It is a training program for student pilots and can and is used in parallel to formal flight training with a flight school.
A Training Flight Simulator
Interestingly, the licensing agreement, does not allow the software to be used for casual flight simulation (entertainment), and that is made clear by Prepar3D, it is part of their EULAs.
They are more concerned about how it used, and not where. Using the software on your computer is entirely fine, as long as it for the purpose of official flight training and not casual flying.
A Little History
some add-ons needed to be tweaked to remain compatible with Prepar3D
Essentially Prepar3D is the Microsoft Flight Simulator X SP2, reincarnated by a deal which was done back in 2009. Lockheed Martin purchased the Microsoft ESP (The commercial version of FSX) and source code from Microsoft. Then in 2010, Lockheed Martin announced Prepar3D, it was a product (FSX) that was to be further developed by the original ACES Studios team who were hired by Lockheed Martin. Because Prepar3D was FSX, it was backwards compatible, and many of the add-ons made for FSX worked in Prepar3D.
As time went on and the product was further developed and improved, some add-ons needed to be tweaked to remain compatible with Prepar3D.
The Features List
Ok, so that we know what this simulator is and a little about its history, what are the features? The following list is about Prepar3D V3.
- 40 high-detailed cities along with 24,900 airports.
- The environment contains general traffic on road and sea including livestock, wild animals, cars, trucks, boats and ships.
- Graphics and models are data driven and customizable.
- Whole Earth WGS-84 model.
- Variable weather based on real data, lighting effects which are relative to the seasons and time of the day.
- Textures are variable with location, accurate topography.
- Traffic control
- A library of vehicles which is continually expanded.
My Final Take on Prepar3D
Prepar3D if it continues to evolve as it has to date, and it’s unlikely to stop, is already a class act. They are not treating the project haphazardly, and I am very keen to watch its continued development and the improvements as they happen.
Much debate has ensued about it not being intended for casual use, but it would be hard to imagine the company taking any form of legal action against a license holder. If that did prove to be the case, I would think there would need to be some extraordinary circumstance for them to take legal action.
For anyone using the product, it would be prudent to ensure they comply with the licensing, in the case of the Professional license. The requirements are as follows: “The license is available to those that are training, instructing, simulating, or learning.”
Fairly clear is it not? Love to hear some feedback about Prepar3D, drop into the community and say your mind.
- 2010 – November. The first version, Prepar3D 1.0 was announced by Lockheed Martin, it was was promoted as a training module for civil, military, educational and professionals in the aviation industry.
- 2011 – February. Lockheed Martin Prepar3D made some tools available for Prepar3D. Prepar3D Model Placer and the Prepar3D Model Converter were tools for developers to create missions and scenery.
- 2011 – April. The next version, 1.1 was released. It brought not only increased functionality for users, but additional features also. More user enhancements for users and to SimConnect for developers. More features to support the Federal Aviation’s Authority (FAA) Qualification and performance improvements and several modernization upgrades.
- 2011 – September. Version 1.2 was released, I now offered full Windows 7 compatibility and support along with several new features and enhancements. Multi-player was vastly improved via a redesign; multi-channel capability was extended, and the rendering performance was also much better. New resources were made available to developers so that creating training scenarios would be much easier.
- 2012 – March. Another new version, 3.1 was launched along with academic licensing. More enhancements for the users interface, multiplayer performance and functionality. The company also released an academic version of Prepar3D to engage students in problem-solving and learning hand on. The student now had the ability to gauge the effects of their decisions as they happened while they were collaborating with others around the world.
- 2012 – August. Version 1.4 was released. A new aircraft, Lionheart Creations Mooney Acclaim, a T-6 Texan by IRIS Flight Simulation’s Software were added to the hangar. This version also came with numerous software fixes and updates. The package is now certified AMD Eyefinity Gold; it now supports up to six simultaneous displays from a single graphics card which added the ability for panoramic training.
- 2013 – November. Prepar3D v2 was released which incorporated massive changes to the rendering and mission creations process. A Professional Plus license of Prepar3D is also now made available. Seen as another step forward towards serious pilot training. The improved performance was another major feature for this release, more compatibility with the then current graphics increased the users immersion for training purposes. More additions into the hangar with a Dino Cattaneo’s Lockheed Martin F-35A, an F-22 Raptor from IRIS Flight Simulation, Carenado’s Beechcraft Bonanza A-36 and Alabeo’s Extra 300s.
- 2014 and 2015 Five more updated versions of v2 were forthcoming. During this period, many more enhancements and features were introduced including Flight Instructor mode. It now offered a much-improved capability to access and grade training flights.
- 2015 – September. Version V3 of Prepar3D was released, it incorporated an update to SimDirector, a simulation courseware creation tool. More training capabilities by integrating Autodesk® Scaleform® resulting in a better user interface along with expanded gauge and panel training capabilities for Prepar3D. Users now had the ability to go outside the aircraft in avatar mode and experience the world outside virtually.
- 2014 – 2015 Five more updates to version 2 were released during this period. Flight instructor mode is an interactive tool which aids in grading flight segments so that students and instructors can access and grade flight segments and flight manoeuvres in a live scenario.
- 2015 – September. Version V3 of Prepar3D is released, SimDirector a courseware creation tool sees a major update. Training capabilities are much with a better user interface for the gauge and panel training system which was improved by using Autodesk® Scaleform® support. Another new feature is the new avatar mode which allows students to leave their vehicle and experience the simulated virtual environment in third or the first person resulting in a much improved situational awareness.
“» Prepar3D® Product Overview.” Lockheed Martin Prepar3D Prepar3D Product Overview Comments. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.