  • I will have to form a company (FsHub has always been a “hobby” project of mine – I hold down a regular day job too) and with that, decide how to best take on the extra stress and hassle of running one, the associated tax returns and essentially running a company that doesn’t really make a profit (which obviously isn’t all that easy to explain to “the taxman”) as I wouldn’t expect or could rely on XBOX users to pay a premium fee for the addon. Microsoft however will still want their minimum amount per “purchase” and as such, I would only expect that the cost of the addon for XBOX would be “free” from FsHub but MSFS would still charge their “minimum fee” (which I believe is about $5).
  • XBOX users would have to be prepared to pay/buy the plugin as per the above – basically, the same issue that PMDG have for making their livery packs available on the store.

If you’re an XBOX user I’d really love to know if you would be massively opposed to this and would I be wasting my time? My hands unfortunately are tied here!

Rest assured however that I will take a day out this week to investigate the full requirements from an MS Store and company formation perspective so I have a solid understanding and know what I need to do to make this possible and as cheap as possible for those XBOX users.

New flight achievements

Between JimG, Clorix and myself (ballen), we have been rolling out more flight achievements to keep you all entertained with things to do, the new achievements that have gone live in the last couple of months include:

We also have a few more that we are currently working on and will be rolled out as soon as they’re ready and/or we have noticed that pilots have started completing the latest ones and then probably itching for some new ones πŸ˜‰ – the other ones that you can expect in the new few weeks include:

  • A South American bush achievement
  • An African bush achievement
  • …we also have a couple of others that I’ll keep as a nice surprise for now though but thought I’d mention the above ones as I know those areas are currently under-represented so wanted you to know that we are rectifying this.

For those of you that have always wanted to fly a “round the world trip” but maybe didn’t know how to go about setting up a flight plan, we are also working to put together a special type of achievement where FsHub pilots will be able to “fly around the world” broken down into a series of seven (each continent) multi-leg achievements, having achieved all of those (and the connecting flights), you’ll be awarded the “Around the world” achievement – This is a pretty extensive achievement and as such, will take us some time to complete and release so expect it later this year (likely in the fall).

Given the implementation of our new VA’s Assignment Generator, this also opens up the opportunity for a few more Pilot achievements badges too, these are planned to be released in the new few days and will centre around the number of VA assignments/missions that a pilot has flown (and before anyone asks if previous assignments flown will count, they certainly will).

Aeroconomy updates

Behind the scenes I have been working on more of the Aeroconomy codebase and, at this point, I now have a fully working dynamic (real-time) economy processor (calculator, I guess you could call it) which, uses the real-time data from FsHub (based on the flights, destinations and aircraft flown) to dynamically calculate country-specific fuel prices, business rates, maintenance fees, cargo quantities, PAX numbers, charter opportunities and and landing fees – All of these metrics (based on the FsHub “world” economy) will affect your airline operations and profit/loss – this system essentially uses the REAL supply and demand that FsHub “sees” from the actual pilots, aircraft, activity and countries that pilots are actively flying in.

Whilst at the moment, this probably doesn’t sound all that beneficial to your game-play experience, after all, there isn’t an “interface” to Aeroconomy just yet but this is essentially the “core” feature and a massive part of Aeroconomy that needed to be handled and now means that whilst I continue to work on the other bits and pieces mentioned in this blog post above I can continue to monitor the economic states/prices and apply tweaks as required (this system is now actively running within our platform – silently processing the live data and crunching the numbers).

I guess, to the average FsHub user, this may not sound that interesting but rest assured this is actually HUGE – I won’t go into much detail at this point as there are so many things to talk about and explain why this is a game changer in comparison to other types of economy systems out there at the moment but I was keen to share this with you as I personally, think this is very cool!

As a reminder – This is an optional (opt-in) feature for airlines and so airlines don’t have to use this system to “compete” against other airlines on FsHub if they don’t want to. So no need to panic/worry if you’re happy with the way that airlines currently work within FsHub as you can continue to use airlines in a non-opinionated way (like FsHub already does by default)!

What are we missing or what would you like to see in future?

Whilst I’ve been really busy recently with developing/implementing LOTS of things in parallel – to ensure that everything “works together” when the new LRM client is released (FsHub, the new assignments system and features that are in the works for Aeroconomy), I’d really love to hear your feature requests as it is super important now that I’m getting much closer to a release of the new LRM client – if any new feature requests require some LRM-specific changes/feature added to the new LRM client, I would much prefer to add them now as opposed to crow-baring them in at a later date.

