SimPlates 2000 World Edition
By FlightSim.Com Staff (March 23, 2000)
imPlates 2000 World Edition is out! Finally, a way to fly the entire world in FS2000 and be able to make IFR approaches! No more guessing. No more fumbling through old books or websites to try and figure out how to get to Guam on a stormy night. Or Juneau Alaska in a blizzard. Maybe even LaPaz Bolivia in a thunderstorm! Your printer and SimPlates 2000 World Edition is your key to exploration.
The World Edition is very similar to the USA version, minus the airport facility directory. I can only imagine how impossible it must be to get information on each airport from third-world countries. I am grateful we have plates and airport diagrams.
SimPlates 2000 World Edition comes with tabs that display information on Navaids, STARs, preferred IFR routings and a legend to explain it all. Again, in real life, this would be many stacks of separate books - all at a cost exceeding the puny $25 for the entire SimPlates package! It is a cinch to use and no instructions are needed to use the program.
After an easy installation with one error about something about a .dll error in copying, I was up and running with it within two minutes and had explored the entire program within ten minutes. Easy and packed with information! You can't do better than this for value and content in a short amount of time. Within seconds you'll be from starting the program, to having the actual approach plate attached to your yoke. Other products to do the same would run you much much more. In fact, to subscribe to the chart service most airline pilots use, by Jeppesen, would run you into the thousands of dollars! To boot, I never ran into a problem on that installation error. I tested this version on a 777 flight from Miami to Bogota, Columbia. It was a thrill to be able to do the ILS approach into a place I could have never gone to before. Narrowly descending in a mountain canyon, the FS2000 terrain matched what was shown on the approach plate. I made a perfect touchdown on the 8300 foot MSL airport! Denver's no competition here!
SimPlates 2000 World Edition includes the following:
- Several thousand IFR approach plates for airports throughout the world. This includes over 100 countries plus Alaska and Hawaii (which were not included in the continental USA product). Approach plates of many types--including ILS, NDB, VOR, VOR/DME, TACAN, SDF, LDA, MLS, Visual, LOC, LLZ, and more.
- Additional plates covering Airport Diagrams, Plate Use Information, SIDs, STARs, Alternate Minimums, Takeoff Minimums, and Radar Minimums.
- Some bonus, limited info on ILS frequencies etc. for the USA, but not actual plates or detailed airport info - for that you will need the US Edition.
There are two negatives that are minor in nature but must be told. First of all, you don't have an option to install the entire product on your HD. Instead, you are told in the readme to copy the contents of a folder over to the drive. Secondly, the onscreen image quality of the approach plates and airport diagrams is quite poor. The printed quality is just fine however.
The first problem is not a big deal, though non-experienced computer users may not like to copy stuff. The CD is needed to run the program if you don't want to fill up your drive with stuff you're going to use on a per flight basis. So for that, I don't mind having the CD in the drive. For something like this, I'd rather have all the data on the CD.
The second problem bugs me. While viewing the plates onscreen, I can not make out the details very well, and in some areas where many obstructions are shown, it is one big ink blur, making it all look like a cheap photocopy. The good news is that most folks will grab the plates they want, and print them out ahead of time and not view them onscreen. After all, you don't want to have to stop your flight to view a plate do you? The printed quality is much better and totally legible in most areas. Still, some blurring occurs near the little airport diagrams. Dauntless Software reports the following about the onscreen quality .... "The IFR plates of SimPlates 2000 were scanned at high resolution, and in general, look great when printed on an inkjet printer and even better on a laser printer. Viewing the screenshots may not necessarily do them justice, however, because viewers such as Adobe Acrobat tend to rasterize the high-resolution images poorly. The Adobe Acrobat print engine does a better job of this--SimPlates allows for plates to be exported to .PDF. However, the best quality printed plates come from SimPlates' internal viewer's printer. Unfortunately, there's no way for us to show you this over the Internet. A small percentage of plates (far less than 1%) of SimPlates may show some corruption or other scan irregularities. "
I don't know how Dauntless can make a profit off selling the entire world for $25. As in my review on the USA Version I feel this product is well worth the price and I could easily see spending $100 on this World Edition. There are a few "cheesy" parts, like the blurry diagrams or some areas where water comes out very grainy on the charts when viewed onscreen, but I'm sure you'll agree this is a tiny price to pay for the entire world at your fingertips! Besides that, I'm sure this product will be updated and around for a long time, and support will be great. $25!? I'd order yours now before they come to their senses and raise the price!
SimPlates 2000 World Edition gets an 91 out of 100. Only better background graphics and higher resolution on-screen chart options, could improve this program.
Additional info and purchasing is at the Dauntless Software home site today.