Dear Voyager User,

I was painfully reminded that fall is upon us as I recently spent several hours on my roof cleaning the leaves out of the gutters.  Hopefully, some of you were out flying, but for many pilots, the departure of the summer sun and arrival of the fall rains signals a winding down of the flying season.  Thankfully, the great folks at AOPA have a terrific annual sendoff to summer that they call AOPA Expo which was held this year in Hartford, CT.  That's where we were two weeks ago and we had a great time there.  Not only did we have fun seeing many existing customers and making lots of new ones, it was the first time we demonstrated the long-awaited Voyager 4.0 that is almost ready to go.  More on this below.

Flight Log 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 directly at

Back issues of Flight Log are available from our Web site at

Picture of the Month Voyager News

Tips and Tricks

Upcoming Events

Picture of the Month

Is this Google Earth or Voyager?  Hmmm... Maybe Voyager 4.0?  Click for a larger image.

Voyager News

Maintenance Releases & FAA IFR Chart Changes

As you may have noticed, AOPA just finished an extensive rework of their Web site.  We think the result is tremendous.  Unfortunately, it did break the way we download FBO information from the site.  A few days after it was up, we had a new version of Voyager (3.68) ready to download.  We also corrected a few other minor issues.  If Voyager didn't already mention that an update was available, select Update Application from the Tools menu to download it (if you have a current ChartData subscription).  You can see all the changes at

Also, the FAA is changing the configuration of Low Altitude IFR charts as of October 25.  Instead of 28 charts, the US is being reconfigured into 36 charts to give more space for RNAV routes.  We expect a maintenance release (3.69) to be available on that day with the new chart configuration.  Click the link below for more information.

The revised configuration is described visually at

Major New Version 4.0 Almost Ready

At least to me, Voyager 4.0 is the most eagerly awaited release we've ever made.  It's been in the works for nearly two years and it's almost ready for beta testing (geek-speak for almost ready to release to volunteers who use the software and find problems before we release it to the general public).  If you'd like to be on the beta list, please send email to

So what's the big deal?  Well, it can be summed up in one word: SPEED.  As you may have noticed, Voyager's strongest suit wasn't its chart drawing speed, so we rewrote the charting engine from the ground up.  This time we could take advantage of the same technology that powers Google Earth and Microsoft Flight Simulator, something called Microsoft DirectX.  In essence, it means we take all the aviation data, terrain data and the like and put it into a virtual 3D model that mirrors the Earth.  Thanks to DirectX, all the heavy lifting of actually drawing the Chart is then handled by your machine's video card at blinding speed.  The result is spectacular and essentially means real-time drawing.  For example, in places that the old charting engine might take five seconds to draw a chart, the new drawing engine draws in about 1/5 of a second or less.  That is, very conservatively, the new engine is about 100 times faster, better if you have a good video card.  This speed makes a night and day difference in using Voyager.  Zooms and pans are now silky smooth and GlassView GPS position updates are now every second rather than every five seconds (in fact, the charting engine can do much better than once per second, but most GPS units only update that fast). 

Click the links below to play example video clips of Voyager 4.0 in action.  Note:  In order to make the videos playable over the Internet, we had to skimp on the image quality a bit.  Apologies for the "bad VHS" look in a few places — the real images are crystal clear.

Pan, Zoom, and Rotate
Scanned Charts
3D Virtual Flight

This speed also let us add one of the most-requested features ever — scanned charts that show the flight plan line and aircraft position.  In fact, we went well beyond that.  In essence, we borrowed from Google's playbook once more and Voyager can now use Sectionals, IFR Low Altitude and IFR High Altitude charts as just one of the many chart layers.  Thus, you can display radar and satellite, not to mention current fuel prices and TFRs, over your favorite scanned chart.  Better still, rather than having to select which specific chart to overlay (like the Seattle North Sectional), we seamlessly merge all the scanned charts so when you turn on the Sectionals layers, Voyager automatically pulls the pieces it needs from all the relevant Sectionals, resulting in much less pilot workload.

There are lots of other changes in Voyager 4.0, mainly subtle but useful changes in GlassView, but I'll wait to go into more detail when it ships.  In the meantime, my main message is simple: Don't let your ChartData subscription lapse or you'll miss the free upgrade to Voyager 4.0.  Which brings us nicely to our next topic.

