Ideal Flight 10 (IF10) is not your typical FSX utility. It is a simple weather system, flight planner, dispatcher, and flight analyzer all rolled into one. Is this jack of all trades application worth the price or is it an application that doesn’t live up to it’s name? It will be a permanent FSX add-on for me and I’ll tell you why it should be yours.
First, this is only for FSX. The download is very small. A mere 3mb. There’s allot packed into this 3mb file though so don’t be discouraged. It comes in a zipped file with an executable file inside to start things rolling. You can install it anywhere. I suggest in a separate folder where you keep your FSX add-ons. Once activated you are ready to go.
A fair warning for those who have slow PC’s… the first step IF10 makes is to build a scenery and aircraft index. This will take some time if you have allot of scenery installed. On my system it took almost 10 minutes. There is no default database so this can’t be avoided as your first step. When you have completed it once, you can decide each time you start IF10 whether you want to update the scenery or not. I strongly urge you to update it when prompted. I’ve had several errors and odd data issues when I didn’t. In every case, updating the database solved the problem. If you haven’t added or taken anything away then it won’t ask you. You’ll see that the program is pretty user friendly that way throughout.
Also, note that the application only takes up 28k of your RAM so it will be less of a resource hit than most of the Windows native services. It does not control anything in FSX other than the initial launch. From then on it just monitors the data flow. No FPS hit at all.
The manual comes on both a short pdf file and an extensive help system. I found the manual to be easy to follow. There’s a section on hacking the config files to customize the program even more to your liking.
This is a very simple weather generator that uses a metar file and applies the current conditions at your position to the entire world. As you move the weather is updated at intervals that you can choose. Again, it’s a blanket weather system. This makes for a less realistic flight however the resource hit is minimal and you are still getting real weather at your departure and arrival airports. It’s just not as comprehensive as other payware software dedicated to weather generation. It does add thermals, too, for gliders. The accuracy of the weather depiction is slightly better than FSX’s own weather system. This is not the meat of the application so you can live without this by disabling IF10’s weather system. Good for beginners and those who are not concerned with really accurate weather depiction of cloud layers and winds aloft, etc.
The Flight Planning system is designed well. You can set parameters for everything it seems. AI Traffic can be set to show various number of aircraft to reduce the overhead or even turn it off. If you are using Ultimate Traffic X, as I am, it does appear to control the AI Traffic but you will see strange airlines in your area so it seems to be a random selection of aircraft. If you use UTX I suggest turning off the AI Traffic feature. It does not control the ground traffic such as vehicles and boats.
To create a flight plan you select the aircraft you want to fly and then the departure and destination airports. The system remembers where you parked each of your aircraft after flown. So, don’t end your flight on a taxiway or runway! You can modify the parameters of the aircraft as seen below to reflect more accurate numbers. IF10’s numbers are not very accurate for maximum altitude and range. I suspect that’s because they generate them from the aircraft.cfg file rather than real sources.
You can search for airports by name, icao, and city. Each time you are presented with multiple choices if more than one matches your criteria. You will find it a little slow after you have selected your destination airport because it’s generating your flight plan. It did take 20-30 secs each time on average. It’s important to set all of your parameters before selecting the final destination to prevent yourself from repeating this procedure.
A nice feature of this system is that you can ask it to generate a random flight from your current location. You set the parameters and it will generate a route to an airport within the range you specify. If you don’t like it, do it again until you find a route that interests you. This is a great feature. I’ve seen many forums where pilots are looking for a random flight generator or ideas of where to fly. You can also drag and drop a FSX flight plan file onto the app and it will process it. If you plan on doing SIDs and STARs I suggest doing the plan in FSX and then dropping it onto ID10 for processing.
My only complaint about this planner is that you cannot modify the plan before getting into FSX. It would be nice to be able to add or remove waypoints for creating SIDs or STARs and having a complete flight.
This feature is nice, too. Once your plan is generated and you are ready to fly you can view your plan in the form of a dispatch sheet. Everything you’ll need on your flight is in this file. Airport diagrams for the departure and destination airports, navaids for each airport, enroute waypoints, weather, radio frequencies, possible alternate airports, aircraft loads, and more, are on this sheet. What’s better than that? They even place the file in the kneeboard of the aircraft you are to fly in FSX! It’s there while you are flying. Need an ILS frequency for the arrival airport? It’s there. You don’t have to pull down the FSX menu and open the map and scroll along to find the destination airport anymore.
This is my favourite part of the program. At the end of the flight you are given a slew of data about your flight including G forces and pitch during take-off and landing. You are also graded on your performance. An ideal flight (pun intended) will give you a score of 100%. Improper use of lights will drop you the mid 90’s and so on. It’s important to note that the lights results are not correct for aircraft where the developer did not use the standard lighting system in FSX. My Wilco A319/A320 did not indicate the correct light configuration, for example. In the example depicted below you can see a summary of my last flight on the left and I assure you, the details you get are more than this. There are three pages of analytical data at the end of your flight.
Your score for the flight accumulates and you slowly move up the ranks of the simulated scoreboard provided. I wish they had taken this one step further and made the scoreboard an online scoreboard where you are competing against other IF10 users over the world.
You can also view your pilot profile which is a summary of your stats. These are not just basic stats. These are stats like points accumulated on every aircraft you’ve flown, average penalties (you can see your areas needing improvement), and all of the current settings on the config file.
I could go on and on in detail about all the lovely things in this app. I didn’t even mention the section on missions. If you are new to FSX or a veteran user this is one add-on that I think you will find valuable. The price may be a deterrent, however. At $50 Canadian/USA it’s up there close to the price of a detailed airliner. There’s one or two things missing from this app, but these do not affect the purpose of the app. These are just minor things. One is that it doesn’t allow you to modify the plan to use SIDs and STARs . The other complaint… it’s not available for FS2004! Sure, you FSX diehard users are snickering, but I still use FS2004 40-50% of the time and I’d love to see something like this for FS2004.
Check it out and if it’s within your budget I really suggest purchasing this add-on.
Price: 35.64 Euros or approximately $50 Canadian/American
Purchase from: Simmarket here