If you do have a feature request or would like to “bounce” an idea off us/see if something is possible, please raise a feature request, please be specific as possible regarding what you want to see added, why/the purpose and how you might envisage it working – I’ll be reviewing all new feature requests at the end of the month and unless anything major comes up, will work to finalise the new LRM client by the end of August and get it into the hands of the beta testers.

Platform updates April 2023

Welcome back Pilots! It feels like it’s been an age since my last update but here goes…

Easter & April Fools Day special events!

As per tradition here at FsHub and since we introduced the flight achievements feature, throughout the year we design and publish various “Special Events” for important days of the year or dynamic “world events”.

With Easter weekend approaching, we (or more specifically, JimG) have designed and published an Easter-themed event that will run over the Easter weekend (for two weeks), virtual pilots from all over the world, flying on FsHub will visit Jerusalem in a Christian-themed event. More information on this event can be found on the special event page.

For April Fool’s day, we also took this opportunity for pilots to test their skills – yep, Cody devised a special/unique achievement and reached out to me to “make it possible” – I’ve spent several hours implementing new “requirements” that will see this “foolish” achievement made possible – I’m not going to give away any spoilers but rest assured, it’ll be fun (and probably challenging)… We’re not sure that may of you pilots would have attempted this before πŸ˜‰

So do keep an eye out for when these achievements go live – The April Fools day one will go live around 00:00 (UTC) on the day (1st of April) and will run for one week!

Progress on the new LRM client

I know that I may have mentioned this before but development up to this point has been arduous, to say the least – ensuring that the next generation of the LRM client meets (and exceeds) the current performance of the existing LRM client, some annoying “bugs” that exist in the current client (specifically the aircraft manager duplication issue) are squashed and ability to retain flight information if the simulator crashes have been the top of my priority list.

To date, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours (probably over a thousand actually!) working and fine-tuning the new LRM client that not only includes a modern UI but also supports multiple backend data connectors (SimConnect, X-Plane’s SDK and the trusty FSUIPC) and new features.

Whilst I massively underestimated the timescale for this to come to be released and work is still ongoing – the majority of which is simply flight testing across all simulators in my test environment and fine-tuning for performance at this stage.

I honestly wish I had a “hard date” for release at this point but I’m still fine-tuning the different data connectors behind the scenes and for lower-end hardware too – at this present time, getting consistent performance between all three is causing me a slight headache (SimConnect works differently to that of FSUIPC and the X-Plane API) – hence taking a couple of weeks away from it and having implemented the other features and new achievements mentioned in this blog post – I will return to the grind stone code again in the next week or so for the final push and then run the same tests on Linux (for those X-Plane users of whom are using Linux as their desktop operating systems) – this should be reasonably quick though as only X-Plane (and more importantly the Xplane SDK) is supported on Linux!

As you may have seen too on Discord, I invested time last month in implementing WASM support for LRM – since then Microsoft has now released WASM support for the XBox (or atleast, that is my understanding)… Whilst not wanting to leave all of my PC users in the dark for another few months and seemingly “leaving baby in the corner” (you get it?) “leaving FsHub in the corner” in the corner… I will be finishing the release of the next-gen LRM client and working to add a few more highly-requested features to LRM before saving up my pennies to get my hands on an XBox to then fully test and then finally release the embedded (WASM) support for XBox users so that manual PIREPs for those users should then be a thing of the past!

New features and improvements to the FsHub platform

Whilst most of you know that I’ve been hammering away on the new LRM client, I’ve also been adding some new features and improving some existing features within FsHub too – generally those that have been requested or from users on Discord that have

I won’t go into too much detail here as the majority of you already know about these new features, have seen my screenshots in Discord and have already started using them (I did announce them on Discord) but in summary, they are as follows:-

  • Personal arrival and departure stats on the airport information pages – Enables you to quickly see how many times you have departed or arrived at a specific airport (if you ever did) – useful to find new airports that you’ve never been to before!
  • Virtual airline achievements can now be deleted – this was an architectural nightmare given how FsHub is developed (as a distributed system) but a highly requested feature from some of the larger virtual airlines which literally have hundreds of bespoke virtual airline achievements!
  • Flight hours by aircraft (Pilot Stats page) – The pilot stats page now also shows details of the number of flight hours per aircraft type, not just the number of flights – including a new pie chart!
  • Fixes to the “light theme”
  • Prevention (and warning to users) when attempting to designate or re-designate an aircraft with a missing (invalid label) – Whilst this might not make sense to some of you, rest assured, some pilots might have been aggravated by this – our change now informs the user of the issue and how to resolve it.

