TFDi has released the much-anticipated major update to smartCARS, its popular flight tracking and management system for Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Prepar3D, X-Plane, and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Used extensively by virtual airlines and their pilots, smartCARS 3 offers a new, modern user interface, enhanced capabilities, and improved API support for maps and other third-party services, in addition to many other new features and enhancements designed to help virtual airlines and their pilots better plan, track, and report flights.
First announced in 2019, smartCARS 3 represents a complete rewrite of the previous codebase to improve performance and user experience as well as to allow developers and virtual airline managers a platform to integrate with and build upon. Features include real-time flight tracking and logging, flight planning/filing through SimBrief, Pilot Report (PIREP) submission, a chat system for communication with other pilots in the organisation, as well as abnormal flight prevention (crash recovery), and integration with the popular JetStream Radio player.
Enhancements in smartCARS 3
- Single installation across all VAs without losing the customization (meaning you no longer had to install multiple copies of smartCARS for multiple VAs)
- Resizable, massively improved user interface
- Complete customization and extensibility via plugins and web APIs
- simBrief integration
- Overhauled map with ATC and online network support
- Massively improved and scriptable flight tracking (each VA can customize exactly what is logged and how)
- Overhauled chat experience that is more conducive to a friendly community message-board-style conversation
- Improved PIREP viewer with real over-the-ground route plotting
Virtual airlines can purchase smartCARS 3 for $6.99/month (£5.65 | €6.55) and offer the service to its pilots at no additional cost. smartCARS Premium is optional for pilots and is priced at $3.99/mo (£3.24 | €3.75). The premium version provides additional features such as cloud PIREP backups, active cloud flight backup, and the upcoming smartCARS mobile companion app that will bring real-time flight data, remote sim control, and more to your mobile device.
Sunsetting Support for smartCARS 2
With the release of smartCARS 3, TFDi announced plans to discontinue support of smartCARS 2 and allow users to transition to the new, more advanced version over the coming year. To accomplish this transition, TFDi has proposed the following phases:
Phase 1: smartCARS 3 Release (2023/09/18, T-0 days)
On the day smartCARS 3 releases, TFDi will immediately halt any new sales and purchases of smartCARS 2 licenses. We are doing this to ensure that no customer purchases a license to software which will be in the process of being sunset.
Phase 2: License Updates Closed (2023/10/18, T+30 days)
30 days after the release of smartCARS 3, smartCARS 2 license holders will no longer be able to update the application name or icon for their specific license. Web script URLs, logos, colors, and other settings changes will still be possible.
Phase 3: Chat Closed (2023/12/18, T+90 days)
90 days after the release of smartCARS 3, TFDi will suspend the chat server. No user in smartCARS 2 will be able to use the chat from this point.
Phase 4: Premium Disabled (2024/06/18, T+9 months)
9 months after the release of smartCARS 3, smartCARS Premium benefits will only be available in smartCARS 3. This means smartCARS 2 will no longer be able to process whether you have Premium or not, effectively disabling Premium functionality throughout the older application.
Phase 5: Final Sunset (2024/09/18, T+1 year)
A year after the release of smartCARS 3, TFDi will complete the sunsetting of smartCARS 2 by closing the authorization servers. This will mean that no user will be able to access smartCARS 2 or its functionality.
For more information, product downloads, or to purchase a subscription, visit the TFDi smartCARS 3 product page.