Microsoft Flight Sim SOTA peak inspector

I stayed up til 4:30am last night loading the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. It’s pretty amazing. This morning I took a flight through the central Black Hills, my local SOTA area. The terrain rendering is the best I’ve seen. It beats Google Map by several orders of magnitude. I was able to get a good look at an area with peaks I haven’t done. Before I retired, I used to make maps for the Black Hills area (GIS). I had the data to properly render vertical relief and lay aerial photos over it. The flight sim looks much better, with 3D trees and such. Not everything is perfect, though. Mt. Rushmore was a blob and Crazy Horse Monument (a carving of a Native American on a horse with the head and outstretched arm done so far) is interpreted as a stack of buildings. I’d recommend it for SOTA planning, maybe before heading to a new area. I’m going to look at some areas in Montana and Wyoming I’ve been interested in. Don :slight_smile: ps: I flew the “pre Microsoft Flight Sim” in 1980 on my Apple II. The mountains were a set of jagged vertical lines on one side of the grid. Times have changed.


I think you know you have a SOTA problem when you are using flight simulators for aerial reconnaissance of summits :rofl:

Just curious, you mentioned GIS (I assume Geographic Information Systems) - so is there a way to incorporate GPS coordinates or are you using terrain association to look at peaks?

I might have to download the latest MFS onto my XBox now and do the same thing… really cool. Thanks for the recommend.


I think it’s more of a map geek problem… I’m a lot more interested in the terrain rendering than the flight sim, although it’s fun.

I watched a video on YouTube called “Tutorial #5 - Find ANY House - Microsoft Flight Simulator.” The presenter said that, right now, there is no way to directly input coordinates. He went through a somewhat involved process of modifying two files with the desired coordinates. I don’t think it’s something you could do on an XBox, but I’ve never used on so I am not sure.

So… I’m just using my 20 years of experience of mapping in this area working for a city/county GIS and what I remember going up peaks.

I haven’t figured out how to pause and use all the camera settings for exploring without actually flying. A number of YouTube videos of the beta version showed it’s possible to do it. I just spent an hour flying over a part of the Hills where I did 5 peaks.

Happy flying!

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Awesome, thanks again.

SOTA aside, the first time I became exposed to GIS was working on our regional Homeless Outreach Team. Law Enforcement was somewhat behind the power curve with respect to GIS, but the utilization of it revolutionized the way we provided care and services to our local homeless population. I got sent to an esri conference, and was amazed that governments from around the world like Dubai and African nations were in San Diego going to breakout sessions about GIS and esri products.

I’m definitely excited to give this a go though and see some of the 3d mapping of my favorite and planned SOTA areas. As a suggestion that you might like, take a look at “FatMap” which is an android application as well as a SOTL.AS style website that does a phenominal job at rendering 3d images of terrain (useful for us activators as you mentioned).

Thanks again for the conversation, I like little discoveries like this.

Presumably the right aircraft for that work would be a rotary wing rather than fixed wing. That would allow you to hover at a summit.

I am resisting MFS as i suspect there is a whole potential lifetime to be spent flying virtual aircraft into various airfields. I still have unbuilt kits. :wink:

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Next - simulated SOTA activations.

Well to do it right you would run the simulation of the activation in a virtual machine so you had a virtual simulation and all parties would use FT8 in auto mode so the virtual simulated activator and chaser didn’t need to be actively taking part but could in the virtual simulated pub having a simulated virtual drink. Then you could put the whole shebang into the cloud and multiple virtual simulated activations running in parallel.

I’ve taken that too far haven’t I?


That’s roughly where I imagined it going, right into hyperspace.

AC, let there be light.

The flightsim community has done incredible stuff with regards to airband radio simulation. In the VATSIM network we’ve got a new audio subsystem that implements fading and doubling with accuracy that I occasionally forget this is just VOIP. Really, really impressive stuff.

Checkout for a realtime display of airborne and fixed ATC transceivers. The frequencies are slightly different but on a fully staffed night having to bounce between four different controllers makes for great fun. Plus there is always the simplex UNICOM/MULTICOM/CTAF frequencies too.

Edit: Here is the launch video to give you an idea of how it sounds. Audio for VATSIM Launch - YouTube

You forgot to mention we live in a simulation


Something is wrong with the matrix then because I am tired of the political climate and COVID repercussions… we need to get a new programmer :rofl: