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Student Pilot Question Regarding Winds Aloft & Flight Planning in AS16

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I posted this over at the HiFi forums.... but since I have not received a response, I figured I'd do it here as well....


IRL I am a student pilot with about 30 hours in a C172. I am at the stage of my training where flight planning for cross-countries is central. Part of that, as I am sure everyone knows, is looking up the winds aloft data on ADDS and calculating my correct magnetic headings for my VFR flight.

So... I have downloaded the trial version of AS16 to see how the winds aloft component works in conjunction with VFR flight planning and P3D. I've read the manual, but have a few questions I hope someone can answer.

First, my home airport is KSNA (John Wanye in Southern Cal.), and I've been trained to use the Ontario winds aloft data from the ADDS site as that is the closest to KSNA (30 miles). Thus, when I fly a cross country from KSNA>KEMT>KREI>KSNA (all in the So Cal area around Ontario), I plan using the Ontario data. However, when I look up the data at each of those three airports withing AS16, NONE of them have the current ADDS data from Ontario... and... inexplicably to me at least... they all have unique data unto themselves which as far as I know doesn't reflect the real world situation here in So Cal; i.e. the closest real world data for each of those airports is Ontario. What am I missing here? Does AS16 get its data from ADDS or some other source that I might want to use in real life?

Second, if I am creating a VFR flight plan between these airports, which winds aloft data is used on the route? I guess I was hoping, like my real world planning, the winds aloft in any given geographic area are modeled based upon some reasonable radius from the closest reporting station.

I'm just trying to figure out the best way to practice planning and flying my flights using VFR in the sim.

Thanks for any insight!


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Don't confuse planning with real world. Back in the old days we used to say the balloon only flies twice a day (every 12 hours) and thus the winds were only accurate for those times. Thus for dead reckoning we would do a drift check. With VOR and DME the drift check became much easier. With GPS its an afterthought.


Like the real world AS will be a little bit off of what was planned and it should be.  

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