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} or even port their existing domain name (if they have one) for example, 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

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.

Additional pilot logbook and airline flight filter options

Additional information received from the recent User Survey also included a request to be able to search for flights (both personal logbook flights and virtual airline flights) that are either “Duty Schedule legs” (following the latest release of the new virtual airline “daily duty schedule” feature and flights (either personal or VA) that either do or do not contain user comments/remarks.

I can confirm that both of these features have also now been added and are immediately available!

If you didn’t know… FsHub has a super powerful personal logbook filter and, airlines are also able to take advantage of the same feature too…

You can access the flight filter section either using your personal logbook’s Filter Flights button or, if you want to search all airline flights, the airline flights page also includes this “Filter flights” button as shown here:

Filter flights in a pilot’s personal logbook.
Filter virtual airline flights (to include flights from all virtual airline members).

Clicking on the either of the “Filter Flights” button, the user will be presented with the advanced filter feature, the addition of three new filter options can now be found in the following locations:

The new filter options

New “SimBrief” integration

Following up on some of the feedback from the recent User Survey as mentioned in a previous blog post.

Previously, given that we’re not officially associated with SimBrief or Navigraph (- the company that builds and maintains it) and I didn’t want to make the FsHub user interface too cluttered, I had only implemented the feature (a link to generate a flight plan based on the departure and arrival airport) to the “Daily Flight Challenge” page.

I know that many users, in particular, GA users will not use SimBrief and instead might favour other tools for flight tracking such as LittleNavMap, with this in mind and due to the request to add this “SimBrief” integration to almost every page where there is a departure/arrival airport, I have decided to make this an optional feature.

To enable the many various “Generate SimBrief” links around FsHub you can do so by visiting the Settings > Integration section and enabling, under the “Third-party integration” section, the integration named “SimBrief” as shown here:

Once the SimBrief integration is enabled, FsHub will display many links around the various application sections (pages) that will when clicked on, take you to SimBrief and automatically start a new Flight Plan with the associated departure and/or arrival airport information prepopulated – some of the pages (such as route pages will also intelligently pre-populate (coming later today) your flight number too – assuming your route name is constructed in a standard way (the first word being the flight number, eg EZY123X).

The following pages and sections, with this feature enabled, will display the option to generate a SimBrief flight plan directly are…

  • Airport information page (ability to choose to depart/arrive)
  • Flight report page
  • Route browser page
  • Route overview page
  • Achievement details page
  • Airline duty schedule page
  • Daily Flight Challenge page

If you think I have missed some sections of the site that could benefit from this feature too.. please let me know!

Here are a few screenshots demonstrating the location of these (trying not too hard to look too subtle) links..

Airline “Daily Duty Schedule” feature released!

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I would be adding a new “Daily Duty Schedule” feature to FsHub. This feature adds an extra level of realism and depth to virtual airlines that have company routes set up and if they decide to enable this (optional) feature for their pilots.

This new feature brings with it many advantages for your virtual airline, including:

  • Realism – Many airline pilots will be given a “daily schedule” by their company, this details what routes they will fly that day.
  • Explore new places – Maybe your airline has a ton of routes but you either don’t know where to fly or like to stick to your “favourite” routes or airports.
  • Pilots get an improved sense of achievement – completing a full schedule of flights that their virtual airline has given you for the day.
  • Future economy system (Aeroconomy) – Having your pilots fly these schedules will likely increase your airline “efficiency” metrics as more of your lesser-flown/favoured routes will be flown and will directly impact your airline’s performance metrics.
  • We now track how many duty schedules and duty schedule legs a pilot completes adding another “score” metric to your airline and the global stats – essentially capturing and acknowledging those pilots for realistically flying virtual airline routes.

As an airline owner, you have several options available to you in order to customise how these features work and how you might use it within your virtual airline.

When I originally planned this feature I modelled it on the fact that many real-world airlines would provide a daily duty schedule to their pilots, for example, EasyJet and Ryanair (both European budget airlines) who’s pilots would turn up to work in the morning and be given a duty schedule by their dispatch team – this schedule would tell them where they would fly that day and be expected to complete it) – Now I’m sure that many pilot’s would love certain routes but, we all have bad days at the office and things we don’t necessarily want to do!

This system will generate a personal schedule for your airline pilot, the schedule will start at a Hub or Airport as selected by the pilot prior to them “Generating” the schedule, FsHub will then generate a joined-up schedule (airport to airport) within the pilot’s specified time – In the real world, this “time” would be their shift duration – maybe 8 hours? – In FsHub, this time is the amount of time that you feel you can spend on the simulator that day.

If this feature is a successful, we will also look at adding an option for “charter” airlines where the system can generate a random charter flight from one of your hubs to a random (adequately size) airport – This will likely to be in the new year however given other things (such as the new LRM client and Economy system) that we plan to work on next!

Once a virtual airline admin has enabled the new “Duty Schedule” system (and has airline routes setup for your virtual airline), your pilots’ will be able to generate and access their active duty schedule using the “Duty Schedule” icon on the Crew Portal as shown here:

The Duty Schedule screen will enable the users to generate a new Duty schedule based on the hours they can “fly the sim” today…

The pilot doesn’t have to complete all legs in the generated schedule but for each leg they complete (in order) the bonus will increase – paying them more each leg!

Once the pilot generates their “Duty Schedule”, the legs will be displayed as shown (this example, as I only set 2 hours and a minimum leg distance would obviously generate less legs as the system tries to find suitable routes along the way whilst keeping it in your time limit but, with more time and randomly chosen shorter legs, your duty schedule could consist of 3, 4, 5 leg etc)…

In this example fewer legs were generated as I specified 2 hours as being able to fly and, as I prefer flying bigger aircraft, ensuring that the minimum leg distance was set to 150nm as the absolute minimum leg distance I wanted to fly.

From the above example, the generated duty schedule has two legs (this fits in based on the airline’s configured “average miles to hour” setting and should fit nicely in with the time that the pilot has specified he/she has in the “Hours” text box.

The first (active/yet to complete) leg is highlighted with an orange border as shown in the above screenshot [1], indicating that you need to complete this leg first, and future legs (shown in the above screens [2]).

When flying duty schedules, you must fly each leg in order – you cannot jump to say leg 3 and expect it to complete!

Once you complete a leg, refreshing the page should move the active leg indicator to the next leg and subdue any previous legs as demonstrated here:

(1) This leg is now completed (is darkened/subdued and the aircraft indicator has been removed. (2) This is now the active/next leg the pilot must complete. (3) Shows the normal route points plus the computed bonus amount, in this example, I have set the airline route leg bonus to 100% – paying your pilot’s a higher bonus will encourage them to use this system and level the XP/v$ distance between those that can fly regularly and those that cannot) – it’s the total of both of these values that will be “paid” to the pilot upon completing this leg!

It’s also good to note that this new system adds a kind of persistence to your current location as, when you land on any leg of your duty schedule, FsHub will automatically update your “last known” location by updating the departure airport as shown here:

And so, when you next come to generate a new Duty schedule, the departure airport will default to the last airport that you landed at when “on duty”… whilst not overly exciting it does mean that if you want to add to the realism, your next duty schedule can generate your schedule from your last know duty (landing) location having potentially a career of virtual airline flights all joined up nicely.

Once you complete the final leg in your duty schedule, refreshing the page will give you confirmation that you have completed it, you will see a message confirming that you have completed the daily duty schedule and, unless the airline admin hasn’t enabled the “Enforce 12 hours duty schedule”, you will be immediately able to Generate a new Duty Schedule as demonstrated below:

Confirmation of successful duty schedule completion!

Each flight that was detected as a “Duty Schedule” flight will also “tag” the flight report and the total rewards for the (route reward points + duty leg bonus) and will be indicated on the flight report as shown here:

(1) Shows the flight was “tagged” as a “Duty Schedule”. (2) Shows the amount rewarded/paid to this pilot for completing the duty leg (the route points + % bonus as shown in the previous screenshot)!

Whilst my other screenshots show the ability to specify a “Maximum leg distance) in the “Duty Schedule Generator” panel. If this option is disabled by the admin, the interface will only show three options for generating a duty schedule (for added realism) as demonstrated here:

The Schedule Generator form will not allow the user to specify the maximum leg distance if the admin has disabled it – to improve “realism”.

Additionally, in my screenshots above (during testing), I didn’t enable any of the “12-hour restrictions”, but just to demonstrate what a pilot would see if the airline did enable this feature…. the “Generate duty schedule” button would be “locked out” until the 12 hour period had elapsed with a count down time as shown here:

As an airline manager/owner, we have provided you many options to customise this system for your own use, as a recommendation, however, if you are trying to simulate real-world operations or want to “level the field” within your virtual airline for pilots who are unable to fly as regularly as others, whilst still wanting to give them an (optional) points bonus, I would suggest the following settings:

Recommended “settings” for airlines that want to simulate real-world ops or want to level out the gap between those pilots who can fly regularly and earn lots of XP to the pilots who want to fly and be in with a chance of ranking high in terms of XP.

Let me quickly explain these settings…

  1. This option turns on/off the “Duty Schedule” system for your virtual airline – in order for this to work, however, the airline must have “Company routes” added into the system given that this system uses the airline routes to build a duty schedule.

    Once this feature is enabled, the pilots can access the “Duty Schedule” feature and generate their daily schedule from the Airline’s Crew dashboard icon and use the “Generate duty schedule” to automatically build a joined-up schedule (from the departure airport they choose).
  2. When enabled, this option will allow any pilot to generate a duty schedule and unless the pilot completes the duty schedule within the 12 hours at the point at which they generated it, will not be able to generate another duty schedule until the 12-hour period has elapsed – for realism purposes, we, at the minimum recommend that pilots should accept that is the route they have been given and must fly regardless of if they like certain airports or routes – this, I’m sure would be the same in the real-world – You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth πŸ˜‰
  3. When this option is enabled, regardless of the fact that the pilot completes their generated duty schedule will not allow them to generate a new one until the 12 hours is up – ensuring that they can only benefit from the additional route bonus once a day! – giving other pilots in your virtual airline the ability to “catch up” in terms of points/XP/v$.
  4. I would suggest unticking this box, real airlines would expect pilots’ to fly whatever length route they are given (which fits within their hours per day), by unchecking this feature, adds more of a “potluck” approach – the virtual VA dispatcher could give the pilot a couple of longer routes or say 5 shorter routes…. remember that each completed leg of the Duty Schedule awards (Leg# * bonus %). The issue with enabling this option (in my opinion and this is why it is disabled by default) is the fact that airline pilots could easily manipulate the amount of bonus XP by engineering their duty schedule to pay them more for many shorter flights. – Ultimately though, this feature has been added for airlines to decide themselves!
  5. This is the Route Bonus * Leg# (%) bonus that the airline awards to the pilot, this is designed to encourage the pilot to fly all legs, each consecutive leg awarding more bonus than the previous (basically the maths is Route Points + (% bonus of the route points x the leg #)! – A higher bonus here might REALLY encourage pilots to fly even the not so nicer-generated schedules in addition to adding more points/v$/XP etc to pilots of whom struggle to keep up with other pilots that can fly many routes a day – also, the pilot may find that one of the “middle legs” of their schedule just happens to be one of their favourite routes and whilst this specific route might normally pay poorly, having it as the 2nd or 3rd leg in a duty schedule might really make it pay well given the bonus multiplier!

As you can see from the above options there are many ways in which you can make this work and customise it for your own virtual airline flying style or requirements.

As an airline, if you solely wanted to use the “Duty Schedule Generator” as a way of randomising and giving your airline pilots a random schedule, I would suggest that you might want to consider using the following settings instead…

The above options will ensure that a pilot can generate (and re-generate) random duty schedules but, and more importantly, won’t benefit from any additional schedule leg XP/points/v$ as a way of manipulating their earned XP.

These settings will enable your pilots to generate a route (they are happy with – eg. they won’t have to fly it and can immediately generate a new one if they wanted a different set of routes) and by setting the Route Bonus modifier to 0(%), the pilot’s won’t receive any extra bonus XP for their flights – ensuring that they cannot generate a ton of XP/v$/points… ultimately the decision, as an airline manager is yours, however – the options and features that I’ve added should cater for the vast majority of virtual airline requirements.

The other options as shown in the above screenshot will be fully documented by the end of this week and will be available on our documentation Wiki – I will update the interface to link back so airline admins and pilots can better understand the system over time.

FsHub also tracks now how many “Duty Schedule” legs a pilot has completed too, this will, over the coming weeks be added to the main platform and virtual airline stats too… yet another metric to determine which pilots like to complete real-world style operations for virtual airlines.

…and finally, I would like to mention that the duty schedule system will also play a big part in the new optional Aeroconomy platform that I also mentioned in my last blog post whereby completed “12hr” Duty Schedules will “score” more than normal routes – as Aeroconomy is designed to simulate a real-world airline economy, this will also help your airline’s performance metrics by ensuring that more of your lesser enjoyed routes will be flown and that the airline’s efficiency metric is kept at a high level (more on this later though!).

I hope this all makes sense, if something is not clear though, please visit our Discord server and ask us to clarify/update this blog post.

October 2022 Platform Updates

This month has mainly seen more features specifically designed for virtual airlines given the amount of demand and feature requests coming in over the last six weeks – fear not though, many more “GA” features and updates will be coming in the next couple of weeks (and also detailed in this blog update).

Let’s just jump straight in, as this post will probably be fairly lengthy (again!)…. I’m happy to announce that, once again, several new features and tweaks to existing features have been deployed this week – in summary, these are as follows:

  • Airline Route Import & Export feature
  • Airline achievements can now optionally award pilots reward points for completing them.
  • Airline achievements can now be restricted to certain aircraft types.
  • Airlines can now earn XP (in addition to their pilots).
  • Airline routes can now be restricted to certain aircraft types.
  • Updates and improvements to the virtual airline radar map.
  • We released the new “Virtual Airline Radar Map Plugin” (for use on your own virtual airline website) is now available to download and use!
  • Virtual airline managers can set a new option “Company routes only” to ignore VA pilot flights that are not on your airlines’ list of “Routes”.
  • Other smaller UI and UX updates to the platform.
  • – Our new “opt-in” virtual airline economy system – we’ve decided on the name and secured the domain!

In the rest of this blog post, we will take a deeper look into each of these new features and how airlines can start to use them.

In addition to the above features that will be showcased in this blog, a the end of this blog update I will also cover the other features that I plan to work on next and, if you have an opinion, I would love for you to contact me using our official FsHub contact page.

I have also released a new User Survey (link can be found at the end of this blog post) – this is your chance to have your say as to what you would like to be added, updated or prioritised next!

In addition to the above, I would just like to quickly say that whilst some of you may have been disappointed to not have many new pilot achievements the last month – I took the decision to hold off releasing new ones until November (to enable newer pilots to catch up etc)… we will however be starting to design and release more at the start of November!

Airline Route Import & Export feature

Virtual airlines that have many routes setup inside FsHub previously had to manually edit these routes individually through the FsHub Crew Portal admin section – even though the feature of “Airline Routes” is relatively new, already we have several airlines with well over 500 routes in the system each and so (especially given the other new features that I will mention in this blog post later which may lead to airlines wanting to update all of/many of their routes to use the other new features), editing these routes individually can be a massive pain point.

Yesterday, I released a new feature so that airlines can now export their existing routes, edit them and then re-import (sync) them – this is great if you want to mass update your routes, bulk add new routes, disable/enable a whole load in one go (maybe you want to make seasonal changes or decided to remove an entire hub) then this option is what you may have been waiting for! – I would like to thank 6 knots (Ciaran) for helping me test this feature last night!

The route export/import file is in CSV format and enables you to open and modify it using a spreadsheet application (such as Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice, Google Docs etc).

Access to the Import and Export Routes features can be found at the top of the Airline Routes admin section as shown here:

Given that the ability to edit and re-import a CSV file can come with issues such as not necessarily being able to trust that the input is correct in each column or row and that the FsHub platform must be resilient enough to handle bad input data – I understand that from a support perspective this could become a real nightmare for myself and the support team here at FsHub such as if users constantly need our help to understand why route import files are failing to import – In order to mitigate this issue and empower the users I have implemented a new “Last import log” feature so that the user can very easily and quickly identify and fix data issues with their own imports (will tell you which line and what’s wrong – basically how to fix the issue yourself) using this new log viewer window that will automatically appear when you first run an import:

Easily debug any route imports using the Log Import window.

Depending on what you’re updating (or if you are creating a ton of new routes), the import process will be throttled (they’ll trickle create or re-process every few seconds) to prevent performance issues on the rest of the platform – other simple changes to things (even bulk changes) such as the route name (eg. the flight number), reward points and restricted aircraft types (ICAOs) will be almost instantaneous (eg. a few seconds for the entire import as most – even with a few thousand lines in your import file) as our platform doesn’t need to go away, behind the scenes, and calculate distances and verify waypoints exist etc) – So just keep this in mind… what I’m really saying is, you may notice that sometimes the import process is super fast and other times may take a couple of minutes to complete so just sit back and watch for the “Last import log” window to update with the results πŸ™‚ – If there are any issues reported in the “Last import log”, simple “fix” the data in that line and re-import the file.

The file import process has been designed to be as intuitive as possible – to delete rows from your company routes (that exist on FsHub) simply delete the line (or multiple lines) and then run the import, don’t want to delete the route but instead hide it? – simply update the “enabled” column from “1” to “0” save the changes and re-import the file – there is a safety mechanism in place that will not delete any deleted row unless the user checks the “Delete routes that have been deleted from the import file?” option as shown here:

The Route Import screen.

In addition to that, to create new routes, simply add new rows to the CSV file but do not enter a value into the first (id) column – then again, to ensure that duplicates aren’t automatically created by accidentally re-running the same file, the option to “Create routes that don’t have an ID column value?” must be checked at the point of re-import.

If you are an airline admin and want to grant permission to other members of your VA to export and/or import routes (as by default, only the airline admin can do this) an airline admin will need to grant the required permissions to the desired role, these can be granted from the Permissions Editor, the new role permissions that have been added are shown here:

If the concept of these advanced permissions seems complicated, please see this blog post (about halfway down) as this explains how you (as an airline admin) can utilise this powerful permission system.

More information about how to use this advanced feature, including how to create new routes, delete routes, update routes and how you can easily filter by Hub or any other custom filters when editing the CSV file in your spreadsheet application of choice can be found in this wiki article – I suggest, if you plan to use this feature that you have a good read to understand it fully, it’s definitely considered more of an “advanced feature” and probably not for the faint-hearted πŸ˜‰

Airline achievements can now optionally award pilot reward points for completing them

This has been a highly requested feature and one that, given other requests and changes recently has been put on “the back burner” – I’m pleased to say however that this is now fully implemented and working great!

In order to set up “points” (v$/XP or whatever else you may have configured your airline’s point system as) simply edit (or create a new achievement) and fill out the “{insert your point name} rewards” field like so:

How to add points for airline achievements

Unlike the pilot routes reward (if using the new “Enable airline reward points?” virtual airline setting), airline achievements will not award the virtual airline any additional XP – this value simply rewards the pilot for completing the achievement.

If you do not wish to award XP for a certain achievement (or all of your achievements) simply leave this box blank!

Please keep in mind that only pilots that complete the achievement AFTER you have updated the achievement will be awarded – if you want to back-date pilot rewards (award them for having completed them in the past) – An airline admin should use the manual XP award feature that is found on the airline pilot’s HR. record as shown in this screenshot:

Access to the above screen can be achieved using the icon “Human Resources” in the airline’s “Administration” section of the Crew Portal page!

Airline achievements can now be restricted to certain aircraft types

Another much-requested feature (and in my opinion, a pretty cool feature) is the ability to now create airline achievements which will only be awarded if the pilot has used one of the listed aircraft type designators (ICAOs).

You can now add one or more (comma-separated aircraft type designators – ICAO codes) to the new field shown here:

Demonstration of restricting types of aircraft for a virtual airline achievement.

So, in the above example, we’re going to “allow” any of the following aircraft types (Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-800, Boeing 737-900, Airbus A320, Airbus A320 Neo, Airbus A321 and the Airbus A321 Neo).

Each aircraft ICAO should be separated with a comma (if you’re only adding a single/specific type of aircraft then you do not need to add a comma at the end)– I have however done my best to sanitise any other form of input – for example, if you use spaces instead, add too many spaces etc. then the system will automatically clean these up and format it correctly once you save/create the achievement!

Again, much like the optional point reward value as discussed above, if you do not wish to enforce a specific (or various) allowed aircraft type that can complete the achievement you can simply leave this field blank and any aircraft will be able to be flown in order to complete it.

What happens to your current virtual airline achievements ?- Unless you update them with a list (or single) ICAO then your existing achievements will continue to function in the same way they did before – they’ll simply allow any aircraft to be used!

The achievement page has also been updated to indicate to users if a virtual airline achievement has a specific (or list of) aircraft that must be used as shown here:

Demonstration of an airline achievement with optional aircraft type (ICAO) restrictions.

If you fly the achievement but don’t use a valid aircraft OR the aircraft you flew had not previously been designated then the flight will still register as a virtual airline flight (unless the VA management team have enabled the new feature “Company route flights only” – that is of course unless this achievement is a valid company route flight) but will not award the achievement.

So as a small piece of advice – be sure to check the achievement requirements carefully before flying and that you use an aircraft (and livery) that is designated correctly – you can check if an aircraft has been designated correctly but checking on a previous fight report using that same aircraft/livery as shown here:

How to check if an aircraft/livery has been designated correctly!

In future, I will add a new feature to the LRM client that will enable you to quickly check the current detected designation for any loaded aircraft – this may even be released next week πŸ™‚

Airlines can now earn XP (just like pilots can).

Some of the more prominent virtual airlines wanted a way to identify and have a measurement for how well the airline is doing and/or to measure the throughput of the routes that are being flown within a virtual airline.

When an airline admin enables the new “Enable airline reward points” setting, the airline will start to generate reward points when pilots fly company routes, this setting can be enabled through the “Airline Details” admin panel section as shown here:

Pay special attention to the fact that you must enable the “Pilot Awards feature to” for this to work!

Once that’s enabled, heading back to your airline’s Crew Portal page, as the “owner” of the virtual airline you will immediately see this section:

As your pilots fly your company routes, this value will start to increase.

If you want other virtual airline members to be able to see this section/amount too, be sure you edit the airline member role’s permission set by granting this new permission:

With the above permission enabled for that security role, any airline members with that role will then also see the virtual airline point balance on their Crew portal dashboard.

Now back to discussing this feature…

The way this works is that, as you may already know, a virtual airline can “reward” up to a maximum of 1000 points per company route or achievement to the pilot who completes the route or achievement – when a route was successfully flown (meaning that the pilot took off from and landed at the specified route’s airports) and will award the airline the remainder of the 1000 max “pilot reward” points to the virtual airline.

So, as an example, if a company route is configured to pay the pilot 300 points (v$/XP etc), the airline will receive 700 points upon successful completion of the flight.

The reason behind doing it like this (awarding the remainder of the 1000 max points) is to add an extra level of “planning” for virtual airlines – if they pay low rates for a flight, fewer pilots are likely to fly it, right? …and whilst that would therefore award the airline more points, it’ll be less likely they will be flown – this should give you airline managers a challenge between balancing the airline “profits” versus awarding (or paying) your pilots well!

So what can you do with these “airline points” within FsHub? – Well not a lot actually, this is more of an unopinionated way for you (as an airline manager) to use this value for whatever reason you may like… for example, one of our bigger VA’s is going to use that value to determine when they can (or should) open new Hub destinations.

What? You thought you might be able to spend those points on new VA aircraft, gate rent, fuel etc? – Nope, this is a simpler, unopinionated ‘be creative with it” feature and, if you don’t want to use it or don’t have a need, simply don’t enable it.

…if you do want to spend generated airline virtual cash and operate within an airline management economy etc. you should continue to read on… this “economy” feature will be coming in our new Aero(e)economy platform!

Airline routes can now be restricted to certain aircraft types

Just like we have added for the “Airline Achievements”, company routes can now be restricted to one or more aircraft type designators (ICAO codes).

If a pilot completes a company route but fails to use an aircraft listed in the list of “allowed” aircraft for the route, then the flight will not be tagged as a Company Route flight in addition to not awarding any points to both the pilot and virtual airline!

The list of aircraft that must be used can be found on the route listing page as shown here:

Updates and improvements to the virtual airline radar map

The virtual airline radar map has long been in need of some major updates – several weeks ago, I deployed major changes that saw the “instant loading” of all online virtual airline aircraft in addition to improved styling.

This week I have improved upon that further by adding the following additional features such as a collapsable list of all online pilots (with the ability to click their name and will therefore automatically select the aircraft and display flight and pilot details), if a flight plan is filed, it will display the flight plan details (eg. to/from airport, country, distance etc.) in addition to rendering the flight route path…

The new improvements to the virtual airline radar page.

The new “Virtual Airline Radar Plugin” (for your own websites)

Another long-requested feature has been the ability for airlines to be able to “embed” their virtual airline radar map on their own website.

Whilst it is somewhat common for sites to provide these kinds of map features as an IFRAME, I took this one step further and have developed and offered a customisable HTML, JavaScript and CSS solution so that you can host your own radar map that connects back (in real-time) to the FsHub platform to automatically update the aircraft positions on your own hosted map super efficiently (there’s not polling going on here!).

This now gives airlines the ability to use our standard “virtual airline radar” map view (the same that we host on our website) but with the ability to fully customise both the layout and style of the page, the map and the various panel components!

I had intended on providing you guys with a link to our own customised version on the Alaska Virtual (official test VA) website but with all these updates, I’ve been too busy to get that sorted… I will however get it done in the coming weeks to give you all some more inspiration πŸ˜‰

The downloadable plugin provides several files – more details about how to use it, host it and more importantly, customise it… can be found in the file (included in the download ZIP file)

Virtual airline managers can set a new option “Company routes only” to ignore VA pilot flights that are not on your airlines’ list of published routes.

One of the great things about having the new “test” virtual airline (Alaska Virtual) is that I was able to very quickly see that some pilots fly in other locations of the world whether this is what the pilot wanted to do it or simply he or she forgot to change their virtual airline selection in the LRM client software… I very quickly realised that if an airline is trying to simulate a real-world airline or wants to ensure that its airline logbook remains “clean” can now enable this feature from the airline’s Airline Details section as shown here:

With this new setting activated, all virtual airline flights flown that DO NOT match a company route (that being a flight from a specific airport to another specific airport) will be ignored by the VA – the flight will not appear in the virtual airline list of flights and achievements (that are not based on a company route) will also be ignored.

This setting will essentially turn your virtual airline profile into a super clean – “approved flights” only log book and will ensure that you don’t have to manually go and delete a little GA flight that might have been completed by mistake by one of your pilots – from a pilot’s perspective, however, if the flight is “ignored” by the virtual airline, the pilot will still have the flight in their logbook (as a personal flight) ensuring that they don’t forfeit on flight hours or personal log book entries!

Personally, and whilst I know that many virtual airlines may not like to enable this feature (maybe they love hoarding all those lovely flight hours and nautical miles-flown stats) but for other virtual airlines, this is pretty powerful, especially if you’re trying to replicate real-world operations and have published a ton of company routes! – Our new “opt-in” virtual airline economy system.

Whilst this may not surprise you – as I’ve discussed it in other recent blog posts, I wanted to give you all an update with regards to the economy system that I have mentioned in the past…

This week, I have not only decided on a name but also secured a new domain for our airline management “global economy” system…

aero(e)conomy will be the name of our new “opt-in” platform that will provide our global airline economy.

The way that it will work is that airlines will have to “opt-in” (simply click a button in FsHub) to participate in the global economy and everything that it has to offer – from a pilot’s perspective, they don’t need to do anything differently simply fly as they have been, behind the scenes FsHub will “hand off” data to the new aeroconomy platform where airline managers that choose to participate can then work to build a profitable business, have bills to pay, worry about the price of oil (fuel costs) in certain countries, pay maintenance and landing fees, the airline’s safety record (bad landings) will affect airline ticket prices and reduce PAX numbers. Airlines will be able to rent, purchase and upgrade hubs, deal with economic and weather-related issues, set up code-share and sub-contractor agreements with other opt-ed-in airlines – and I’ve only just scratched the surface!

Just because there is now another domain name, it doesn’t mean that you will need to register any new accounts or even visit that site directly – this new platform will be fully integrated (seamlessly) with FsHub – it’ll just keep FsHub cleaner for those users that don’t want to use the features and keep FsHub running nice and fast.

The website (, whilst nothing is currently available on it, will start to take shape – even if just an informational landing page over the next couple of weeks.

Work will then start on this platform based on the results of the user survey which I would encourage users to complete – a link to the survey can be found at the bottom of this blog post!

What features will be landing in the new few weeks?

There are a few other things that I would like to improve upon for both general aviation and VA’s, these are:

  • Improvements to departure and arrival airport detection – In order for FsHub to seamlessly work across all simulators, FsHub uses geolocation to detect the “correct” departure airport whilst this, for the most part, works well for most major airports there are several airports in our database of approx 50k airports that are very close to each other or have seaplane bases in the near vicinity… I have a few plans as to how to improve this functionality which should improve detection.
  • More flight performance stats on the flight report – I tested the waters with Cody, Uwe and Aurora (my support team) regarding adding “flight award points” for all flights based on performance – these stats would essentially report fuel economy, check that your speed is below 10,000ft was =< 250kt, general landing rate etc. but for the most part the consensus was they didn’t think it was a good idea for points specifically, with that said, I still feel that some further improvements could be made for general (fly and forget) users and so, if I get much feedback on adding these additional stats, I will look to implement them in the next couple of weeks too.
  • Personal message system – this will enable pilots to “Add a friend” and once the friend request has been approved, both pilots will be able to send each other direct/private messages.
  • Airline achievement Discord notifications – this will enable virtual airlines to have their own pilot achievements posted directly to their Discord server.
  • Online friends list – when you add and the other pilot accepts the “friend request”, you will be able to see a list of your friends of whom are online/flying – clicking on their name will automatically open up the global radar and select their aircraft (so you can see where they are/join them if you’d like) – you’ll also be able to send them a message directly and quickly link to their public profile page!
  • Integrated forums – Discord is great and all but messages can very quickly get lost, I’m planning on building a forum system whereby we can have a global “chat room” could maybe even be used for advertising your virtual airline or sharing links and other bits… in addition to this, the integrated forum system will allow virtual airlines to have their own private (VA members only) forums to discuss whatever they like!
  • More improvements to the VA radar page – This will add a two-colour scheme whereby Aircraft that are airborne will show in one colour and aircraft on the ground will be a dark shade of grey (just like the main radar page) at the moment the aircraft are all the same colour but I will improve this over the next couple of weeks. In addition to the aircraft style based upon if it’s on the ground or in the air, I also plan to add the automatic updates of distance and time remaining on any route plan (just like it does on the main radar page – at the moment, the new virtual airline radar only provides static route information when clicking on an aircraft (or user from the new “Users online list”!
  • The ability for company routes to have additional “rules” such as the ability for an airline to set a scheduled departure and arrival time – with the ability to customise the “grace period” – could be super handy for setting up different flight numbers for different times of the day as well as further customising the rewards/pay for different times of the day. Then, depending upon the “grace period” that you set up could be used as a way to only reward flights that departed and landed within the space of saying an hour from the scheduled times – whilst this may not be for everyone, some airlines might want to use this! – Do let me know if this is a feature that you may like me to add (otherwise I’ll deprioritise it!)
  • There are also several other niggly things that I will be improving on such as highlighting to a pilot if a daily achievement wasn’t quite completed correctly – we’ve had a couple of instances where a pilot’s daily achievement streak has reset as the landing recorded at a different (closer airport)

Progress on the new native (LRM) client software

To be honest, progress has been slow, I’ve been battling other requests (such as the ones mentioned in this blog post) but XPlane 12 has now been released – I mentioned in my last blog post that I was waiting to get my hands on a copy so I can start developing the native Windows, MacOSX and Linux client in addition to the native client for MSFS too.

The good news at least is that FsHub works flawlessly with XP12 and XPUIPC and so this isn’t too higher a priority now… given this, however, please do vote in the attached user survey to ensure that I better understand what the community would like me to concentrate on next!

As a reminder for those that didn’t read my last blog post, the new “native” client will see the requirement for FSUIPC and XPUIPC be removed – I will interface directly with the XPlane API and SimConnect as this has also been a much-requested “want” especially given MSFS and Windows 11’s dislike to FSUIPC πŸ˜‰

Ideas and suggestions for the Xmas “special event”

Last year we ran the first ever FsHub “special event” – named “Lapland 2021” – this ran over the Christmas period and saw flights to Rovaniemi from all over the world it really was a huge success!

I’m now taking suggestions for this year’s Xmas/holiday event and would like any suggestions to be provided to us via our official contact page!

As with last year, the event will probably run for three weeks during mid-December into January!

UPATE 26/10/2022: The “Airline Duty Schedule” feature has now been released, details about it can be found here:

Thanks for the continued support on Patreon!

I would also like to thank again the few Patreons that remain subscribed and help pay the bills each month, these are (in no particular order):

Thank you guys, I cannot express how much your continued support means to me!!

User survey autumn 2022

This is a much smaller user survey this time but, as in the past too, is really handy to get your feedback on the features and future direction as to how you would like to see FsHub grow (new features and improvements). I would urge as many of you as possible to complete it over the next couple of weeks – I will close the survey and review/share the results in my next blog post!

You can complete the new survey here!

Loving the platform and new features?

If you love and appreciate all the work and time that goes into supporting and developing FsHub, please consider donating – this really does help support the platform hosting costs, and my ability to improve and add more features (that requires additional cloud infrastructure).

September 2022 platform updates

We have a ton of updates and improvements to tell you about over the last couple of weeks, I’ll try and keep this blog post as quick and as-to-the point as possible as I know my last one was horrendously long…

The new route map

In my last blog post, I introduced the new “Routes Browser” feature that exists for virtual airlines and is accessible through the Crew Portal.

