The websites listed below offer everything from free software to web hosting for new communities and flying groups without ever asking for anything in return.
The Aussie flightsim community continues to go from strength to strength on the back of these websites and I am proud to call them My Top 5 Aussie Flightsim Websites.
The Number 5 position goes to the Westsim Design Group for their high quality freeware product “Jandakot Airport.” Depicting Australia’s busiest General Aviation airport Westsim has created a freeware add-on of the highest quality and although not a community website as such, the Westsim design group, have raised the bar of scenery design around Australia.
With a large following among Aussie flightsim enthusiasts and a growing list of products under development, this website is a must see for all those that pride them selves on having quality products on their PC. If for some reason you still need another reason to go to their website then check this out. You must watch this space for the highly anticipated Perth International 2006 scenery and there Perth CBD scenery due to be released before the end of the year. You would not be an Aussie if you missed this.
The Number 4 position goes to Simzdownunder for their well laid out homepage with everything a virtual pilot would want right at their fingertips. The simple design is full of function and makes it easy for the novice pilot to navigate the download section right from the front page. Perfect for people like me with little time to go trawling through endless library searches just to find an AFCAD for my favorite airport.
My personal favorite is the constantly updated AI packages brought to you by one of their leading contributors in Dave Butler. Dave releases these AI packages at a frantic pace and his fantastic work has helped to populate my General Aviation Airports with accurate local flight plans from Charter to Aero club training flight. The aircraft depicted in these packs are what you would see on a daily basis around some of Australia’s busiest airports.
The Number 3 position goes to aussim with its 13,000 members and more than 1.3 million hits to their website aussim boast one of the largest followings of any Australian Flight sim website and as such is well deserving of the number 3 position on my list. With a brand new look to their website and one of Australia’s largest user base, they are well represented in its forums by members only too willing to help out the young or inexperienced pilot.
Complimented by a large well designed file library, aussim is also the home to the Number One payware aircraft by an Australian author. Voted 2004 product of the year by flightsim.com the Piper WarriorII/III is an outstanding example of the high quality products supported and promoted by Australian flightsim websites I have chosen in my Top 5.
Aussim.com.au represents the leading edge of Australian flightsim and is most cases are the first place a Virtual pilot will look for the latest information and downloads.
The only thing stopping aussim.com.au from being at the top of my list is the short term lack of updates to their main page probably caused by the recent release of a product by the Number 1 ranked website on my list.
The Number 2 position goes to virtualvfr.com and had this article been written a few months ago this website would have been gracing the number one position without a doubt. This site is my personal favorite because as I was trolling the internet looking for quality Aussie add-ons I found these guys. With my 56k connection I painstakingly proceeded to download every file from their library. Before I new it I had populated the better part of Australia with the finest scenery the internet had to offer. I was so pleased my search was over because I had found all the best scenery and add-ons in the one location
VirtualVFR, is updated very often and knowledgeable friendly people populate the forums should you have any special requests or questions. The virtualvfr group is also home to the Westsim design forums who are Number 5 on my top website list.
Jon Schultz, Steve James and Benny Page are also hard at work on a series of training videos aimed at the new pilot. With excellent commentary provided by her founding members these videos will be an invaluable training tool to the first time flyer helping to bring them up to speed and enjoying our hobby.
Over at virtualvfr.com they are dedicated to promoting all things low and slow so you can be assured to find a wealth of information regarding scenic flights across this great land of ours. Make sure you head over to their flight plan link and try out some of the amazing places they will guide you to, like Kakadu National park featuring tourist attractions such as Katherine Gorge, Coronation Hill, Twin falls, Jim Jim Falls, Nourlangie Rock and Jabiru just to name a few.
For the coveted Number 1 position I could not go past VOZ. Vista Australis is the brainchild of Sir Koorby, officially knighted by me as being the King of all Australis right now. When you speak of products exploding onto the scene rarely do they do it with such beautiful colour and vibrance.
Sir Koorby’s Vista Australis 0.99 has been showered with awards from all sectors of the aviation community such as the IFC award of Excellence. Only 5 products have ever been awarded the highly sort after IFC award of Excellence and Sir Koorby’s VOZ 0.99 has been greatly honored for it’s commitment to international scenery design. Never before has Australia looked so good and with the imminent release of VOZ 1.1 only weeks away the only thing left to do is make room for more accolades.
Sir Koorby’s VOZ has been credited with the death of the 2D cockpit as flightsim fans cram as much VOZ scenery into their monitor as they can. There have even been reports of people hooking their computers up to large projectors just so they can get as much VOZ into them as possible.
Sir Koorby’s VOZ has made international headlines and graces the covers of such magazines as PC Pilot and Computer Pilot magazines.
With more than 5 million hits to their webpage since it was release and over 40,000 downloads vistaoz.org is my Number 1 Must See website.
You will not be disappointed - I guarantee it.
That concludes my Personal Top 5 Websites list.
I know there are many other fantastic websites out there so if you would like to be featured on my next list and think your site is just as good as these, then contact me via the details below.
Presented by Gavin Gillett