There's little point using real aircraft parts (OEM) when the underlying databases in flight simulator, that provide aeronautical information, are out-of-date. A commonly encountered problem is: 'Why is the approach course on the simulator different to that published in the approach chart'
If wanting to achieve a high degree of realism when flying flight simulator, then up-to-date aeronautical information is vital.
Navigraph strives to maintain the accuracy of their charts and database sets by releasing quarterly updates. However, up-to-date data is pointless if the baseline navigational data in FS9, FSX or P3D is dependent upon outdated datum points, incorrect ILS data and runway identifiers, and various misplaced VORs and NDBs.
The baseline navigational data that flight simulator uses is based on information that was available in 1988, and matching this dataset with any up-to-date dataset can cause navigational problems. Furthermore, magnetic declination changes each year and after several years there is a major discrepancy in the accuracy of the data. This discrepancy reports as incorrect approach course directions.
File Location and 2017 Datasets
Flight simulator stores the aeronautical information as a. bgl file usually located in the scenery/base/scenery folder in the flight simulator route directory. The file name is MagDec.bgl. Replacing this file with an up-to-date MagDec.bgl file is very straightforward.
In January 2013, I wrote a similar article concerning this topic. To review this article click here. Since this date, the data has been updated.
Herve Sorrs (o-la-la)
No this is not a French dish served with snails (laughing).
Herve Sors is well known for his work developing programs and add-ons that enhance the accuracy of the datasets that flight simulator relies upon. His website is a treasure trove of information that explains the reasons why datasets should be maintained; in addition to being a platform from which to download programs.
Correcting Magnetic Variation
The Magnetic Variation Data (MVD) package provides an updated set of magnetic declination (Magdec) .bgl files as of January 2017. Replacing the default magdec.bgl file with the one provided in this package will result in a much better fit between displayed headings and current documentation data (runway, ILS and procedure headings).
The MVD package can be downloaded from his website for free (PayPal donation welcome).
Installation of the new MAGVAR.BGL files (copied from text file in the MVD).
(i) Close FS9 or FSX/P3D, since you will not be allowed to replace the file while the simulator is running.
(ii) Locate the MAGDEC.BGL file which is in the \SCENERY\BASE\SCENERY\ sub folder of your FS9/FSX-P3D install directory.
(iii) Keep a copy of the old file. Rename it MAGDEC.BGL.BAK (do not use a bgl extension if the file is kept in the same directory).
(iv) In the provided package, select the updated file you want to use, either FS9, FSX or P3D.
(v) Copy the new MAGDEC.BGL file in the \SCENERY\BASE\SCENERY\ sub folder of your FS9/FSX-P3D install directory.
Flight Simulator will rebuild its index at first launch and the new magnetic variations will be applied.
Updating NavAids (FSX and P3D)
To update the various NavAids, Herve has created a program called World Navaids (installer version 8.00). This program comes with a self-extracting installer that provides an an easy to use interface to select, amongst other things, which NavAids you wish to update or install to which geographic region. The interface also cross references the data and provides a conflict report if there is a discrepancy between the default and add-on scenery datasets. Prior to any update occurring, the program will make a back-up of the existing dataset.
Herve Sors has taken it upon himself to maintain the accuracy of the flight simulator database and to provide, free of charge, many small programs that enhance out simulation experience. Thank you Herve for your contribution. His website is Flight Simulator Aircraft Dynamics and Navdata.