SimLink96 connects a Garmin x96 portable GPS to FSX

Flight1 Aviation Technologies has released SimLink96, a $49.95 utility that connects a Garmin GPSMAP 196, 296, 396, or 496 to Microsoft Flight Simulator X.

I’ve been testing it on my system, and it’s slick way to practice using one of the above portable GPS models or to enhance virtual flying by adding a real GPS to FSX. You run the GPS in simulator mode and it receives position and other data from FSX. You can use the functions of the x96 that are available in simulator mode, including routes.

Note that in addition to the software, you need:

A Garmin 010-10141-00 PC Interface Cable (a serial cable available from Garmin and many online retailers). The USB cable that Garmin provides to update databases and transfer routes won’t work for sending position data to an x96.

If your computer doesn’t have a 9-pin serial port, you also need a serial-to-USB adapter (I use a TrippLite U209-000-R) or a serial port on a card, like this.

It’s also important to note that because you must use the Garmin PC interface cable, you must run the x96 off its internal battery while running SimLink96.

You can get more information and download SimLink96 from the product page at Flight1 Aviation Technologies.

AIM updates coming 10 March 2011

The next AIM update, effective on 10 March 2011, includes several significant changes. You can download the update, which highlights all the changes, here (PDF).

The full version of the AIM will be available in both HTML and PDF versions at the usual place, here.

In particular, the sections that discuss IFR use of GPS–WAAS and non-WAAS–have been edited and revised to clarify important points such as the requirements for an alternate under IFR and the use of GPS in lieu of ground-based navaids while flying routes based on VOR, NDB, DME arcs, etc.