SimBrief (simbrief.com) is a free website that you can sign up for that lets you plan for your flights. It can give you a number of advanced data elements such as altitude, fuel, speed, and top of descent (TOD). I was working on a video for all of this but I think it was better to type it up.
First, create a profile on SimBrief. You do need a valid email address for this to happen. Don’t worry once you sign up they do not send you spam mail.
Once logged in, go to the dispatch system.
Select “Create a New Flight”
Start to fill everything out.
- Airline - The abbreviation of the airline
- Flight No - Flight Number
- Depart - Your departure airport
- Arrive - Your arrival airport
- Alternate - It will give fuel to make it to this airport as an alternative. I usually do NONE unless needed.
- Zulu - Departure time if you choose to use it.
- Airframe - Select your aircraft.
- Airframe More Options If you choose “More Options” You will see your “Climb Profile”. This is your speed while climbing. 250kts up to 10k, then 300kts transitioning to m.78 cruise. The same is listed for descent profile.
- Below that are optional entries such as departure and arrival runway. I advise you to set at least the departure runway as it will get you on the SID for that runway.
- Taxi Out/In - I usually change the Taxi Out and In to 5 minutes since the SIM is a little quicker than real life.
- Altitude - You can leave this auto for long hauls. Short hauls from DFW to SAT I usually do FL260 so it doesnt send me up to FL330. Thats what is more flown in real life in my experience.
After setting your Departure and Arrival aiprorts, the route will show at the bottom. You can change the route by selecting different routes on the right that are reflected in the map below.
Advanced Users Advanced users can use this time to pull up departure and arrival plates and enter additional waypoints as needed. It will help to make your plan more accurate.
Click on “Analyze Route”
The top right of the screen is a section that I like to clean up. I uncheck everything but detailed navlog and change the units to LBS to match my setting in IF.
You can copy the string from the route into your IF plan. Note that some may not exist, or some may be on the other side of the world, you will have to manually adjust those if needed.
If you are happy with your settings, click on GENERATE OFP at the top to generate your plan.
There is a summary section at the top that will give you information about your flight.
One of the interesting pieces in there is your Block Fuel that you can use to fill up your tanks in IF.
11.If you scroll down you will see your detailed flight plan. This can also be saved as a PDF.
Yellow is your summary and fuel. Orange is your final fuel amount.
If you continue scrolling you will come to your waypoints. Lets start with what everything is. There is a great interactive help button above it that will show you what each field is.
The T O C listed is Top of Climb. You can use this information to give you a rough estimate on your climbing VS. Remember you are trying to save fuel so do not go crazy.
The TOC is at 37,000, Dallas is at 270’. It says we should take 26 minutes to get there. 37000-270=36730. Take that divided by 26 minutes and you get 36730/26=1412. Round up for good measure, VS of 1500 if you want. I am sure there are better ways of doing it but this is just something quick and dirty with less math.
The T O D listed is Top of Descent or “When you should start descending”. This is all with the assumption that you are following the listed speed guidelines in your plan. We can do the same math here too.
90 miles out is when we should start descending. I usually add a about 10 miles to be safe. 1:34-1:16 = 18 min to go (37,000-3000) = 34,000 / 18 min = 1888 VS. Again, its not perfect but better than nothing.
**Keep in mind that some plans will have additional waypoints after the TOD so you can use that to help gauge your altitude.
That is my quick and dirty guide to simbrief. It takes time to get used to all the information but you can choose to use as little or as much of the information that you can.
For more information about flight planing see :
Flight Series | Part 1 - Flight planning series | Part 1 Route information
Flight Series | Part 2 - Flight planning series | Part 2 Aviation Weather
Flight Series | Part 3 - Flight planning series | Part 3 Charts
Flight Series | Part 4 - Flight planning series | Part 4 Flight plan & fuel planning
Other Helpful Links
Finding real work flight plans - Finding Real World Routes for Your Flight Planning
I know there are other sim brief posts out there so there should be plenty of information.
Other tips from the community:
- if you set the OFP type to JetBlue it will calculate V-speeds for you which are very useful.