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Review: Active Sky For Prepar3D

Active Sky For Prepar3D

Publisher: HiFi Simulation Technologies

Review Author:
Michael Hayward

Suggested Price:



In flight simulation, one of its mostimportant aspects is its meteorological setup and how airflow issimulated around your aircraft. This determines how your aircraft willreact in different weather patterns as well as giving you a differentcontrol feel upon certain conditions. This is also the key to howrealistic your simulation is!

HiFi Simulation Technologies has long been leaders in the flightsimulation scene for their weather enhancing add-ons and updated cloudtexture packs. Active Sky is their flagship product and for years hasbeen trusted by many to create realistic flying conditions within FSX,P3D and even X-Plane!

In this review, we take a closer look at Active Sky for P3D v4 andsee if this edition of their long-standing weather platform sits withthe glowing reviews that previous versions have been given!

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Download And Installation

Installation for Active Sky is simple to follow but requires a few steps.

Firstly you will want to ensure that your simulator is closed andyou are connected to the internet - this is important for activationas well as allowing the platform to update your weather to matchreal-world METAR.

Once this has been installed, a pop-up asks if you would like toinstall AS Connect. Select yes to this as AS Connect is what allowsActive Sky to talk to the simulator and send it weather updates on thego. This works in a very similar way to SimConnect.

After installation, the Active Sky client will then open. Inputyour activation key and email and you are good to go!

There is then one further optional download and that is forX-Gauge, a weather radar panel for your aircraft, and this can beinstalled onto all or a select few of your planes.

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Inside the root Active Sky folder is a series of documents that canhelp you through the installation and setup process of Active Sky indetail, such as a readme file with a series of troubleshooting stepsand a Documentation folder with a 108-page user guide in PDF and WordDocument formats. If you ever get stuck with this add-on, there iscertainly a lot here that can help you!


Active Sky is a client that sits separately from the simulator butconnects to it through its proprietary system. The client forms thehub of Active Sky on your simulator and lets you interact with severaldifferent menus and options to tweak settings to your requirements.These include many realism and update settings to help you find theright balance for you.

With Active Sky turned on and your weather preset active, it willthen inject this data into your simulator, and within a few seconds,the sky will be completely transformed. Empty patches of sky arefilled in; the unrealistic unlimited visibility reigned in (andadjusted depending on your altitude) and turbulence bumps added tochoppy winds.


There is also the ability to use historical weather from a previousdate and year with weather data stored as far back as August 1st 2014!This allows you to recreate flights you have made in the past withworld weather matching, or even fly through storms and meteorologicalevents that have occurred since.

Customer weather can also be determined with Active Sky, allowingyou to paste your own METAR data into a specific airport orregion. This can certainly be fun with the ability to create totalchaos within the simulator skies! Anybody up for an 80+ knot gustingthunderstorm?

Next, we have a map which includes several overlays such as cloudlayers, airports, weather stations, shear warnings and other airtraffic to name a few. The map allows you to view the weather alongwith your flight plan from a top-down perspective and provides youwith enough information to make any adjustments in the case of poorweather.


X-Gauge, as lightly touched on, is a plane weather radar panel thatcan be activated within the simulator. This shows off the sameinformation as you get on the Active Sky client map, but directlywithin the simulator itself. This allows you to access vitalinformation without the need to tab in and out of your flight.

Then you have a conditions page which allows you to search for anairport or station and view the local METAR. One thing I like aboutActive Sky is the way it shows this information. You can view both theMETAR string in its raw format, or you can use the UI to view theinformation displayed in an easy and user-friendly way! This meansthat anybody from a veteran real-world pilot to a first-flightnewcomer can view and understand this information in a way that bestsuits them.

I have certainly made use of the Briefing page too! Here it givesyou an overview of your flight and weather updates throughout thedifferent waypoints en route. On longer flights especially this canprove helpful in determining the change in weather as you get closerto your destination. It may also reveal a waypoint or two you may wantto deviate from if the winds start proving too much.

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A nice extra that Active Sky also provides is a Scenariospage. Here you can try out different weather effects including somethat led to real-world aviation incidents. These scenarios can pushthe simulator to its limits as you try to avoid facing serious issuesyourself!


When flying, Active Sky completely transforms worldwide weather tomatch that of real METAR data. This means if you were to fly from yourlocal airport, the weather will likely match what you are seeingoutside your window! This weather is also constantly updated (every 15minutes by default) to ensure that you are seeing updated weatherpatterns as they come and go.

One other nice feature of Active Sky is the ability to have cloudsmove across the sky. These follow wind patterns and speed to determinehow fast the cloud will coast, adding to a realistic sky environment,much more realistic to how clouds and airflow works.


A feature that I do like is the wing fade and in cloud visibilityeffects. When you fly through a large cloud, visibility will shoot tozero as your aircraft is surrounded by clouds, and smoke effects will acton the aircraft's wings to make them fade in and out of view. Defaultclouds in P3D are done via an effect called Billboarding, where a flattexture is rotated to face towards you. Flying through a cloud thencauses it to disappear with no depth whatsoever. This is a very nicelyadjusted tweak and finally gives you the feeling of flying through asolid cloud.

One thing that P3D does get some criticism for is the simplicity ofthe flight model, where aircraft can feel that they are on rails. Withno airflow simulation and air sitting still, it can sometimes feelamiss, especially when flying a light aircraft that can feel the fulleffect of external weather. Active Sky certainly adds those bumps anddrafts you have been missing!


Mixing And Matching

As well as Active Sky, HiFi Tech also sell their Cloud Artpackage which is a series of realistic textures that better suit theActive Sky environment, giving you the best possible experience fromtheir part. It also recreates the simulator's cloud structures to givethem more realistic visuals such as 3D structure and depth.

Opinion And Closing Remarks

As always, I cannot recommend Active Sky highly enough! It is asimple tool that completely changes the way you fly within Prepar3D. Withrealistic weather injection and wind management, you get to enjoy thefull in-flight experience from clear skies to turbulent storms.


One thing that should also be mentioned is the fact that thispackage is also compatible for P3D v3, meaning if you were not one whomade the jump to the newer Prepar3D platforms, you will still be ableto download and run this add-on without any issue.

At the time of writing, HiFi Tech has also announced that they arecurrently updating ActiveSky for P3D v5, meaning it won't be too longeither until we see this tool mix with TrueSky clouds, something I amcertain will completely change the way we see weather within a flightsimulator!

If you're looking for something to bring your Prepar3D world tolife, then this is certainly the add-on for you!

Because of our reviewer's outstanding findings, FlightSim.Com gives HiFi Simulation Technologies - Active Sky for P3D our Award of Excellence

The Technical Bit

Minimum Requirements

  • Windows 7, 8.1, 10 or later
  • Prepar3D v4
  • 2 GHz processor or better
  • 2 GB RAM or better
  • 1 GB available hard drive space
  • Minimum monitor resolution to access all user interface features: 1024x768
  • Sound device (for sound and voice features)

Review PC Specs

  • Prepar3D v4
  • Windows 10 Professional
  • 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 6700K Processor
  • 16 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 745


Michael Hayward


Purchase HiFi Technologies - Active Sky for P3D

Purchase Active Sky Cloud Art

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