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Flight 1 GNS530: The FSElite Review

Developer
Flight 1
Publisher
Flight 1
Price
Version
1.01
Provided by
FSElite
We want to ensure that you make the most informed decision you can. We will always put the Simmer First as per our Community Charter. When reading, please use of Review Guidelines to help you understand how we review products.

The Flight 1 GNS530 had to by far be one of the hardest products to review I have ever seen. It’s not perfect no. But any problem I could find with it could be excused by simply saying “That’s how the real thing works.” Normally that’s a terrible excuse! But this time, given the way this particular addon works; Well it’s a perfectly viable counter argument. I could not decide how to approach this addon. Is it awesome, and all its problems excused by it being realistic. Or is it bad and all its problems are just that, Problems. That is until it occurred to me that my writers block was caused by a perfectly viable argument to make. It’s good and realistic, But has problems that consumers should be aware of before purchase. So that’s how this review is going to be written. There will be a score but I want to state right now that this is a good product. It has issues but the issues are excusable.

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Immersive Audio – MJC8 Q400 Cockpit Sound Immersion: The FSElite Review

Developer
Immersive Audio
Publisher
SimMarket
Price
10.70euro (+VAT)
Version
1.00
Provided by
Immersive Audio
We want to ensure that you make the most informed decision you can. We will always put the Simmer First as per our Community Charter. When reading, please use of Review Guidelines to help you understand how we review products.

Immersive Audio has done it again. They have taken an incredible aircraft with already accurate sounds and brought them to the next level of realism. This time it’s been done with the Dash8 Q400. With the new sounds Immersive Audio has received some extensive feedback from real pilots of the Q400 to ensure the best experience in the cockpit of this great aircraft.

The new sounds include:

  •         Authentic engine sounds
  •         New N1 (turbine) sound with correct pitch
  •         New switches
  •         Authentic levers
  •         High quality GPWS callouts
  •         New TCAS
  •         Authentic warning sounds
  •         New ground roll noise with authentic controls rattle
  •         New authentic cockpit/nose gear wind noise
  •         Authentic avionics, packs, external APU, Chime, GPU unit, wipers, stick shaker

The initial setup is very easy. Make sure you backup the original sounds and then paste the new ones into the root folder. While this is easy to do, it would be nice if the setup application could do it for you allowing an option to revert back to the original sounds if needed. After you have completed that you are ready to fly!

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REX Worldwide Airports HD: The FSElite Review

Developer
REX Game Studios
Publisher
REX Game Studios
Price
$29.95
Version
5.1.2016.1212
Provided by
REX Game Studios
We want to ensure that you make the most informed decision you can. We will always put the Simmer First as per our Community Charter. When reading, please use of Review Guidelines to help you understand how we review products.

REX Studios released an interesting product not long ago. Worldwide Airports HD! The goal of this product was to improve the textures of Default Airports. Now they have improved textures of airports before, Mostly in the surface and marking department. This addon however set out to improve the building textures of default airports. To quote their own feature list, “Give all default airports the payware treatment.” A very ambitious project indeed, and a really good idea. Since it was 10 years ago some of you may not remember that moving from FS9 to FSX, airport buildings saw a massive texture upgrade. But now those textures do feel a bit lacking when compared to dedicated scenery addons. So if this addon truly accomplishes what it sets out to do; Then it will surely be a must have addon.
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Airline2Sim PMDG 777 Cadet Program: The FSElite Review

Developer
Airline2Sim
Publisher
Airline2Sim
Price
$39.99
Version
Initial Release
Provided by
Airline2Sim
We want to ensure that you make the most informed decision you can. We will always put the Simmer First as per our Community Charter. When reading, please use of Review Guidelines to help you understand how we review products.

