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v7 Guide : How To Setup Subfleets And Use SimBrief Custom Airframes

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Ok, this is the second part of my guides. I got a lot of questions about them, how to define, how to make them compatible with SimBrief, how do the real companies handle different types or configs etc. etc. And unfortunately I see some PhpVms friends having struggle with defining them.


So what is it ? All airlines do have aircrafts, we call them fleets. But most of the airlines do have different types of aircrafts under their fleets, imagine like having both Airbus A320 and Boeing B737-800 at the same time flying for the same airline. Then you need some "Subfleets" to separate them during operations. And things got really messy when those aircrafts have different seat configurations, imagine a Boeing B737-800 with full economy seats and another one with 150 Economy seats + 16 Business seats. They are still B737-800 but their capacities and weights do change :) To overcome that changes we do divide them to more "Groups" or "Subfleets". While in real ops, we do have some extra definitions for them and this changes from airline to airline, but here in phpvms v7 we only have "Subfleets" and it is pretty enough to manage our fleets.


Lets start to define our Subfleets for Boeing B737-800 fleet;


When in admin section, click Fleet from the sidebar , this will open up the Subfleets page (yes there is a confusion there but it is ok). Then click Add New Subfleet from top navbar.


  • Select your airline
  • Select the base/hub of this subfleet (optional but nice to have)
  • Define the short code (type) you wish to use for this subfleet. For this I would kindly suggest having short but descriptive names like B738W-Y189 or just B738W-Y
  • Leave the SimBrief Type empty (for now, will explain it later)
  • Give a nice name to your subfleet. Do not force the limits, a short but nice name would do the trick like Boeing B737-800 WL Full Economy
  • Leave Cost Per Hour empty (for now, will explain it later)
  • Leave Cost Delay Per Minute empty (for now, will explain it later)
  • Select JET A as your fuel type
  • Leave Ground Handling Multiplier empty (for now, will explain it later)


and click Save.


Now we have our first Subfleet, which will hold/contain our 189 seated Boeing 738's. (This is important, we created this new subfleet for only Boeing B738's with full economy seats. Not for all of our Boeing B738's !) So move a little bit down and you will see new items/sections there


  • Ranks ( will explain this later, but leave it empty for now and please do disable/unclick Restrict Aircrafts To Ranks setting in Admin/Settings during your initial setup and test phase)
  • Fares  ( I tried to explain the fare logic in another topic, will not do a copy paste here or repeat myself ... Simply add your Economy fare here and set the capacity as 189. Leave price and cost untouched. )
  • Expenses ( will explain this later in detail )
  • Files ( No need to explain this i think, these are the files you upload or link to this subfleet. It may be document or a repaint, anything you want to share is possible)


Click Save again. Now we will repeat the same process from beginning but now for our different seat configurated B738's ... This time going a little bit fast, click add new subfleet and apply the differences below;


  • Define the short code (type) you wish to use for this subfleet. For this I would kindly suggest having short but descriptive names like B738W-Y150J16 or just B738W-YJ
  • Give a nice name to your subfleet. Do not force the limits, a short but nice name would do the trick like Boeing B737-800 WL Mixed


click Save and then quickly add two fares to this subfleet. This time we will need two fares 'cause this subfleet will hold our 2 class seat configurated B738's. So we need both Economy and Business fares (which we created earlier). Set the capacity of Economy fare to 150 and Business to 16


and click Save again to finish the basic setup.