We released another ton of single and multi-leg achievements!

We’ve kept to our word and, every few months (to enable those who will have less time to complete them before getting overwhelmed with the number of flight achievements available) and have been drip-feeding you pilots with new achievements over the last couple of weeks.

I have recently started building out the European version of our popular “US Cities” series and are called “Euro Cities”, so far, two volumes have been released and more coming soon!

In summary, those new achievements can be found here:

A new “Pilot Achievement” system is being released shortly!

Originally I was very sceptical about adding “achievements” of any kind into FsHub but having had them added to the platform for almost a year now, I can see from the stats that these are really enjoyed by many members!

At this present time, all of our achievements centre around flights and landing style challenges, I have some annual leave from work (for two weeks) starting Monday 3rd of April and during of which, I will be releasing a new “Pilot achievement” system.

The Pilot Achievement system, much like the existing achievements can be disabled by pilots of whom feel may increase anxiety or promote “grinding” but for those of whom have previously asked for this feature should be excited to know that they will now be able to be recognised for general achievements and will be able to collect badges for various pilot activities and “long term” use of the platform.

At this stage, I’m doing some final testing and adding a handful more of these achievements prior to the “go live”.

Whilst I don’t want to entirely spoil the surprise just yet, I can confirm some of the badges that will be awarded (and why) are as follows:-

  • GA Pilot (Amass over 500 flight hours in any “common” GA aircraft)
  • Boeing Pilot (Amass over 500 flight hours in a Boeing commercial aircraft)
  • Airbus Pilot (Amas over 500 flight hours in any Airbus commercial aircraft)
  • The day job (Amass over 1,000 flights and 1,000 flight hours)
  • The Explorer (Visit over 200 countries)
  • The long hauler (Complete 50 long-haul flights, each flight time > 10 hours)
  • I crossed the pond (Complete a flight departing England, Ireland, France or Germany and land in North America or Canada! – or in reverse!)
  • The Butter King (Perform 10 landings at less than -20 f/m)
  • Achievement Master (Complete over 200 “global” achievement legs)

These achievements will be “back dated” and so, if you already have completed any of the above, the badge will automatically be awarded!

Upon release of this new feature, there will be approximately 10 other “Pilot achievements” that I won’t be sharing at this time – we’ll keep them as a nice surprise!


I haven’t mentioned this recently but want to reassure you all that this is definitely NOT forgotten…

Aeroconomy, whilst an “opt-in” feature for VA’s will bring about the ability for virtual airlines to operate (and compete with other VA’s in a “dynamic” and evolving economy) and will give a more realistic “score” to those smaller airlines that are operating more efficiently than simply having a ton of pilots and routes.

Aeroconomy will provide another level of immersion at VA management level where carefully balancing the books, finances, routes and customer satisfaction is paramount in operating a “successful” virtual airline – other “competing” airlines will be waiting in the wings (pun intended) to steal first place if you don’t keep tabs on your business.

I quite literally just want to work on this now – This is going to be amazing and it honestly feels like it’s been a long road already – web, cloud and API platforms are my passion and having a completely blank canvas to work from on this is super exciting for me.

This will, once the new LRM client has been released be the next major thing on my priority list – I’ve mentioned it before in other posts and shared my excitement to start working on this.

Stay tuned for more updates soon – much like the development and release of features on FsHub, the good news being that progress on this will be much more rapid when compared to the LRM client (as it’s all web/API/cloud-based – I don’t have to worry about the various client-side computer configurations and other things that are “out of my control”)!

Financial support for the features we want to bring to FsHub

You probably read “financial support” and thought, oh, here we go… begging for money but this isn’t and has never been the case but lack of forecastable, on-going of financial support is holding us back to a degree.

As you’re probably aware, in order to help support the ongoing hosting costs of FsHub (so it isn’t too strenuous on my personal wallet), we offer “premium” access to some features of FsHub for those that show support (by donating) to the platform – many of the features we provide with this are actually very taxing (performance wise) on the platform (such as routes, VA achievements and duty schedule features) – whilst I’d love to share these features with everyone (I like free stuff too!), this isn’t really an option right now.

With more features and the requirement for third-party (expensive) services that I simply cannot develop myself due to not having “the data” (such as mapping API’s and weather overlay maps, huge improvements to AeroPad etc.) I may look to start offering the ability for users (or companies) to “sponsor” on a monthly basis, the platform – this should bring in more money but more importantly a “known” amount (that I can budget for the use of such services) in return for having their logo’s and links on the homepage of FsHub and will mean that I don’t have to rely on individuals in future to help me prop up the monthly costs of the platform infrastructure and then, all existing features can be “open to all” – don’t worry though, this won’t be intrusive at all and will remain easy on the eyes!