The PMDG 777 is on the best aircraft available for flightsim. Without a doubt, it’s got excellent features, a stellar virtual cockpit and it performs extremely well. One of the best features of it is how easy it is to get to grips with. You can be on the runway one minute and cruising at FL350 before you know it. It’s a great aircraft for those long hauls, and airlines even use them for short hops. Whilst this is great, the depth that PMDG have covered is often overlooked. And it’s not a surprise when the manual is as large as it is (not the introduction manual, the FCOM itself). Quite simply, as a study level sim, this documentation will tell you everything you need to know, however, as everyone learns at different paces in a variety of ways, this is where Airline2Sim steps in. This review will be a little different as instead of reviewing something designed to be used in the sim, this has been designed to used alongside as a tool to not only get to grips with the PMDG 777, but to master it.

Some of you may know Airline2Sim from their brilliant Dash 8 Q400 Package programs. Both of them covered absolutely everything you needed to know about the excellent plane by Majestic. It was delivered in a way unique to the flightsim community and put you in the shoes of a real pilot taking you through various situations to really test your skills. The PMDG 777 Cadet Program is the same. Throughout the 20+ hours of content over 24 videos, you’ll shown challenging approaches, short hops, night flying and even dealing with a rejected take off. Each scenario you’re put in is different, and you’ll exploring the world as you go. This is important as it keeps the content varied and allows simmers from all around the world to have their own territory covered.

Each episode is narrated by Ben. Throughout your journey from cadet to full-fledged pilot, Ben plays the role of you – the simmer. As I watched, I found myself wondering the reason why the plane did something or why that was a specific procedure. The problem of course with pre-recorded video is that you can’t ask those questions. However, it felt like Ben was right there in the room with me as he was asking those questions on my behalf. It sounds odd, but then I realised: this is the point. This is why Ben is there – to be you; the viewer. His inquisitive nature and passion for learning is a perfect fit for this type of production. Instead of a single person talk you through the procedures, Ben is there to put the speed brakes on and ensure that not only you know WHAT is happening, but also asking the questions so you understand WHY it is the way it is. Any trainer will tell you the why is just as important as ‘the what’ for people to fully understand and comprehend what is going on.

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FSFlyingSchool: The FSElite Review

DEVELOPERFSFlyingSchoolPRICE$29.95
PUBLISHERFSFlyingSchoolBUY FROMFSFlyingSchool

FSFlyingSchool is a product that makes a big claim. It says that it can take any airplane in your fleet and evaluate how you fly. Considering the variety of add-ons for the Microsoft and X-Plane markets, this would be an amazing feat. Through my experience and using it for the past few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that FSFlyingSchool is simply your run of the mill ACARS program with a flight instructor. That’s a fine thing for an add on, but it certainly doesn’t live up to it’s claim.

The Lift

As I said, FSFlyingSchool is a wonderful ACARS program. It tracks a variety of things that other ACARS programs don’t. It determines what runway you are approaching and tracks the ILS in addition to giving you all the usual information like sink rate, landing pitch and flight time. The fact that it tracks how stabilized your approach is and goes beyond your sink rate sets it apart from other ACARS programs. A welcome feature given the discussion had in the FSElite Podcast Ep 20.

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Aerosoft NavDataPro Charts: The FSElite Review

DEVELOPERAerosoftPRICESee Table Below
PUBLISHERAerosoftBUY FROMAerosoft

For years, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to use the same navigation data as some European airliners use. Coming straight from Lufthansa’s Lido system, thousands of airports are covered, complete with their SIDs and STARs. With the release of Aerosoft’s NavDataPro, Navigraph had a whimper of panic due to some competition on the scene. For years, Navigraph was the only reliable source for NavData for Flight Simulation, but then Aerosoft brought their A-Game. Even now, NavDataPro is reserved for only a handful of aircraft available, but users claim it is the most complete set of information out there.

Since Aerosoft released NavDataPro’s data set, Navigraph continued to expand their product range by bringing out Navigraph Charts – a tool which can be used on iOS, Android and Desktop PCs for a complete range of both airport and enroute charts. As a result, Aerosoft had to respond with what they were going to do next. This then brings us to today: Aerosoft have expanded on the product range and have released their NavDataPro Charts, compatible with both iOS and Desktop PC (but not yet Android).

