Plane & Pilot
Saturday, January 1, 2005

Aviation’s Top Websites

In slightly more than a decade, the World Wide Web has gone from being a mere novelty to one of the most important tools available. Now, with a click of the mouse, pilots can access live weather, plan flights with previously unheard-of flexibilities, check fuel prices, find aircraft values, search databases, take virtual tours of museums and study volumes of hard-to-access aviation product information. In the proceeding pages, Plane & Pilot has assembled the best online sites for pilots who are searching for excellent resources on the Internet." />

Planning And Playing
TerraServer USA:
Enter a street address or enter a location on a map. If you’ve ever tried to find your house from the air, this is a big help!

Cockpit GPS and Basic GPS Navigation:
Two online how-to books on GPS, written by an airline pilot. They go well beyond what’s found in your owner’s manual, covering practical aspects of using GPS for VFR and IFR navigation. It includes topics such as loss of signal, collision risk, using the simulator and demo mode to learn a GPS on the ground, using a handheld GPS with Microsoft Flight Simulator, common errors, legalities of using a GPS for navigation, how GPS works and selecting a GPS. It includes reviews of a wide range of GPS receivers by Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, C-Map and various PDA- and laptop-based solutions. If you already own a GPS, this site will help you get the most from it. If you don’t own one yet, the site will help you pick the best one for the kind of flying you do. Download the books (or read them online) for free. The author asks for a $5 donation if you find them useful—and that has to be one of the best bargains in aviation today!

FlyteComm FlyteTrax II:
It’s an online graphical flight-tracking site with weather and other information from any Web browser. A free trial is available.
This site provides online flight planning with views of VFR (basic) and IFR (premium service only) charts. It prints customized “triptick” charts showing the airspace under your route. A free “Quick Plan” feature provides basic direct-to routing with a graphical view of TFRs and controlled airspace linked to a profile showing terrain clearance. Click on the profile for a look at the kind of sectional coverage offered in the paid basic and premium-service packages. It also offers aviation weather, NOTAMs, TFRs and an online electronic logbook feature.

The One Hundred Dollar Hamburger:
It’s an online guide to fly-in restaurants, with listings for all 50 U.S. states and 18 overseas destinations. It includes reviews of the restaurants—plus 100LL fuel prices, ground transportation and reviews of fly-in hotels.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Century Of Flight:
It’s the home page for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 and includes free product updates, articles on tuning for best performance, comparisons between flight simulations and real airplanes and links to the extensive community of flight sim product developers and enthusiasts.

X-Plane v7:
This is an absolutely amazing desktop flight simulator that’s largely the work of one man. Fly pre-defined airplanes or design your own. This product has been used by engineers in the development of actual experimental airplanes and as the software for a low-cost, FAA-certified, full-motion simulator. A free demo is available on the site, along with updates, tricks and tips.

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