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Dear Voyager User,
Once again it's been a while since the last
newsletter, but once again we have a lot to talk about.
The big news for us is the release of new Voyager
3.6. It's chocked full of pilot-pleasing features, including tight
Google Maps, a super-slick
Google Earth interface, a new
Scanned Charts Download Manager,
GPS simulator and more than 50 other great new features.
Oh, and did I mention
We have them everywhere
— visually on the
Charts, in the autorouter, in GlassView, in printouts. Everywhere.
It will change the way you fly.
is a recurring newsletter for all Voyager users with the latest Voyager news, tips and tricks.
I'm very interested in your feedback, either to the newsletter or to
Voyager itself. Please send any comments or suggestions to me
Back issues of Flight Log
are available from our Web site at
of the Month
Normally I call it a day at one
photo or screenshot, but this month I just couldn't decide whether to
show "super cool" or "super useful" — so I used both.
The image below is from a Google
Earth 'flight' of a Voyager flight plan. Click to play; it's well
worth a look. Imagine using this to pre-fly a flight plan into new
Notice anything special about this Chart? No more
guessing where the cheap fuel is.
Although not quite as highly anticipated as Apple's iPhone, new Voyager
3.6 is sure to make news with pilots. It has more than 50 very
useful and exciting new features. You can read the
on our Web site but this newsletter has a good summary. Even
better, how about watching a detailed, live, interactive demo?
Seeing is Believing. Special Voyager 3.6 Webinar. Friday,
special two-hour webinar planned for this Friday, June 29 (noon
Pacific time) that covers everything
that's new in Voyager 3.6 and even a few things introduced in Voyager 3.5 that you may
have missed. And for better or worse, I'll be at the mouse instead of
our usual master of ceremonies John Rutter.
It's free, so spread the word and
early. I have a bet with John that this will be the best attended webinar yet. He has very
expensive taste in wine so I can't afford to lose.
got it, flaunt it — and boy, do we have something to flaunt. Through
a partnership with 100LL.com,
subscribers now get constantly updated fuel prices downloaded
automatically into Voyager. Of course we show current fuel prices
when you look up an individual airport, but we use it for much, much
more. Charts, as shown above, now show the lowest fuel price at
each airport, making visual fuel stop selection as easy as it gets.
There is even a new Fuel Price button on the main toolbar that instantly
switches to a theme that declutters everything but fuel prices.
One click from any airport also shows a table of
fuel prices at
the surrounding airports.
perhaps best of all is the new SmartFuel™ automatic cheap fuel finder
built into Voyager's SmartRouter. It automatically finds the best
fuel bargains along the flight plan, even taking into account the kind
of fuel your plane uses (AvGas vs. JetA, for example). You can
easily save one hundred dollars or more for a long trip. In just one
or two flights, SmartFuel can easily pay for the whole Voyager system.
One thing to
keep in mind: We have to buy this data, so we can only provide fuel
prices to those with current ChartData subscriptions. If you've
let yours lapse, this would be a great time to
renew and get both Voyager 3.6 and the new fuel prices (and scanned
Charts and new data every 28 days, and....)
you've never used Google Earth, stop reading this newsletter and go to
http://earth.google.com now to
download a free copy. Actually, finish reading the
newsletter first because Google Earth is so addictive that you'll never
get back to this.
more than just a mapping program, it lets you zoom around the globe as
if you were Superman. You can even change the orientation of the
'camera' so it's like you're flying a plane (or have become a superhero).
Voyager 3.6, all you need to do is open a flight plan, select Send to
Device or Application from the File menu and choose Google
Earth. There are many options you can use but just click OK
to get started. In just a few moments, Voyager creates the plan in
the Google Earth file format, launches Google Earth, and zooms in to the
flight plan. It's a little tricky to 'fly' Google Earth, but use
the controls you'll find in the upper right corner of the Google Earth
screen. Not only is it fun, but imagine how much safer you'll
feel flying to that new airport after you've pre-flown it with actual
terrain and satellite images.
Voyager flight plan 'flown' in Google Earth.
perhaps not quite as sexy as Google Earth, Voyager's new integration
with Google Maps means you
instantly see what an airport looks like from
the air. It works for all US, Canadian, and Mexican airports.