I’ve since taken this one step further and added an interactive route map whereby you and your airline pilots can see an overview on a map…

The new Airline Routes Map

Clicking on an airport will automatically filter flights to and from that particular airport too!

In addition to that, hovering over an airport will display its name and ICAO code too.

In this example, clicking on Anchorage (in Alaska) automatically filters to show only the flights to and from this particular airport!

Another update that has been made in the last 48 hours, now enables visitors to your public airline profile page (from the new “Browse Routes” quick line) to browse and interact with your routes on a map too…

The new “Browse Routes” link on a Virtual airline profile page.

Note that this icon will be “disabled” (not clickable) if your airline hasn’t published any company routes!

VA Codeshare

Whilst not yet implemented yet (will be coming in the optional economy features), given that it’s related to “company routes”, I thought I’d quickly mention that, in future, two virtual airlines will be able to “codeshare” a specific route meaning…

When Airline A flies the route (with the exact same flight number/code), Airline B (and have pre-agreed a codeshare contract) they will receive an equal share of the profit for that route!

Be sure that your virtual airline flies your share of the route though as otherwise, your partner VA may terminate the agreement if you don’t πŸ˜‰

I won’t go into too much detail about this now but it means that two virtual airlines can work together and both benefit!


In the past, our implementation of “hubs” has been subjective in the fact that I provided the ability for virtual airlines to add custom map markers to their virtual airline radar page, whilst this has provided a way for virtual airlines to highlight key points of interest, these “map markers” could be used by all kinds of virtual airlines such as by bush flying clubs to indicate their next or favourite short field landing sites or by military VA’s for setting key points of interest…

Up until now, virtual airlines that are “simulating” commercial passenger or cargo flights could only really distinguish hubs by placing markers on their VA map.

I’ve have now improved upon this feature, the “markers” are still very much part of FsHub (for the reasons mentioned above) but there is now the ability for virtual airlines to actually set airline actual Hubs, one of the benefits of doing this too is that you don’t need to set the custom map coordinates – simply enter the ICAO and FsHub will do the rest…

Adding and deleting hubs can be achieved through the FsHub airline crew portal by virtual airline admins.

At the moment, adding a hub gives two benefits…

  1. Your virtual airline’s Routes Browser and Route Map highlight and prioritise these “key” locations making it easier for your pilots to find routes out of your busier airports.
  2. Adding a hub to your airline will automatically promote it on the airport’s information page (but only if your virtual airline has a logo uploaded – as we want the airport pages to look nice!) – this is designed as a way to promote your virtual airline as well as for new users to the platform that might regularly use an airport information page to get METAR or chart information, will automatically see that you fly out of their favourite (or commonly flown) airport and may be tempted to apply and fly for your airline!

    Don’t worry about where your logo will be positioned either – the airport page will show the airline logo (with a link to the VA profile page) for the top most recent virtual airlines – so as long as your airline is actively flying you’ll be on the list!

    To prevent abuse (such as over-promotion) I have imposed a strict limit of 10 hubs (most major airlines don’t even have this many!) per virtual airline for the time being – I have other ideas as to how this limit can be extended or removed altogether in future but for the time being, this is how it will be.

In future, I will be expanding on this functionality further to add the following features:

  1. The ability for virtual airlines to “assign” pilots to hubs.
  2. Group the list of VA members/pilots (on the Airline Roster page) into hub groups – easier to see who is based and where!
  3. Potentially enable the VA to assign a “Hub Manager” of whom can be a key contact in your VA for adding and/or managing routes and the pilots based at that VA – I would love feedback on this idea especially!

In addition to that, the upcoming economy features (for those VA’s that choose to enable them) will extend on these features further such as being able to “rent” hubs, have to keep them profitable (or they’ll get shut down) and upgrade them to increase PAX numbers and ultimately the amount of revenue your airline can make.

Virtual airline radar updates

This one has been a long time coming and has been deprioritised a few times (as other more pressing features have been requested) and whilst I still have a few more bits to add to it (eg. display of current route details and the ability to click on any “online pilot” in the list of “On-duty pilots” (this will be a dropdown panel on the radar page so that you can click on a pilot name to automatically select and centre on the pilot’s aircraft) the radar page has seen the following improvements:

  1. Instant loading of all aircraft and pilot details panel information (in the past, this would take several seconds whilst aircraft were “pinging” their location to our servers…. with the introduction of a new microservice today, this is now instant!
  2. The total number of airline aircraft on the ground, airborne and the combined total of both are now displayed on the radar view too, in the bottom right!
  3. UI improvements (improved panel layout etc.)
  4. The addition of the VA logo (if the VA has one setup) is in the bottom left corner.
  5. The VA radar map code is now “embeddable” – I will publish this shortly for download with instructions as to how you can embed this into your own virtual airline website and have a live feed of your VA flights on your own website!

Here are a few of the “visual” update improvements – the rest of the improvements so far however are backend “technical” changes which make the instant loading of aircraft possible and the radar map embeddable into your own virtual airline websites:

New visual improvements to the VA airline radar page.

These new improvements are considered “BETA” throughout this next week (as I’m going on a last-minute holiday for a few days – gotta keep the family happy…. happy wife, happy life… you know what I mean!) and so, any issues, please let us know and I’ll address them upon my return!

Finally, as I have simply run out of time today, I will then also be adding the following features to complete the airline radar improvements when I get back:

  1. Distinguish airborne and on-ground aircraft – much like the global radar page, but slightly different whereby airborne aircraft will show the VA’s colour scheme (as set in the Airline Styling options) and aircraft on the ground will be dark grey – I won’t be using different shades for different altitudes as it degrades performance and feedback in the community has generally been that the radar aircraft shades (at different altitudes) are simply confusing, aircraft on the VA radar will therefore be either dark grey (for on the ground) or the VA colour scheme for airborne aircraft.
  2. When an aircraft is clicked on and the pilot has an active route set, the routing information (and track line) will display on the map too – kind of like it does on the global radar at the moment but the layout will be a lot better and less condensed – you’ll see what I mean πŸ˜‰
  3. A full drop-down list of all pilots currently flying – clicking on the pilot’s name will automatically centre on the aircraft and display the pilot/flight information – you’ll therefore no longer need to hunt around, clicking on all the aircraft to see who’s online or which aircraft is being piloted by who.
  4. Selected aircraft will render (show on the map) the actual flown path in a lighter shaded line – just like the AeroPad Live GPS does – therefore there will be two lines that could possibly appear when clicking an aircraft, firstly the planned route (if one is set by the pilot) just like the global radar does at the moment and secondly the actual flown path (flight track) that the aircraft as already flow (eg. the vapour trail).

Various UI improvements

Ok, so UI improvements are subjective, I know but the pilot dashboard page and the virtual airline profile page have had some UI improvements – replaced the large panel headings with smaller indicators instead, moved some things around, styled some buttons using the virtual airline’s configured colour scheme and added a new “Quick links” section.

Airline Profile Page UI improvements

In addition to that, the airline website URL is now moved under the “External links” section and I’ve compressed up the top section by moving the buttons around closing up the page a bit more…

I fixed the annoying “Back links” on the Client Portal (Improved UX)

Until I recently set up and have been testing on our “showcase” airline (Alaska Virtual), I didn’t really realise how annoying some of the Crew Portal links were whereby…

If you clicked on Airline Roster (this also applies to “Airline Flights” and “Achievements“), these would open up but the “Back to Airline” button would bump you back to the Airline Profile page and thus completely breaking your user journey and meant you had to navigate back through to the Crew Portal – an absolute pain to say the least…

I have now made these “Back” buttons context-aware and will now take you back to where you wanted to go πŸ™‚

…it’s a small change I guess but one that has already seen a warm welcome but a handful of FsHub users including myself!

Export flight map to GeoJSON format

At the request of a community member (it was super easy and quick to implement) I have added the ability for pilots to download the flight track (flown path) in GeoJSON format.

Any logged-in user can use the new “GeoJSON” button just above a flight report’s flight path map to download the GeoJSON file.

This file can then be imported and used both on external map browser tools (like Google Earth) in addition to your own websites using Javascript and a mapping solution such as Google Maps, Bing Maps or OpenStreetmap.

Want to test it out? It’s super easy, just download a GeoJSON file from one of your flight reports (see screenshot above) and then, using a free website such as, you can open the file and have it draw your path on the world map!

