I have had a chance now to test out the release version of Charts v8 and I am very impressed. I don’t agree with comments that v7 was sufficient and did not need improvement. This is a very complex program and adjusting to such a major overhaul can be initially daunting, but the more I use it, the more I like it and appreciate the care taken planning what went into it.
My use is mainly limited to simulation of IFR commercial airliner flying so I can’t comment on some of the advanced VFR improvements or any issues with smaller general aviation airports.
So far I have completed a series of roundtrip flights in my professional grade B737-800 NG simulator between ATL and BDL and ATL and LGA. Everything has been flawless. Astonishing that I could not find a single bug in such a complex release. All my flight planning was done in simBrief and imported directly into Charts. The new panel for choosing SIDS and STARS with transitions is great – a big improvement over the previous version. The PIN board is a very welcome addition. These are examples of what might be intimidating at first because of the changes, but prove to be worth the effort. I found the maps easier to use in V8.
I have now had a chance to test out simLink performance on my mini iPad 6 and all of the problems I had with this under the previous version have disappeared. After several flights under the previous version, I would lose connectivity with the server and had to remove simLink and all files associated with it and reinstall the software to get my P3D simulator computer back talking to the Navigraph server. With v8, the connection has remained stable, even after multiple changes to scenery.cfg.
simLink also worked flawlessly with Charts on the third PC in my Ethernet networked system, which I use for flight planning and tracking also. I was previously unable to get the connection to work reliably.
My understanding is that a future release may include tracking AI aircraft as well. That will be most welcome, especially when taxiing around airports and crossing runways.
I was concerned with the beta about the readability of the light blue color used for the airport symbols and ICAO codes on the maps. It still is faint on the DAY displays, but good in NIGHT mode.
The mapping and following of routes, including the overlays of SIDs and STARs is excellent, even for airports with complex approaches such as LIMN in Italy.
Well done, Navigraph!! Best out of the gate launch of a new major software upgrade I have ever seen.