Electronic flight planning

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by ErikU, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. ErikU

    ErikU Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would like to get everyones thoughts about what electronic flight planner they like, and why. I am using AOPA's planner, and I like it, but would prefer more options, such as auto routing for best altitude. So I am thinking of upgrading to the Jeppesen planner, but there are so many other options too. I tried the demo of the Seattle Avionics Voyager, it's nice too. I would use it for both VFR and IFR. Thoughts?
     
  2. Carol

    Carol Line Up and Wait

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    I use Destination Direct and have for several years. It is now possible to export flight plans to Aeroplanner.com for access online and that is an attractive feature for me. Aeroplanner.com is a good flight planner in itself and the basic planner is free (I believe it is still free) if you are a member of EAA.
     
  3. sshekels

    sshekels Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I use FlightSoft - I debated about it several times at Oshkosh, and finally got a copy.

    I've used it several times on long trips, and just love it. It can even download sectionals for the particular trip. Its great. Take a look at www.rmstek.com

    S.
     
  4. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm also a FliteSoft user, and although there are a lot of minor warts on the program, It's the best bang for bucks IMO. I have tried several others over the years and actually maintained a copy of FliteStar as well as FsPro from the time they both came on the market until about three years ago. I finally dropped FliteStar three years ago when their customer service became real crappy after Jeppesen took them over. They actually had the gall to call me a software pirate after their stupid installation program barfed badly and it took three attempts to install an update following instructions from their tech support. This after having been a continuous subscriber for over ten years.

    My biggest gripe with FliteSoft is that they've never adopted the Windows "look and feel" with their user interface. Both programs (FliteStar and FliteSoft) began life outside the Windows environment but the FliteStar folks did a much better job of porting it to Windows. In addition to configuring the application to run in three separate windows with no means to tile them, an amazingly stupid printer interface, and a frustratingly unwieldily dialup modem control mechanism, their menu architecture and hotkey selections are all very non "Windows like". I have other minor feature issues with FliteSoft like the five clicks necessary to change the winds aloft arrow altitude, the inability to zoom the profile display, and a bug that's been around for years that screws things up when you create any flight that starts and ends at the same location, but in general the folks at RMS provide a lot of capability for very little cost. Their annual subscription for a mere $109 includes unlimited downloads of sectional and IFR enroute charts, in addition to program and navigational DB updates. They also offer an integrated Pocket PC planner/inflight moving map for an extra $150 (one time) that shares the same navigation information so there's only the one subscription fee. Unfortunately it's not quite in the same league with Anywhere map (slower, less features), but it's not bad.

    I have only limited (demo) experience with Destination Direct, but my impression is that it's not as feature rich. I haven't been able to check this out in the recent past since their website offers very little information on the product and I can't find any way to download a demo. One big downside IMO is the $450 annual update subscription fee (vs $109 for FliteSoft).

    Another planner that I looked at is called Voyager (www.seattleavionics.com). This one looks interesting except that it appears that it can only function when connected to the internet. Some of the niceties are the automatic fetching of weather and the display of this weather directly on the chart.
     
  5. Arnold

    Arnold Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've recently started flying more x-country flights as my family has moved further and further away and I've given great thought to the same question.

    I use duats.com and the AOPA flight planner for the flight planning and Airnav.com for planning fuel stops. I've tried aeroplanner pro and don't find it adds any value.

    Last week I flew the entire east coast from BOS to Naples FL and return. What I like most about duats, which the AOPA flight planner and aeroplanner do not provide, is the VOR based intermediate fixes on a GPS direct flight plan. The others give you only lat/lon fixes and I like to know where I am relative to ground based nav aids. I also always fly with the proper sectional and/or lo enroute chart open and available.

    For short VFR x-c flights I open up the sectional and draw a line. I'll then use the RNAV direct mode on duats.com to get my electronic navaid fixes to use as back up and to get the winds aloft data and create my flight log.

    For IFR x-c flights and longer VFR flights I start with AOPA flight planner and print the route display, rather than drawing numerous lines on multiple charts. I then use duats.com to generate the flight log, obtain Wx and file the flight plan.

    I have found this to be quick, accurate and cheap, as in free.
     
  6. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    In addition to the AOPA RTFP I use the free Golden Eagle flight planner from www.duats.com. It's easy to lay out routes, TFRs and SUA are shown, along with terrain and a side view of your flight plan in relation to terrain. Hover your mouse over an airport, and airport info and a graphical chart of the runway pops up. Very neat.
     
  7. RotaryWingBob

    RotaryWingBob En-Route Gone West

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    I use Flitesoft as well. I like the fact that RMS has continually improved the product since I started using it a few years ago. I also like the raster charts now that they let you chart your entire route, even over chart boundaries.
     
  8. david clough

    david clough Filing Flight Plan

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    I've used flightstar & destination direct (ifr model), and prefer destination direct. for me, it's easier to use, more inutitive on how to change routings, and smarter on airway routes.

    FWIW
     
  9. gibbons

    gibbons En-Route

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    I started using FliteSoft years ago. At the time RMS didn't have any approach chart interface that was legal to use in the cockpit. So I switched over to Flightstar (Jepp) because it did (so they told me). As it turns out, the interface was to fire up JeppView and print out the charts you needed. Then, they did try to build an interface but every time I updated the Jepp information the interface broke. Now the interface is pretty good, but it has taken a long time.

    Assuming RMS can produce approach plates now (I don't keep up with them anymore) I would choose FliteSoft over Flightstar. The interface was easier to use and more intuitive. The RMS software also ran much faster than the Jepp product.

    I still use Flightstar because I'm used to it and have a pretty big investment in all the upgrades. I don't recommend it to anyone else.

    Chip