Whilst I won’t waste my time if people HATE this idea this will mean that more advanced features that we cannot “afford” (at the expense of risking the platform stability in it’s current state) at the moment will have to hold off.

Some users have also asked for us to support debit/credit card payment mentions for donations – I will also look to add this as an option very soon.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this specifically though – feel free to DM me on our Discord server (with good or bad feedback) – My Discord username is “ballen”.

Closing off…

Whilst I know that, partly due to the fact that I’m back in full-time work now (I used to work extensively on FsHub between “contract” jobs) but also the sheer amount of work that has been going on behind the scenes on the next-gen LRM client things appear to have “stalled” with development – this certainly isn’t the case and whilst I’ve been a little quieter on Discord recently, it’s just because I’ve been trying to keep my head above the water.

In the coming weeks, I will also publish a new “User Survey” to get your opinions and future requests – Once the LRM client is done and dusted we’ll be running at the speed of light again on the web platform and releases will be supersonic as they have been in the past!

I’m super excited to finally finish off and release the new LRM client – this has been really hard work (the amount of time required and if I’m honest, boring too) but the end goal will be a truly stable, super efficient LRM client that will be used for another 10 years hopefully (yes, it feels weird to say it but FsHub will be ten years old next year)!

…I can then go back to working on what I’m most passionate about which is the web and API side of things – FsHub and the new Aeroconomy platform.

I’m almost certain that in a couple of months time the sheer amount of features and new “toys” that I will be bringing to you all will utterly amaze you πŸ™‚

In the meantime, if you appreciate everything that has been going on, and would like to either buy me a beer or simply help with the ongoing hosting costs and support the work that we’re doing – remember that you can always donate. I also just want to mention and thank you to all of those that have donated in the past and continue to support the project on Patreon each month – this is massively appreciated and I’m hugely grateful – you know who you are πŸ˜‰

That’s all from me – I hope you have super fun with the new April Fool’s day achievement (it’s going to be a strange one for sure ;)) and I look forward to updating you again very soon with some amazing updates and new features!

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

ballen (and the FsHub team)!

World Update XII – New Zealand achievements

Microsoft and Asobo are due to release World Update XII later today. As per tradition at FsHub for a while now, we have carefully crafted a couple of achievements to help celebrate this release and give you a “guided tour” (with some backstory) of the new bespoke airports.

We have split our tour of the new bespoke airports in this world update into two multi-leg achievements; one covering the North Island and the other, the South Island.

The achievement details can be found here:

Flying these two achievements will ensure that you visit all 7 of the new bespoke airports provided in this world update and, in addition, will earn you a couple of new flight achievement badges for your FsHub profile πŸ™‚

We hope that you enjoy these new achievements – be sure to share your screenshots in your flight logs too.

Happy release day everyone!

See you in the skies very soon!

February 2023 platform updates

It’s been a while since my last blog post/update but with good reason – behind the scenes, I have been working tirelessly (between work and other real-world commitments) to bring you all the next generation of the LRM client.

Progress on the next-gen LRM client

For those of you of whom are unaware of what the LRM client actually is (or does), the LRM client is the aircraft tracking software that is installed on your PC and, during flight is sending data back to the main FsHub platform.

As you may know, in the past, the LRM client has used FSUIPC/XPUIPC as “middleware” to communicate with the flight simulator (FSX, MSFS2020, P3D and X-Plane).

Whilst updates to the main FsHub platform have been plentiful and frequent during 2022, the most recent user surveys highlighted that users wanted more of my time and effort to go into improving the LRM client and more specifically to “do away with” FSUIPC.

The last few months I have dedicated almost all of my time to working on a completely overhauled and modern replacement for the LRM client, whilst I’m getting nearer to a release date, I have taken the conscious decision not to rush a release out and ensure that major new features are implemented correctly “from the get go”, I have also taken time to ensure that the new LRM client will be compatible (through the use of a decoupled WASM module) for XBox users once this is fully supported by Microsoft.

The new client has an overhauled (modern) UI and offers out-of-the-box support for SimConnect and X-Plane’s API – in addition to “pluggable” support for FSUIPC too for users who prefer to continue to use FSUIPC as a data connector.

