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News! - Navigraph acquires SimBrief One of the most vital tools in our Simulation armoury is a clever virtual dispatch system called SimBrief. Created in 2013 by "Derek", this extraordinary free tool will create a full virtual flight planning service. It features detailed fuel calculations for over 120 aircraft types, an extensive route database, real-world weather forecasts, current NOTAMs and ETOPS planning. It also allows you to also download a generated flightplan to install the created route. For myself it is the data to program the aircraft's route (via waypoint) plus the correct SID and STAR procedures, and fuel, passenger and cargo loading calculations. It is a simply invaluable tool to any simulation user. Over the last few years SimBrief was also intergrated into the excellent Navigraph charts system, in overlaying the route on the correct map, and also in a backwards capability in verifying the correct current Navigraph airdata (AIRAC) into the created flightplanning of the route. The announcement is that now Navigraph has acquired the SimBrief system to be now part of Navigraph. Magnus Axholt, CEO and co-founder of Navigraph says "The acquisition is a natural progression of the already close collaboration between Navigraph and SimBrief. It builds on the integration between the two platforms existing since 2013 and provides the ability to do flight planning using up to date navigational data". This would of course create an apoplectic reaction as SimBrief is currently a free service and Navigraph is a subscription service... so will you now have to pay for SimBrief... currently no... Magnus of Navigraph notes; "We plan to integrate SimBrief and Navigraph even further and enable additional functionality to SimBrief using the data and resources Navigraph has available, but however SimBrief's flight planning functionality will continue to be free. Users who want to use the most current navigational data can subscribe to Navigraph and unlock the AIRAC cycles in SimBrief, as before." Sigh of relief... but not really for me as I already use a Navigraph account and also recommend the excellent service. Notably is that "Derek" will also continue to be involved with the SimBrief application while not now being the original developer and owner... notes Magnus; "Derek will play a key role as we develop some of the features in the next generation Navigraph Charts product. With the powerful combination of his real world aviation background and software development experience, Derek is a very welcome member of our skilled and multi-disciplinary Navigraph Development Team. "We shall make SimBrief's flight planning functionality even more accessible to developers in the community by structuring the SimBrief API together with Navigraph APIs in the upcoming Navigraph Developer Portal." "Navigraph has been a strong SimBrief supporter from the very beginning." Derek adds. "I have always enjoyed working with them to improve the integration between the two services. This very much feels like a natural progression, and I am excited to be a part of the team going forward." He goes on to say, "I'm confident that Navigraph's resources and experienced development team will not only help ensure that SimBrief remains available to the community for years to come, but also make for some exciting new features and improvements that wouldn't otherwise be possible." "I have been both humbled and incredibly grateful for the support the community has shown me since I launched SimBrief nearly eight years ago, and I'm looking forward to this next chapter in SimBrief's development." says Derek in closing. SimBrief will currently continue to operate under the name SimBrief, but now with the tag line "by Navigraph". The announcement of SimBrief/Navigraph hook up certainly came from out of nowhere, but interesting is the joining of the resources of not of only the quality of Navigraph, but also the continuation of the original developer of the SimBrief application. The one very important point is that with this announcement it will also give the SimBrief application a solid future, and that is the one important thing above anything else, as currently as this virtual dispatch system is a seriously vital tool to any Simulation user. Navigraph is here; Navigraph FMS Data and Charts for Flight Simulation. SimBrief is here; SimBrief Dispatch System ____________________________ News by Stephen Dutton 1st April 2021 Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved
Application Upgrade : Navigraph Charts v7.0 Starting out in X-Plane in v9, it usually took me two and a half hours to create a route, mostly for long haul of say London to Singapore, you had to input every three letter VOR ICAO code and every five letter WAYPOINT ICAO code into the X-Plane FMS, this is in the not the FMC we have now, but the earlier original version, no AIRWAYS, no deletes, no SID or STAR (you had to create every SID or STAR section yourself via charts), and a LON - SIN segment usually had a 50+ waypoints in the route (Including the SID and STAR segments)... at least you could save all your hard work. Route programs were hard to find or use. Goodway was the best, but it was also still very basic and buggy, but at least it had LOW and HIGH routes and was scaleable, the odd point was trying build cross Pacific routes as they never joined up? or getting the correct Atlantic cross routes working and In reality good route creation programs were very few even up to about four years ago until Google Map based editors started to appear, but they were also very slow as well and depending on your internet connection and came with the high cost in data as Google Maps are huge data munchers. If you follow the reviews here you will note that I now use SimBrief... this is an extraordinary professional route briefing software tool that is absolutely free, so please donate... as you simply don't want to lose this tool. Simbrief will build a route for you and then give you not only the