Runway data

How does Simbrief determine what runways is active at my departing airport? I have had conflicts with what Simbrief states is the departing runway and what XPlane 11.5 determines is the active. How is this information gathered? It differently make a difference when programming the fms.

Hi and welcome!

SimBrief selects runways based on a few criteria. Initially, it bases it on the current METAR or TAF winds. Short-term departures consider the METAR more, whereas departures in several hours will look at the TAF instead, assuming one is available for the airport in question. In some cases it might also consider the runways advertised on an ATIS, but for the vast majority of airports this isn’t available.

It also considers the required runway distance for the selected aircraft type, so that it doesn’t select a 3000ft runway for a 747, for example.

Runways are not prioritized based on local procedures (i.e. if an airport uses only specific runways for departures vs arrivals) as there is no public/worldwide database available which contains this information. I can manually enter such restrictions into SimBrief’s database, but for most airports I have not done this yet.

Especially at airports with multiple/parallel runways, it’s likely that you will often have differences between the runway selection in SimBrief versus other simulators. This is unfortunately unavoidable since no 2 programs use the same runway logic. That means the only way to truly guarantee that SimBrief and X-Plane use the same runways would be to load X-Plane, find out the active runway, and then plan your flight accordingly (runways can be customized on SimBrief’s options page).

For what it’s worth, in the real world, the flight plan often shows a different runway than what pilots end up being assigned. Flight plans are generated by dispatchers several hours prior to the flight, and rarely match up exactly with what ends up happening. Pilots know this, and request the ATIS or check the actual runway in use before programming the FMC. This is especially true at the arrival airport, which can be several more hours away.

These discrepancies in the flight plan are fine since the fuel requirements are generally still close enough, and if a different runway or route results in extra fuel burn, this is more than covered by the contingency or extra fuel that is planned.

Hope this helps,

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