Author Topic: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek  (Read 6675 times)

Doug

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VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« on: May 12, 2016, 02:06:47 PM »
VFR Flight - planning program

I've started a new thread for VFR Flight so people can more easily discuss it here. (Dieter and I had been discussing it in the "General Discussions" area). Dieter pointed this program out to me last week and suggested I give it a try. When it comes to flight planning software, with thousands of flight plans under my belt (800+ in the auto routes of RTMM Flight Plans.zip), I'm skeptical.  It is easy to stay with what you know (and some always will). But I must now say this, after flying half way across Canada following the TransCanada highway ... VFR Flight is a FIRST CLASS flight planning tool for simmers!

Łukasz Kulasek has created this fine program, and you can find a great introduction to it by going to the web page for it at:


First of all, read the web page thoroughly to look at the features.  Second, spend some time with the YouTube videos that Lukasz has created, (at the top of the page). You will see how easily he does things (meaning you'll get the hang of it too) and you will be amazed at some of the features. (Glide Range for a disabled aircraft?). He will show you some very special magic he can do with terrain analysis.  Making the way points is simple, right mouse click will do it.

Like Plan-G, that gives a ".plg" file output, VFR Flight outputs a ".vfr" flight plan. You can save it, bring it in, adjust it, etc.  But like Plan-G ... the key for us is the EXPORT and IMPORT area. (This is NOT located under the "File" area as I expected, but is located under the "Flight Plan" button.  When you make a plan, you can export it as FSX/P3D ... and it exports as a ".pln" file. (By sticking with the sim's format (.pln) you can use any flight planning tool to work on plans. You can IMPORT all of our .pln files using this method.

There are several map formats you can use. I am using the "Virtual Earth Hybrid" map. This gives you great color distinction, excellent terrain definition, it names areas in the scenery, shows "maximum safe altitude" for different areas on your map, gives all the aeronautical information, NDB's VOR's, etc with expanded information when the "under mouse cursor" is checked on. When you fly with it, you can easily fly through the mountains and watch the progress of your flight as the track is created.

  • Yesterday, I saw a strange ground formation through the wind shield. I went to the map, zoomed in on the track just ahead and it turned out to be a railroad yard!  Somehow the link between visually what you are seeing out the wind shield, the map and looking closer at the terrain (landclass) in P3D ... all comes together beautifully with this program.  I also like it that when you see a community coming, you wonder what it might be ... you zoom on the map, and nearly always it is named for you. My point here is that the VFR experience really comes together for you by using this program. In my area you could easily say, "fly west from Hilton Head airport following 278 for 6 miles to the community of Bluffton, watch for highway 170. When you cross 170, fly WSW for 5 miles, in the large sub-division there (Sun City Hilton Head), look for a triangular pond, Doug's house is north side of the pond. And zooming in, there is MY house!  All of that is visible while you are flying, highway names, distance, names of communities, etc. This is pure VFR!


As you saw in the NOTAMs, I have changed all of our RTMM Flight Plan.zip (auto routes) to a new format getting rid of the # and = signs and replacing them with "To " and "From ".  This does the same thing, it groups them for you so they will all be located in the same general area, together.  The new program did now allow the # and = ... so we changed to adjust to it. (Finished and posted).

I have had some extended problems with my computer because of Windows 10 (which is now fixed). But Plan-G was always quitting on me. Now that the computer is fixed, that problem remains. I do not have that problem with VFRF ... I've flown it for about 30 hours now and it has not "stopped" once.

As you begin to "play" with the new program, don't hesitate to use the "help" button at the top. It connects directly to the website's help area.  Use it often when you have a question, the answer is probably there.