Technically that's all you need to do to define and separate different types of aircraft in your fleet. Go ahead and add some aircrafts under these newly created Subfleets. First two aircrafts to the Boeing B737-800 WL Full Economy subfleet


While adding aircrafts to subfleets, try using standard codes for IATA and ICAO fields. IATA code is not used anywhere but ICAO code is important for flight planning with SimBrief integration. As an example I will add two aircrafts to each subfleet, to do this click on the Subfleet Name (Boeing B737-800 WL Full Economy) and then click on New Aircraft . Enter details as below;


  • Status : Active
  • Location : As you wish
  • Name : Clipper Disposable ( This is nothing more than a sticker on the plane, anything you like to have is ok. It may be your name, your child's name or even a place name. It has no legality in real life ops)
  • IATA : 738
  • ICAO : B738 ( This field is used for SimBrief flight planning, until you define some special code for the whole subfleet. Which will be explained later)
  • Registration : TC-SKR ( This is important and must be unique, this is the licence plate of an aircraft - along with its MSN : Manufacturer Serial Number, think like the VIN of your car )
  • MTOW : Empty
  • ZFW : Empty


Click Save . skip Expenses and Files for now. Click Save again to return back to Subfleet list. Click New Aircraft again and apply the differences as below;


  • Name : Fake Queen ( This is nothing more than a sticker on the plane, anything you like to have is ok. It may be your name, your child's name or even a place name. It has no legality in real life ops)
  • Registration : TC-SKS ( This is important and must be unique, this is the licence plate of an aircraft - along with its MSN : Manufacturer Serial Number, think like the VIN of your car )


Click Save again and then click Fleet from the sidebar. Now add two new aircrafts to your Boeing B737-800 WL Mixed subfleet, just make up two new names and two unique registrations. And you are done.


When you look at your Fleet page, you will be seeing something like below;

Boeing B737-800 WL Full Economy | Disposable Virtual | B738W-Y  | 2 | Edit and Delete Icons
Boeing B737-800 WL Mixed        | Disposable Virtual | B738W-YJ | 2 | Edit and Delete Icons


Actually the most important part is over, what you will see below is kind of nerdish details ;) We have two different types, they are different so they will have different weights or specs, and they must have different flight plans ! Well, this may dissapoint you but most of the details will be same but of course there will be some, slight changes between them. And we already handled the most important difference (seat configuration) just minutes ago, so what now ?


The weights will be different, which weights ! I know we left MTOW and ZFW empty while defining our subfleets 'cause they have no effect and not being used at all (for now, maybe we can improve phpvms v7 a little bit more to effectively use that fields too).


When seat configuration changes, mainly BEW (Basic Empty Weight) and DOW (Dry Operating Weight or Operating Empty Weight) changes. MZFW (Maximum Zero Fuel Weight), MRW (Maximum Ramp Weight), MTOW (Maximum TakeOff Weight) and MLW (Maximum Landing Weight) remains the same. And as you saw, none of these weights are available in PhpVms v7 (at least not now), so we need to use SimBrief to define these differences. (please open a new tab, do not close the phpvms admin tab now)


At SimBrief website, click on Saved Airframes (under Dispatch) menu. Then click on New Airframe. Select B737-800 from the dropdown and click proceed. In this tiny but valuable screen we have everything needed and we have the ability to use these settings for our subfleets in PhpVms v7. Just make WEIGHT CHANGES and adjust the MAX PASSENGERS here as you wish (according to your preferred addon aircraft's weights of course), give your new airframes nice names and registrations (don't worry only you will see them, they will not be used on your API generated flight plans). 


Rest of the info is not necessary for us 'cause we are sending almost all them to SimBrief via our integration system and what we are sending have priority over the airframe we are saving here. So for example, you can define the registration here as TC-DSP , but when generating a new flight plan via our integration we will send the registration as TC-SKS. SimBrief is clever enough to use the submitted one (many thanks to Derek) and your generated ofp will use TC-SKS as the registration.


So keeping things short, assuming you just finished editing your new airframe's weights which will be used for your Boeing B737-800 WL Full Economy subfleet and ready to save it ... Just copy the Internal ID code from there and click Save Aircraft


Go back to your PhpVms v7 admin section (we left it at Subfleet list and did not closed the tab as far as remember) and click edit icon of your Boeing B737-800 WL Full Economy subfleet. And paste the Internal ID you just coppied there to Simbrief Type field (which we left empty before). It will look like something like this 2458_1615250668421


Now go back to SimBrief tab, create a new airframe and edit its details for your Boeing B737-800 WL Mixed subfleet. Repeat the same process and use your new Internal ID for that subfleet.


