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Established in the spring of 2013, SimBrief.com was created with the intent of sharing a series of flight planning tools with the general Flight Simulation community. Aircraft performance and navigational databases are based on real world data, making SimBrief ideal for use with any of the Flight Simulation programs currently on the market.
Through a partnership with Navigraph, purchasers of Navigraph's FMS Data product can enjoy the added bonus of unlocking the latest AIRAC for use with their SimBrief account. That being said, those without a Navigraph subscription can still freely use the default SimBrief.com database, which is slightly dated.
SimBrief was made possible by the numerous data providers who continue to offer their data feeds and/or services free of charge. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the following parties for their contribution:
- Navigraph, for providing the latest AIRAC cycles
- The FAA, for granting access to their AIDAP/XML NOTAM feed
- The NOAA, for their FTP weather service
- The NOMADS Distribution System, without which current winds aloft fetching would not be possible
- Wesley Ebisuzaki, for the wgrib2 tool used to process the GRIB2 files provided by the NOMADS system
- The PHP.net manual, which was referenced countless times over the past 2 years
- Stack Overflow, another great resource for programmers which was visited several times
- The Askgeo API and James Diebel, for providing current local timezone information
- The Great Circle Mapper by Karl L. Swartz, used in some flight plan formats to visually depict the route
- The FPDF and TCPDF Libraries, both of which are used to create PDF versions of generated flight plans
Since the website's release, I've had the fortune of being contacted by several individuals offering to help. Whether they offered real world flight plans, aircraft technical data, bug reports, or web design help, their contributions have been key in improving the SimBrief systems. I'd like to extend my thanks to the following contributors:
- Ahmed Hassan
- Bernardo Reis
- Cody Diamond
- Dimitris Themistocleous
- Ed McCoy
- Furio Piscitelli
- Heigo Tomba
- James White
- Jonathan Phillips
- Jose M Pereira
- Kyle Rodgers
- Matt Butterworth
- Matthew Montgomery
- Paolo Fumagalli
- Phil Kurus
- Ryan Cooper
- Sean Averre
- Vangelis Boulasikis
All systems combined, SimBrief runs on over 20000 lines of custom PHP code and has been in development since 2010. The systems are always being updated; users with feature requests are invited to post them in the support forum.
About the Author
My name is Derek Mayer, and I have been involved with Flight Simulation in one way or another for over 20 years now. What started as the occasional hop from Meigs to Midway in FS5 quickly grew into 6 hour trans-oceanic flights in FS98, and eventually, I was spending much of my summer on the MSN Zone flying in FS2002.
I was first introduced to the world of Virtual Airlines by a fellow Zone pilot. He suggested I check out Pacific Airways, and explained how they simulate real world airline operations with their own flight schedules, logbooks, and fleet downloads. From there I was introduced to VATSIM, an online network where virtual pilots and air traffic controllers interact with each other in what is, in my view, the most realistic flight simulation experience available today.
My journey as an FS developer began around that same time, as I searched for ways to improve my Flight Simulator experience. Since then I have touched on virtually every area of FS design; creating repaints, panels, gauges, sound files, FDEs, scenery files, models, and more recently, VA websites and flight planning systems. While a lot of my work was for personal use and was never released, a few notable projects I have worked on are the Aerodesigns A318, Erick Cantu's L1011, and all of Project Airbus' post-2005 releases. All of my work has always been freeware.
As I began my real world aviation career, virtual flying lost some of its appeal and I shifted more attention to developing. The script which would eventually become the backbone of the SimBrief system started life as a simple, one-page sheet listing the departure, destination, and alternate airports along with crew names, scheduled flight times, and a very rudimentary fuel burn figure. As time progressed, I gradually added features to the base script until it had become so detailed that I felt it deserved its own website. Almost everything I now know about web design and computer programming was learned over the course of developing the SimBrief website and dispatch system.