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rhodges

What do you want in a 3rd party flight planner ?

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Hi,like many others ( http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...id=407994&page= ) i think the built-in flight planner in FSX leaves some room for improvment. I have used FS-Navigator and FS-Commander. I think both are quite good, but i have some nice ideas that go beyond ..So, a few weeks ago i started my own flight planner project. I've just finished the code module to read all the relevant airport and navigation data from the FSX scenery files, so there are no screenshots to show yet, but i think the hardest part is done ..I would like to know what you want in a 3rd party flight planner for FSX ?

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I'd like to see real world preferred routes including TEC routes.Also, I'd like to see current NATs and polar routes.

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Well, for me, I'd have several ideas, but I'm sure a lot of them would be major work.I prefer stand-alone applications that don't depend on any sim to be run while planning or looking at maps. I'd buy a real world planner, except the ones I like are way too expensive. The reason I don't use the free or cheaper versions are because they only offer VFR operation. I'd like my planner to have either a VFR or IFR view for planning or just creating a better plan than FS9/FSX can give. For the most part I try to use real world plans from FlightAware, however, some airports aren't seen as much on FA. Like places in Alaska. I may want to just fly between two short locations in AK, but FlightAware may not have such flight. In these cases I try to at least observe any IAP and DP that exist.The planner should have a full map view complete with airway overlays (V and J), VORs, NDBs, and all the same data you'd see in the sim. I also think it should have a better terrain map than you will see in the sim with more detail than any of the current planners for FS. The sim would have a Profile view for terrain like the feature most real flight planners. This is where all the current FS planners fail for me. Very little provision for Map views and little or no terrain detail. This feature shouldn't be dependent on a zoom option either. I hate when zooming cancels a view or name of a placemark. These kinds of things could be detailed in user option menus.I'm of the thought that I see little need for fuel planning because most of the planes I have either came with a fuel planner or a planner was provided by a 3rd party. I realize however that a lot of people are dependent on fuel planners within their flight planner.I would think an excellent feature would be a Wx overlay. This could be accomplished by connection to NOAA servers perhaps, and would be great if one could obtain METARs/TAFs and weather status by hovering over an airport (e.g., IMC).I would pay a good deal of money provided a planner with a good map and all was created in a nice looking manner with the features described above.

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I like the concept of its being a standalone application similar to SimCharts, so I can run it either by itself or in concert with FS.I'd like the ability to choose the departure and arrival runways. I know it's not realistic, but this is a simulator, not real life, and this would allow me to practice particular approaches, etc.. Also, there are several things I'd like to do with the information (gauge related).Thomas[a href=http://www.flyingscool.com] http://www.flyingscool.com/images/Signature.jpg [/a]I like using VC's :-)N15802 KASH '73 Piper Cherokee Challenger 180

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I'd not use a planner which does not read, understand and display the FS air navigation and scenery databases.FSNav is pretty good in that respect - but it never caught up with the approach system in FS2004.A planner should have the ability to display and select the default approaches to any airport.

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Basically FSBuild2 capabilities for IFR/Route planning but with a new GUI and better file/saving/recalling abilities.Must support monthly AIRAC updates from NavData as well as commercial and user-based terminal-procedures updatesMust be able to scan and collect FS9/X AFD data (like FS Flight Keeper or Radar Contact)Must have all exports to all the famous addons with routinely updated export options for new addons.Must have in-flight map-display over simconnect and FSUIPC/Wide-fsMust show AI dataMust export .pln, .rte, and .xml plansMust have fuel planners and calcualations for all the famous addons or user-created calcuclators that are imported.Must parse winds-aloft data at multiple FL's over step-climb increments.So on and so forth...

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Reggie, FS Commander parses AFD data; just so you know... It's map runs outside of FS which is nice for second monitors and so on. I like it's map with AFD and AI data but can't stand it as a planner. Routing is terribly cumbersom which is why I build 'em with FSBuild2.

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>Reggie, FS Commander parses AFD data; just so you know... >It's map runs outside of FS which is nice for second monitors>and so on. I like it's map with AFD and AI data but can't>stand it as a planner. Routing is terribly cumbersom which is>why I build 'em with FSBuild2.What do you mean by AFD data?

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Scans bgl files according to your scenery.cfg file looking for runways, tarmacs, taxiwas, etc. Then these show up in their respective maps in FSFK and FSC. Makerwys from Pete Dowson is used by Radar contact to scan the bgl files and then uses it for vectors and assignments. Don't ask me what it stands for though, LOL. Isn't AFCAD2 essentially an AFD editor?