You may not believe this, but you are done :) Really this was all, not joking.


From now on, when you want to generate a new Operational Flight Plan (OFP) with PhpVms v7 using the SimBrief integration for the members of these subfleets, SimBrief will use the weights and other changes (which we do not overwrite via API) according to the airframes details you saved there.


Our SimBrief integration is capable of passing almost every detail you need for a proper flight plan, I know we miss some little details but they are not affecting the reliability of the flight plan at all. What you need is already in your hands and with the addition of proper/addon matching weights all your flight plans will be much realistic.


Key Factors for defining SubFleets


  • Do not mix up different aircraft types under a subfleet ( like B738/A320 or A321/A321 NEO )
  • Do not mix up different seat configurated aircrafts under a subfleet ( like 189 Economy Seats/150 Economy + 16 Business Seats )
  • Do not mix up different purpose aircrafts under a subfleet ( like Freighter/ Passenger )
  • Try to keep up your subfleets organized and simple as much as possible


There is one possible downside of using SimBrief Airframe ID's for SubFleets. And it is a little bit complicated, imagine some of your pilots are using X-Plane / Zibo B737-800X as their aircraft. So you will try to match your SimBrief airframe details close to Zibo B738 as much as possible, and there is nothing wrong with this. But then a new pilots registers and uses Prepar3D / PMDG B738 NGXu ! What the hell, technically they are the same aircraft but their weights and fuel specs may not be the same. This problem applies to real world operations too so you are not alone. At this situation you need to either create a new subfleet for the PMDG NGXu or find a middle point where the two (PMDG NGXu and Zibo B738X) can share the same airframe id without damaging the realism too much. [ I prefer finding the middle point ]


This possible scenario may be extended to Airbus fleets, may include MsFs aircraft and possible future addons ... Our lovely addon developers mostly try to match real specs but weights do differ in real life too. Unfortunately having simbrief airframe id's for every aircraft in your fleet will not solve this problem 'cause one of your X-Plane pilots may take an MsFs configured aircraft and fly with it (by disregarding or accepting the litte changes), so my advice here is written above. Keep your subfleets organized and simple as much as you can, let your pilots do little corrections according to their simulator and aircraft choices.


There is another possible solution for this but it needs more improvements in phpvms v7 or a completely independent module. I am working on one but how it will proceed I am not sure yet. Imagine having separate definitions for each addon your pilots have, for example 3 Boeing B737-800 definitions (Zibo B738X, PMDG NGXu for PMDG and PMDG NGxS for MsFs2020) , or 3 Airbus A321 Neo's (ToLiss, Asobo and Aerosoft) and you will be able to select your addon during flight planning, where its proper values will be passed to SimBrief. Honestly this is the only possible solution I thought to overcome this mess.


Anyway, thats all for now. Will try to give some more details about expenses next time.


Safe flights to all


Edited by FatihKoz
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  • DisposableHero changed the title to v7 Guide : How To Setup Subfleets And Use SimBrief Custom Airframes
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  • 10 months later...

Fantastic article. At the time of me reading this article I believe the module you mentioned above already came out as I saw the ability to create the mentioned separate profiles.

The only thing I can add (and that only applies to some extent) is that it could get a bit complicated/time consuming to structure the setup as described when running a major operations including 100s of aircraft with many different configurations like for instance replicating a big airline.

Other than that, the explication is perfect and very much appreciated!!

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Thanks for your kind thoughts.


Honestly, I never told that it would be easy :) Specially when you want to simulate things in detail, it will take time to setup and manage.


Yeah, that mentioned module/addon is available and it allows admins to define almost everything needed for proper flight planning per fleet/aircraft configuration.


Combined with nice subfleet and fare structures (needs admin work and time too) all matches up and works fine ;)

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