Web Site and Pricing Changes

Over the years, we've heard many times that's it's hard to figure out which products to buy from our Web site.  All the different modules and ChartData subscriptions could give anyone a headache.  Even Aviation Consumer, which truly gushed about Voyager when it crowned the best flight planner, went out of its way to mention how confusing purchasing was.  Well, we've fixed that.  Not only have we changed the way we present our offerings, we've lowered our initial purchase prices to make it easier to get into the Voyager family.  For example:

While you can still buy Voyager a module at a time, we put a lot of emphasis on common bundles of modules and ChartData, with a nice discount, of course.  For example:

Offer What's Included
$79 Student Pilot Special SmartPlan Express + 6 months of VFR ChartData
$199 VFR Pre-Flight Combo SmartPlan Premier + 6 months of VFR ChartData
$299 VFR In-Flight Combo GlassView + 6 months of VFR ChartData
$349 IFR Pre-Flight Combo SmartPlan Premier + SmartPlates + 6 months of IFR ChartData
$499 IFR Pre-Flight / In-Flight Combo SmartPlan Premier + GlassView + SmartPlates + 6 months of EFB ChartData

Additional offers are on the Web site.  These are just some examples.  Click the links to buy any of these bundles.

We also changed our ChartData subscriptions a little, both in terms of what each level includes and the price.

Our VFR ChartData subscription is unchanged, remaining at $99.  It's probably the best bargain in all of aviation as it includes all application updates, digital navigational data downloaded every 56 days, scanned Sectionals and TACs, and the recently added daily fuel price downloads — in essence, everything you need for VFR pre-flight planning.  And, when used with Voyager 4.0, the Sectionals become geo-referenced so you can view them just like any other Chart layer.

The IFR ChartData level is now $199 (up from $149) and includes everything in the VFR subscription plus scanned IFR Low, IFR High and WAC Charts.  Also, and most significantly, this level also includes the standard non-geo-referenced approach plates.  Put differently, buying SmartPlates no longer provided free plates.  If you currently own SmartPlates and do not have a ChartData subscription, we will, of course, honor our original promise to provide the plates to you for no additional fee; this new policy only applies to new purchases.

The EFB level of ChartData is now $299.  It adds geo-referenced approach plates and airport diagrams to the IFR level and is what you want if you fly with Voyager on a tablet PC.

Special ChartData Subscription Extension Offer

The prices changes are effective immediately.  However, if you buy with Coupon Code Renew2007, you can extend your existing ChartData subscription for up to an additional two years at the old prices.  In fact, if you extend now for another two years, we'll add an additional six months of ChartData for free.  In other words, you can purchase 30 months (two years + six free months) of IFR ChartData for just $298, versus $498 at the new prices.  Click below to take advantage of the offer.

FAA versus Department of Defense Data

The US Department of Defense used to provide navigational data for airspace and airports all around the world.  About a year ago, they began to limit the data to the US only, which is why our Canadian and Mexican data have not been updated in a year.  As of October 1, they no longer produce the data at all.  The FAA is in the process of filing the gap with their own digital data, but they're not entirely done yet.  In particular, their airspace data doesn't include communication frequencies and is missing Class A definitions.  There probably will be other subtle differences as well.  We've been working with them for some time on these issues and they promise corrections but they aren't ready yet.  On the other hand, their data is better updated and includes some additional airway and preferred route information so, going forward we're excited to get the data closer to the original source.  The next ChartData update, due October 25, will use the FAA not DoD data. 

Finally, the DoD used to update their data every 28 days while the FAA uses a 56-day cycle.  Approach plates are still updated on a 28-day cycle.  Thus, in the near future, we expect our VFR ChartData to be updated every 56 days while the IFR and EFB ChartData (which now include approach plates) will be updated every 28 days.

Lower Hardware Prices

We're a computer software company not a computer hardware company.  That means we lose money every time we sell a tablet PC or other hardware once you take all the overhead into account.  Even worse, we haven’t been able offer you the lowest prices.  Therefore, we're pleased to announce a partnership with Complete Tablet Solution (CTS), a leader in tablet PCs and an authorized Motion Sales and Service center.  The arrangement is simple; you purchase software from us, hardware from CTS, then CTS installs and configures it all so the unit is delivered complete and ready to fly.

CTS offers the complete range of Motion Computing tablets and accessories, plus other hardware you need like Lind DC power adapters, GPS receivers, and XM satellite weather receivers.