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If you mean FS Commander, it uses NavData updates from a Dafif source for all the navdata and terminal SID/STAR info. The scanned AFD data produces the airports, parking spots, tarmacs, runways, etc, for display reflecting exactly what you see in FS. FSFK and Radar Contat (via Makerwys) use the same tecnique. In all three of these programs, you have to scan your scenery files first from their respective utilities or buttons.

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Well, actually I was asking how the new application would deal with it, but really it was a generic question about how to best deal with the discrepancies between real world and FS data. I'm not sure you answered my question. Are you saying that it maps the real world references back to the FS references? For instance, if a runway changes numbers, the application is able to map the correct runway back to its FS equivalent?Thomas[a href=http://www.flyingscool.com] http://www.flyingscool.com/images/Signature.jpg [/a]I like using VC's :-)N15802 KASH '73 Piper Cherokee Challenger 180

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Hmmm, to be honest, I've never paid that close attention to it. Although with RC, if I used Jim Vile's updated AFCAD for Anchorage, Alaska for example, with the renumbered runways, then I would get direction to the properly numbered (new) runways after letting it rescan my scenery.I'm by no means an expert at this level. Another example was Seattle renumbering the outer runway to center. An AFCAD author was quick to pickup and publish the change but the DAFIF data took sometime from each of the vendors like FSBuild2 and navdata for example. Now in FSFK or FSC, it probably shows the new AFCAD data with the new center runway when you mouse-over the airport, but the approach and ILS information was still wrong until navdata issued the correction and Jim Vile (I think) release an ILS fix which is kept in another scenery file somewhere. It's a never ending merry-go-round. The only thing that never changes is the navdata inside the FS planning tool. Sorry, I don't know if I can explain it any better than this. Basically I think the maps relfect whatever airport info it finds in your AFCADS in FS. I don't use FSC specifically for fligh-planning so I don't know if it uses AFCAD data or navdata for the plans.

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Hi!Thanks for letting us know about your efforts!I would like to be able to create SID's Star's easily with user defined waypoints that can be loaded into FSX AND be able to upload (and download) from a user database... (possibly even from sources like PMDG etc.(Hope this makes sense))Regards and God blessAlfred

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Hello,As the originator of that topic I'm delighted to see your posting especially as any improvements to the default planner won't make it until FS11 - probably 2 years away :-(I see you're from Germany - just like Helge Schroeder. You're not his twin brother are you? :-hahAl Jordan's post covered most of my needs and Alfred added the other feature I wanted - the ability to create and share (via uploads) SIDs and STARs. This feature is no longer supported in FSNav and it was a great idea.Having 3 PCs and using Project Magenta means I don't need fuel calculations for various aircraft but I'm sure such a feature would be welcomed by many others. FS Nav is to me the perfect planner as it fully supports drag 'n drop to add waypoints and user created waypoints can also be easily created. A measuring tool would be useful so I can easily determine the point in my flight plan x miles from the arrival airport and add a waypoint to my plan using that point.The ability to run on a WideFS / SimConnect system would be essential.No doubt your program would be payware and that isn't a problem at all. A support forum would be appreciated so we can share ideas and help resolve problems.It sounds like you've made good progress. If you have a website and can share any screenshots when available I'm sure you'll soon have a large fan club :-)Cheers,

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I agree with many of the past replies. However for me you will need to duplicate a number of the FS Nav attributes to succeed. FSX route planner will dvevelop a route for you but not necessarily the one you might want. It is therefore important to be able to create routes quickly by dropping and dragging waypoints into a plan. The moving map was also a must from FS Nav. But the really big advantage of FS Nav for me was its connection to your FS autopilot. This enabled you to fly online speak to ATC and not worry about the aircraft following the flight plan precisely. Just as in real life. It also allows you to alter that plan whilst your flying which is a real help if an online ATC controller suddenly changes your plan by altering runways, SID or STAR. The other thing of course is an ability to upload and download SIDs and STARs on a common site.All these things are important to me when flying online but the connection tpo the autopilot is the most essential and you dont get this with FS Commander.

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Many of the planners would satisfy me except everything I have tried has failed in one or two areas. UI design and/or keyboard mouse usage.FSNav was the best of the bunch, pretty intuitive. I like clicking on each SID or STAR and seeing the route change on the map without having to refresh, rezoom, pan, etc.Two other features I liked:1: when using the mouse wheel to zoom in the zoom point is the location of the mouse cursor. It does a zoom and pan at the same time.2: Being able to see the direction that the SID or STAR is in relation to the airport without having to click on them all was great.

