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SimPlates 2004 - Ho-hum for me. What else?

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I got SimPlates 2004 and think I am a bit disappointed because the quality of the charts is of mixed quality visually, and also because the basic SimPlates 2004 package that I got on 2 CDs seems to lack a lot of basic arrival and departure info and charts that I thought would be included.I was wondering what else is out there that I might try that doesn't cost a fortune, and that has high quality charts you can print and that look really sharp. For e.g., should I look at Jeppesen as an alternative now? Any advice gratefully accepted, thanks!JS

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Sporty's chartviewer has got to be the absolute best bang for the buck when it comes to airport charts... 10 bucks. I spent $150 to have six regions of Jeppesen (75 would have covered the US just like the 10 buck chartviewer). Only advantage of the Jeppesen product is you get the simviewer which allows you to open the instrument approaches and airport diagrams from within the sim and have a little airplane icon trace your path. All the SIDs and STARs included with the Jeppesen product don't work with the simview portion, they have to be opened outside the sim... just like the $10 chartviewer. Biggest glitch with the Jeppesen product is it is only good for the first opening of FS after a fresh boot. Shut down the sim and on the second opening of FS it's hit or miss, third time no charts will open in simview and what's worse they won't open with the stand alone simchart portion... not even after uninstalling and reinstalling the entire Jeppesen product. It will only work after a reboot of the computer. I've been round and round with Jeppesen about this... they think it might be caused by the RealityXP and FSFlightmax modules and since Simcharts was only designed for FS2004 I should only use it with that program and remove the other programs so I can fully enjoy Simcharts... Huh?Just my two cents worth with as little flaming as possible... I do like Simcharts, just think it is overpriced and their customer service isn't too interested in us flight simulator types.Zane

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OTOH Simcharts has the massive advantage of bringing you charts for airports outside the US...The quality of the material is also excellent (nothing against Sportys, I don't have theirs so can't compare, just an observation).

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You know... another great program for approach charts is Final Approach by Georges Lorsche, it was payware until Jan '05. This program has literally thousands of charts from all over the world and in addition you can make you own charts. The last version 6.50 was written for FS2002. The charts are very clear and readable, printed well and there is a neat feature allowing you to create a flight situation that will place you at a specified point along the approach routing (a set distance, radial and altitude from a fix or navaid). These situation files could be swapped out for FS2004 situations and the program should work fine if that feature is important to you. You can find his website here: http://webplaza.pt.lu/~glorsche/Hope this helps. I paid for mine and the only reason I purchased the Jeppesen product was because of the simview feature and their legendary customer service and quality.Zane

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US Airports : Freeware FAA charts http://www.myairplane.com/databases/approach/index.phpEuropean Airports : Freeware Eurocontrol chartshttp://www.ead.eurocontrol.int (PAMS application) Wordwide Airports : Payware Navigraph chartshttp://www.navigraph.comVery extensive listing of available charts:Aeronautical Chart Finder:http://www.berrygelderblom.nl/index.php

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Guest danowat

I think the Simplates package is great, makes life so much easier for me to have a load of WORLDWIDE charts at a couple of button presses away.I have used it for charts all over the world, and it has always had what I want.Which package did you buy?, as there are a 2 different ones, also there are a number of downloadable extra chart packs on their website.Dan.

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"basic SimPlates 2004 package that I got on 2 CDs seems to lack a lot of basic arrival and departure info and charts that I thought would be included." I'm not sure what you mean here. In my copy of Simplates after going to the IFR page just click on the "FAA arrivals/departures" button which brings me to a complete list of SID and STAR plates that can be sorted by state/area/city. Each airport also has a complete set of ILS charts if such is available at that facility, so I'm not sure what is missing for you. The only thing I miss in the current version vs. the SP2000 edition is the removal of the preferred routes. I liked that for more realistic flight planning than what FS pops out. Mike

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Guest danowat

Good for US plates, but what about us simmers who never set a wheel down in the US?.The simplates pack has charts from many hundreds of countries.Dan.

