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FS Instant Approach
Publisher: FS Inventions
FS Inventions is always updating their products with new and useful features. The current version of the software is 1.5.1. Below is a quick summary of the updates:
All of the features of FS Instant Approach will be explained in detail later in the review. Also, if you already own FS Flying School Pro, you do not need to purchase this product because all of the FS Instant Approach features are included with that product.
After purchasing the program, you will receive an email within 24 hours with three Registration Fields and a Registration Key. These need to be entered on the Credits screen of the program. Enter each of these fields & the key in the appropriate box on the Credits screen then click the “Register Program” button. I copy each of these from the email and paste them to avoid typing mistakes.
Setting Up an Approach
If you just want to set your aircraft on approach a few miles from a random runway somewhere in the world, click the “Approach Random Airport” button. The ICAO code, airport name, runway information and ILS radio frequencies (if applicable) will be displayed. Click the “Connect” button to load the scenery into your flight simulator.
If you would like to filter what region of the world or a specific airport that you would like to practice an approach into, that too is extremely easy. For a specific airport, enter the ICAO Code and click the “Approach Airport” button. Below the approach airport buttons are the filters for approach distance from runway, runway selection and approach speed. This is where I would like to see a feature added to the program.
Instead of always starting the approach lined up with the runway, I would like to see an option to approach the runway from different directions. This would add another challenge to the program and also allow the virtual aviator to practice other published approaches to that particular runway. The program will also automatically dial the ILS radio frequency, ATIS on Com2 and dial the NAV1 OBS if you desire.
If you would like to filter airports in certain regions of the world, enter the first letters or numbers of the ICAO Code in the “ICAO Codes start with” box. For example, enter the letter “K” for large airports in the United States, “C” for Canada, etc. I would like to see an option to specify the country by name and also the state or province by name. For me the ICAO code filter is too restrictive.
There are some small airstrips in Washington State that begin with a “WA” ICAO Code. When I input these letters into this box and select “Approach Random Airport” button, the program would occasionally select an airport from another part of the world with the starting letters “WA” when what I wanted was an airstrip in Washington State. This section also allows you to filter runway types, runway elevation & length and starting approach altitude. Just remember to load the appropriate aircraft for the runway selected with the filters. The program is also limited to land based airports.
If you would like to practice more challenging approaches, FS Instant Approach allows you to adjust surface wind speed & direction, visibility and the activation of gusts. This is a lot of fun and if you are not careful it can be more of a challenge than you are prepared for. The gusting feature can be extreme in FSX, especially at higher wind speeds and is enabled at the start of your approach.
On one flight, I forgot that I had gusting enabled, moderate wind speed, low visibility and had not set local time to daylight hours. I then loaded a random approach; I was on approach to a non-lighted airport at night in low visibility with gusts. I was flying a small aircraft without a GPS and it took a lot of effort just to keep the aircraft under control. Needless to say I drifted off course and had to bring up the FSX map in order to see where the airport was located. I was able to eventually land the aircraft safely.
This is what makes FS Instant Approach such an excellent program, the virtual pilot can create an approach as easy or as challenging as they want it to be.
The flight mapping feature was introduced with the Version 1.3 update. After completing a flight, return to FS Instant Approach program and click the “View All Maps” button on the Flight Plan screen. This will open Google Maps and will display the progress of your flight with either map view or satellite view as the background. These Google Map files can also be uploaded to the FS Instant Approach website for later review. The flight mapping feature is useful to show the pilot if they stayed on the proper runway heading for the entire approach.
During daylight hours with good visibility you would be able to see terrain and obstacles but at night or low visibility, probably not. With the aid of Google Maps you would be able to see how close you came to a dangerous situation. Also after the aircraft is parked, you can use satellite view zoomed in to compare how the flight simulator airport compares to the real world one.
FS Instant Approach is a wonderful program that I highly recommend. I love that I can practice several random approaches in the evening after dinner to airports anywhere in the world. The program is sold for a great price, is very easy to use and approaches can be made to be as easy or challenging as you would like them to be.
I would like to see a couple of features added to the program that would make FS Instant Approach even better. First, I would like to see a filter to approach the runway from different directions instead of always being lined up for a straight in approach. Secondly, I would like to see a geographical filter to select a country by name and to filter it even further by selecting the state or province. Filtering ICAO codes starting with letters or numbers is too restrictive for me.
What I Like About FS Instant Approach
What I Don't Like About FS Instant Approach
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