Special for LS800 owners:  We sold 32GB solid state drive upgrades for $949.  The new price from CTS is only $799 plus freight.  You can contact CTS at 1-866-780-7480 x105, or on their Website at

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

Keep Current.  As you've probably noticed, we're constantly adding new features to Voyager.  A current ChartData subscription is all you need to get all the new versions of Voyager automatically — like the highly-anticipated Voyager 4.0 — when they come out.  Conveniently, we're having a ChartData sale this month.  Click to renew now.
Read The Book.  We know that most Windows program have lousy Help systems so no one thinks to use them.  But if you haven't tried Voyager's Help system you're in for a pleasant surprise because we put a lot of effort into making it complete.  In most dialog boxes, just click the Help button.  Or, from the main window, select the Help menu, then Common Tasks, for answers to common questions, or Index to lookup by keyword.
Increase Your Performance.  To keep things simple, most Voyager aircraft profiles use what we call a "Quick" profile that includes just one entry for Cruise TAS and Fuel, one for Climb, and one for Descend.  If your aircraft flies high, you'll get more accurate speed and fuel burns if you provide specific values for different altitudes.   Select Aircraft from the Lists menu and double-click on your aircraft.  Then select the Performance tab and Advanced.
Talk to Your GPS.  No one likes to enter data more than once.  If you have a handheld Garmin or Lowrance GPS, Voyager can send a flight plan directly to the device.  Open a flight plan, then select Send to Device or Application from the File menu (or click the button shown on the left) and pick your device.  Click the Help button for any details on your particular GPS.
My Charts.  The Chart Manager makes it very easy to automatically keep your frequently used scanned charts current.  Select Chart Viewer from the View menu, then click and put checkmarks next to your favorite charts.  Every time that Voyager starts it confirms that it has the latest of each of these charts and, if not, it downloads the revised charts in the background while you work.
PDF a Go Go.  Sometimes you want to email a flight plan to a friend who may be using one of those Brand X flight planning programs or put the flight plan on your PDA or cell phone.  If so, open the flight plan, select Print to PDF from the File menu and create a PDF file that's easy to email to anyone or put on your portable device.
Hide and Seek.  Halloween is approaching so, since I have two small children at home, I can't help but use a Halloween reference somewhere.  While having the NavLog waypoint names and numbers on the Chart and Profile is obviously helpful, sometimes, especially when zoomed far out or for very crowded flight plans, everything would be more clear if it hid the waypoint identifiers.  Right-click on either the Chart or Profile and uncheck Show Waypoint Identifiers.  Also, Voyager defaults to showing both the waypoint sequential number and name.  You can turn off either of these.  Select Options from the Tools menu, then select the Preferences and Planning tabs.  Use the Waypoint identification style selector to change the display style.
What's New?  We make changes frequently so it's easy to lose track of things if you don't use Voyager every day.  For a quick refresher, select What's New in This Version from the Help menu.
Voyager Your Way.  As we discussed last issue, it's pretty easy to create your own custom themes (chart settings).  By default, Voyager uses a theme called Default when displaying a VFR flight plan and IFR Enroute when displaying an IFR plan.  If you'd prefer to use different themes, select Options from the Tools menu and change the settings in Default VFR theme and/or Default IFR theme.
Yeah, I Got it Already.  Those automatic pop-up Help bubbles are handy when you're learning Voyager but we've heard that some people prefer not to see them all the time.  Select Options from the Tools menu, click Preferences and uncheck Show screen tips.
Change Your Wizard.  No, this isn't an allusion to Harry Potter (again, I have small kids at home).  The New Flight Plan wizard has up to nine distinct steps so that you see all your options.  After you've used Voyager for some time, you'll probably find that you never use some of the pages.  If so, you can remove those steps and streamline the planning process.  For example, if you've seen enough of the Eclipse 500, you can remove the first page from the Wizard.  However, be warned that we changed the plane for Voyager 4.0 so you'd miss out on all the fun of seeing what we changed it to.  Select Options from the Tools menu then the Wizards tab.

Upcoming Events

Seattle Avionics Software will be showing Voyager 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.

February 23 - 24, 2008:  Northwest Aviation Conference and Trade Show.  Puyallup, Washington.

April 8 - 13, 2008:  Sun 'n Fun Fly-In.  Lakeland, Florida.

Until next time, happy flying.

 - Steve Podradchik, CEO (and Editor)

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