I will be the first to admit that following and having to set up AI traffic is something that I would not rather do, it takes time and effort and a bit of having to pay attention to what goes where. I don?t necessarily understand the purpose of trying to fly with ?real world traffic? when I have just told the AI airplanes where they are supposed to go, or just downloaded an entire ?seasonal schedule? for a particular commercial carrier. There is much more to enjoying a traffic schedule than setting it up and launching the aircraft to fly where they will regardless of airport conditions or only according to published schedules where the airlines think the planes will fly. To me that is not real world.
This is not a problem when you purchase and download FS Live Traffic for FS2004 produced by AirNav Systems.
Yes, this is payware, and a subscription service is available, but for what you get it is really a time saver and a bargain.
It does have a Demo Mode for download just to let you see what you have been missing in the ?scheduling real world traffic? world.
I have downloaded some other traffic programs, this one dwarfs them all. Not only just from ease of use but also for the amount of information that is given at literally the click of a button.
The interface is really as simple as clicking a button.
The only warning I will give is FS2K4 must NOT be running when you load the traffic and let it D/L the files to the default location. This is also plainly stated in several portions of their website.
Load the traffic then launch FS2K4.
What I see when I load the program is it searching through 6,317 airports for filed flight plans. It skips plans and planes that have landed or have otherwise been removed from active flight at the time you would receive the information, it also works other limiting factors, including delays due to weather and the like. Brilliant!
The beauty of this program is that it looks at FAA filed flight plans for the traffic that you will see in FS2K4 from a huge airport and flight plan database, you don?t have to do any programming to send a fleet of Continental, United and American Airlines flights into the sim world. If the carrier filed a flight plan, which all commercial carriers do, the flight shows up. If it?s in flight, on short final or crossing your nose, it shows up as traffic as you launch FS2K4 at the airport you are flying out of. It?s really as simple as that, it also captures some business jets and other civilian prop traffic as well. Military traffic is an unknown though; they don?t usually file FAA flight plans.
I have tested this by flying out of Atlanta (KATL), which just happens to be the busiest en-route air corridor in the U.S. into a holding pattern just to listen to whom and what was being called in and tracked them on line with a different web sites information (http://www.aeroseek.com/webtrax/) that gives ?real time? (5 minute delay) flight tracking and it turns out that everything all the way down to call signs and flight numbers are accurate.
This program allows you to fly with real airplanes making their way to their real world filed flight plan destinations in as real time as is allowed. And what makes it really interesting is that most of the planes match the build and paint of carrier and aircraft type of what is being directed in.
This program, will upon purchase upgrade or add AFCAD?s and enhance several of the airports that you could land at. It also adds 75 aircraft for use as AI traffic complete with the liveries for the carriers common to North America.
I have not seen any claim to add traffic, liveries or aircraft common to regions other than North America. If you are outside the U.S. you may not want to purchase this add-on.
Specifics for download:
I?m on a cable modem and it took less than 3 minutes to D/L the demo. It took 15 minutes to get the program itself, it is a large program. Sorry, there is no way to avoid the size unless you buy the program including the CD, which they do offer as an option.
I truly believe that if you want to simplify you life of flying with real world traffic then FSLive is your best bet for the money.
Overall, I rate this at a 9.0 to a 9.5
The only reason I can't give a 10 is because I simply won't give a 10 to anything.