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Evan Reiter

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    • Boston Virtual ARTCC
Navigation data consists of waypoints (intersections/fixes), navaids (VOR, NDB, etc.), and terminal procedures (SIDs, STARs, and IAPs). The original navigation data contained within FSX is several years old; using an aircraft with the default GPS or any other add-on, including those with an FMC, you may not see waypoints that have been added since the last time your navigation database was updated. If you are using the default GPS, the navigation is current as of FSX's release in 2006. Quite a bit has changed!

This post details where these navigation data updates come from and how to access them.

Navigation data comes from the creation of new terminal procedures (SIDs/STARs/IAPs) or from the creation of new RNAV/GPS or conventional routes. These revisions and additions are provided to the world on a 28-day cycle known as an Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control, or AIRAC, cycle. At the time of writing (May, 2012), the current AIRAC cycle was 1205, effective May 3, 2012. The next update date was May 31 which would be 1206.

Navigation Data Update for the Default GPS & FSX Radar

For pilots and controllers who rely on FSX's default navigation data (pilots using the default GPS and controllers using FSX's radar), updates are available for fixes, VORs/NDBs, and the magnetic variation data that affects runways and other charts. At the time of writing, the data was current. To download the files, click the links below:

These freeware updates are highly recommended to keep navigation data current. The cycle available from that website is frequently updated so it is worth checking back regularly.

The fixes update will cause discontinuity of the airway structure within the flight planner and on the radar. However, all of the waypoints for each of those airways will be present and so your flight won't be affected at all. You can always use the real-world charts (http://www.skyvector.com, for example) to plan your flight, input the waypoints into the flight planner, and you should be fine. This update does not add or update SIDs, STARs, or IAPs into the default FSX GPS GPS which means that, while you might have those waypoints available, you would have to program the GPS using the Flight Planner or by creating a .PLN file.

Navigation Data Updates for (mostly payware) Add-on Aircraft

A payware company called Navigraph provides a set of updates for many add-on aircraft including the popular payware aircraft manufacturers like Level-D, PMDG, FeelThere, Flight1, etc. Once you've paid a large amount of money for an add-on aircraft with advanced navigation capabilities like an FMC, we think it just makes sense to pay the little bit more to make sure that FMC is up-to-date. Most add-on manufacturers start their aircraft with a more up-to-date version of navigation data than FSX but mostly they don't keep it updated (you can see on one of the first FMC pages what cycle of navigation data you have). Updating navigation data for these aircraft is where Navigraph comes in.

Check the FMS Data page (http://www.navigraph.com/fmsDataDownload.aspx) to see if your payware aircraft are included in the list of aircraft they provide updates for. Most of the updates include both waypoints and terminal procedures so you'll be able to access the latest SIDs, STARs, and IAPs directly from your aircraft's FMC. If you aircraft can be updated, then read on. Otherwise, you may be out of luck as we haven't heard of similar services (please let us know if you find one).

Navigraph sells its navigation data per cycle. Once you have bought cycle 1205, you can download as many of the aircraft updates as you'd like. So if you have both the Level-D 767 and the PMDG 747, buying cycle 1205 will allow you to download the updates for both of those aircraft. However, once the next cycle rolls around, you have to purchase again and there's no way to go back and re-download 1205 so make sure you have a backup if you plan not to download an update each month.

Once purchased, each aircraft has its own installation file which you run (with FSX closed). After that, your add-on product's FMC should have the updated waypoints and terminal procedures loaded into it.

For more information on which suffix to file (based on your aircraft's capability), visit this page: http://www.bostonvirtualatc.com/Pilots/PilotReferences/EquipmentSuffixes.aspx.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 11:33:27 am by Evan Reiter »


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

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Evan Reiter

  • Training Administrator
  • 5517
    • Boston Virtual ARTCC
Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 10:34:01 pm »
This post has been updated with a new freeware source for default GPS aircraft and the FSX radar. I strongly recommend all users, even those who only fly payware aircraft, use these links to update their fixes, navaids, and magnetic variation data. It is great stuff -- so great that it even removes the now-decommissioned BDL VOR!


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 11:16:20 pm »
So just to clarify, those of us that have NAVIGRATH should still use the updates above to update the aircraft that don't have FMCs?

