I’ve recently started using MSFS 2020 (review here), and while VFR roaming the beautiful scenery is fun, my true love is instrument flying and following official procedures. Here both the realism and the understanding of real procedures can be greatly improved by using real aviation charts. Here are some free information sources that I have found.
All information about the Dutch airspace is free to view/download.
- Online VFR chart viewer
- 1:500,000 chart and information package download. The information package can be a bit difficult to navigate at first because it contains so much information, but it has all the charts for all airports – IFR and VFR.
The US FAA provides quite a bit of information online.
- VFR sectional charts, available as PDF and GeoTIFF.
- Terminal procedures, searchable by aiport or complete downloads by region.
- IFR Enroute charts.
- Airport data. Searchable by airport, the Charts tab gives access to airport charts.
- The US VFR maps can be viewed online at vfrmap.com.
Deutsche Flugsicherung, the German ATC authority also provides IFR information online. Its AIP-Online portal can be a bit difficult to navigate. It includes IFR enroute charts and IFT airport charts. The ICAO chart can be viewed here.
For the UK, there’s also an online AIP portal. No VFR charts, but IFR routes and airport charts are there.
Eurocontrol provides its route charts online as PDF download.
SkyVector is an online flight planning and flight information site that displays worldwide IFR and VFR charts. You can also display and overlay weather data.
Open Flightmaps is a project that aims at providing open information and VFR charts. Its scope is so far limited to parts of Europe. Available are an online viewer, PDF charts, map tiles, and raw data. I downloaded the tiles of Germany in the hope of being to visualize them in QGIS, but unfortunately the tiles don’t appear to contain georeferencing information.