Like Plan-G, you have to be connected to your sim within VFRF. There is a little icon at the top of the window. It is a green plug, that is green and connected, or red and disconnected.  When you are looking at that icon, it is telling you what WILL HAPPEN if you click on it, it is NOT telling you the state it is in.  So if it is "green/connected" ... you are disconnected, if it is red/disconnected, you are connected. I found this a little confusing ... but now I'm used to it.
  • So many Flight Plans: For me, I have over 2000 flight plans.  So keeping them all in one folder (my documents/Prepar3D Files folder) it becomes difficult to handle.  So I have created several folders ... "P3D RTMM Plans" ... P3D TransCanada Plans ... P3D Hawaii Plans, etc. These all are "together in the documents area, all starting with "P3D". I then use the BROWSE button when I'm flight planning and go to that folder, then download the plan. That way, I don't have all of the plans jumbled together.

Cut out some special time in you flight simming day and take a close look at this program. Again, look at the YouTube videos to get a great overview of what the program can do. then try it. You will be amazed at the different kinds of maps, the way it can connect to SkyVector information, the "enabled ruler" giving you instant direction and distance with a click of the mouse. I'm not going to list all the amazing features here, you will have more fun finding them yourselves.

You'll also find Łukasz very responsive on his forum: http://vfrflight.org/forum/

He is still in the "formative" stage of this program, and has made changes to help all of us through our suggestions on the forum. Dieter asked about csv data points, a week later, they were there and all of our RTMM csv files can be activated on VFRF.  So join his forum and place comments and questions there for him and for the community.

I give this one 5 stars. A "FIRST CLASS" flight planning program that makes VFR flight even more exciting. Give it a try ... and post your comments here.

Doug/RTMM

PS ... when you are using the program and appreciate what Lukasz has done, don't forget he has a donation button on the page. Nothing keeps WONDERFUL, FREE programs coming to us better than saying THANK YOU monetarily to these innovative people.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 08:08:27 AM by Doug »

lukaszkulasek

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2016, 07:36:53 AM »
Hello!

I am Lukasz - developer of VfrFlight.
First of all I would like to thank you Doug for taking your time and writing this review. I love to read opinions on VfrFlight from different perspective.

VfrFlight is my perfect hobby, because I do what I love and I still find people who like to use VFRF on their own.

Probably you all wonder what are the biggest differences between PlanG and VfrFlight.
First is that I really don't know too much about IFR flying, bacause I do all my real world flights in VFR. Therefore VfrFlight will always focus the most on VFR flying. If you want to fly 'as real as it gets' you can do it with VFRF.
Second difference is that VFRF is used by many real world pilots to plan their real VFR flights, and I am one of them holding PPL license.

If you have any questions, bug reports, requests for new features, please do not hestitate to contact me. I am trying to reply to everyone, and I am writing every idea down. In my backlog I already have more than 70 ideas for future releases... and I always welcome new ideas.

Thanks!
Lukasz
« Last Edit: May 13, 2016, 07:40:53 AM by lukaszkulasek »

ualani

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2016, 07:49:07 AM »
Now that is a really nice response from the author! Welcome Lukasz and thanks for your efforts.

Steve

woofgang

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2016, 08:16:39 AM »
Thanks for a great review. It has gotten my interest - will give it a try!

Jim

Doug

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2016, 08:36:21 AM »
Thank you, Jim. Once you are comfortable with it, come back and let us know what YOU think.

Doug

PS...and WELCOME to Lukasz! Great to have you on board.

Dieter

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2016, 10:38:46 AM »
There's a new version available:
Lukasz published a developer's version 2.1 build 1 for trying and for comments:

http://vfrflight.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=30

- A lot of improvements are implemented.

lukaszkulasek

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2016, 03:32:53 PM »
Thank you Dieter for posting this information.

You can also check out two new videos, that explain some of the new features:





Thanks,
Lukasz

Doug

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2016, 09:57:48 AM »
New Version ...

The new version is working perfectly for me.  The video tapes are VERY useful (as they were for getting introduced to this fine program).  I'm not using all of the features ... but I'm not a real pilot, so to use them, I need to learn more about actual (real time) flying. As I use the features, wondering about them, I search for information on them (air space rules, etc), ... and in so-doing, I'm learning.