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Evan Reiter

  • Training Administrator
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    • Boston Virtual ARTCC
Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 11:28:48 pm »
Quote from: "Thrust2Weight"
So just to clarify, those of us that have NAVIGRATH should still use the updates above to update the aircraft that don't have FMCs?
Yes, as well as the magnetic variation correction (that will impact even those aircraft updated by Navigraph as I understand things).


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 12:15:23 pm »
I want to troubleshoot this more with Evan when he's on Center one night, but has anyone else encountered anything like this?

In FSX using default or add-on GPS, it's not hard to figure out what your Ground Track is. (your course heading along the ground)

I also utilize my iPad foreflight app hooked wirelessly to my FSX through FSXConnect.  It has always worked well, and I've never noticed the ground track to NOT be coincident when in straight and level flight.  After doing all these updates, I was flying in-server with ATC on, and getting  vectored for an ILS.  I kept getting heading changes from ATC (more than usual) and that made me wonder if I was off somewhere.  I usually use ground track to make heading changes when vectored by ATC as to remove any possible problems with wind drift.  So I looked at my ground track on foreflight, and cross-referenced it with the GNS 430 in cockpit, and it was a full 10 degrees off.  

Why would my fsx, which i just updated to the most recent MagVar correction, not be coincident with foreflight all of a sudden?


Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 05:22:59 pm »
I couldn't answer your question, however, a minor note on heading vs track. When a controller gives an instruction to "turn to heading xxx," they mean heading. It is the controllers' job to account for wind. I wouldn't expect for this to account for your continued re-vectoring, as it would only be a few degrees unless the wind is a very large crosswind.

For adequately equipped aircraft such as yours, a controller can also issue a "track" instruction, such as "track the xxx outbound radial from BOS," but the controller has to specify track instead of heading.
Erik VanderWerf
Occasional Flyer
Programmer

Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2013, 07:40:00 pm »
Quote from: "yos233"
When a controller gives an instruction to "turn to heading xxx," they mean heading. It is the controllers' job to account for wind.

I did not know this.  Thanks for that info.  But yes, this still does not explain the 10 degree track difference between FSX and Foreflight.


Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2013, 07:50:38 am »
I am starting to second guess myself.  I think the problem was Foreflight and FSX GPS showed 1 track, and the controller saw me 10 degrees off.

With that said, can someone clarify?  within FSX, do the controllers see what my planes mag heading is, or what my ground track is?


Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2013, 09:07:11 am »
They do see your heading in the radar info, but I'm not sure whether it is ground heading or not.


"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever wal

Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2013, 11:46:11 am »
They see your ground heading, which is more commonly referred to as your track.
Erik VanderWerf
Occasional Flyer
Programmer

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M. B. Ingersoll

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    • National Air Traffic Controllers Association
Re: Nav Data Updates for Default, Freeware, and Payware Airc
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2014, 11:39:40 pm »
New response to an old topic.  Yes, I don't get on here much, as you can tell.

Anyway, I wanted to elaborate slightly on what yos233 said.  He was absolutely correct that when a Controller asks you to fly a specific heading, that IS the heading he wants you to fly.  As yos said, he will adjust for the wind based on what he's been seeing.  Example...

I want my string of traffic to fly over point A  then point B before I turn them for final vectors.  The "no wind" heading (i.e. the bearing) from point A to point B is 090 degrees.  Now, if I have N123 over A and I tell him to "fly heading  zero niner zero, vectors to the final approach course" blah blah, but I see him tracking over the ground on about a one two zero degree track, I'm thinking that the wind at his altitude is pushing him south about thirty degrees off course so I'll adjust his heading to the left to compensate and get him back towards point B.  Now when N456 is over point A, hopefully I've wised up and I'll assign him a heading of 060 for vectors to, blah blah.  Now with that wind pushing him south, he should TRACK about 090.  Cool.  Now here comes N789.  I tell him, over A, to fly heading 060 but he TRACKS 060 using his nav equipment.  Now he's gonna be WAY north of where I need him to be.  He's probably HEADING about 030.

In other words, flying a track to match an assigned heading, while it might SEEM to be helping is really going to make it hard for the Controller.  I'd think there must've been a frontal passage or something so when the next guy hits point A, I might just assign him the 090 heading thinking my crossing wind was gone - and, of course, he'll track 120 and now I'm beating my head against the console and whining for a break!

Hope that helped.
----M B Ingersoll
----FAA Retired
----ZFW 1984-2008
----USAF 1973-1983