Patrick Moore

FSElite Original: Community Voted Top 5 Prepar3D Airliners

For the month of October we asked the community to pick their top five favorite airliners for Prepar3D.  You made your voice heard from all around the world as this became our most popular top 5 poll with nearly 8500 votes! Everyone’s participation made this a tight race, as some aircraft came within just 20-30 votes of each other. Lets take a look at what the community deemed the top 5 airliners for Prepar3D!

#5 Fly The MaddogX MD80 – 806 Votes

If you’re in for a challenge this is the aircraft for you. Developed by Leonardo SH, Fly The Maddog X is a study level simulation of the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 for FSX, Prepar3D v3, and Prepar3D v4. This add-on offers a fantastic combination of high quality modeling, crisp 4k textures, high fidelity sounds, and robust aircraft systems that allow you to fly using the real world manuals.

The complexity and detail of this aircraft has been thoroughly covered in every aspect. The MaddogX comes complete with 8 liveries, load manager, flight planner, and all the documentation to get you soaring in the skies. Purchasing this plane will cost you around $87 usd.

#4 Majestic MJC8 Q400 – 1059 Votes

Developed by Majestic Software, this aircraft is modeled after the Bombardier Dash 8. Currently in 2019 this remains to be the best representation of the Dash 8 across all the flight sim platforms.  The MJC8 has been released in 3 editions, Pilot, Pro, and Training. The training edition being the most complex and true to life for those who want the full experience complete with instructor tools. This plane also features a standalone flight dynamics engine that allows you to get more out of Prepar3D.

The Dash 8 is a very interesting turboprop plane that feels different from most aircraft. It’s complex, fun, and used all over the world as a regional transport. Depending on the version you decide to go with, the MJC8 Q400 costs between $45 and $135 usd.

#3 FSLabs A320 / 19 – 1415 Votes

The Flight Sim Labs A320/19X sets the bar high for study level sims. It is without a doubt the most realistic simulation of an Airbus A320 you’ll find in the simulation world. With some excellent attention to detail, it proves a stable and solid product for anyone willing to learn and master this complex airliner. The sounds are also a very pleasing part of the aircraft. From the engines roaring on roll out to hearing every groove in the runway or taxiway. The one downside of this aircraft is the performance. It’s been notorious for lower fps than your typical airliner. 

This aircraft also happens to be one of the most expensive aircraft in the hobby costing $139.95 usd. It’s not for everybody, but if you fit into the niche, it will certainly be a fantastic investment for your sim now and for in the future.

#2 PMDG Simulations 747-400 / 800 – 1436 Votes

If you’re looking to fly one of the most iconic heavies of all time, the queen of the skies is for you. This aircraft was developed for people who want a highly accurate and functional 747-400 with systems that perform true to life in nearly every way possible. You can also customize the cockpit to your liking as there many pieces of equipment that you can add or remove.

For $139.99 usd, the base package comes with the 747-400, M, BCF, ERF, D, and F models. If you would like to fly the 747-800 you can do so by purchasing the expansion pack for $69.99 usd. The aircraft also comes with a long diverse list of liveries that you can install via the PMDG Operations Center application.

#1 PMDG Simulations 737 / 8 / 9 NGX – 1465 Votes

The number one voted aircraft is the PMDG Simulations 737 NGX series. It’s not surprising that the NGX landed in the top spot. This aircraft has been in flight simulation for nearly a decade, first released in 2011 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X. PMDG worked close with Boeing staff for years during development to bring you one of the best study level 737 simulators around.

This aircraft will cost you $89.99 usd. The base model comes with the 737-800, and 900 and you can purchase an expansion pack if you would like to fly the 737-700 and 600 variants. Again like the PMDG 747, the 737 series comes with a very wide range of liveries that you can install via the PMDG Operations Center application. Recently PMDG has teased their new NG3; A major update to their 737 that will bring new lighting technology, a tablet, and more. [Editor’s note: this was written and recorded before PMDG’s recent announcements.]