A new VA badge template/layout has been added

Probably pretty minor for the vast majority of you but in the last couple of days a new Airline ID badge template has been added and includes the pilot’s national flag (based on their nationality) and display’s the pilot’s earned XP points too…

Feel free to go and test it out – maybe you fancy designing and changing up your existing virtual airline ID card πŸ™‚

An airline member with the appropriate admin permissions can find and set this from the “Airline Styling” section from the crew portal, the new template option is shown here:

A few bug fixes too…

We noticed a few layout issues with the site, namely the display of the “FSEconomy integration” and the “Edit Chart” modal window – these have been now been fixed!

There was also an issue raised by a virtual airline whereby RBAC permissions were reset randomly, this too has been fixed!

Aurora joins the FsHub Team!

We would like to officially welcome Aurora to the FsHub support team – she has, for a while now been very active in our Discord server, helping other members of the community and her recent work on the new Documentation site has been such a help!

Aurora will now join Clorix and thunfischbaum on the support team and has all the access required to help resolve data issues with airports, approve aircraft ICAO changes, password resets – you name it… Welcome to the team Aurora!

New achievements

As we’ve been doing in most updates, despite originally thinking that we may hold off for a few more months (to give users a chance to get all the badges) we have very recently extended our “US Cities” series adding another multi-leg achievement (US Cities Volume 3) which will see you explore and visit five more major cities in the USA! – Thanks must go to JimG for creating and setting up this addition to our US Cities series!

In addition to that, with the MSFS World Update XI on the horizon, Clorix has been proactive and have already setup another “Bespoke Airports Tour” multi-leg achievement that covers the five custom airports that will be released, this time, the world update focuses on Canada – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for when we release this achievement on the data that the World Update is officially released!

Don’t try and fly the Canadian Bespoke Airport Tour achievement yet though as we won’t be enabling it/releasing it until the MSFS World Update XI has gone live and it will not be awarded to you – we just wanted to share the excitement with you in this blog update!

FsTube – Upload and share your flight sim recordings!

FsHub has long provided pilots with the ability to upload, share and store their flight sim screenshots and more recently, people have started to suggest that we may consider enabling the ability to upload and share recorded videos such as landings and airline promotion videos.

Coming soon!

Whilst I don’t personally have the time to build in these features at the moment (there are other features that are taking first place), thunfischbaum has found an open-source solution and, with his expert IT knowledge, has used his experience to configure and host it on behalf of the FsHub community.

We’re still ironing out a few kinks but expect it to be released in the coming days, storage is plentiful and between thunfischbaum and the rest of the FsHub team here, we’ll be providing support to that platform too – with tight integration features coming very soon!

We’ll be sure to give a further announcement on our Discord server and links will be added to the FsHub site once it’s fully ready for use.

In the near future, any videos uploaded to FsTube will be fully embeddable into FsHub on VA profile pages and your flight reports too!

In addition to that, we have created our own official channel there too whereby we plan to record and share tutorial videos covering how to setup and use the many features that LRM and FsHub including AeroPad and how to setup, configure and run virtual airlines – those being just a few examples!

New documentation site and improved documentation!

In our official User Surveys it has been a well voted for topic and unfortunately, given that FsHub is developed and provided free of charge, and in our spare time, our resource in the past has always been stretched with appetite learning more towards new features and improvements as opposed to documentation

Full credit goes to Aurora here – she’s been working tirelessly the last few days to migrate and set up a new documentation site (wiki) that covers all-things FsHub and LRM-related.

The site covers all topics from how to set up and manage a virtual airline, advanced features as well as support documentation about how to set up LRM, Aeropad and the other features that it has to offer.

Whilst this is still a work in progress (obviously features are added to FsHub all the time), there is already a ton of new and useful information on there.

You will notice over the next few days, that the older documentation site will start redirecting to the new site which, is far more modern and easy to search and navigate – we hope you share the same view!

What’s next

A ton of things (as usual), and at the moment I’m still working on various things, tweaks and improvements as well as everything that is “coming soon” that I’ve mentioned above.

My last blog post covers many of the other features that will be coming next and I personally, am especially excited to start working on some more of the economy features and the new LRM client versions that will natively support the for MSFS and XP12 users (no more FSUIPC requirements for you guys) in addition to including full support for Linux and MacOS for those XP users!

I could go on a massive rant about what specifically is being done next and timeframes but again, I seem to have a habit of making these update messages wayyyyy too long – apologies for that!

That’s all for now!

So anyway, it’s just gone 03:15 in the morning here and I have a plane to catch in a few hours and I obviously haven’t packed yet either πŸ˜‰

For those of you that are into aviation (ermmmm… I guess that’s all of you then πŸ˜€) and are interested (of course you are πŸ˜‰) – I’ll be flying from London’s Stansted airport (EGSS) to Palma De Mallorca (LEPA) tomorrow evening onboard a TUI Boeing 737-800 and spending the week in Puerto Pollensa.

Luckily my brother has the week off work and will be house-sitting for me and looking after my trusty cockerpoo (Henry).

Cat pictures are overrated and so, here’s one of my best-est buddy….

Henry aka. “The Boy”

Whilst I will be taking my iPad with me and will be able to access all the systems (if the need arises)…. please don’t DM me unless you want to meet up for a beer πŸ˜‰

Clorix, thunfischbaum and Aurora will be on hand to help with any support matters so please post in the main FsHub Discord channels or use our website contact form.

Speak again with you all very soon!

August 2022 platform updates

Hey guys, it seems like it’s been ages since I last posted any updates and added any major new features to FsHub (in reality it was only June but hey!), that wasn’t intentional though…

I had COVID…

Yeah, it wasn’t fun and although I was bed-bound for a few days, the biggest impact to me personally was actually the weeks that followed having very little energy and so, whilst I was able to return to work (the day job), I didn’t have much energy for much else and so, FsHub development had to be put on the back burner for a few weeks.

That said however, I’m now fully recovered, my energy levels are now back to normal and pleased to report that I have some news of features and improvements to update you guys on…

Thanks for the user survey responses…

Firstly I want to thank everyone that replied to the User Survey that I posted in June – it was super useful and provided myself and the team with some interesting insights into what you guys value and want to see improved or implemented into FsHub the near future.

Before I go into what’s been released this week and the direction we’ll be taking going forwards, I thought I’d quickly summarise what seems to be the common requests and feedback from User Survey and later, I will then explain how we plan to deliver these to you!

So, whilst we did receive responses like…

…the majority of user responses, when asked what main features they wanted me to focus my attention to next (in order to most requested) are:

  • More virtual airline features.
  • An economy mode.
  • …closely followed by improvements to the LRM client and the AeroPad EFB…
Screenshot of User Survey results

As per the results, whilst the LRM client and AeroPad EFB could do with some updates for sure and both are on my list of things to do, in reality, the LRM client works perfectly fine (as long as FSUIPC behaves for the MSFS2020 users… and you don’t have internet issues mid-flight πŸ˜‰).

Taking the above into account – the updates for LRM and the integrated EFB will now be the priority of this coming Autumn/Winter – users can expect a seriously cool new borderless (modern) client interface with a simplified menu system and improved scaling support; the new versions of the LRM client will drop FSUIPC/XPUIPC and I will be developing two independent LRM versions – One of MSFS2020 (using SimConnect) and a bespoke X-Plane 12 client that will work for Windows, MacOSX and Linux too.

In the past I have said that, and whilst I still fully stand by my statement – I’d rather have a single LRM client to make my life easier (after all, I’m the only developer that builds, maintains both FsHub and LRM client and all of this is done in my “spare time” – I have a full-time job and family too) with maintaining it, the issue that I have now is that FSUIPC is starting to cause issues for MSFS users (not automatically starting etc.) and of course, the new X-Plane 12 releasing at some point.

It does makes sense to push the new client back to the Autumn/Winter as I’m holding out to see what the X-Plane 12 API looks like as XPUIPC support for this version of X-Plane will probably be non-existent – due to the developer of XPUIPC having gone AWOL a long time ago!)

I will also continue to support users of FS2004, FSX, P3D and older versions of X-Plane but continue to maintain the current (v5.x.x) version of the LRM client too.

Anyway, back to the Virtual Airline feature improvement requests/votes….

Whilst this feedback has been great, it has forced me to really think about and make some serious decisions as to how to implement (which would essentially mean shoehorning) these complex and opinionated/non-generic features into the core of FsHub without upsetting the majority of users.

….I’ve been working with a number of virtual airlines recently and it’s clear that the more features I add to the platform that initially aim to be as generic and as unopinionated as possible, it seems that, through requests from these airlines that it’s clear that each virtual airline is different and have their own specific requirements and/or ideas on how FsHub could and/or should work for them.

The honest truth is that I would love to help all these airlines to implement exactly what they want and “need” but these features, i’m sure would clash with each VA’s views and opinions and worst still, massively bloat the FsHub platform, impact the smaller VA’s by adding further complexity (as per the feedback screenshotted further up in this blog post) and furthermore probably annoy the general non-VA users of whom have little care for virtual airline features.