One thing I noticed immediately on the new version, the "under the mouse" information is PERFECTLY readable now with a yellow background and black lettering ... thank you!!

I don't print out flight plans for flying here on the computer, (HOWEVER...if I were climbing into a real aircraft, I wouldn't touch the door handle without them!). But I went through the process ... if you watch the video, it is VERY easy to really customize things. The hybrid map really makes sense for low level VFR flight. The "visual objects" come up right on schedule. (This also says something about Open LC and ORBX and P3D). But this program takes advantage of all of them ... amazing how "real world" this gets!

If you have not tried this new program, you are missing something very special. The learning curve is low, it is different from Plan-G, but WORTH a few extra minutes to learn it. .... and then it starts to do so much more!   Download it and give it a try.  Also when you do, let us know here what what you think ... I can't believe Dieter and I are the only ones flying this new program.  C'mon ... try it and let us know what you think.

Doug

PS-I'm flying the Aerosoft Beaver Amphib (new Misty colors) across Canada following the TransCanada highway. I'm making my routes with VFR Flight Planner.  So far everything is easy and perfect. I'm now at Edmonton, Alberta and "heading into the hills"...going the northern route, ending at Prince Rupert.  This is where it is going to get interesting with the terrain, adjusting the altitudes and putting in special waypoints for a "hands off" autoflight.

dental12

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2016, 09:18:43 AM »
Hi
Can this program link to the flight sim via widefs? I have yet to find a clear step by step source to setup simconnect on 2nd pc. I use p3d v3.2. Any help is much appreciated
thx Lee

Dieter

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2016, 10:50:45 AM »
Not sure if this helps:
http://vfrflight.org/en/documentation.html#6

If not it might be good idea to ask this question in the forum. I'm sure the author will answer:
http://vfrflight.org/forum/

jsapair

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2016, 10:55:57 PM »
Wow! Thanks to the author and thanks to Doug for the testing and all his work re-doing the flight plans. I, too, had ongoing problems with Plan-G crashes. Now that I'm starting over after a HDD crash I'll try this program instead of Plan-G.
                                jsapair
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lukaszkulasek

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2016, 04:24:10 AM »
Can this program link to the flight sim via widefs? I have yet to find a clear step by step source to setup simconnect on 2nd pc. I use p3d v3.2. Any help is much appreciated

Hi,
Yes, it is possible.
I have replied you in VfrFlight forum: http://vfrflight.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=32&p=1845#p1845.

Lukasz

marc2140

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2016, 05:59:05 PM »
You have a new follower here.
I tried out a few things today and I must say that indeed this program has the potential to outscore Plan-G. There are a couple of things that are not yet clear to me, but I will continue to explore in the next couple of days. To be continued...
Marcel

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jsapair

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2016, 09:41:11 PM »
I took a look. Man, a lot going on there. I feel like a layman in an engineering class. Just for grins I imported an RTMM FP. It was just a basic VFR FP...no To or From designation...and it seemed to display it just fine, but it got a little congested at the far end and I couldn't figure out how to expand the trace. I'm in the process of replacing all my RTMM FP's so I'll re-try with a To and From and see if it makes a difference. Gotta play with it obviously.

  Doug, What about .CSV files? Is there a way to import those way points? I'm envisioning "Doug's Tutorial on RTMM and VfrFlight for Dummies". Catchy little title don't you think? All those in favor raise your hands.
   My point being, I don't want to move NDB's or extend and intercept radials to avoid restricted airspace. I'm sure this is an extensive and comprehensive program but a little too much so for me...on the surface, anyway...until your Tutorial comes out that is. :-\

                                 jsapair
Jsapair

Doug

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Re: VFR Flight by Łukasz Kulasek
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2016, 10:04:04 PM »
Yes, he has worked with Dieter and the csv files come in perfectly.

D