Whilst I will be going on a much-needed holiday in a couple of weeks, once I’m back, I will be full steam ahead to get this released for initial public beta testing… I have personally been testing this in an isolated test environment up until now and have amassed over 100 flight hours. The software seems to work flawlessly (Which is a great sign that a public beta should go without many issues).

New features and user requests for FsHub

In addition to working on the new LRM client, where issues or “bugs” have cropped up and been reported, I have ensured that they have been fixed and pushed to the FsHub platform.

Some of you may have also noticed several new features around the FsHub website over the last few weeks and other improvements of which I will be blogging more specifically in a couple of weeks’ time.

Whilst we do get many requests in via. Discord, at the moment at least, please can I ask that you use the Contact Form on the FsHub website instead (as this will automatically raise a “ticket” which I can then easily convert into a “Feature Request” into our tracking system and saves me having to try to remember individual requests of which, do easily get lost amongst other Discord chats.

Valentine’s day 2023 special event

JimG has published our 2023 valentines “special event” which will see pilots (of whom wish to obtain this time-limited achievement/badge) visit the Italian city of Venice!

The achievement is set to go live on the 7th of February 2023 and will run through until the 21st of February 2023 – so be sure to fly the achievement within this time period as it will not be awarded after this time.

More information about this can be found on the official achievement page here: https://fshub.io/achievement/valentines-day-in-venice-2023/overview

I’m looking forward to the 2023!

I’ll be honest with you, working on the LRM client really isn’t much fun πŸ˜€ The client really serves the purpose to get your flight data into the main FsHub platform (which is where the real magic happens!), I’m working extremely hard to get this released so that I can then turn my attention back to the more impressive features that FsHub can and will provide in the future.

So rest assured, over the coming months, my promises of a full-blown economy system will still very much be coming and implemented alongside the main FsHub platform for those that wish to participate and use it.

In the mean time, I would like to pay special thanks to Clorix, thunfischbaum, Aurora and JimG for stepping up and helping in the Discord server with general support issues whilst I’ve tried to not get too distracted which would otherwise make the release of the new LRM client delayed further.

I look forward to providing you with more updates and some awesome screenshots very soon!

Bobby & the FsHub Team

Happy Holidays!

Seasons greetings to you all!

This year has seen many new major features and changes to the FsHub platform and going into next year we have so many new, unique and amazing features planned and coming soon (as mentioned in previous blog posts)!

Over the Christmas period (23rd December to the 2nd of January), we will halt deploying any new features and tweaks to the main FsHub platform to ensure that it remains stable over, what we expect to be a very busy time for our platform.

Myself on the other hand (ballen), will be concentrating, during this time, on the isolated development and testing (another great excuse for me to complete some of the other achievements that I’m still yet to obtain ;)) of the much requested and anticipated SimConnect version of the LRM client and expect to have it fully stable and released by the 2nd of January – so you can all expect this very soon πŸ™‚

The support team (including myself) will also be on-hand to help with any issues as normal so please feel free to reach out whether that’s via. our Discord server or using our other official contact methods!

We just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and festive holiday season and hope that you all have a great and relaxing time with your family and friends during this very special time of the year!

If you’re stuck for places to fly or things to do over Christmas (although we highly encourage you to spend it with your loved ones) we have recently released several new achievements that you might like to fly and earn – our Christmas 2022 “special event” is still available to be completed too at this time but will expire on the 31st of December so be sure to fly that one specifically if you don’t want to miss out on this unique achievement/badge – so far we’ve had a total of 112 pilots complete this πŸ™‚

In addition to the above, on Christmas day itself, the three random “Daily Challenges” will be overridden to target specific holiday/Christmas airport locations and so, you can be assured of a festive daily challenge flight should you choose to fly on Christmas day πŸ™‚

The daily challenges on Christmas day will be as follows:-

Short flight:
EFIV (Ivalo, Finland) > EFRO (Rovameni, Finland) – GA to Lapland!

Medium flight:
CYZF (Yellowknife, Canada) > CYWJ (Deline, Canada) – Buffalo Airways “Polar Express” route.

Long flight:
LFPG (Paris, France) > KORD (Chicago, USA) – “Getting home to Kevin” Inspired by the film “Home Alone”!

Special “Daily Flight Challenges” for Christmas Day!

I look forward to updating you in my next blog post in the new year with what I expect will be the announcement and immediate availability of the new, much anticipated SimConnect client (for MSFS users).

We hope you have a great Christmas/Holiday season!

