How much preparation do you put into a flight?

Just for my own curiosity and some of you may also be interested. I was just wondering how much preparation members of the community put into each flight. I know most people probably load a FPL and then just take off in server. I’m sure though others put in a good amount of prep from 3rd party sites and their own creativity. I fall in between those two extremes myself, what do you guys do?

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Some people and VAs such as @virtualBlue put as much preparation as real pilots to be realistic some just spawn click the airport ICAO then pushback

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In the end, I usually take a total of 10-15 minutes. In that time, I check what aircraft is operated by the route, I get a FPL from fpltoif.com great website for flight plans!, i get an SID and STAR pulled up and put into the FPL for realism. Load into the game, calibrate the fuel and passenger and cargo load, and if needed, adjust the flight plan. Once I’m ready, I check the ATIS (if there is one) to see if my wanted runway is used. If now, I adjust the SID to match the departing runways in use.

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Usually I use the website FPLtoIF to do the Flight Plan, after I do the FPL I do the check-list, so I set the passengers and Fuel, so I call the ground, tower and take-off.

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I go to PFPX create it on the schedule, complete all the fields there. Then create my OFP. after that i go to simbrief. Enter every fix from the arr and dep procedure. Go to fpltoif.com and use the simbrief classic page to get an IF friendly route.

And my VA has vspeeds for our aircraft.

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I go to SkyVector and get my departure and arrival charts and then go to flight aware to get the rest of the FPL and altitude as well as the aircraft used for that route. Then I spawn in and check the weather at my departing and arriving airport. After that I calculate my passengers and fuel and finally, only on long hauls, choose what my altitudes are for step climbing. Then I pushback and take off. This process takes me about 20 minutes or so.

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At virtualBlue we have a workflow for flight planning. It takes 10-15 minutes or so.

The flow goes like this:

  1. FlightAware IFR Route Analyzer or a FlightAware check of the most current real world route we’re flying. (Ex-if there’s 4 flights a day-we check the flight plan that’s closest to the time we’re flying-particularly for longer flights)

  2. Open Simbrief, take the FlightAware route, enter it into Simbrief.

  3. Adjust ZFW/Cruise Mach/Cruise FL in SB, generate SB plan

  4. Use FPLtoIF Simbrief Classic to convert plan (if it’s not on file in the vB database)

  5. Add in appropriate SID/STAR/ILS waypoints to plan.

  6. Launch IF-A, IF-Ops, IF in that order, Configure weights in IF, begin log in IFOps, input V-Speeds/Top of climb into IF-A.

That’s about it procedurally.

Our first tutorial of 2019 covers the official virtualBlue flight planning workflow. We also have a more in depth look for planning a longer haul flight.

Here’s the links:

https://youtu.be/yXyiZtJsCZY

https://youtu.be/dnG8GgWITMw

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For a full and detailed flight prep, it usually takes me close to 1h for a long haul.
But if i’m In a rush I can do it in 10min.
I would NEVER go for a straight line flight because it isn’t either realistic nor efficient.

Here are the various steps
(Not necessarily in that order):

  • FPL (including the cleaning up)
  • TAF, METAR
  • review SiD, STAR, IAP, diagrams, Gates
  • anticipated ToD
  • review plane specs (all Flight profiles)
  • check at what time I have to wake up (probably the longuest part of the FPL because it’s always damn too early)
  • set up IF. IF-O, IF-A, I-P
  • invite friends to join, especially on Fridays as I’m in charge of a highly detailed flight plan event for my VA on that day,
  • have a blast and enjoy my cool work
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I personally take about an hour and a half in preparing, because I care about safety more, so I spend about 20 Minutes checking all the systems, another 15 in finding the best route, another 15 mapping what speeds at what point and what V/S and altitude I should be at, THEN another 5 at finding a good Fuel amount to have 1 hour of reserve fuel, then I finally turn on the engines, set Parking brake and set throttle at 30% for 5 minutes to start fuel burn. That’s an hour so far. Then I repeatedly turn on and off the engines one by one for 5 cycles, about 10 minutes each, then both altogether for 10. Then, I double check all the flaps, set my trim, and pushback. During pushback, I always play a bit with my rudder to make sure it’s working properly in case of any bus, then finally do the last check at 100% throttle for 5 seconds while rolling off for Taxi. I double check all the lights during taxi, then I’m off! This takes about 1:34 minutes

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Hello Are you okay?
Well I do not complicate much but I prepare my flight with more real parameters, fuel calculate and aircraft weight and whether I have to make a stopover. Now I’m accessing more realistic sites but it’s just to train even normally I use the most basic as I said.

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I find what airport I will takeoff from (Airports with ATC) then pick a destination and see which airlines flys that route and which plane. I then load up background apps like Infinite flight assist then load into my gate (gate that airline uses). Then configure my fuel and balance then set my flight plan, set my callsign, check ATIS, then pushback.

It honestly depends.

Sometimes I’ll just spawn in, do a random flight number, draw out my own plan, and take off.

Other times I’ll adhere to maximum realism, where I would spend at least 15 mins researching and decoding a real world flight plan. Sometimes I’ll hop into a solo flight just to test out a flight plan. Then I’ll hop into a flight tracker and record the ground movements and stuff.

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I firstly, check out the traffic at both airports on liveflightmap. Then, I create a flight plan on simbrief. Then I check out the notams and all the other things in the briefing (they can be 30 pages long!) Then I create a NavLog using SkyVectors. Lastly, I check to make sure the waypoints are in IF by using FPLToif.