Zoom in to see your hanger or click the Full Screen link to see
the image larger. Even superimpose roads on the full-screen image
and print to take into the plane.
Voyager 3.5 introduced true FAA scanned
Charts. They're very useful but large, so take some time to
download, which can be a little tedious when you just want to fly.
The new Download Manager in Voyager 3.6
solves that. Now you can click to
download multiple Charts and the system queues them up
automatically. Better still, you can use the Monitor
section to select which Charts you want Voyager to keep track of, and
when they expire, automatically download current versions.
Memory Card Synch
Many of us routinely use more than one
Web Synch feature in Voyager 3.5 has been incredibly popular for
automatically synchronizing multiple machines with the same flight plans
and pilot/plane data. But what do you do if you have a machine
that isn't connect to the Internet, perhaps because it lives in the
plane? Our new
Memory Card Synch (select Memory Card Synch from the File
menu) solves that problem.
Use a desktop or laptop machine that is
connected to the Internet to download all your monthly ChartData, approach
procedures, scanned Charts, FBO info, etc., and then use Memory Card Synch to
put the data onto a memory card (like an SD card) or a USB memory stick.
Now it's very easy. Simply put the memory card into the plane's
Tablet PC or laptop, fire up Voyager, and you're ready to fly.
Voyager will detect the card and offer to run directly off that data;
need to copy anything to the hard drive.
Tip: You may not realize it but
flash memory cards come in a wide variety of speeds. Writing data to
a card is much slower than reading data from it (ever wonder why it takes
so long for your digital camera to snap a picture?). Therefore,
while Voyager will mainly be reading data when it's in the plane, putting
the data onto the card from your desktop is much faster if you buy a fast
card. Memory cards have a speed rating in terms of "times faster"
than some standard. Look for "50x" or better for optimal
performance. You'll also want a 2 GB memory card, as that provides
enough room for all the basic Voyager data, a full set of all US IFR
procedures, and a few scanned Charts.
GlassView Widgets, Layouts, and GPS Simulator
Voyager 3.6 includes several new layouts for even better use on small
Tablet PCs like the Samsung Q1 and Motion Computing LS800 (now available
solid-state, altitude-proof versions, by
the way). Try the new
Combo 2 layout in portrait mode. Combo 2 puts all flight
widgets on a series of tabs across the top of the screen. Thus,
when you want to look at a Chart or a Procedure, it's full screen and
just a click away.
Version 3.6 also includes a new
Scratchpad widget that lets you easily jot
down ATC instructions or other
notes while flying.
perhaps best of all, Voyager now includes a powerful
simulator that makes it easy to test-drive GlassView or pre-fly any
Beta Tester of the Year
The year is
only half done, so the game isn't over yet, but we'd like to
recognize the front runner. He submitted far more bug reports and
(especially) feature requests than anyone else — and that's saying
a lot because we've had tremendous feedback from all our 100+ beta
testers. But Oscar Kaelin's help has been invaluable and we'd like
to publicly thank him, and of course add six months to his current ChartData
subscription (he already owns all the modules we make...). Once
again, thanks to Oscar and to all our beta testers for making Voyager 3.6
such a great release.
$99 Upgrade Gets You
Well, free fuel prices anyway.
As you probably noticed by now, one of the most significant new features
of Voyager 3.6 is integrated fuel prices. Not only do you see them
on the Chart, but the autorouter automatically takes them into account and
finds you cheap fuel. In many cases, you save $1 or more per
gallon, so just filling a C172's tanks once can save you more than $40
per flight. Save much more for longer trips or for planes that
burn more fuel. But the feature requires a step-up from FreeFlight
and a ChartData subscription.
Therefore, we've put together a great deal
for first time customers in which you get our
SmartPlan Express planning module (a very significant upgrade from
FreeFlight, including automatic fuel stop planning with fuel prices) and
six months of
VFR ChartData subscription. That gives you updated
navigational data, all new versions of Voyager, true scanned FAA Sectionals and TACs, and fuel prices updated
daily — all for just $99. Click to
to a deal that really does pay for itself. How often do you say
that about anything aviation-related?
