SOAR is a Windows based flight planning & analysis program. It was written by Luc Beerts, initially for his personal use. The software has been available on the Internet as freeware since October 2000. It is continuously being improved.
The program provides a variety of facilities which make the planning of cross-country tasks easy. Flight recordings can be imported in IGC format and several manufacturer specific data formats. SOAR supports the viewing (animation) and analysis of up to five GPS flight recordings simultaneously. Task and flight manager functions help to keep your collection of tasks and imported logger files organised. All facilities operate within a highly customisable map window, consisting of an elevation data background and a variety of vector map elements (geographical features, airspace structure, airfields and turnpoints). In addition the map window can display user provided bitmap images (scanned maps and/or photographs) at three different resolution levels. Individual map features can easily be turned on and off. Switching the map display between different airfield/turnpoint datafiles takes no more than a second and does not require exiting the program. User defined map settings can be saved and recalled. Maps can be printed to printer and to file (bitmap image). Access to commonly used functions is made easy by three toolbars: the map navigation toolbar, the map features toolbar, and the flight analysis toolbar. A comprehensive help file explains all program features.
Various airfield/turnpoint, airspace and navigation data sets are made available for use with the SOAR program. This material is also freeware. The program's map editing functions allow users to import their own data and create/maintain their own maps.
Questions, suggestions and bugs
If you have questions and/or suggestions regarding the SOAR program, please contact the author Luc Beerts directly.
Likewise, if you discover bugs, don't hesitate to report them to the author.
If you want to be notified every time this site publishes a new version of the SOAR program or the navigation database, please send a mail to the webmaster directly. We will put your e-mail address on our notification list.
User contributions welcome!
Users are encouraged to share the results of their vector map editing efforts with others, by submitting the material to the webmaster of the SOAR download site.
SOAR version 5.1 (18 January 2004)
First you should take a look at the readme file. The most important changes with regard to the previous versions are described in the version history file. Starting with version 5.1, SOAR can import airspace files using the Open Air format.
Click here for the download of the program (approximately 1.2 Megabyte). The navigation database must be downloaded separately (see below).
The navigation database consists of airfields, turnpoints, airspace structures, roads, railroads, rivers, borders, mountain ridges, lakes, cities, and an elevation map as background. All this material is available on this website (see below).
Airfield and turnpoint databases
Choose one or more of the following airfield and turnpoint databases:
Each zip file contains its own specific readme file. See the general readme file for installation instructions.
Vector map features and airspace structures
Click here to launch the download of the vector map features (roads, railroads, rivers, borders, mountain ridges, lakes, cities, etc.) and airspace structures (approximately 1.5 MB). Last updated 3 July 2001. Airspace data in SOAR version 3.x format.
See the readme file for installation instructions.
Not included in the above:complete set of United Kingdom map data, courtesy of Andrew Pentland. The principal aim is to replicate as closely as possible the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) 1:250000 charts, using the same contour intervals and colors. The download is split in three parts:
Not included in the above: Danish airspace (65 KB), courtesy of Felipe Cvitanich. Updated version, dated 28 August 2001. Airspace data in SOAR version 3.x format.
Not included in the above: airspace of Central, North and East France (53 KB), courtesy of Koen Vanderputten (Updated version, 17 June 2002). Airspace data in SOAR version 3.x format.
Sample airspace data to demonstrate the new airspace display and filter features introduced in SOAR version 4.0. The sample covers part of the airspace of Belgium.
Airspace data for Belgium using the Open Air format. Can be used with SOAR version 5.1 and higher. This file contains airspace data enhanced with SOAR-specific Open Air command extensions (lines starting with "* SOAR").
This kind of data is not subject to change and you will only need to download it once. However some of these files are rather voluminous. Therefore the elevation data are split into blocks of 10 degrees longitude and 10 degrees latitude. You only have to download those files which you actually need. See the readme file for installation instructions. If you need elevation data files for other parts of the world, take a look in the Help file of SOAR, for instructions about where to find the data on the Internet and how to produce the files.
Click on a tile below to download the corresponding elevation data in compressed (.zip) format.
Below are some extracts from the help file:
The map display
The core of the program is the map display. The map can contain different features:
The way these features are displayed or printed can be set via the Map features command in the Map menu. Whether a feature is visible or not depends upon the selections made in the Map Features dialog box, the zoom of the map, and the state of the corresponding button in the Map Features Toolbar. When the mouse cursor is over some types of features, specific information will be displayed (e.g. turnpoints, airfields, airspace sectors, frequencies, etc.). This function does not work if the map window of soar is not active. In this case, click the mouse somewhere in the map to activate the map window.
A task consists of
An existing task can be opened via the Task Select menu command. Note that in the task menu there is no save command, a task is automatically saved every time another task is selected or when Soar is exited.
The description of a task can be edited any time using the Edit command in the Task Select dialog box. This command opens the Edit Task Description dialog box.
The Task New command creates a new Task. The existing task is saved automatically. The New Task Description dialog box will open and prompt for a description of the newly created task. You can change the entries made in this dialog box any time later on. The description doesn't need to be "unique": it is possible to enter the same description for several tasks.
Each task can contain a single route, this is a sequence of turnpoints. The route can be edited in two ways, see below. If you want to save the existing route and create a new route, first create a new task, and then start editing the new route using the route or map editing commands.
When a task contains turnpoints, the map can be:
Photo-sectors can be shown at the turnpoints via the Map Features dialog box. Two different photo sectors are available:
For the start and finish point, only one type of photo sector is available: a 180° sector oriented along the extension of the first and last leg of the task respectively.
The radius of the photo sectors can be set in the Map Options dialog box. The same value is taken for all sectors.
Whether the sectors are visible or not depends upon the selections made in the Map Features dialog box, the zoom of the map, and the state of the sector buttons in the Map Features Toolbar.
The route is a sequence of turnpoints. The turnpoints for the route can be taken from:
The turnpoints selected in a task are always loaded in the task itself, this means that the task will not be affected by edits made to the turnpoints database. If you want you can update the turnpoints of a task from the actual database with the update button on the Task Route dialog box or the Task Select dialog box, but this function will work only for those turnpoints whose name an airfield class are exactly the same as in the actual database.
Editing the route
The turnpoints sequence of a task can be edited in two ways:
Via the Flight Import command a flight logger file can be converted to SOAR format. At the time, three formats are supported:
During the conversion, Soar prompts for a description of the flight. You can change this description afterwards time via the Edit button on the Flight Select dialog box. Every flight is stored in a separate file with the extension FLT in the directory "Flights". The name of the file on disk consists of the date (year, month, day) and a number (YYYYMMDDNN.FLT). From Windows it is not possible to know which file contains which flight. For managing purposes, use the Flight Manager Command.
Via the Flight Select command up to five flights can be opened. They are attached to the task that is actually selected. Next time the task is opened, the flights will be opened at the same time.
A flight can be removed from a task by:
Changing the description of a flight
A flight file contains a set of description fields. Upon flight import, Soar will prompt you to fill in these fields, but you can edit them at any time later on. There are two ways to edit the description for a flight:
Analysing a flight
The program has an elaborate set of tools to analyse a recorded flight.
First of all, you have to load one or more flights into the task you are working with, then you should activate the desired flight via one of the Flight Activate commands or via the Activate Flight control on the Map Navigation Toolbar.
You can load the same flight in as many tasks as you want.
The Flight Statistics command. This command opens a window with general statistical information about the active flight.
Several graphics can be displayed:
A special dedicated flight analysis mode.
You can activate another flight at any time, even when one or more analysing tools are active.
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Revision date: woensdag, 03 maart 2004 23:06 +0100.