We also want to do some honorable mentions from the poll. The first two will be the runner ups from the 10 main categories and the last one is the most popular from our “Other” category. This option was put in place so the community could still vote if their favorite was not in our original list.

Aerosoft A320/19/18 – 486 Votes

Until several years ago, the Aerosoft Airbus was one of the few options for an aircraft of it’s class. This Airbus has an excellent looking exterior/interior model and it’s much easier to fly for beginners; as it’s more forgiving if correct the procedures are not met.

TFDI Design 717-200 – 463

The TFDI 717 is the only aircraft of its kind in all of flight simulations. It’s an aircraft used for shorter flights around places like North America, Hawaii, and Australia. It’s come a long way since it’s initial release and really is an excellent and fun aircraft to fly.

Quality Wings 787 – 351

Last but not least we have the Quality Wings 787. This collection comes with the 787-8, 787-9. Both aircraft been modeled visually and systematically in high quality, but also the unique characteristics of each plane has been created.

This concludes our top 5 video for this month. Thank you to everyone for voting! As a new or seasoned veteran we hope this helps you when deciding what to download next for Prepar3D. Remember each month is a new poll and you get to decide what the Top 5 are!

Read More

Vote On Your All-Time Top 5 Favorite Prepar3D Airliners

The month of October is upon us and once again continuing our effort to explore the communities favorite add-ons for flight simulation. This month we want to know your all-time favorite top 5 airliners for Prepar3D. We have listed 10 in the poll but if your favorite is not listed please select “other” and let us know what it is.
Read More

FSElite Original: Community Voted Top 5 X-Plane 11 Plugins

Top 5 Plugins For X Plane 11 An FSElite Special
Being new to a simulator can be an overwhelming experience when it comes to acquiring addons. Therefore, each month we’ll poll the community for their favorite addons in flight simulation. Lasts month poll focused on the Top 5 plugins for Prepar3D. This time we asked the community to pick their favorite plugins for X-Plane 11 and these are the top
Read More

The Flight Sim Deck: Understanding SIDs & STARs [FYC]

Greetings everyone! I want to talk about a crucial part of IFR flight planning, that being Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) and Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs). SIDs, and STARs, are predetermined routes with speed and altitude restrictions that will guide you to and from the airport. Most airports have multiple published SIDs and STARs. Each one is setup to accommodate the direction you’re departing and arriving.

There are two different kinds of published charts. One being from the National Aeronautical Chart Office (NACO/FAA) and Jeppesen charts. They have subtle differences in layout but are based on the same idea and legend. If you would like to learn more about the differences between the two there is a great article on

Typically air traffic control will instruct you to climb or descend via the SID/STAR. But there are situations where ATC will cancel certain procedures while flying a departure or approach. They might have you skip a few waypoints and send you direct or cancel speed or altitude restrictions. Don’t be caught off guard if this happens. 

One of my favorite free sources for charts is Airnav. This website covers the U.S. and its territories. From the home page click airport and then type in the airport code of your choosing. You’ll be taken to the airport page and from there you will find the SIDs, STARs, and approach plates toward the bottom the page. The next and most popular source you can use for charts is Navigraph. This website is a subscription based source that has both U.S. and international charts.

The last thing to cover before we talk about the charts themselves is how do you know which SID and STAR to use for your route? There are several sources to get routes. The most complete source being Simbrief. This is a free website that requires you to setup an account. Once your account is made you can easily plug in your departure and arrival. From there Simbrief will instantly build the route for you. It also provides several alternative routes if you wish to use one different from the main selection.

Another very easy to use source is Flightaware. This website is a live real world flight tracker. Here you simply type in the departure and arrival and you will be taken to a page listing all the airlines that run that particular route. After picking the airline you will go to a specific page for that flight. There it will show you the full route that the airline filed on that particular day. The only down side is that this only works for flights in the U.S. and flights traveling to and from the U.S.

