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hawkhero

Is PFPX worth the price?

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I ended up going with Simbrief and bought Aivlasoft EFB with the money I put aside for PFPX.

That way I got a great flight planner and great flight management system that also walked me through SID n STAR selections

 

Simbrief uses live weather but doesn't suggest SID /STARS

 

The biggest plus with PFPX is its ability to build routes. That's great unless your flying real world routes in that case your better off pasting a route from flightaware into Simbrief which then checks it off using navigraph data.

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How does SimBrief fund their service? Does it also include a weather aspect so the service can determine what SIDs and STARs should be assigned?

 

PFPX does and can. That makes a difference.

It includes weather aspect for enroute calculations, prints sig. wx charts, and wind charts with plotted route, prints metar/taf for dep/arr/alt airports...

 

Additionally, it suggests runways for take off/landing, but as it cannot build route, there's no way it can suggests SID/STAR. However, it recognizes manual input of SIDS/STARS as part of route, and validates if route is good for given airac. IFPS validation can be obtained via independent web site for free.

 

The real difference between PFPX and Simbrief is in automatic route builder. Is it worth of price? For some people - yes, for others - no.

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Thanks g_precentralis. Still not sure how they fund that service. No such thing as a free lunch eh? :smile:

 

I'm sure many use it but I still prefer what PFPX gives me.

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Thanks g_precentralis. Still not sure how they fund that service. No such thing as a free lunch eh? :smile:

 

I'm not sure if they have other source of funding other than donations.

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I have no idea how its funded. I can only say that I was skeptical until I tried it. The output is incredibly good.

 

Yes, it pulls the weather for departure and arrival and advises which runways are to be expected. You still have to select your own SID / STAR though as that part is not automatic.

 

Its free, all you have to do is register. Give it a go.

 

Check out the interactive help guide. At the end is sample flight plan output.

 

http://www.simbrief.com/system/guide.php

 

Having said that though, I think if you already have PFPX, you may as well make use of it having spent the money. 

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The PFPX route planning is only slightly better than FSBuild's or FSCommander's. For me only real world routes top the paid version of rfinder in route planning.

 

The fact, that PFPX pre-selects SID and STARs is quite nice, but when flying in Europe, it doesn't work as well because PFPX can only guess which runway might be in use and the weather might change between planning and the flight.

 

So even with PFPX, I'm importing a route I have created outside PFPX. This is why I use PFPX when flying with aircraft that have TOPCAT profiles. For everything else, it's either SimBrief or FSBuild for me.

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Here's another aspect of PFPX that I had forgotten about. The first year gave you free access to their weather server. My subscription just expired so it's about $15 USD to renew it. In theory, you were supposed to be able to use weather from Active Sky or FS Global Real Weather but apparently that part is not working. They are working on a fix but there's no telling when that will happen. I'm not sure if I want to sink more money into a utility that I paid a good price for to begin with.

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Thanks g_precentralis. Still not sure how they fund that service. No such thing as a free lunch eh? :smile:

 

I'm sure many use it but I still prefer what PFPX gives me.

 

Actually, if you go to the 'about' page of the website, you will see how its funded and supported. There is also some topics in the forum that explains the pains the website author went to keeping the service free. 

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Actually, if you go to the 'about' page of the website, you will see how its funded and supported. There is also some topics in the forum that explains the pains the website author went to keeping the service free. 

 

It was only mild curiosity. :wink:  As a satisfied PFPX owner I won't be moving. But it's good for the community people are prepared to offer such a service.

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Another fan of FSCommander here!  It combines the functions of a moving map, route planner and (some aspects) of an EFB.  

 

I bought PFPX when it came out, in truth (and this is very much a personal opinion) i don't like or use it greatly.  It probably comes into it's own when planning ETOPS routes for the 777 but it seems over complicated for smaller hops.  As the Gentleman above stated, the weather aspect has only worked with the PFPX subscription service, no idea if this will ever be fixed.

 

I tired Aivlasoft EFB, it looked really nice, i was sorely tempted to buy; three things stopped me:

Talk of a 2nd version coming out (shortly).

No detailed SID / STAR display on map, very difficult to know which one to take.

Requires a running process to work.

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I bought PFPX when it was released and have not stopped using it since. It is well worth its price if you simulate a lot of airline flights. I don't know how I planned my flights without it! Well...I do but it definitely was not as easy or enjoyable.

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I started out using the free stuff like routefinder and simbrief.  However last year around the time I bought the NGX (my second payware FMC enabled aircraft) I decided I really wanted to learn SIDS and STARS.  I picked up PFPX partly because it can suggest SIDS and STARS (was on a world tour and not flying standard routes that are on Flightaware for instance) and it got too difficult for me as an amateur to go looking through SIDS and STARS for an airport and try to figure out which ones to use with my route.

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I am puzzled by how many people write that PFPX is difficult to use. I had that impression when I used it for the first 2-3 times, but I was also very happy with what I learned about flight planning by using it. Once you figured out how PFPX works (not that hard to learn) it is actually the easiest planner to use. Just pick departure and destination and plane, click a few times on buttons in the menu (auto payload, auto alternates, compute flight) and you're done. Even including ETOPS is a breeze: pick the scenario (90, 120 or 180 minutes), let PFPX find two or three airports - done.

 

Yes you can make flight planning very complicated with PFPX (and I sometimes do just for the fun of getting it right myself), but it is so well designed that you don't have to.

 

The PFPX route planning is only slightly better than FSBuild's or FSCommander's. For me only real world routes top the paid version of rfinder in route planning.

 

The fact, that PFPX pre-selects SID and STARs is quite nice, but when flying in Europe, it doesn't work as well because PFPX can only guess which runway might be in use and the weather might change between planning and the flight.

 

I haven't used the paid version of rfinder, but except for real world routes PFPX is hard to beat in Europe. It even has a "validate" function that checks if the route is compliant with various European aviation regulations. How about pasting an rfinder route into PFPX and see if it is valid ;)

 

The SID/STAR issue with weather changes actually taught me something about flight planning as well. The flight plan (not necessarily the route, but fuel planning) should be created shortly before departure. I think that's what they are doing in RW as well. PFPX enables you to save routes and picks them automatically when you prepare the plan (unless they are not compliant with the lates AIRAC cycle in case you have updated it).

 

Cheers,

Peter

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I haven't used the paid version of rfinder, but except for real world routes PFPX is hard to beat in Europe. It even has a "validate" function that checks if the route is compliant with various European aviation regulations. How about pasting an rfinder route into PFPX and see if it is valid ;)

 

The European routes is exactly where paid version of rfinder beats PFPX. Here is how:

 

In PFPX you create the route, validate it, then you make changes so that the route passes validation. (here is a post I wrote on the subject: http://forum.aerosoft.com/index.php?/topic/72444-cfmu-validation-errors-and-using-pfpx-auto-routing-to-fix-them/)

 

For me the _paid version_ of rfinder is more user friendly. After route generation, it will automatically tell you what parts of the route are not valid (this feature is not available in the free one). You then just tell it to avoid the parts that would cause validation errors and you are done.

 

The point being, that in PFPX you have to know how to correct the route and iterate the validation process after each run. rfinder knows how to fix the route for you.

 

Of course: what works for me, might not work for everyone.

 

EDIT: my go to place for routes in Europe (not found in vroute) is eurofpl.eu

Edited by Jarkko

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