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For me, it usually takes between 20min to 1h 30min.
First,I go to flight aware to find a suitable flight that I would like to do,get the necessary information such as flight time flight number and if I am flying in North America and Oceania, the flight plan too.
Next,I visit flightradar24 to find out even more information about the aircraft and flight while also checking the traffic at the departure and destination airport.(I go to windy some times to find out about weather information to determine the runway in use too)
I will then use the information,to find out specific details about the airframe on planespotters.net.(So I could use those details on SimBrief later on)
Then,I will search for the charts of the destination and arrival airport using Google, load them up.
Following that,I will go to SimBrief, register an airframe using the information I get from FR24 and planespotters.net , set up a flight with the flight number, the aircraft, the climb profile, step climb and cruise altitude, flight time ,departure and arrival runways and the flight plan.(More on flight plan.)
For the flight plan,if I am flying in North America or Oceania, I just paste the flight plan into SimBrief and edit the SIDs And STARs since the SimBrief Navigation Database is a bit out of date and then I will be done but if I fly in other places in the world, I will review the flight path of the same flight from the previous day on FR24 and try to create a flight plan as close to that as possible by using the tabs “airways” and “waypoints” above the map in SimBrief.
After all that,I will review all the details again and generate an OFP.
Once that is done,I go to Fpltoif and put in the XML file under “SimBrief Classic” to get coordinates of missing waypoints on IF and also an easier way to copy long flight plans.
And then load up Infinite passengers, In-flight assistant and infinite flight itself,change my callsign and spawn at the appropriate gate with the information gathered from Flight aware and my charts.
Finally,just configure the aircraft, paste the flight plan into IF and enjoy the flight.

When I do short flights (anywhere from 1hr to 4hr), maybe like 20 minutes. Medium flights (5hr-9hr) 30 minutes. LH and ULH (10hr-18hr) 40+ minutes.

All this includes fuel planning, waypoint planning/searching, reading METARS and planning runways for departure, arrival. Checking balance. Getting the real world call sign and gate information. Reviewing airport plates for departure and arrival. Plan altitudes, climb, etc. Set alarms for specific times in the flight, and some others. Although I skip some process if I’m in a rush, I don’t often fly when I’m in a hurry.

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It takes me 10-20 minutes depending on flight length.

  1. I think about what airport I am currently at in IF.
  2. I check FR24 to see if I can see an upcoming departure from that airport that interests me.
  3. I try to match the aircrafts and liveries in IF as in real life.
  4. I go to Simbrief and enter in my flight information.
  5. I go to fpltoif.com to change that Simbrief plan into a plan that is IF friendly.
  6. I go to IF and spawn (or I spawn before step 4).
  7. I put in the IF friendly flight plan.
  8. I prepare my third party apps (IF-A, IFPAX, IFO, etc).
  9. I make sure everything is ready (fuel, pax, cargo, etc).
  10. I pushback.

The whole process takes at least 15 minutes and at most around 30 minutes to an hour.

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How long I take varies depending on the length of the flight:

Short Hauls (0-6 hours): 45 minutes - 1 hour
Medium Hauls (6-12 hours): 1 hour - 1hr30 mins
Long Hauls (12-18 hours): 1hr 30 mins - 2 hours
Ultra Long Hauls (18+ hours): >2 hours

The general process

  1. Look at my schedule to see what flight I am doing (I occasionally post this on the IFC) - and check how busy the airports are on LiveFlight.com.

  2. Go onto Flightradar24.com to find out flight number, callsign, airport METARs, aircraft & livery used, runway used and gate used at origin airport (and destination airport later on before I land)

  3. Double check winds using Windy.com and the airport METARs and incorporate the high-altitude winds into choosing a flight plan.

  4. Go onto SimBrief.com and file an OFP, using a custom airframe using the Infinite Flight aircraft specifications (of whatever aircraft I’m using) and convert it into an IF-friendly flight plan using FPLtoIF.com, adding in the waypoints for the SID and STAR I am going to use (SID and STAR searched up using Google.com)

  5. Load up IF-A, IF-O, IF-I and Infinite Flight and copy my flight plan into the map as well as change my callsign. I input V-Speeds (calculated using SimBrief.com) and VNAV instructions into IF-A (using the waypoint altitudes generated by FPLtoIF.com/SimBrief.com). I configure my weight and balance (fuel, pax and cargo) using information from FPLtoIF.com and check ATIS for runways being used (adjusting my FLP, taxi route,SID and STAR if necessary).

  6. Pre-Flight Checks (takes about 10 minutes)
    6a. Simulate boarding process (takes 15-45 minutes depending on plane.

  7. Request pushback, pushback and start engines (check that they have stabilised).

  8. (After Pushback) - Flight Control checks (rudder, alerions, spoilers, elevators). Double check engine stability.

  9. Request Taxi and taxi to runway following the taxi route used by the aircraft IRL (if possible).

  10. Takeoff and proceed to destination!

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If i am flying a normal civilian flight i will sometimes just spawn in and go but usually get ground charts, METAR, an FPL and whatever else and most of the time load up Infinite Passengers as well.

If i am flying military with IAV then i’ll go through the mission brief on my own then if i am flying alone run through the plan get the FPL and METAR and do preflight then go. If i am in a group then i’ll get connected to our secure communications system and establish contact with my team. Then usually being the team lead i will do a through pre-flight briefing an a mission specific briefing before connecting to the airfield control frequencies where applicable, spawning in, loading the FPL bringing up my charts and other required documents, setting my load configurations, fuelling up, doing final briefings with my team before contacting control to taxi and takeoff before usually going dark and beginning the mission.

With the military its usually very detailed but depends on the mission and the prior brief from my Operations Officer. With civilian its usually more relaxed with less planning unless i am flying with VATC.

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Finally, someone else who actually uses the same gates as the real world flight! I thought I was the only one! Excellent, top marks sir.

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