Simmers looking to expand their selection of useful tools for Microsoft Flight Simulation have a great new choice to add to their toolset. Sky4Sim Pad, recently released exclusively for MSFS, adds a very useful EFB-like panel inside the simulator, giving you access to a detailed world map, real weather reports, information about the world’s airports, access to documents, and more.
Sky4Sim Pad aims to be a simple all-in-one addon for MSFS users who are looking to have quick access to a few very handy features, all within the sim, without the need to minimize and check external apps. It’s available from the in-sim toolbar at the top, and is also togglable by default using the “v” key: it’s the same key that opens the default VFR Map, so you’ll probably want to disable that one in the toolbar options.
Sky4Sim Pad emulates the look of a traditional tablet, with navigation buttons at the bottom that allow you to go back, go straight to the map, or go to the homepage, from where all the included “apps” can be launched, such as Maps, Weather, Airports, or Documents. Very much like a real iPad!
For starters, the Map app in Sky4Sim Pad is able to display a detailed Bing Maps window with multiple layers. Besides the choice of different maps modes such as Sattelite and Roads views, there’s a good variety of other elements that can be toggled. These include airports, VORs, NDBs, points of interest, and more. You can even filter out airports based on runway type or ILS/night lights availability.
This map also shows the current position of your aircraft and tracks its movement so you always have the current position centered. Or you can just hide the airplane icon and fly by dead reckoning. Additionally, you can plot quick flight plans directly on the map, double-clicking to create a new waypoint and dragging to adjust their location. This flight plan can be viewed and managed with more detail on the Flight Plan app.
On the Flight Plan app, you can build flight plans and get a very useful ground elevation profile across each flight segment. This way, you can easily track your current position and get a clear picture of the terrain that lies ahead in your flight path. These flight plans can be saved as .PLN files, which you can load in MSFS, and Sky4Sim Pad can also load your existing .PLN files.
Sky4Sim Pad is able to provide detailed information about every airport included in the MSFS database. This data can be accessed directly through the Map, by clicking on any of the indicated airport markers, or through the Airports app. Elevation, runways, equipment, radio and ILS frequencies, all of this information can be viewed here.
The Weather app is another useful one, with glanceable Wind, Pressure, Visibility, and Temperature data, but also with a full METAR report for more detailed local weather information.
Finally, a particularly nice feature of Sky4Sim Pad is the Documents and PDF reader app. Here you can download PDF files from the internet, such as charts, checklists, and whatnot, and view them in the PDF Viewer app, a classic PDF reader with zooming capabilities.
With this very useful list of features, Sky4Sim Pad has the potential to be a must-have utility during your flights in MSFS. Pilots flying in VR will find it particularly useful, since it enables them to access a variety of tools that would otherwise require an external app – not good when you have a headset covering your eyes and all you can see is what’s inside MSFS.
In the end, Sky4Sim Pad is a highly recommended new addon for MSFS, and it’s available for a very reasonable $16.90 (approximately €15.00). Installation is easy, and while the initial setup requires some steps (you will have to register in Bing Maps Dev Center to get the API key that Sky4Sim Pad needs to show maps), it’s all relatively straightforward. Just follow the included guided steps!
As for future plans, the developer told us that Sky4Sim Pad will continue to evolve and receive free updates for all users. Also planned is the introduction of additional apps, some of which may be available as payware DLC.