Now that you know where to find SID and STAR charts, we’ll talk about understanding the charts themselves. Each SID and STAR have a unique name given to them. These names might abbreviate pop culture terms, sports teams, or points of interest in the area among other things. As you can see with the list of SIDS in Atlanta, two referencing the movie “The Lord of the Rings,” with GNDFL2 (Gandalf) and HOBTT2 (Hobit). You can also see another two that reference the movie Star Wars, with JJEDI2 and SITTH2 on the following page. The number you see next to the SID/STAR represents how many times the chart has been amended. The next time the SITTH2 departure is updated it will become SITTH3. After ten amendments the count goes back to one.

Let’s take a look at a SID out of San Diego International (KSAN). This SID is called the ZZOOO TWO, referencing the local San Diego Zoo. The transition we will use is MTBAL. The first thing to look at is the Departure Route Description located on the upper left. This description will clearly spell out the procedures that you need to follow. If an airport has multiple runways you will see different sets of instructions for each runway. Some SIDS are meant for just one side of the runway while other SIDS will include instructions for both ends of the runway.

For the ZZOOO Two we only have instructions for a runway 27 Departure. Upon takeoff we’ll climb with a heading of 275 at 500 ft per nautical mile, to reach 520 ft. Then crossing the JETTI waypoint at or below FL120 and not exceeding a speed of 230 knots. The line above the altitude lets you know this is a cross at or below point. If the line was under the altitude it would mean cross at or above. Two lines means you must cross at the published altitude.

The last thing to note about JETTI is the waypoint symbol with a circle around it, this is called a fly-over point. This means you must fly over this point before making the turn. Fly-over waypoints can be in place to avoid obstacles or to comply with noise abatement. The other waypoint symbols are called Fly-By points. These points are a little more lenient when making turns as you’re not held to flying precisely over them, hence the name fly-by.

After Crossing the ZZOOO waypoint we have our first transition option. A transition connects you to the rest of your flight plan. At this point flying the SID/STAR ends. If CENZA was our transition we would turn to a heading of 099 at 4000 when reaching the transition. The departure description gives one last instruction that If we’re a turbojet we won’t fly higher than FL230 while on the transition. If we’re a turboprop this altitude restriction is FL150. This altitude hold won’t be for long as you will eventually be cleared to your filed altitude.

If our transition is (IPL) Imperial or MTBAL instead of flying to CENZA we will proceed to JORRJ at or below 14000 heading 085 and from there flying a heading of 066 to GRIDR. At this point you’re connected with the other two transition options for the SID. Heading 072 will put you on the route for the IPL transition and heading 011 will put you on the MTBAL transition. Again during this phase you are expected to maintain FL150 all the way to the transition if you’re a turbo prop and FL230 if you’re a turbojet.

Now that we know the 3 different directions this route can take us, we’ll look at the notes on the middle left. The first note is telling us that our aircraft needs to be equip with radar. RNAV1 is saying your aircraft needs a navigation system that’s accurate within 1 nm 95% of the time. If it were to say RNAV2, the same applies except it’s 2 miles of being correct 95% of the time. The next note is requiring a DME/IRU capable aircraft or GPS system on board. Next you’re being informed that some aircraft may be vectored to the 3 waypoints after flying the downwind. This means ATC will tell you what heading to fly to reach the waypoints rather than following the SID. The next note is telling you to advice ATC if you cannot meet the altitude restriction of 14000ft at JORRJ. This ties into the next note that mentions parachute jumping is going on at all hours of the day at 13500 and below near JORRJ. Lastly you are being told that if your aircraft is not equipped with GPS and you’re using the MTBAL or IPL transition that the PGY DME must be operating.

The last piece of information to discuss is the upper right of the SID. Here you will find all the useful frequencies for the area. This includes ATIS, clearance delivery, ground, Lindbergh tower, and So-Cal departure. Note: if you’re flying online, some or all of these frequencies might be different from the real world frequencies.