Best wishes and season’s greetings to you and your families…

Bobby (ballen) and the the FsHub support team (Clorix, thunfischbaum and Aurora)

December 2022 Platform updates

Good day Pilots! It’s that time again πŸ™‚

This blog post is going out a few days later than originally planned due to me being tucked up in bed at the moment (with what I can only imagine in the flu!)…

I hope you’re all well and recently were able to pick up a few bargains (payware scenery and/or aircraft) in the recent Black Friday deals, and of course, to my American friends and pilots, I hope you had a great “Thanksgiving”…

Just a quick blog post to update you on everything that’s been happening since my last blog post.

This month has been a strange one really, a lot has been happening behind the scenes, and great progress was made with the LRM SimConnect client but then our growth started to impact various parts of the site and we’ve had to increase our investment into some of our cloud services to get around rate limiting issue due to our continuous growth.

Our holiday (Christmas) event is now live…

Last year, the official FsHub Christmas event was held in Europe – Rovameni (Lapland) and in my last blog post, I asked the community for suggestions for ideas and suggestions for this year’s special event and with Vancouver being in North America we felt this was a great change of scenery from last year…

Between the 10th and 31st of December 2022, we welcome all FsHub pilots to participate in our yearly Christmas holiday event (Vancouver Christmas Market), this year, we have decided (based on user feedback from our last platform update blog post) to host it in Vancouver (Canada).

The official FsHub Christmas Event for 2022

More information and the achievement requirements can be found on the official achievement page.

Keep in mind that this is a “special event” and as such, you only have a short window to complete the achievement or forfeit ever being able to obtain the special edition badge.

Stuck for places to fly at the moment (maybe whilst waiting for the new Christmas event to “unlock”)? – We also recently released various new flight achievements a couple of which with an emphasis on winter flights (The European Skication and North American Ski Resorts).

Also remember that every day, FsHub will generate three global “Daily challenges” which you can fly and visit new airports and parts of the globe that you wouldn’t otherwise maybe visit and count towards your pilot stats too πŸ™‚

Static aircraft carriers have been added

With many new military virtual airlines joining FsHub, I thought that now would be a great time to add in a few of the payware static aircraft carrier locations into FsHub – enabling pilots to take off from and land at various aircraft carriers and for airlines that use the “airline achievement” system, these can now be incorporated into achievements.

The aircraft carrier packages (locations) that we support are the MilitarySim Carriers add-on and the USS George W. H. Bush carrier add-on by LatinVFR – the inclusion of these carriers into the FsHub database sees an additional 17 aircraft carriers which pilots can now use.

Landing or departing at any of these aircraft carriers will now correctly show in your logbook using the provided ICAO codes (UBG1, UBG2, CN71, CN72, R09 etc).

More virtual airline achievement settings have been added!

It was always my intention to expand upon the custom airline achievement rule set and as such, in November I added the (optional) additional achievement rules:

  • Minimum landing rate (FPM)
  • Minimum flight time
  • Maximum flight time
  • Maximum distance
  • Maximum altitude
  • Maximum speed

These new achievement rules are immediately available to all virtual airlines that have access to the “Airline Achievement” features.

New custom achievement rules for virtual airline flight achievements.

The addition of these new “rules” means that airlines (commercial, military or otherwise) can get even more creative with their flight achievements – these new “rules” were recently introduced to make high-speed, low-altitude flight achievements possible such as those military VA’s wanting to create an achievement like the famous “Mach Loop“.

Added various other “special” aircraft designations

It was mentioned this week that whilst FsHub has the official “Undesignated” aircraft designation ICAO code (ZZZZ), with the recent release of many other new types of aircraft, specifically within Microsoft Flight Simulator, at the request of one of our users, Clorix has spent some time this week adding in several new official “special” designators of which can now be used to correctly designate aircraft types such as Gliders, etc.

The new ICAO “generic” types that have been added are as follows:

ULAC – Ultralight aircraft

UHEL – Ultralight helicopter

GYRO – Microlight autogyro

PARA – Powered parachute/Paraplane

BALL – Balloon (Hot air balloon)

SHIP – Airship

FFLO – “Foward flight only” – Official description of this type is “An unmanned aircraft (UA) which is not capable of hover or vertical flight and needs to be in horizontal motion to sustain flight.”

VFHC – “Vertical flight and hover capability” – Official description of this type is “An unmanned aircraft (UA) which is capable of vertical flight and hover”.

In addition to the above, in the latter part of November and earlier this month, many new payware aircraft were released for MSFS and other simulators such as the Harrier jet – we have been working tirelessly on user requests to add these new types of aircraft into the FsHub system to make them available for owners and users of these new payware aircraft.

As a reminder, FsHub uses the official ICAO aircraft database to validate and add aircraft designations to our platform.