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able to create routes quickly by dropping and dragging waypoints into a planThe default FSX flight planner has this ability.FS Nav for me was its connection to your FS autopilotFS2004 and FSX have this ability. I've never flown with the FSNav autopilot - always using the FS Autopilot in the GPS Slaved mode.allows you to alter that plan whilst your flying which is a real helpThis is one of the big issues with the default FS Flight Planner - not being able to alter a route when a flight is under way.The moving map was also a must from FS NavThe moving map from the FS2004 / FSX GPS is much superior in my opinion - however, the FPS hit of FSNav is so significantly lower that I run FSNav much more often than the GPS in a second window on a different monitor.I do wish the FSNav moving map was not stuck in FS2002 - but included terrain details. Being a low/ slow flier quite often FSNav just isn't good enough much of the time.One thing not discussed is the on-line capability of FSNav. The ability to share flight plans with other people, pull fight plans from other people is extremely useful.Also the ability to see other user aircraft during on-line sessions - especially FSHost sessions.Often having another pilot act as ATC has saved our bacon during informal sessions.

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I, like many others, would like to able to run it from inside FSX (like FSNavigator does with the F9 key in FS9). That is an essencial feature for everyone who just runs FSX on 1 computer and 1 monitor. If i get a flight planner/moving map program that can do this i will pay for it and i'm sure lots of others will do the same.

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It seems strange that since posting news of a possible alternative to FSNavigator nearly three weeks ago the original poster has not returned with any comments.It would be nice to hear of progress and perhaps a couple of screenshots. Given the absence of any news about FSNav for FSX many people would welcome news of a good alternative.

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>It seems strange that since posting .. three weeks ago the original>poster has not returned.Hi Ray,well, I was on vacation to prepare for my upcoming 30 hours a day programming marathon .. ;-PI've just created a blog at http://fsmillka.spaces.live.com with a bunch of posts, that answer some of the questions in this thread.Martin

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> .. TEC routes ..I know about the north atlantic and pacific ocean routes. Somewhere i buried the link where i can find them ..V1.0 will at least use some static transoceanic routes so that users without internet access can do intercontinental flights too. Grabbing those routes from the net is high on my priority list, but i have to check the legal issues and where to find them.Umm, what are TEC routes ?

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Hi Chris,>I prefer stand-alone applications that don't depend on any sim>to be run while planning or looking at maps. Me too.>I'd buy a real world planner, except the ones I like are way>too expensive. The reason I don't use the free or cheaper>versions are because they only offer VFR operation. I'd like>my planner to have either a VFR or IFR view for planning or>just creating a better plan than FS9/FSX can give. For the>most part I try to use real world plans from FlightAware,>however, some airports aren't seen as much on FA. Like places>in Alaska. I may want to just fly between two short locations>in AK, but FlightAware may not have such flight. In these>cases I try to at least observe any IAP and DP that exist.I will display and use the approaches and transitions (aka STARs). Unfortunately FSX doesnt contain SIDs / departures.>The planner should have a full map view complete with airway>overlays (V and J), VORs, NDBs, and all the same data you'd>see in the sim. I also think it should have a better terrain>map than you will see in the sim with more detail than any of>the current planners for FS. The sim would have a Profile>view for terrain like the feature most real flight planners. >This is where all the current FS planners fail for me. Very>little provision for Map views and little or no terrain>detail. This feature shouldn't be dependent on a zoom option>either. I hate when zooming cancels a view or name of a>placemark. These kinds of things could be detailed in user>option menus.V/J airways: yep; VOR, NDB and all other radio navaids and intersections and GPS stuff: yep;Terrain map: i havent figured out how to extract the DEM data in the BGL files yet. If i cant decipher them, i might use the public GTOPO and SRTM data instead.Profile view: I guess you think of looking from the side at a vertical slice thru the terrain and airspace structure along the flight path ? Sounds like an excellent idea .. :)View/zoom options: there has to be some zoom level dependent decluttering, but i plan to have that fully user configurable. There will be at least two profiles: one (slower) profile for planning and one (faster) for moving map mode during flight. In the latter profile, decluttering will work differently for the stuff thats part of the flight plan and the stuff thats not.>I'm of the thought that I see little need for fuel planning>because most of the planes I have either came with a fuel>planner or a planner was provided by a 3rd party. I realize>however that a lot of people are dependent on fuel planners>within their flight planner.Me too. I think fuel planning wont be there before the second version.>I would think an excellent feature would be a Wx overlay. >This could be accomplished by connection to NOAA servers>perhaps, and would be great if one could obtain METARs/TAFs>and weather status by hovering over an airport (e.g., IMC).I would love to display realtime weather, but i guess it wont be there before the second version. I have to check where and how to grab it from the net.Martin

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