• Destination Finder

    Destination Finder

    By Chip Barber (29 May 2008)

    How Cool Is This?

    This has been a banner couple of months for me. Of late, I've been having a field day with freeware. I've picked up on all the wonderful NHL pattern repaints by Andrew Barenek, I've found some wonderful airport scenery for Toronto and Jacksonville, Florida. And I've come across something for which I have been pining for a long, long time.

    As you may or may not know, I continue with my neurotic behavior towards payware. Someone wise once defined neurosis as the perpetuation of a behavior while expecting a better outcome each time. Well, I happen to be the poster boy for that phrase. I keep hoping that my software purchases will begin to actually reduce the debt so incriminatingly posted to my account each month. Hasn't happened yet, but I'm certain that it will, what with computers being prone to funky little glitches that every so often work to one's advantage. Besides, simply by virtue of sheer numbers, chances should be better than good that something will break my way. Hope springs eternal, even if common sense doesn't.

    But see, I've spent a king's ransom looking for something to answer a burning need. What I've desperately wanted to do was choose an airport in a place with which I am not terribly familiar even if I've augmented it with tres' cool scenery. Then, being of limited attention span and a fair to good likelihood of an unscheduled nap, I consult my many, many various flight planners trying to find destinations that are within 200 miles or so, with ILS and runway length sufficient for a Concorde (can't be too careful on the roll-out, it is terribly bad form to run out of concrete/asphalt before one runs out of forward momentum) and at a vector of my choosing so that I may overfly something other than sand or water.

    To varying degrees, I have seen a return on my FSInvestment. If I combine several aspects of each flight planning software title I own, I can manage to answer most of my aforementioned requirements. Unfortunately, by the time I've managed to compile, sort and digest all the information I've accumulated, simulated flight has taken a back seat to any number of alternate activities that have managed to catch my fancy in the interim. It is a question of timing, you see. Generally, it is a potty break that begins the decline of my desire to fly. Even you real world flyboys gotta pee, otherwise they wouldn't put a loo in close proximity to the flight deck, right?

    But much to my delight, I've come across the answer to my dilemma. Martin Gleeson has produced this gem of a piece of freeware that does precisely what I've wanted, and even some things I neglected to whisper to Santa during my annual lap-sit with him at the local mall (besides, I don't think he was too keen on listening to my requests, what with him moving around and sweating whilst attempting to accommodate my not inconsiderable mass so delicately placed onto his lap. Think of the whale in Free Willy doing a sort of weird lap dance on you, and you'll get the picture.).

    Destination Finder Here's what I've discovered so far with this slice of Nirvana. I enter the ICAO of my departure (if there is one thing I'd like to change with this program, it is a better way to input the departure airport, as there are times I must actually look up the ICAO what with there being no other way to input this important piece of data. Are you listening, Santa?), and continue down the line inputting the parameters I'd like the program to consider while it ponders my potential destinations. These parameters include distance, direction, runway length, runway constitution (hard, soft, gravel etc.), ILS equipped, public or military. I mean, come on! This is far and away beyond what I would have ever thought to ask! The direction thing is cool, in that you may leave it blank for a circle search around your departure airport, ask it to search along a specific heading (1 to 360 degrees), or in a specific compass direction. Ask it for airports to the southeast, and it will look in a 90 degree arc to the southeast. Nifty!

    Now, once you've gotten what the program considers all of the airports that fit your requirements, it will do even more. Not only are the columns able to be manipulated to your heart's content, they may also be removed if you feel you do not need the information they offer. It is completely customizable to your own demands.

    Here's the best part. Once you highlight the airport destination you'd like to choose, a right click on said airport row brings up a menu, in which you may choose to have the program list alternates! How cool is that! I NEVER would have thought to ask Santa for that!

    All this, and freeware too. Honestly, I would have paid for this piece of software. No small surprise, right? But really, how often do you come upon anything that does not only everything you could ever ask of it, but more? I think that, to celebrate, I'll have to input some really eclectic departures, get some really funky destinations and then do a perimeter check to see if I can't manage to get some augmentation for the scenery. After all, I didn't pay anything for my new favorite piece of FSSoftware, right?

    Three Green!

    Chip Barber
    [email protected]

    Download Here


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