Added pilot-specific airport notes feature

For pilots with “premium” status, a new feature has been added to FsHub whereby a pilot (user) can add custom notes to any airports in FsHub.

These notes are personal notes – only the logged-in pilot will see their notes for the particular airport.

Whilst this feature can be used by pilots for storing any type of notes about the airport; personally, I use this feature to track what custom scenery I have for any given airport.

Example airport notes section.

The great thing about this feature is that if you visit an airport page and you have custom notes, a small icon will easily identify that you have notes for this airport, and in my case, I know that I have custom add-on scenery for this particular airport.

Airport page indicates that the pilot has custom notes for this particular airport.

….a new map will be added to FsHub soon too whereby, the map will show all airports that you have added custom notes too – enabling you to very quickly “jump” to that airport and see your notes.

SimConnect LRM Client Progress

In response to the recent User Survey, in the latter part of November, I started developing a SimConnect-specific version of the LRM client that would do away with the need for FSUIPC to be installed for MSFS users specifically (X-Plane, P3D and FSX users would still need to use the FSUIPC version at this time).

Whilst initial testing went great and I released 9 different BETA versions of the LRM SimConnect BETA client to a small group of BETA test pilots over on our Discord server, there was, unfortunately, an issue that causes LRM to crash mid-flight after a few hours – whilst this was extremely disappointing I knew that this would require more time to properly iron-out and understand, under the hood, what the SimConnect SDK was doing.

With my work commitments this month, I decided that I would revisit during the Christmas period (as I have two weeks off work) and instead concentrate on delivering the various other user-requested features and tweaks (of which there have been many this month).

So stay tuned for early January when I expect to have a fully stable release of the LRM SimConnect client ready and available to download.

SimBrief integration

After several months of chasing the team over at SimBrief and a couple of direct email requests, we have finally received an official SimBrief API key and as such, given the setbacks this month with new features (as mentioned in this blog post), whilst we’ve not been able to complete this feature, we now have everything we need to integrate SimBrief more tightly into FsHub.

Although we have already added the optional feature for pilots to enable the “Generate SimBrief” links on various parts of the site (this can be enabled from your Settings > Integration page in FsHub) of which takes you directly to the SimBrief website and pre-populates a lot of the data for you…

Work will continue on this over the Christmas period (when I’ll have more time to implement and test this feature and time off from my normal day job), the end result will mean that you won’t have to visit the SimBrief website at all and you’ll be able to view the flight plan/SimBrief flight manifest from within FsHub itself – awesome!

The LRM client website got an overhaul

The LRM website although never designed to look “cool”, I gave in a couple of weeks ago and spent a day re-designing it to better showcase the features of the LRM client.

The new LRM client website.

The redesign of the website also brings a more modern feel to it – I hope you like it!

The FsHub homepage got an overhaul

I also spent some time updating the design and layout of the FsHub homepage, the old one, as mentioned in my last blog post, was starting to look dated and I felt needed a little overhaul.

I would like to personally thank TwoToneMurphy, Phil and Clorix of whom supplied various video clips from within their simulators of which I was then able to stitch together to make a sequence that kinda made sense πŸ˜‰

The new and improved FsHub homepage.

Again, much like the updated and much improved LRM website as mentioned above, I hope you like and agree that the updates to the LRM website really do look awesome πŸ™‚

Our growth started affecting our third-party service limits.

We rely on a couple of third-party cloud services for hosting our huge collection of over 100,000 high-resolution user screenshots in addition to the maps that we display on FsHub…

Whilst I had a ton of plans for this month, and although I have achieved many of them, the new SimConnect client, despite having a semi-successful beta release meant that I had to redivert my attention to some of the third-party cloud service issues that we’ve noticed happening over the last month – no doubt a side effect of us onboarding so many new users in the past month!

These “issues” as you might have noticed include the maps on FsHub (on busy days – mainly over the weekends) are starting to hit our map render limits, whilst I have done some initial investigation into how I can mitigate these issues, I’ve decided that I have no choice but to increase the monthly spend on this service and have now increased our subscription to the mapping service that hosts and provide these web maps and so – whilst this isn’t ideal (as it’s a “free service” – I could do without the additional on-going costs) this isn’t too bad based on the fact that we have received several donations last month – thanks to all of you that have donated last month and for those that continue to support the project on Patreon.

