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Don't use SIMBRIEF (or any other flightplanning tool) blindly


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It appears that SIMBRIEF gives a route based on popularity, which is not nessasarily the best option. As controller in Denmark I've seen an increasing number of pilots flying e.g. EHAM - EKCH on the route :

EHAM - ANDIK - N873 - BAVTA - T56 - TESPI - EKCH, which is the first route to popup, when using SIMBRIEF.

While this is a valid route, it is NOT the most convinient route neither seen from a pilot's perspective nor from atc's. 

 

image.png.25ab81ccf332b3547fc9c267e6d2cb0f.png

A better choice is number 2 in the list of suggested route: EHAM -ANDIK N873 JUIST DOSUR P729 TUDLO - EKCH

image.png.930333178543ce811873cf752c67ae47.png

From an atc's point of view the latter route gives a better flow into EKCH as you don't have to merge the planes normally using TESPI arrivals into EKCH ( arr. from W and NW) with planes coming from SW.

IRL the first route will also penetrated areas with a lot of military activity as seen below, so you might get reroutes.

image.png.6eb51da557fbdd1ceb0735d71bccd69d.png

A better choice is to have a look at RW route usage and implement it in you planning, instead of relying of what "others" (at vatsim) has done. Nobody said flightplanning is easy.

Happy flying

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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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I have also noticed some very weird routings recently and when I ask the pilots where they got it from, the reply is usually "Simbrief gave it to me". Thankfully all of them who I have met were very approachable and eager to understand how they can get better routes. I usually suggest this for a free route-service: https://vau.aero/route/ 

Interestingly enough though, it gives a different route than the one you gave, Torben, so t may not be ideal either! 😄 

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No that is an even worse route as it brings arriving traffic head to head with departures from EKCH over ALS. I haven't checked the validity, but it wouldn't be a choice of mine. As I said, nobody said this is easy :-)

Just checked P999 is a low route (max FL245)

edit2: Have checked your route with Eurocontrol and Pathfinder's route can't be used. There is a restriction saying TUDLO is unavailable into EKCH EXCEPT via TALSA P729 TUDLO. So Aero hasn't got it right.

Edited by Torben Andersen
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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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The issue also seems to be that

  • route finders are eager to use standard WPT-AIRWAY-WPT combinations, instead of DCT-routings where they are possible
  • for Europe there is no well known easy-to-access realworld route database (without registration etc.)
  • people follow what other people do

One way could be to ask the Admin of Simbrief to completely delete wrong routes between EHAM and EKCH, but then other users will begin making the same requests and that's probably NOT what Simbrief wants.

 

Solution: use vroute! All flightplans there regularly get checked for validity and the likelihood of coming across a completely stupid routing is much lower. If you do not want to register with vroute, you can also install Qutescoop and use its Route Finder - it does tap into vroute's database and will get you the same valid results, have a look:

sceenshot_12012021_122237.thumb.jpg.10ded05ff0af54518b7cf2c88bfa1034.jpg

I use Simbrief, too. And I love it! But sometimes one has to import a better routing from other services like vroute, Skyvector/Flightaware and others to get viable results.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
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i always create my routes in skyvector first.. even if you're gonna use someone elses suggestion, just paste it in first, take a look..

you'll often even find real world filed routes will sometimes make no sense (stuff like filing a bunch of waypoints on an airway as directs instead of just filing the airway) so i always go over them myself

 

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Mike Teague said:

i always create my routes in skyvector first.. even if you're gonna use someone elses suggestion, just paste it in first, take a look..

you'll often even find real world filed routes will sometimes make no sense (stuff like filing a bunch of waypoints on an airway as directs instead of just filing the airway) so i always go over them myself

Hi Mike, it always depends on what region you plan your flights in. In Northern America it is much easier, compared to Europe. We have a lot of airspace and route restrictions to direct traffic flows.

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vRoute is an excellent database as it's routes are validated. On the other hand this also means that if a route is NOT in the database, you still have to create one yourself AND get vroute to validate it, which takes some time (days). From my (European) perspective I think it is better that you learn how to create routes and validate them with Eurocontrol. Conviniently Simbrief has a button, which you can click to get a text to put into Eurocontrol's vatidation tool. If it comes out with a NO ERRORS all is good as far as a valid routing concern ( as mentioned in my initial post the routing over BAVTA is valid, but not convinient). If not, well then its time to learn something about the RAD database and how to use that to find a valid route.

And this is the fun part of flying a civilian flightsim - you are the dispatcher, so don't cut corners by simply doing what others are doing, but learn the trade. In Europe the number of limitations to route selections can be VERY high, and sometimes it is hard to find ANY route (then vroute is indeed (hopefully) an answer to your paryers). But in the end it is far more rewarding to be able to do it yourself.

 

Edited by Torben Andersen

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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Better routes are one of many reasons why I still like PFPX more than simbrief.

I can also highly recommend eurofpl.eu/finder.

 

I think you have to register in order to receive routes (but I'm not entirely sure as I've signed up many many years ago).

Just hit Route finder, then enter ADEP, ADES, LVL and one aircraft which you've added to your Aircraft hangar previously and then go to tab "View NM Proposed routes" and there you have it:
CFMU valid routes without spending too much time fiddling around in skyvector.

