Not just an EFB! Is there website tagline. I’ve recently began using SimToolkitPro (STKP) and very much like what I see. I’ll dive into what STKP is, what my first impressions are and how I’m using it in the course of this review.
Before I start this product review. Please allow me to get the fine print out of the way. By the way, STKP is (at this time) 100% free so I modified by normal fine print statement to reflect that.
The product I am reviewing was
purchased downloaded by me and for my own personal use. I receive absolutely no compensation of any form (cash, credit, discounts, promises) for reviewing this product. I have not contacted, nor have I been contacted by the vendor to provide this product review. The opinions expressed (good or bad) are my own, your mileage may vary.
First Things First
Before I get too deep into this review, I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to the developers behind SimToolkitPro for creating such a robust tool and offering it to the community for free. The word freeware is almost unheard of in the flight sim community these days. I can remember a time when freeware/shareware was huge in our community and over the past 10+ years fewer and fewer things have been developed at no cost especially for FSX/P3D. Of course those who use XPlane certainly enjoy many items which have been generously created by and for the community.
What is SimToolkitPro
I’m going to just do a copy/paste directly from the STKP website to describe what it is as I don’t think I could sum it up any better.
“A completely free modern cross platform (soon) Electronic Flight Bag with so much more! Under heavy and rapid development over the last 18 months SimToolkitPro has grown into an indispensable flight simming companion. Reducing system load by consolidating tools, having everything within reach during the flight from up to date METAR, to the latest charts, SimToolkitPro is the all-in-one app for flight simulation.”
From the limited time I’ve been using STKP, I can attest that their claims are true and for me, STKP could replace several applications I’m currently using for my flight sim operations. More about this later.
How I’m using STKP
As previously stated, I’ve been using STKP for just over a week. I’ve been running it alongside all my normal applications such as AivlaSoft EFB, ProjectFly and VAT-SPY. In theory, STKP could immediately replace all these applications if I chose to completely make the switch. But there are things I like about these other applications and for now do not plan to eliminate them for these reasons.
AivlaSoft EFB is a payware application I own and I’m quite used to its functionality. While STKP provides much of the same functionality, I feel AivlaSoft EFB offers (at this time) better features for me especially in the area of ground/taxi map tracking. I can pre-select my gate that I will be departing from/arriving to and see the best route to take. This is especially helpful when ATC isn’t available.
While STKP provides much more functionality compared to ProjectFly, one feature not available in SKTP at this time is the Passport feature. ProjectFly tracks each country you land in and displays that countries flag in a passport view. While I haven’t aggressively been trying to fly to every country on Earth, I’ve currently visited 32% of them and don’t want to lose this progress. While some may view this feature as not that big of a deal, I do like it and yes, I have a goal (no time limit) to fly and land in every country. I’ll get there eventually.
Sometimes old habits are just hard to break. I’ve been using VAT-SPY for years when flying on the VATSIM network. I mainly use it to just keep an eye on what VATSIM ATC is online and air traffic around me. When landing in an ATC controlled airspace, I find being able to read the ATIS info much better than listening to it on frequency. I will say that the STKP Live Map 2.0 is much nicer than VAT-SPY. But I’ve not found a way to view the ATIS info as I prefer.
Built In Navigraph Charts
If you’re a subscriber of Navigraph and specifically their charts offering, then you’ll probably enjoy the fact that Navigraph Charts are built into STKP. I just find it handy to have this feature built into STKP versus launching the separate Navigraph Charts desktop app. Of course, I also often use the Navigraph Charts Android app on my tablet.
Before I move away from the topic of Navigraph. Again for users with a Navigraph subscription, you’ll want to make sure you download the FMS data and keep it updated for each published cycle. The Navigraph FMS Data download manager works with STKP and is super easy to keep all your FMS needs current as each cycle changes on a monthly (28 day) basis.
Aircraft Fleet Tracking
Much like ProjectFly, you will need to setup your aircraft fleet into STKP. This is handy for tracking the total number of hours and flights you’ve flown on each. This will also track the last known location for each aircraft if that is something that interests you.
There’s many different ways to manage flight schedules in STKP. You can view real world flight schedules to and from any airport in the world or create your own in just a few easy steps. I tend to fly mainly real world schedules and 99.9% of my flights at this time are simulating American Airlines.
This is a really important feature for me and makes it so much easier for me personally. For most of my flights, I first go to Simbrief and begin setting up my flight. I will often cross reference this information with Flightaware. But once I have my OFP (Operational Flight Plan) created and download for easy access from any of my aircraft FMS, I just simply go to STKP and have it pull the flight data down based on my most current OFP. I then select the aircraft tail number I’m flying for that trip and start the flight. It’s that easy.
Much, Much More
There are many more features to STKP which I just don’t have the time to document today. In addition, I fully expect the next STKP update to roll out in the next few days which is going to introduce many more features. As STKP is 100% free, if what I’ve described here is of interest, then you really have nothing to lose on downloading, installing and giving it a go. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Well that’s just about all the time I have for now. But I’ll return again soon.
Until next time…