be aware not all the POIs in the sectional chart are present in the game. Many electric poles and such. So pick POIs you are sure are going to be there, like mountains, rivers, lakes and so on. you will learn what is there and what is not.
Most pilots have a backup iPad and GPS system in their plane these days. Just say you are simulating that…
There will be actually a course for MSFS2020 available soon (I hope at least):
VFR | FS Academy
I have got IFR from them and it works great. Now VFR is in development.
There is really a lot on youtube.
For example, really great work done on explaining various aviation topics:
Fall 2016 PACE Demo - YouTube
For deeper understanding there are a lot of text books on the official FAA website
Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (faa.gov)
I picked up 1 mil (ie 1:1000000 scale) VFR charts for most of Europe for 99p each (about $1.50) in the Black Friday sales from an online pilot store. They’re expired 2019 editions, so illegal for real navigation, but a great resource for simming. Equivalent to sectionals in the US.
Thanks guys, really appreciate it
Considering the very limited info in the VFR map, I wouldn’t even call it much of an advantage at all. It’s basic to the point of being borderline useless. It has its uses, but it’s just not detailed enough for me to consider it much of a help at all, let alone a “cheat”. lol
In the end, you fly the way you want. Use whatever aids you wish to make it more enjoyable for you. Just like real pilots will have their tablets with ForeFlight or Garmin Pilot, even in planes without any fancy avionics. There’s no such thing as cheating. You can use whatever resources you want to help make your air time as enjoyable to you as possible.
If you haven’t already, I would recommend looking into Little NavMap. It’s free and great for both VFR and IFR navigation. And with the right plugin, you can open is as a map within MSFS like the VFR map, and it’s infinitely more useful.
That’s the way flying is all about.
I wish one day MSFS have an old bird like B-727, TriStar, Super Constellation…
I’m sure others have mentioned this but Skyvector is great for VFR charts in the U.S. Not sure where you live, but fly around areas you know in real life and compare on the chart. You will begin to understand the chart symbols quickly. MSFS2020 is very realistic and most VFR landmarks will be in the sim. Have fun!
That whole top menu is a big NO NO!
How can using something as worthless as the (stock) VFR map in FS 2020 be cheating?
A REAL sectional provides a VFR pilot with much more information. I used a Garmin GPS 90 handheld (bought it new from “Sporties”) while flying VFR until I could no longer get database updates.
Cheating would be flying FS 2020 IFR and putting the game on pause while you try to figure out where you are.
Unless you’re flying for an FAA examiner, all’s fair in love and VFR.
I still have that old GPS 90, including all the hardware it came with, in case anyone is interested in buying a museum piece.
Safety is the key here, so if you need the VFR map to show flight plan or even just to know where you are, then that is fine. I use it periodically in the 787 to see how the Plan is being affected by the sim, and why I am not hitting the waypoints like I should or why the sim it taking me way off course to hit a Waypoint I did not select. .
I can’t say about nowaday, but it used to be not uncommon to see a map in a GA plane.
There’s an old joke among pilots that prefer VFR: “IFR means I Follow Roads.” In previous sims, you probably needed an addon to get correct roads, but in this one, you can take off from KINT, head west just a few hundred feet, pick up US Hwy 52, then follow that down to I-40 Business. Follow that east and you’ll find KGSO. It’s about a 10 minute flight. Just be aware that there are some gaps in Bing’s map data. There’s another spot on the other side of KGSO where a newer major interstate is still missing, even though it’s been there in the real world for years now.
In regards to the comment about paying for an EFB like Foreflight or Garmin Pilot, if you have an Android phone or tablet, there’s another app out there called Avare which you can hook into MSFS (or use for real flying, I do) to learn how to use for flight planning and then how to use it in flight. It’s free to use (but nice to donate a bit if you use it regularly). It has free downloads of all the up to date charts and AF/D (airport/facility Data) information for the US.
Granted, it’s not obvious on what to do with it. But, if you’re interested, just ask, I and others can suggest things to do and what information you might need or want to know in particular phases of flight.
I wrote up instructions here on how to connect it with MSFS. It’s not as polished as either of the other two, but it has most if not all the functionality you need. (The one thing I haven’t figured out is how to get a ground height along flight plan chart).
Navigating with just a sectional chart is one of the joys FS2020 has to offer that are generally lacking in other sims. For flying outside of the clouds, you don’t even really need to use any navaids anymore since any feature noted on the map is bound to be visible in game.
Flying like this is definitely tiding me over until the IFR issues get sorted out, and it’s genuinely fun. I think I’ve spent more time staring out the window to know where I’m going than I ever have before, FSX and Xplane combined.
I’m sure there are some. And it’s a good skill to maintain. But for practical operations, there’s no reason to rely solely on old-school pilotage if there’s a more efficient, safer alternative to get yourself from point A to point B.
Lots of good answers here but here’s my 2c.
It depends. Many if not all pilots initially learn to navigate using a paper map and without any GPS, including phones. So if you want to simulate that then using the VFR map would be cheating.
But, obviously, many aircraft are equipped with GPS equipment and of course, there is your phone or tablet you can use too. So it is still “cheating” then? Maybe.
The VFR map in the sim is never wrong about your position and will not fail. Many GPS units, even installed in an aircraft have the words “not to be used for primary navigation”. This means that sure, you can use the GPS to confirm your position, but you must use a paper map (or approved GPS) as your main navigation source. I wonder how many real pilots adhear to that, I know I do.
In the end it is what “you” want to simulate and to what level. The transition from sim to game is not a switch and is very much up to what the individual expects.
In the end the only person being “cheated” is the player themselves, so I think the work isn’t entirely applicable. After all, how many here fly jets without starting off on trainers and learning how to do flight plans with a paper map a ruler and a manual flight computer then fly with the GPS and AP turned off? Not many! Are they cheating? No. They are missing out on one of the joys of flying (knowing they are exercising a real skill) but not cheating.
I justify using moving map apps like Navigraph Charts on flight sim because real world pilots tablets with similar apps.
Garmin Fltplan GO is free and works very well, especially to see the plane on the approach chart for the R/W.