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Just the like the NavData itself, the charts are sourced directly from Lufthansa’s Lido system, meaning you’ll have complete coverage of all airports that you currently use with your NavDataPro NavData. Again, this is the same charts that airlines all across the world use, so you can be positive that your simulation will be as real as it gets.

As for usability, NavDataPro is super easy to use. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be greeted by a simple to use interface, which allows you to search for an airport by IATA code, ICAO code or airport name. In my opinon, simplicity is what it’s all about. A clean, easy-to-use interface is where design is heading these days.

Thanks to the auto-suggesting search box, airports are easy to find. Regardless of whether you know only a portion of the airport’s code or full name, you’ll soon have your charts on your screen. Once you’ve found the airport, navigating to your desired chart couldn’t be easier, thanks to its simple colour coding scheme and flowing tabbed design.

I believe Aerosoft have done a great job with the design. With so much space on the interface reserved for the charts, you have loads of room to zoom in, pan or rotate. This is really helpful for when you’re looking to see the finer details within the charts, or need rotate to face a certain orientation to help you.

As you would expect from real-world charts, these things are highly detailed and allows you to zoom in to very close levels before things start to get a little pixelated. In fact, it’s really impressive how quickly they download to your computer for reading when selecting, despite their high quality. Of course, the high quality is imperative for enroute charts. From the original view, things are illegible, but as you get closer, the detail is staggeringly good, really allowing you to plot your route correctly and precisely. I feel the quality of these charts outweigh the quality from Navigraph, especially when at full-zoom.

Without having that much knowledge of enroute chart names, I would prefer it if there was further information added to each chart. For example, as you can see, I have selected “REC NA 10H”. Luckily, I know this is primarily the Eastern side of the USA, however, less knowledgeable people would ‘guess’ their way to the correct chart. With so much room for more information, it would be good if in the future, Aerosoft could add a descriptor to each chart to simplify the process for both novice and experienced users alike.

Keeping with the theme for simplicity, NavDataPro Charts have done a great job at making frequently visited airports easily accessible, I would just need to add them to my ‘kneeboard’ and at any time, I can just go in and grab the chart information. A feature I really like that keeps things simple is the fact that I can ‘add a flight.’ By adding a flight, I select the departure, arrival and alternate airports, and this pre-populates all the charts into one section, in chronological order. It outputs a massive list, but it’s worth it, because it saves time and effort of downloading time and time again, especially when you may need charts to hand quickly. This really helped with planning my flights; equally, it would be great to see enroute charts added at some point.

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Sadly, I don’t own an iOS device to test out the features, but the rest of the team at FSElite have said it works really well, is speedy and the interactive map features really help to make using the charts as easy as possible. The VATSIM integration is also exceptionally helpful when crossing over different airspace, as it gives you chance to plan even more in advance to help make the flying part even easier. It would be great if features like drawing and adding text to the maps were on the Desktop versions, as that would help for the visual people such as myself.

Subscription:Content:Price*
NavDataPro Charts –
One Year Access
Access to charts for 366 days55,99 €
(47,05 € ex VAT)
NavDataPro Charts –
One Month Access
Access to charts for 31 days7,99 €
(6,71 € ex VAT)
NavDataPro Charts –
One Day Access
Access to charts for 1 day2,99 €
(2,51 € ex VAT)
NavDataPro Bundle –
One Year Access
Bundle 1 year Chart Access FMS Data
(13 Cycle)
(available from July 2016)
69,99 €
(58,82 € ex VAT)

As far as pricing goes, Aerosoft have assured us that in July people will be able to buy the NavDataPro bundle (yearly access), which includes both the NavData and the Charts for 69.99EUR, which is actually cheaper than what Navigraph currently supply. If you’re still not sure, then Aerosoft currently offer day subscriptions, giving you the chance to try it out before you drop a large sum of money.