In-Flight Operations ACARS: Development Updates

Hey everyone!

Most of you are familiar with my free app In-Flight Operations - I have been working on a feature that will let pilots take their flight reports from In-Flight Operations and post the reports as PIREPs directly into your systems.

I’m in touch with a number of you in the VA community to get to a point where this works for the various systems. In order to streamline communication (there are too many to keep track of at this point, and the Discourse DM system is not the best), I’ve decided to create a big thread here, sorted for each VA backend type in order to let you all know where I am at and what the next steps are.

NOTE: As you all know, all my apps are a side project for me, so I only get to work on them during any spare time I can find. Because of this, sometimes things can take longer than I myself would like. I’ll be trying to be updating this as often as I can, but I make no promises of any kind re: how fast or slow development will be! For that matter, I may also suddenly decide to focus on other features for a while, etc. Either way I’d like to use this thread to keep everyone updated and to gauge interest.

So here are the various VA systems I know about and their current status as it comes to IF-O support.

phpVMS 7

Status: 90%
I already have a basic version working for virtualBlue (again, thanks to @FBWFTW and co, for their ideas, feedback, and beta testing!) - so it should be very easy to add any of your guys’ VAs that run with phpVMS 7.

My next steps

  • Releasing the working beta as a full version with basic fields being sent to virtualBlue (and any other VA with phpVMS 7)
  • Adding more features and sending more fields than just the basic ones. (This will likely become part of a premium version of In-Flight Operations)

Next steps for you if your VA runs on phpVMS 7 and you want In-Flight Operations to support your VA:

  • Set up a test account for me
  • Email me your VA server URL
  • I’d appreciate it if you could recommend the In-Flight apps to your VA.

phpVMS 5.5

Status: 15%

Here I am still way in the beginning. @Velocity23 has opened up a test account and has set up a simple GET-based API that I need to test.

Using older phpVMS

  • IFAE - phpVMS2
  • IFAE-GAF - phpVMS 5.2.2

My next steps

  • Testing Velocity23’s phpVMS 5 API to see if I can get it to work

Next steps for you if your VA runs on phpVMS 5.5 and you want In-Flight Operations to support your VA:

  • Post into this thread that you’re interested. If you know a better way to post PIREPs than with Velocity23’s method, let’s chat!

vaBase

Status: 15%

Here I am also way in the beginning. @Benjwri has set up an API but one of the issues has been that vaBase does not offer an API key at this point. He has an idea, so we are trying to see if we can get it to work.

My next steps

  • Testing Benjwri’s vaBase API to see if I can get it to work
  • See if this works with Nonstop VA (@OC212)
  • Also Qantas VA (@sam2875)

Next steps for you if your VA runs on vaBase and you want In-Flight Operations to support your VA:

  • Post into this thread that you’re interested. If you know a better way to post PIREPs with vaBase, let’s chat!

IFBase

Status: 25%

This is @ChrisToxz’s baby and so he’s already set up a test account and I’ve been able to make simple posts. Still need to flesh it out and get it into the apps.

My next steps

  • Test ChrisToxz’s interface some more and try and actually send real data into IFBase, include it in a beta and release.
  • Also Saudia (@Latvia)

Next steps for you if your VA runs on IFBase and you want In-Flight Operations to support your VA:

  • Chat in this thread and let me know - also let ChrisToxz know, perhaps we can add you into a beta version once it is ready.

VAM
Status: 5%

Not really sure about this one, whether it has an API etc.

My next steps

  • evaluate interest and whether it offers an API etc.

Next steps for you if your VA uses VAM

  • Let me know in the thread!
  • See if you can figure out whether VAM has an API!

Google Sheets / AirTable

Status: 15%

Some of you use “old skool” manual Google Sheets or AirTable. Neither are that hard to post to. The problem is primarily that each of your systems will likely be different. So I need to think through how best to do this so I don’t have to re-program everything for each different VA.

My next steps

  • Evaluate how much interest there even is for this.
  • If there is interest, think through what it could look like and implement it.

Using AirTable

Next steps for you if your VA’s PIREP system runs on Google Sheets and you want In-Flight Operations to support your VA:

  • Let me know in this thread!

Thanks everyone! I’d really appreciate your input and also your patience as I try to get this thing fleshed out at some point.

Which VA system do you use?

  • vaBase
  • phpVMS 5.5
  • phpVMS 7
  • Google Sheets
  • IFBase
  • Other (please specify in the comments!)

0 voters

22 Likes

This looks realy good @epaga!

1 Like

Hey, Nonstop Virtual uses va base and we are interested! We have dropped you a PM a couple days ago.

1 Like

Yep, I remember the DM, thanks for posting in here as well. I’ve added you to my todo list in the main post up top. 😀

3 Likes

Not a problem. @Benjwri is in are slack channel so we have spoken with him if you wish to join the channel just drop a DM

could you add that in for airtable aswell TuiVA COO

1 Like

Thanks, added it to the Google Sheets option since it’s very similar to develop for.

1 Like

We use Airtable as well. KOrean Air Virtual.

1 Like

🧐

👌

🙇🙇🙇🙇🙇

4 Likes

Have you ever thought about developing your own VA management program? I think it would be interesting to see.

You can integrate In-Flight Ops into it, as well as add some of the goodies your programs tend to have.

This is awesome @epaga!!

That’s basically what @ChrisToxz is doing with IFBase

3 Likes

sighs Why has every idea been taken already?

2 Likes

Speaking of ideas being taken-there’s another “sim” out there that completely ripped off IFOps AND the IF UI… Poorly I might add. (there were a few tiny detail type things there that hopefully can be PROPERLY implemented in IF down the line)
I messed around w it a bit and noticed that they had ripped off not only the UI but also IFOps.

The bottom line with this is:
@epaga = LEGEND

He’s taken our concept of IFOps and ACARS along with all our ideas right from the ground up and now we’re legit a few lines of code away from having a full on ACARS system! Staff at virtualBlue is already beta testing the phpVMS 7 integration and looking forward to the future versions!

Is it RFS?

Not sure if I’m supposed to say that really-but you get the idea. I mean they literally took EVERY SINGLE data point that IFOps reads plus a couple more that we’ve asked John to look into down the line.

2 Likes

Speaking of this, my VA is in the works, and I’m currently trying to figure out which one to use. Would anyone mind helping?

UPSV is using VAM (Virtual Airlines Manager). Are you aware of this platform and is this under consideration?

1 Like

Singapore VA currently uses Airtable for Pireps.

@epaga Korean Air Virtual has PHPVMS 5.5