Please excuse my excitement, but I just discovered what I think has got to be one of the coolest FS add-ons for VFR flying: FSWidgets' GMap
, an add-on that connects to FS to give you an in-cockpit moving map display.
- Combined with decent scenery, provides a true visual flying experience.
- Available for FS9, FSX, and XP (PC only, though)
- Displays any of the standard Google maps (terrain, satellite, roads, or hybrid satellite-roads)
- Can load any map image you can think of (sectionals, terminal charts, approach plates, HELICOPTER ROUTE CHARTS, etc.)
- Oh yeah, it's free!
- On my second rate FS computer, Google terrain maps are fine, but sectional charts have to be uber-compressed to avoid major jerkiness.
- I've only tested in FS9, but the free version isn't viewable in full screen mode. The only way to see it in full screen is to use it as a module in FSWidgets' payware Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), which will run you $25. (But this might
be worth it, because of some other cool features, like an automated, audio checklist manager. Jury's still out.)
- FSWidgets tries to get you to buy US sectionals and terminal chart for $15 per bundle. You can use the free FAA downloads and calibrate them yourself using data provided on the FAA's DPP site.