With the above said, this is something that I’m not prepared to do (keep shoehorning virtual airline features into the core) and whilst this may sound like I’m pushing back or simply denying features to users, rest assured, I will be addressing how I plan to deliver a better solution that will cater for everyone without bloating or detracting away from what FsHub was always supposed to be a fast and stable, extensible data platform later on in this blog post!

And so, other than a few remaining things to finish off for the Crew Portal on FsHub (eg. Company Messages and Filterable route maps) – All future complex virtual airline-specific features will be implemented separately from FsHub – Development on FsHub specifically will concentrate again on improving and enhancing its current feature set.

To be clear nothing will be removed from FsHub, everything will remain as is now but going forwards, I will be championing the use of external site integrations for custom/advanced virtual airline features through plugins – these are very exciting times – read on to hear more about how this will be achieved and how you can get involved!

So what new features have been released recently?

This release has been mainly geared towards virtual airlines for two reasons:-

  1. I’m running out of ideas and improvements for general non-VA users and so, please, if you think I’m missing something (after reading this blog post) for non-VA / logbook only users, please contact me directly here – I don’t want you guys feeling left out and will be happy to tackle any features very soon!
  2. The majority of the user feedback from the survey was heavily based around virtual airline-specific features and, features that I know are fairly generic or common to all virtual airlines in terms of functionality.

I’ve wanted to finalise some of the features that I’ve added in the last set of major updates back in June too (before I got COVID) and had previously only partially completed or “disabled” and whilst I now have a clear direction on how I plan to deliver the more bespoke/advanced VA features, this release is essentially a “roll up” release, finalising and solidifying the extent of the VA features that will be provided in the “core” of FsHub.

Here is a quick overview of the main features that have been released:

Optional pilot rewards (XP, v$) for virtual airline routes

It’s not a full-blown economy mode but does add another level of achievement for virtual airline pilots and should entice them to fly your published company routes over and over again – I guess it’s kind of like the Pilot achievements but instead, they are rewarded with “points” every time they fly specific routes – should counteract the boredom factor on those less interesting or long haul flights.

More information about this specifically can be found on our documentation Wiki here:

Some airlines might be trying to replicate real-world routes or are simply trying to simulate the real-world operations of flying hub and spoke networks – this feature was designed to and should really help you retain pilots as you can not only customise the “reward point” unit name (eg. v$, XP, tokens) but now configure the number of reward points (v$, XP etc) that get automatically transferred to each of your pilots’ when they complete a company route.

The reward points can be enabled through the virtual airline’s “Airline details” section as shown here:

Use the Airline Details section to enable the new Pilot Reward Points system.

Once loaded, scroll down to the Options section and enable this setting:

Enabling the optional Pilot Reward Points system.

Once enabled, you can customise the point unit name and label and, depending on if you want your virtual airline to use a monetary value instead of say “Experience Points”, you may choose not to enable the “Show pilot points in the airline members list?” option above.

Each virtual airline can customise the reward point name/label however they like!

Once that is enabled, you can set the number of reward points that will be awarded to your pilot(s) when they fly your routes – you can therefore edit any existing routes or create new ones and specify the number of reward points awarded like so:

In order to encourage pilots to fly the route as you specified (following the waypoints etc), I have coded some logic into the system whereby, if the pilot flies > 95% of the track distance, he or she will receive the full number of Pilot award points. If the pilot flies less than 95% of the total track distance (as set in the route), he or she will receive the associated percentage amount of points based on the distance percentage he or she flew – discouraging them from flying it directly, this logic is also documented here.

You can of course have a mixture of routes that payout points and those that don’t pay out any at all – simply don’t enter a number in the Point rewards field if you wish a certain route to not reward anything!

Spendable Pilot Reward Points (XP, v$) – in the real world!

Again, working with some of the largest virtual airlines on FsHub that stream their content online, they have recently expressed that they would like the ability for VA members to be able to “spend” / “redeem” their reward points that they’ve earned through flying company routes but in the real world.

Given this request, I have therefore added several new API endpoints and additional RBAC role permissions that make this possible (more details further on in this blog post)!

So you may be thinking, huh? wtf?, What does that even mean?

As an example, you could be watching a Twitch stream of your favourite MSFS content creator of whom runs a VA of which you are a member of and been flying a ton of their company routes – you’ve earnt a ton of “reward points” and so, through the FsHub API, you can develop and share bots and/or other integrations for quite literally any type of modern application or service.

FsHub virtual airlines can now enable their pilots to exchange their virtual points/currency for Twitch “redeems”, physical merchandise, “buying” custom Discord Server roles, these are just a few examples – quite literally anything though as the API provides a feature to securely “withdraw” the specified number of points from a pilot’s account whilst validating said balance is sufficient!

The “Routes browser” feature

Given the large amount of work that I’ve been doing on the routes system specifically this past week (needed to support the new Reward Points system), one of the remaining features that needed to be enabled in the VA Crew Portals was the “Routes rrowser”.

The Routes browser is now accessible from your virtual airlines’ Crew Portal and, when opened will enable you and your pilots to very easily filter down any published company routes and provide easy access for VA pilots to locate and get route information and/or find out how many (optional) “reward points” they can earn by flying a specific route.

How to access the “Routes Browser” feature from the airline Crew Portal page.
Company Routes Browser with advanced filtering options

The routes browser displays all routes that are configured and published by the virtual airline (and as you would expect, hides any disabled routes), in addition, a route filter can help you locate routes to and from your favourite airports quickly.

NOTE: A filterable route map is coming in the next couple of weeks – I’ve just been super busy with these other bits so do keep your eyes peeled for that appearing in FsHub shortly too!

API improvements

To better cater for external site integrations, the following new features and “integration abilities” have now been added to our REST API (v3):

  • Retrieve all airline routes
  • Retrieve all airline roles
  • Retrieve all airline ranks
  • Set a pilot’s rank (could be used in conduction with the point system to “buy” a custom rank using the new Reward Points system within your VA)
  • Check airline pilot point balance.
  • Reward points debit transaction (deduct points from a VA pilot’s account)
  • Reward points credit transaction (credit points to a VA pilot’s account)

These features, combined with examples can all be found documented in our REST API documentation.

The addition of these endpoints have now required some new RBAC role permissions to be added into the system, users that are accessing the API with an associated API token will only be able to credit or withdraw (spend) VA pilot points if they are granted a role with these new permissions.

New RBAC role permissions for Pilot Reward Point management through the HR system and REST API.

Company messages (WIP)

The company message system is nearing completion and is due to be fully released later this week.

The company message system is designed for Virtual Airline managers to publish “memos” to virtual airline pilots, these kind of messages could include:

  • General news and updates relating to the virtual airline.
  • Organisation of upcoming virtual airline events.
  • Changes to operating procedures.
  • Updates to your fleet inventory.
  • Notify pilots of route additions or removals from the network.
  • Announcement of new virtual airline achievements.
  • Celebrate internal promotions.
  • etc. etc. etc.

I’ve run out of time this week to fully complete it but suffice to say, this will be released in the next week – I’ll be spending my evenings after work getting this finalised!

Virtual Airline members will be able to access the list of published Company Messages using this button – the number of unread/new company messages will also be highly visible!

Any number of new/unread company messages will be indicated from the Crew Portal page.

In addition to the message being readable through the Crew Portal, there will be additional webhooks that will be added too so that when a Company Message is created, external systems (Such as Discord) can instantly be notified of a new company message, can format it and automatically post it to your DIscord server too (much like how we output landings etc).

…and a few more smaller features and bug fixes

A few more items that have been “plucked” directly from the user feedback, have been release and immediately available are:

  • Ability to disable (hide) airline routes – This was requested to make it easier for VA’s to disable/hide seasonal routes without having to delete and re-add them at a later date. You can now use the “Edit route” feature to uncheck the “Enabled” checkbox, this will prevent the specific route from being displayed in the new Routes Browser, the Flight Planner and the LRM “Import from Company Route” list feature.
  • Improved navigation in the Crew Portal sections – the addition of context-aware navigation buttons, reducing the number of times you need to re-navigate back to the crew portal or use the browser’s “back” button.
  • Fixes for the virtual airline ID card on mobile devices.
  • Fix for the daily flight achievement “Longest streak” reset issue.
  • Several bug fixes – One major one being the last leg in multi-leg achievements, despite the multi-leg achievement being awarded wasn’t “ticking” the final leg.