In addition to the mapping service hitting its limits, you may have also noticed that screenshots, avatars and achievement badges within FsHub are, in some cases appear to “timeout” and not load during busy times – this is due to some changes with our BLOB storage provider which are now rate-limiting image requests – I’m actively looking to migrate the mass of screenshot and pilot avatar data to a new could service so we can get around this issue… please bare with me whilst I migrate the issues with achievement badges and screenshots – in most cases, however and in the meantime (until I have a solution implemented) simply “refreshing” the web page will re-load the missing images.

Other behind-the-scenes stuff

Whilst, unlike recent months, new features might not be so visible on the FsHub site but a ton of time and effort has gone into some much-needed backend “admin” features to enable us to move airport locations, migrating data between airports and various other backend management tools of which has enabled us to fix up and close a few more complex “data issue” reports that have been laying around for a few weeks.

FlightSim Community Survey 2022 Now Online!

FsHub is proud to announce that, this year, we have joined up with Navigraph and, as part of this year’s “FlightSim Community Survey” organised by Navigraph and recognised as an official survey partner.

Between November 18th and 28th, Navigraph is conducting a FlightSim Community Survey together with several major addon developers and organizations (FsHub included) within the flight simulation community. The survey, the largest of its kind, aims to gauge the prevailing flight simulation trends and users’ requests for future development.

Like previous years, this survey has an emphasis on the major flight simulators such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Lockeed Martin Prepar3D and Laminar Research X-Plane, but the survey also includes questions about add-ons, tools, and flight simulation consoles.

This is the largest and most comprehensive flight simulation survey in the world! By participating you are influencing the future of the community.

The results from the survey will be presented onΒ https://blog.navigraph.comΒ Mid-December, but also by the partners participating to this survey (to the extent they wish to do so).

Please consider taking the survey here.

November 2022 Platform Updates

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰
  • 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 πŸ˜‰
  • 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 πŸ˜‰), 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 πŸ˜‰

…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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰
  • 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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!

New Airline WebHooks are available!

With recent-ish updates to FsHub (mainly the ability to have more than a single airline manager), Airline Managers (other than the “owner” of whom would solely receive email notifications about new pilot applications) which meant that airline managers had to keep an eye on the Airline’s admin portal for both new pilot applications and when manual PIREPs are submitted and pending approval.

As part of the feedback from the user survey – I was asked to implement emails to EACH of the airline admins (or ones that had a specific VA role), I personally felt that this would not only become very “spammy” but also eat into our outbound mail service’s usage rates and so, I decided that the best thing to do (given that so many airlines are using Discord), was to add additional VA hooks that can deliver this information in real-time!

This morning, after a couple of late nights adding these new webhooks, I’m happy to announce that there are now five new additional webhooks that Airlines can enable and either “receive raw” (directly to their own web servers), as a simplified Discord bot message, as a Slack message in addition to using the “all singing, all dancing” third-party “FsHub2Discord” service (which Aurora will shortly be upgrading to handle the new webhooks).

The new webhooks are immediately available from the Airline Crew Portal’s management panel (use the “Integrations” section) and the additional hook options are available here:

Enabling these new hooks will mean that you can quickly receive notifications to your Airline’s Discord server (probably under a “private” channel – up to you though!). Other airline admin staff can then take action by approving/rejecting Pilot applications and manual PIREP submissions (instead of having to manually check the FsHub Crew Portal each day) – FsHub will notify you in real time!

The new webhooks are as follows:

  • Airline applications – You will be automatically notified when a new pilot applies to join your VA and easily approve it.
  • Manual PIREP submissions – You will automatically be notified that there is a new manual PIREP waiting to be approved.
  • Duty schedule completed – Celebrate that a pilot has completed a “realistic” duty schedule as released this week and discussed in this post.
  • Airline achievement obtained – Celebrate that a pilot within your airline has completed one of your custom virtual airline achievements.
  • Airline resignations – You can choose to be notified if a pilot resigns from your airline (maybe you need to do some background admin or simply want to know if people leave)

As I mentioned, you *can* use the simplified (un-cluttered) version of FsHub’s Discord bot messages (when adding the hook, click on the “Chat Server” option to ensure that the hook is delivered to Discord in the correct format, examples of some of the output messages can be seen here:

If you’d rather see even more data in your Discord messages, the FsHub2Discord service which is managed and run by Aurora (which uses FsHub Data) will be updated shortly if you’d rather have richer/larger Discord messages as opposed to the simplified and streamlined ones that FsHub provides out of the box.

Please be aware that these new hooks are considered “BETA” at the moment and so, if you find any issues please report them to me ASAP and I will investigate and push fixes (if required) – my testing has gone really well though and so all should work without any issues.