After going over the SID lets take a looks at the STAR. The STAR we’re using is called LDORA Two. First thing to do is take a look at the route description in the lower left. For this arrival there are 3 transitions we can use to enter the STAR. These are Blue Mesa (HBU) BRAZO and OURAY. These 3 transition waypoints will lead you to FREZE. You’ll notice the Blue Mesa transition has a maximum altitude restriction (MAA) of FL260. This means you cannot fly above that altitude. From FREZE track a heading of 037 for PEEKK. Then it’s onto LDORA at FL130 and a speed restriction of 210. Remember this is a fly-over point because of the symbol that’s being used. From there fly a heading of 064 and ATC will vector you the rest of the way to the runway. If you lose communication with ATC you are to fly the ILS approach for runway 35L.

The route we’re flying requires the OURAY transition which has us track a 036 heading to FREZE. Once you reach OURAY you’ll notice an oval shape at the next waypoint KNOSA. You can see the same shape at HBU, FREZE, and PEEKK. These are points where you can enter a holding pattern if needed. This might be done to create separation between aircraft or if you’re too high on the descent. This holding pattern allows for the issue to be corrected before moving on.

We should cross FREZE at or above FL200, as indicated by the line below FL200. Continue the 037 heading to LARKS where we need to cross at or above 17000 or at or below FL190 and slowed to 250 knots. You will also notice a triangle symbol at this point. This is a non-compulsory reporting point. You are not required to report to ATC at this point unless told to. If the triangle was solid that is compulsory reporting point and you would be required to report. After LARKS it’s onto LDORA where we need to cross at an altitude of 13000 and 210 knots indicated by the line above and below the restriction. Remember LDORA is also a fly-over point. This means you must hit this waypoint. After LDORA you will be vectored to the active runway.

The last thing we’ll look at is the notes. The first 3 notes are similar to the SID. Radar is required. This is an RNAV1 approach and a DME/IRU or GPS is required to proceed. This STAR is also for turbojet aircraft only. Once you contact DENVER on TRACON you can expect your runway assignment. Expect PEEKK when Denver is landing south as there is another STAR named PEEKK3. Descend via mach speed until reaching the transition. At that time your descent should be 280 knots until ATC instructs you to lower your speed. If your aircraft is not equipped with GPS and you’re using the BRAZO transition the ALS, RSK, and PUB DMEs need to be operational. If using the Blue Mesa (HBU) transition without GPS the HBU DME must be operating.

After completing the STAR it’s onto the final phase of flight which is the approach plate. These plates are what guide you down to the runway. Because there is a lot to talk about with approach plates, it will be the subject of the next tutorial. Hopefully these examples have given you a good foundation to build on. Most modern jets will do most of the work for you through VNAV. But take what you’ve learned here, continue to study and grow!   

Read More

FSExpo 2019 Interview With Aerosoft

FSExpo 2019 Interview With Aerosoft
We have a chat with Raphael and Dave from Aerosoft to discuss how they find scenery developers. The status of their A330 and A319/18 series, and their Connected Flight Deck project among other topics. We have a wealth of other content from FlightSimExpo 2019, all of which you can find on our archive hub. It has also been confirmed that FlighSimExpo 2020
Read More

Vote on your All-Time Favorite Prepar3D Plugin

Greetings everyone, Patrick from the video team here. Over the next year, we want to explore the communities favorite add-ons for flight sim. Therefore each month, we will release a poll to narrow down the top five add-ons in their specific category. From the results, our video team will produce a top five video featuring your favorites! Part of the reason
Read More

Orbx TrueEarth Washington For X-Plane 11: The FSElite Review

TrueEarth US Washington X Plane 11 The FSElite Review
Introduction Washington has always been a popular destination among flight simmers and developers. With the beauty of mountains like the Olympics, Rainier, stunning cityscape and of course home to one the busiest international airports in the country, Seattle International Airport. Its no wonder why Orbx chose to take on the beautiful state of Washington with TrueEarth. The realism of this
Read More