Help me decide, please

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darem
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Help me decide, please

Post by darem » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:32 pm

I am looking for a system that I could use to host my VA. It's pretty active with more than 20 daily pilots. Right now, I am with a competitor, but their system is - well - less than optimal. For example, it's possible to fly an airplane that isn't at the pilot's location - or you can fly an airplane that is currently in-flight.

However, one of their big plusses is that they have a working website integration pack that displays all kinds of info about the airline and the pilots with simple iframe tags on our website. And their rank system seems to be more advanced than the one here (here you have to set permissions on a per-pilot basis, right? This is inacceptable with more than 20 pilots, too much administration). Their biggest minus is that they simply don't care about bugs - most of them are known for more than one year and they don't get fixed. Instead, Hard disks die miracously, it's more important to program a (vaporvare?) new version and if someone stumbles across a long standing bug, they act as they have never heard of it.

I would like to ask two things, and I would be happy if both users and makers of the system could answer here. First of all, I have read that a website integration pack was in the works, but was ditched. Without such a pack, I wouldn't bring m VA here. So - is there any news or any commitment to this pack? And second, I'd like to know how users see the functions, the services, the relations between customers and developers here. What do you like, what could be better, what is inacceptable?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Bernhard

alemaobaiano
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Location: Sao Paulo, Brasil

Re: Help me decide, please

Post by alemaobaiano » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:03 pm

Hi Bernhard

We use the integration pack, such as it is, on our site http://amazonas.awardspace.info/. The flight booking system doesn't seem to work (just tried it), but all of our pilots use the main site anyway. It would be nice to see the integration working well, but for us it's not vital.

I have to say that development this year seems to have been a little weak, nothing much has changed since January, despite a lot of ideas being put forward. The developers can be helpful, but they aren't always around to answer questions or let users know what is happening. Chris, the forum admin, always seems to be around and is as helpful as possible, but he is not one of the developers and at times seems to be as much in the dark as the rest of us.

The rank permissions situation has been raised by several VAs, as have quite a number of other ideas that would make the VA admins life a little easier, such as eliminating inactive VAs and changes to the flight planning system. If there is any movement on these items, no-one is telling. The client now seems to be very stable, I can't remember the last time any of our pilots had a problem with it. Some of us use the flight tracking element, others don't, but it seems to work OK.

Having said all that, FSAirlines does seem to be the best available alternative. We had a look at other systems when they announced that users would have to pay for the service and didn't find anything as good. Even with the apparent lack of development activity this year I would say that our view is still valid, and I don't think you will find better.

Hope that helps
Tony
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alasizon
FSAirlines DB and Wiki Admin
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Location: PHX

Re: Help me decide, please

Post by alasizon » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:56 am

Bernhard,

The integration system is still in the works. It just has stalled slightly due to the economy and other issues that involve a lack of time available to the developers. Secondly, there is a beta available that has most of the features.

The permissions are not adjusted on a "per-pilot" basis, it is adjusted on a "per rank" basis. Or in the case of type ratings, either by aircraft of by single pilot.

Thirdly, we do try to get bugs resolved as soon as possible and as such is a reason why many of the bugs we do have outstanding are either new or are being fixed in an upcoming release.

Also, I do not know how important it is to you but we do provide a wiki that has information about the site on it as well as tutorials. We also provide a listing of fixes to "common problems" that aren't bugs but issues some users will run into in our Bugs & Problems forum which we try to update as needed.
Matt-FSAirlines DB Admin
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darem
Ticket Agent
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Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Help me decide, please

Post by darem » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:37 pm

Thank you for the answers. They are very helpful indeed. I'll fool around with my free account a little more and then decide. But what I have seen so far looks really good.

darem
Ticket Agent
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Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Help me decide, please

Post by darem » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:52 pm

Hm. One BIG disadvantage here is that app. 30% of the airports we fly (we fly smaller ones) are missing from the system. Yes, I know, they are added quite fast when you enter them into the system, but c'mon, people, at least the stock FSX/FS2004 airports should be present. Hmmm...

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CAPFlyer
Chief Pilot
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Location: Lancaster, Texas, USA
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Re: Help me decide, please

Post by CAPFlyer » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:07 am

Consider that we have to work off of where reliable information is. The "stock" FS airports have a major problem - not all of them have reliable information available for them, especially when it comes to things like GPS coordinates and runway lengths. We try as much as possible to use real world data because this takes care of most deviation that occurs between where the default FS9 (with it's cylindrical earth) locates the airport, FSX and X-Plane (with their spherical earths) place the airports, and where addon scenery may place them. As a result, if the airports were not included in commercial databases, we didn't get them to load into the network when all the airports were loaded. As most commercial databases exclude private and non-commercial airports (i.e. where there is no instrument approaches) you will find a lot of airports not in these databases and, realistically, were a secondary priority for 90% of our users, so we didn't worry about finding a database that had them (especially since such database would probably be extremely expensive for us to purchase) and instead looked to the users to add those which they felt important to them, and it's been working really well.
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darem
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Re: Help me decide, please

Post by darem » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:34 pm

Ok, I understand that.

One final question:

How would I setup the VA that my pilots get permission to fly certain planes based on their total flight hours, like:

0-5 hours: Plane A, B
5-10 hours: Plane A, B, C
10-20 hours: Plane A, B, C, D, E

and so on...

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Stan
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Location: Manchester.UK

Re: Help me decide, please

Post by Stan » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:52 am

The CEO can do that by at first just type-rating the pilot on type A/B,then after 5 hours add type-rating for type C and on completing 10 hours add type-rating D/C/E etc.etc.Simples. 8)
Yours Stan
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MOW
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Re: Help me decide, please

Post by MOW » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:42 pm

As far I remembered, I started using FSA in january. And I do not have any regrets, finding a lot of fun with the system.

I'm not so much concerned by the integration pack, because it will be of no use for me, but the thing that this concern raises up is that their is a lack of communication from developers side.

I have foreseen the same lack of communication in their intent to take in account or not some of the ideas provided by users that seem very interesting.

But, taking in account all the fun I have in the other side, the tricky point is not influencing to much my own assessment that is highly positive on FSA.
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