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I've got info including SIDS and STARS in Simplates 2004. The difference is that they are not intermingled with the IAP charts. In addition under airport info and other sections are very important Preferred Routes tables which are included in FAA Airport Info publications. These are low and high altitude low and high performance aircraft routes that can be joined and left at any point. They go along areas where local ATC (approach/departure) jurisdictions overlap and can go quite some distance such as NYC to Chicago. These are "real" flightplans used by major aircraft carriers. The advantage is a more efficient route because it bypasses commo with enroute ATC.I also bought the bundle of the three additional chart packs and while not all inclusive of non-North America destinations still provides a fair amount of coverage. It was quite a bit less costly than the Jepp products but still provided more than enough info for me.The printed quality of the charts has been just fine in most cases and matches some FAA TERPS I have collected for my immediate area which I purchased prior to the release of Simplates2004.Perhaps you do not like the organization of the FAA plates compared to Jepp's, but I do not have any problem with them and in some cases, based on examples from magazine flight articles, prefer the FAA publications.

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Guest danowat

I have search high and low for a COMPLETE online chart resource for years, and there isn't one, I used to flit from site to site, downloading little bits and bobs here and there, sod that lark, with the simplates pack I have EVERYTHING I need within a few clicks.Sure, if you want to download from various free sites it can be done, but for pure convienience I cannot fault the simplates pack.Dan.

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First, gentlemen, thanks for jumping in. I am clicking my way through various links you've posted.Second, I don't know if I am using SimPlates incorrectly, but it does seem to lack some basic info. For e.g., where's my beloved and very familiar Golden Gate 4 arrival into KSFO? At EGLL, I have just two STARS and five SIDS listed; that seems very small and I know a major SID is missing even without being expert. A third example, where is WMKK (KLIA) in Malaysia? It's not even there. How can this be? A huge newish airport in my third home country not even displayed ? Am I supposed to buy additional packs of SimPlate data to get this basic stuff? That seems like a rip-off. Or am I being naive? Am I expecting too much for the $35 I already paid?I have to say that in addition, the quality of the charts is only about a grade "B" in my eyes on the video monitor as well as in my superb DELL printer. It's not nearly as sharp and crisp as some of the charts I've seen in a couple of links posted above here.I do think the SimPlates interface is great. It could not be easier, even for an amateur like me. But I had hoped for some more complete basic data and charts (and, OK, better display res as well).JS

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Your "beloved" Golden Gate Four arrival is there. Open up the IFR menu. Check arrivals or click the overall US FAA arrival/departure button. Arrivals are listed alphabeticly by name for the US.At Heathrow I show about 16 STARS and DPs in the index. I do have the extra plate packs but I do not think they expand the main packs but add more obscure locations.If you buy the JEPP packs for all, perhaps they would total quite a bit more than the $59 bundle fee I paid. BTW, many plate packs are free if you wish to download all that data.No WMKK but there is a WBKK - Kota-Kinabalu IFR mins and departures.Print quality varies but I find most are extremely legible - the bottom line.

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Dan the simcharts sounds good,does it have STARS for VABB, mumbai international, if so what are the names of the STARs into 27 ?thx

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Yes, you're right! There is GG4 indeed. (But why is it under that separate "FAA" tab instead of IFR? I don't understand this organization).There's nothing obscure about WMKK. It's one of the largest airfields in the world today. I've visited it a dozen times in real life and the perimeter is h-u-g-e.Perhaps I shall look into the additional packs. It sounds as if you have torrents more data than me.JS

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VABB:No STARS listed, but IFR minimums, departure procedures, and EPKOS 1A 2A 3A P'S. ILS 9, 14. VOR 9.You have to choose circling to get to 27 and the AGL is quite high so I would assume there are terrain obstacles to straight ins to 27.With a field elevation of 38 and a west MSA of 2600 and an east MSA of 3700 at the 25 nm radius it looks like your dropping in through a valley or whatever. This is the 9 ILS plate I'm looking at.

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On their web site they explain why the US STARS are organized differently, don't recall.The additional airports for each plate pack are listed on their web site so you can decide whether to purchase them individually or in yet another bundle.You can also (if you have a fast connection) download free updates for Norway, and I think Lithuania and Rumania. The old USSR areas have been added with the opening up of the info.

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I'm amazed at what type of product people expect for less than 50 dollars when the charts they are trying to purchase run in the hundreds when you are talking about most big airports in the world. I really love simplates but unfortunately I pre-ordered mine, never knew about the 3rd CD and would rather not pay 30 bucks just to add on more airports. Looks like I can download additional airports and a patch from their site... nice!Anyway if you aren't happy with simplates maybe you need to step back and tell yourself "it's just a game"

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