Have you recently upgraded to the latest version of ForeFlight with Synthetic Vision or WingX Pro and can’t wait to fly with the new features, but are stuck on the ground due to winter weather? Well we’re happy to tell you that there are options to do some high-tech armchair (or desk chair) flying from the comfort of your home. Both apps integrate fully with Microsoft Flight Sim X and X-Plane 10 and allow you to see your GPS position and movement in these apps, realistically simulating the in-flight experience.
Both flight simulator programs even output AHRS pitch and bank data, allowing you to fly with ForeFlight’s new synthetic vision and learn how to use it’s full capabilities. We’d suggest a departure out of the Grand Canyon airport, KGCN, and a flight through the canyon river valley to experience the detailed and terrain coloring and shading in ForeFlight. But first there are a few setup steps you’ll need to accomplish specific to the flight sim program you’ll be using.
Setting up X-Plane 10
X-Plane 10 is the standard for desktop flight simulator programs today and runs on both PC and Mac. The setup process to connect your iPad is pretty straightforward with X-Plane since it is designed to work with ForeFlight and WingX without additional plug-ins or hardware:
- Verify network connections – Make sure your iPad and computer are on the same network, with the iPad connected via Wi-Fi
- Configure X-Plane settings – Launch X-Plane, select Settings – Net Connections, and then choose the iPhone/iPad tab
- Select app options – At the bottom of the iPhone/iPad tab, check the box next to Send AHRS data to ForeFlight Mobile, WingX Pro on all iPads
X-Plane will now send your simulated coordinates directly to ForeFlight, positioning the moving maps and airplane symbol to your location in the simulator.
You can verify everything is working properly by going to the Devices section in ForeFlight (in the More tab), and you’ll see X-Plane in a blue box. Tap this and verify that the switch for “Enabled” is turned on. You can also set one of the moving map data boxes in ForeFlight to ‘Accuracy’, and it will display ‘X-Plane’ in small font in the window.
Setting up Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Download the FSXFlight program – You’ll first need to purchase and download the FSXFlight plug-in, which is available for $19.99. FSX does not output navigation data to an iPad by default, so you’ll need this to allow FSX to output the sim’s GPS position data.
- Download and install the FSUIPC Plug-in – This free add-on is widely used in the flight simulator community and allows Flight Sim X to communicate with other programs, like FSXFlight. Go to this site to download it, and then click the link that says ‘FSUIPC4 4.937′ in the box at the top of the page to download the 7.5 MB zip file (or click here for a direct download link). Once it’s downloaded, unzip and right click the file ‘Install FSUIPC4′ and choose ‘Run as Administrator’–the installation process will automatically begin. When the installation is finished it will ask you about registering the product, but you can hit the cancel button here since the free version is all you need and registering is not necessary.
- Run the FSXFlight program – double click on the FSXFlight icon (the program you downloaded in step 1) to run the GPS interface program. A window will appear with a red status light and the message ‘Not Connected’.
- Run Microsoft Flight Sim X – launch Microsoft Flight Simulator now, and during the startup process you’ll have to confirm that it’s ok for the program to interface with the FSUIPC add-on. You only have to do this once, and from then on it’ll run automatically each time you start up the flight sim program.
Just like with X-Plane you can go to the Devices section in ForeFlight in More tab, and you’ll see FSXFlight in the blue box there. Tap this and verify that “Enabled” is turned on.