notes on the route but the actual route to download (In a lot cases you still have to add in the specific SID or STAR procedure). Lately I have been also using Navigraph Charts to do those SID and STAR segments. Like most I used Navigraph originally only three to four times a year to update the AIRAC data Cycles... why? Cost. You subscribe to Navigraph on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 8.30 / mo or EUR 74.90 / year, so you could do a month update the AIRAC cycle and then drop out again. But lately I have been leaving my monthly subscription active all the time. Now if you did do the in - out update program, you will now need to think again on that subscription... Navigraph Charts v7.0 Now Navigraph have released v7.0 (current v7.0.1) and a lot of what is in the new version was in there in earlier versions, but it is in the disintictive way the program have been intergrated together now in that brings all the elements together into one complete seemless application... a very good application. At first glace you are taken straight back to your Goodway years, as the layout feels and looks the same, and the global routes are the same in scaleable. But the ease of use is obviously years better in grabbing and moving the maps to your will, I only found the MAP in being slower in loading... .... but looking at the excellent relief detail then you don't mind a few extra seconds in waiting. LOW, HIGH (routes) and MAP are the three selections, and scale in and the sheer detail available to you is now obvious. I am here going to focus on EGKK - Gatwick in the southern part of the United Kingdom. You can select directly an Airport (EGKK) and get the details of that airport, or use the top left "Search" to do the same job. You can select "Airspace" and the details are displayed of what the area is or does... Here we have Gatwick Ground and Terminal areas. Restricted Zones are also noted, as are larger Airspace zones... FIR - Flight Information Regions are noted as well but are hard to select or in heavy route areas even to see... I would like the idea of restricted zones and FIR Airspace to be more better defined, say with different colours.... .... one feature you don't have is for filtering global items, so it is currently all or nothing, so some can overlap others in highly detailed areas. Other direct selections include NDBs and VOR/DME Nav-Aids... .... and the one area that is never used in these mapping applications is now also available here... Holding Pattern areas, This is (MAY) MAYFIELD. You can use the search function and even filter the search in: WAYPOINTS, NAV-AIDS, AIRPORTS (default), AIRSPACES and HOLDING PATTERNS to find certain required items. Charts Select the Chart logo and you will get the usual Navigraph Chart layout for Chart selection... .... I will note the charts do now load in far faster than the usual past loading and waiting time. But here is now a great new feature! You can now overlay or insert the chart directly into the main global layout, yes it is brillant and great at the same time, the only chart you can't insert is the AIRPORT ground chart, and my guess is that the scale won't go down far enough for it to do so... Insertion is via the toggle "Show Visual Overview" (arrowed above left) and on the new CHART menu selection. Route Creation You can easily create a route in Navigraph Charts. Select the "Flights" Icon to bring up a selection window (selection is also available on the selected airport via selecting the airport, then pressing "Add to New Flight" far bottom right) ... Add in your Departure (EGKK) and your Arrival (EGPH - Edinbourgh) airports and an alternate Airport in either Chart mode of "Standard IFR" or "Airline CAO". To create the flight you have a choice of inserting in your own waypoints, or by using the "Auto" function via the "Auto Generate My Route" tickbox. In building up your own route you can of course select each airport, SID, Waypoint, Nav-Aid, STAR and insert it directly into your custom route, easy... brilliantly easy as everything is very interactive. Select your runway and then your SID from the drop down lists... not sure which SID to use? then press the "Show Visual Overview" switch and you get all the SID's in glorious colour and their departure routes... brilliant! I mean how many hours have spent gong through charts to find the best direction departure route, for me it has been hours and hours... Adding in route segments is easy... select the WAYPOINT/VOR and then just add it in, it will ask you how you want to insert the waypoint, in say Before or After with an already set waypont. You can check any AIRWAY, here I am in the LOW airway selection, but there is the HIGH airway as well... I want AIRWAY N601 to (POL) Poll Hill... .... note the route construction in tabs, but you can also go to the actual route code via the TT Type Route selection... I have inserted POL, but it is noted as DCT - DIRECT, but to insert an AIRWAY you replace or edit the DCT between BPK and POL with the AIRWAY No. N601. This will however thankfully insert the whole N601 AIRWAY between BPK and POL... as noted via the arrows, and all the N601 waypoints are now noted in the route sequence. You can of course use the "Auto" function for Navigraph to assemble the route for you and then just adjust your SID Departure and STAR Arrival procedures... Use your "Show Visual Overview" to see the STARs into EGPH and RWY 06, I selected the EDN1D via PER - Perth, yes it is the long way around but you can do this if you want to... So the whole route building and editing in the application is excellent in either setting routes manually or automatically and everything is highly responsive and doesn't crash either... But the only way now to get the route into your FMS, is to copy or insert the code? As there is no download feature? All the mapping can be used in the "Day" (default) or "Night" modes. SimBrief There already was a connection between Navigraph and SimBrief. Navigraph which allowed SimBrief to be updated (as long as you have