Tips and Tricks
As always, please send your questions and
favorite tips to
A reminder that past Tips and Tricks are
available from our Web site at
Read What's New. There's a lot that's new in Voyager 3.6.
While it's not a New York Times Bestseller, the What's New page on
our Web site is very informative. There's also an updated,
printable Users Guide.
Preview in Google Earth. We've
mentioned this earlier, but you really have to try the Google Earth
export. Not only is it visually stunning, but the ability to
pre-fly your flight with actual satellite images makes you feel
safer when you actually take to the air.
Cut the Corners. In
GlassView, you can scroll the Chart just by tapping your stylus or
finger on an edge of the Chart. That is, to pan right, just
tap somewhere near the right side of any Chart. Even click in
a corner to move diagonally.
Add A Plate Pack. Say you
have a flight plan ready to go and want to add some plates from the
nearby area. Piece of cake. Just open the flight plan and
select New from the File menu. Click the Plate
Pack tab and choose an option. You can either have Voyager
automatically select procedures from nearby airports or do it manually.
You can even select Add Plate Pack from the Plan menu to
add an existing Plate Pack to an existing flight plan (and use Remove
Plate Pack from the Plan menu to remove one).
Automatically Keep Charts Current.
New in Voyager 3.6 is the ability to select one or more
scanned FAA Charts for Voyager to monitor and automatically keep
current. So, just check your home Sectionals and IFR Low/Hi and
you're good to go. As new charts become available, Voyager will
automatically download them in the background.
No Winds, No Problem. By default,
Voyager plans new flights for one hour in the future.
Thankfully, some of you are more organized than I and plan a little
further in advance. If you plan such a future flight, you can
now click a checkbox (creatively called Zero winds) on the
bottom of the Plan section of the NavLog, and the plan
is immediately recalculated to ignore winds. Uncheck the box
and it goes back to taking winds into account.
My Button, Your Button.
For a few versions now, Voyager has had four large buttons on the
main toolbar - Normal, Sectional, IFR Enroute,
and Fast Draw. In Voyager 3.6 we changed those to
Sectional, IFR Enroute, Weather and Fuel Prices.
Those last two are handy (especially Fuel Prices which clears
most everything off the Chart except for airports with fuel and fuel
prices). Better still, those buttons are now customizable.
That is, if you've defined your own theme and, for example, want to make the
Sectional button show Bob's Enhanced Sectional
instead, you can do it. Select Assign Buttons from the
Just the NavLog, Please.
By default, Voyager prints a wide selection of useful documents when
you print a flight plan. But sometimes you just want the
NavLog. Now it's easy. In Voyager 3.6, simply click the
printer icon just above the NavLog itself. That sends just the
NavLog to the printer or creates a print preview or even an Adobe
PDF file. And you can select either Kneeboard or Full Page
Same thing with the
Chart, by the way. There is now a printer icon just above the
Chart that prints just the Chart.
Fuel vs. Payload. For those of
us who don't routinely fly a 747, we have to make a tradeoff between
fuel and passengers/baggage. You could always do that
indirectly with the Weight and Balance feature in Voyager, but now
you can do it right from the start of a flight plan. On the
New Flight Plan General Information page, in the area that asks for
initial fuel amount, there is a little calculator icon. Click
it and you get a simple but very handy calculator that lets you see
how much fuel you can carry with a given payload (people plus
Notes, Notes, Notes. With
Voyager 3.6, you can now add your own personal notes to flight plans
and airports. Notes added to a flight plan appear
automatically on the printed NavLog, and are available for quick
insertion using the
new Scratchpad widget while in GlassView. Select Notes
from the Plan menu or click the notepad icon in the Plan area
of the NavLog.
You can also add personal notes to
airports in case an FBO has an especially nice loan-a-car or
particularly comfortable chairs. Within any airport
information dialog box, select the FBOs/Notes tab and type
Seattle Avionics Software will be showing Voyager
and our new Tablet PC devices at the following upcoming events. Stop by to say hello, see the
latest Voyager features, and ask the experts any questions you have about
Voyager. Maybe even get a preview of Voyager 4.0.
July 23-29: EAA
AirVenture, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Booths 1129-1130, Building B.
Until next time, happy flying and may all your fuel be cheap.
- Steve Podradchik, CEO (and Editor)