New achievements

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve rolled out a handful of new achievements over the last few weeks, these include:

  • The Orient Express (multi-leg)
  • US Cities Volume 1 (multi-leg)
  • US Cities Volume 2 (multi-leg)
  • Pirate Gold Of Adak Island (multi-leg)
  • Petanque (single-leg)
  • Bakewell Tart Day (special event – goes live 11th August)

My plan is to add a couple more official achievements by the end of this coming week so do keep your eyes peeled for those coming too!

So what about those virtual airlines that need complex features?

If you currently operate a virtual airline on FsHub and are happy with the features that already exist, have zero-to-little desire to want to add complex features or integrate FsHub data into your own website then you can pretty much skip this reading this section entirely and can continue to use FsHub as you have been – safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to worry about further added complexity πŸ˜‰

For those wanting additional, advanced and/or granular features for their virtual airline, keep reading…

As I mentioned above, some virtual airliens have been chomping at the bit for more advanced features and VA-specific functionality and, as I’ve mentioned before FsHub provides all the integration power you need to build powerful systems whilst utilising FsHub as the main data processing and storage engine.

It’s clear that despite the documentation, the majority of virtual airlines have yet to harness this power of which, to be fair, is probably due to a lack of development skills within the virtual airline and is completely understandable.

I have therefore decided and due to the previous comments on the User Survey that we will start to develop plugins and integrations for WordPress that utilise our powerful platform integration features.

Why have I chosen to use WordPress? – As a software engineer, WordPress wouldn’t naturally be my first choice but then again, I’m not the end user in this scenario and we must remember that WordPress powers the majority of websites online, it has a massive user base, online documentation and tutorials are plentiful and if you dabble in web design/development, you may already be using software to run your website on anyway.

These plugins will be developed and released as community “open-source” plugins and can be used as-is and/or modified by virtual airlines for their own custom/advanced functionality.

We have started a community discord for collaborating and building these plugins – read on to hear more info about this and how to get involved!

Ideally, I would love to involve as many FsHub users and VA members as possible of whom want to further enhance their virtual airlines and build integrations for their sites and collaborate together (on GitHub) to build out some amazing plugins and add-ons that can be freely installed and customised by other FsHub virtual airlines in the community.

If you’re getting confused at this point as to what this means – No, WordPress plugins won’t replace FsHub, It would be almost impossible to achieve what FsHub is able to do very efficiently in WordPress alone – these plugins would provide automated integration with FsHub; the WordPress plugins would be able to automatically receive, download and store processed data from FsHub in near real-time and present and manipulate it on the website however you want.

If you know much about Cloud technology and systems architecture – your WordPress website would essentially sit at “the edge”, FsHub would be “the cloud” infrastructure – your virtual airline solution would then become a “hybrid” solution (combining the power of “cloud” and “edge” compute) – Core data processing is done in the cloud (at FsHub) and then specific/custom features and functionality would live within your WordPress site but in full communication with FsHub.

Whilst I barely get the opportunity to fly all that often (I have a full-time job and build FsHub in my spare time) – it’s clear that in order for this to be a success, we need to start a virtual airline (that we can control) and myself and the rest of the FsHub team need to be involved in – we can then understand the likely requirements of a larger and more complex virtual airline – the kind of airline that would want to use such custom/complex integrations and therefore, we have decided to kick start this new initiative by officially launching a virtual airline that will simulate the real-world airline operations of a large airline – thus giving us real-world problems to solve and provide complex solutions for through the use of WordPress plugins. – Continue reading on to see how you can get involved and hopefully want to fly for it too – we could really do with all the generated data we can get our hands on πŸ™‚

The TL;DR here really is – If you want to really your virtual airline’s data (in real-time) with your own website, take advantage of live, completely customisable virtual airline radar maps, extend upon the economy features in addition to a powerful content management system (CMS) and are not already using WordPress, you may want to consider migrating your existing static HTML, Wix, GitHub Pages or Netlify website over to a WordPress site soon as I expect these plugins to be available in the next few months!

We may look at offering a WordPress hosting service too for those that like the sound of this but wouldn’t know where to start with server hosting/rental and the installation of WordPress itself – this will be based on demand however and so, if you would be interested, please let us know otherwise we’ll assume you’re happy to watch YouTube videos and work it out for yourself πŸ™‚

New virtual airline – come and join Alaska Virtual!

As a continuation of the above – In an attempt to better understand the needs and “pain points” for existing virtual airlines on FsHub and to demonstrate to other virtual airlines how they can deeply integrate FsHub into their own websites and applications – we’ve decided to start an official virtual airline on FsHub and welcome anyone to come to join and help us fly the routes that are flown by the real-world airline.

Whilst this airline will be a “showcase” airline and used to test run all new advanced (WordPress plugin) features, it will be run professionally and pilots who join can be assured to get their hands on the most advanced software and integrations that I can personally build out in order to really enhance your experience for flying with a virtual airline on FsHub and stimulating real-world airline ops – these advanced features and pieces of software will then be shared with other virtual airlines on FsHub and available to install as open-source community WordPress plugins.

We really wanted to simulate a real-world airline (routes and aircraft primarily) and so we settled on simulating Alaska Airlines as our official virtual airline for FsHub. In addition to some really great scenery in Alaska and some challenging smaller airports (especially along the Milk Run by far my favourite FsHub achievement to date!), Alaska Airlines and its subsidiaries (Horizon, etc) of which we will simulate in our virtual airline fly literally hundreds of routes across America (inc. Canada, Mexico to name a few) and so, it certainly isn’t just flying in Alaska!

The new airline already has over 240 real-world routes added (and so far we have Anchorage (PANC), Portland (KDPX) and Seattle-Tacoma (KSEA) hub routes entered and ready to be flown immediately – The Los Angeles (KLAX) hub routes will be added shortly).

The virtual airline is also configured to “pay” pilots (using the new Pilots Rewards system mentioned earlier in this blog post) when they fly our published routes, you’ll be rewarded with virtual dollars ($) – giving you more reason to fly and stick to our VA routes.

In addition to this, we have set up Pilot Ranks (based on flight hours) and will have several custom virtual airline achievements published by the end of the weekend – all of these achievements will be based on the operations and historical facts of this real-world airline.

We encourage anyone that likes to fly in the PNW and America in general (Alaska Airlines cover a wide area!) and especially with a love of Boeing and/or Airbus aircraft to consider joining and flying for our virtual airline.

We’ll also be looking for members to help us run the virtual airline – although Cody, Uwe and I are already “Senior Managers” within the airline, it would be great to have others pick up some of the responsibility of managing routes, HR roles etc. etc.

We’ve already started preparing our website too (which will run our WordPress site complete with the custom FsHub plugins), set up a separate Discord server and of course, created the VA on FsHub πŸ™‚

If you’re interested in joining the virtual airline to fly with us and become part of an official FsHub community airline be sure to use the links above to join the airline (on FsHub) and our Discord server.

If you’re a WordPress developer or website designer and would love to work with us to build out some initial website templates (that look like and functions like an airline website and including features like “Book a flight”/ “Boarding passes generation” etc and would love to get involved with the project, maybe even upskill your development skills by working closely with myself – join the Discord Server and introduce yourself πŸ™‚

If you’re already a VA admin and have no interest in flying for the virtual airline BUT want to contribute plugin ideas we have a “feature-discussions” channel in the Discord Server and so, encourage you to join that to post/discuss your feature requests there! – Remember, these plugins are being developed externally to FsHub now but directly link back to your FsHub airline through our core APIs.

Would love to hear your feedback!

If you’ve made it this far – let me know what you think of these latest updates, do you agree or disagree?

Please provide feedback either using our Contact Form or using our #feedback channel on the official FsHub Discord server!

If you really love what you’ve read and would like to donate and show your support for the work that goes on behind the scenes, the details can be found here.

…and finally a special mention for FireFly Air

This month, TwoToneMurphy and the virtual pilots over at FireFly Air completed their 10,000th flight, in total the airline has racked up well over 2.5 million nautical miles in just under 3 months!

This is fantastic, the team at FsHub would like to say a huge congratulations to the many pilots (227 of them) that have flown and achieved this massive milestone in such a short period of time!

Great going guys!

User Survey June 2022 – Have your say!

We have just published our latest “User Survey June 2022” – Be sure you give your honest feedback and help shape the features and changes to FsHub and the LRM over the next few months.

Now is YOUR CHANCE to have your say and give honest (positive or negative) feedback to ensure we’re doing the right thing and concentrating in the right areas…

We take the outcomes of these user surveys very seriously and new features and/or future improvements are worked on based on the collective outcome of your feedback!

Follow this link to complete the Google Forms survey…

— Survey link now removed/Survey has ended —

Many thanks for your time and we look forward to hearing how we can better improve our services and products and provide the best experience to you are our valued users!