an account) to the latest AIRAC Cycle... This kept SimBrief current to all the latest navigation data changes. As noted you can create a detailed route in Navigraph v.7.0 but you can't (yet) export it, but now you can actually import a created route the other way around and into Navigraph from SimBrief.... other formats allowed for import is the PLN format. Here I am importing a created SimBrief route EGNX (East-Midlands) to CYUL (Montreal).... ... and as an cross reference it is excellent, so you can now have access to both worlds, the Flightplan and route download from SimBrief, with the charts and mapping detail from Navigraph. SimLink Another feature from Navigraph is "SimLink". this will create a pointer of the current position of the aircraft on the Map or Chart... ... you put the downloaded SimLink plugin into the X-Plane Resources/Plugins folder, it is odd because the file does not look like a plugin folder "Navigraph Simlink_64.xpl" and I think that is why most users have had issues getting SimLink to work correctly... but mine worked straight away. The design of the plugin is clever because it does not require you Wi-Fi or link directly to another computer or tablet to the plugin for it to work. It sends the data coordinates from X-Plane directly to the Navigraph server that is then downloaded back to you when you use the application, it is seemless here and far better than older Google based aircraft positioning tools, which could be a nightmare to set up or activate. When activated by the pointer arrow top right of the Navigraph app, the aircraft is shown via it's position on the chart or map. For the chart application it makes it very easy to find your way around an airport via taxiways and which stand to use. The pointer will follow your position and you get a good scale on the Airport layout map... ... the amount of route data available now is outrageous. Combine the SimBrief detail with the Navigraph mapping and it is a geeks nivana. as all the Segment and AIRWAY detail is all fully in there Press the center button lower left corner and the map will centre on the aircraft, but also you now move with the map on your coordination position. MAP mode is excellent for relief and area details. FIR (Boundaries) and MAP zones are also noted, as is the full latitude and longitude grids, waypoints and Atlantic and Pacific Tracks are also easy to follow or use. Mid-Atlantic and I am cruising at FL320 and now need to switch from "Shannon Oceanic FIR" to "Gander Oceanic FIR" and it is all noted on the Navigraph map... Summary The navigation tools available today for simulators are wide and varied, maps and charts were always available if you knew where to look or with Google search, but how many times were those charts very out of date, or even hard to find. Inputting route data (coordinates) was also a very tiresome job, and certainly if you did long hauls. Navigraph and Aerosoft (NavDataPro) with their data management created for simulators the same AIRAC - Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control data that ICAO delivers for real world aviation. The AIRAC cycles (updated every month) keeps track of all the current Navigational Aids and airport SID and STAR navigation data. Navigraph expanded out their product to cover airport charts and then into airway mapping, this is the v7.0 of that tool and excellent it now is. The main aspect of this new mapping tool is that it brings together other varied tools to be under one application. Charts and Mapping now live together and rather than side by side, in SID and STAR charts they can also be directly inserted into the mapping tool. SID and STAR Departures and Arrivals procedures can also now be seen in a coloured routing for easy choice and routes themselves can be built up directly by point and choose directly in the mapping tool including LOW and HIGH AIRWAYS with fully detailed route information. Routes can easily be built and adjusted with full access to the route code for adjustment or editing. There is no provision for saved routes to be exported, but you can now connect to SimBrief or use PLN data to build a route with the Navigraph application, and then have access to SimBrief's route data download feature. Navigraph's SimLink is also now integrated between X-Plane and the application to show you your current aircraft's position with moving mapping to cover the routes or relief maps. Highly versatile, fast and agile, with Navigraph's Chart application you get a very powerful tool for simulation use with the latest chart data and route mapping, and is available only on subscription on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 8.30 / mo or EUR 74.90 / year, it is yes an outgoing cost, but it is now also a very valuable tool as well, and like noted very powerful.... If your serious about your simulation flying and want to get access to current real world aviation chart and navigation data then it is starting to look like a highly valued investment. _____________________________________ Yes! Navigraph v7.0 is now Available Navigraph Subscription only on a monthly or yearly basis or EUR 8.30 / mo or EUR 74.90 / year Download Download applications are available for both Windows and Mac. SimLink is also available for download and in inserted into your X-Plane Plugins folder.... Internet connection is required for this application. SimBrief is now also intergrated into the Navigraph application, get it here: SimBrief Navigraph Charts Review version v7.0.2 ______________________________________________________________________ Application Upgrade Review by Stephen Dutton 1st June 2019 Copyright©2019 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.33 Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : SimBrief (Free) : Navigraph Charts (Subscription) Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free : JarDesign Ground Handling Deluxe - US$14.95 Scenery or Aircraft - Boeing 747-8 Series by Supercritical Simulations Group (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$55.00