 

Searching for AMS-CPH turned out the following top result: BETUS5Y ANDIK N873 JUIST DCT DOSUR P729 TUDLO TUDLO2F which is supposedly the same route Torben recommened in this OP. 😉👍

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This is a virtual ATC from Italy. I'm glad that isn't something which happen only in my airspace. The Italy Free Route Airspace have some specific rules, which some of them are really significant, others could be technically "ignored". DCT between 2 fixes could be done in my country but, ONLY if you fly above FL305, which is the border between airways airspace and free route airspace and it must be done only inside the national airspace, and with the route which will not fly too much closer and with similar direction, to the ACC borders. I saw a lot of pilots, expecially on the route between Warsaw and Roma, which use a route from simbrief which use a direct between two fixes, but it pass over the border between Italy and Croatia Airspace for 2 times, which make this route not valid. If we could definetely ignore that a pilot doesn't use the right waypoints for his/her flight to a destination which is a big airport, some mistakes required without exception a replanning from the ATC.

Of course, everyone can make mistakes, luckly ATC can help you when is the case 🙂

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Sometimes things get complicated. ATC on VATSIM as Milano Radar (LIMM_N_CTR) Twitch channel https://www.twitch.tv/italianalien21

 

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Indeed, Free Route Airspace (FRA) is becomming an increasing part of European Airspace and many are not aware of it (or how it works). Sadly the documentation for FRA is not very easily found in all FIRs. In Denmark we have a FRA covering Denmark and Sweden above FL285, but as you mention in other countries, like Italy, the FRA starts above FL305. Additionally, you can not always go "all the way" within a FRA, but need to use intermedient points along with Entry and Exit points. I think this is hard for flightplanning software to handle and so we have pilots, who fly incorrect/invalid routes. Perhaps someone knowledgeable can elaborate on the rules and how to plan flight is different FRAs.

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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Would it be acceptable to still use simbrief and then use skyvector to help with choosing a better route (if a better route can be made)  I must admit I am a long time user of simbrief and have probably been putting way to much trust into it, but I always thought it adequate for sim purposes.

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On 12/5/2021 at 5:27 PM, Andreas Fuchs said:

Yes, of course! Simbrief is excellent to create your flight plans, load sheets, fuel calculations. But just don't blindly trust its route suggestions, have a look them.

Simbrief throws routes based on popularity. If a stupid routing will get somewhere to the top, it is suggested to more and more pilots - and it peaks it's popularity. It's a vicious cycle.

Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

VATSIMer since 2009, IRL pilot rated.

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On 12/5/2021 at 2:04 AM, John McMurdo said:

Would it be acceptable to still use simbrief and then use skyvector to help with choosing a better route (if a better route can be made)  I must admit I am a long time user of simbrief and have probably been putting way to much trust into it, but I always thought it adequate for sim purposes.

Yes, absolutely. Consider SimBrief's route suggestions nothing more than that - *suggestions*. There's a reason you can enter your own.

What I typically do is this:

  1. Set up flight in SimBrief
  2. Click the "skyvector" button to open the suggested route there
  3. Use skyvector and other tools to check, and, if necessary, change, the route
  4. Copy the route back into SimBrief and continue

SimBrief routings are often OK, but sometimes they're not, and they also don't take your aircraft type into account, so if you do anything that's not typical airliner ops (e.g., turboprop, non-RNAV, or even just a fully loaded cargo heavy), you will usually have to change things a bit.

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On 12/1/2021 at 10:06 AM, Torben Andersen said:

It appears that SIMBRIEF gives a route based on popularity, which is not nessasarily the best option. As controller in Denmark I've seen an increasing number of pilots flying e.g. EHAM - EKCH on the route :

EHAM - ANDIK - N873 - BAVTA - T56 - TESPI - EKCH, which is the first route to popup, when using SIMBRIEF.

While this is a valid route, it is NOT the most convinient route neither seen from a pilot's perspective nor from atc's.

A better choice is number 2 in the list of suggested route: EHAM -ANDIK N873 JUIST DOSUR P729 TUDLO - EKCH

Just a short PS: I just found this new (to me!) website and it does list the most used flightplan routes between two airports. Have a look how many pilots used the "wrong" route vs. the number of people using better routes!

https://statsim.net/flights/citypairroute/?dep=EHAM&arr=EKCH

sceenshot_12102021_122013.jpg.02adef777e1f7d9f230ac1bba780376a.jpg

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So we have a total of 1198 flight of which 693 flies via TESPI (57.8%) "the wrong route", 7.3% use a route via MONAK and only 34.9% use route via TUDLO. The planes going to TUDLO via ALS is also not ok (interference between dep out CPH and arr into CPH, making the percetage even worse. Sad readings.

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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Another example NOT TO BE FOLLOWED by my dear flying VATSIM pilots: EKCH - EDDH (Copenhagen - Hamburg).

Why do pilots insist using the LANGO departure out of EKCH, when the NEXEN (for jets)/KOPEX (for props) are so much better?

image.png.b15bc9430b698adfd1ac5629955aabe6.pngLANGO

image.png.97ba2e92f25729efc605f72a44f6fa0c.pngNEXEN

I can only imagine that the process of flight preparation has a much lower status than it should have. Next time I sit at a ground position in EKCH those darn pilots will get reroutes :-)

Edited by Torben Andersen

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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