PC DatabasesStoring your precious information - so it doesn't fly away.
A selection of PC Databases.
There are a large number of Aviation Databases available for the hobby user, these frequently integrate with SBS receivers and ACARS This gives the hobbyist a fantastic tool and resource and the ability to share the information world wide in what is effectively real time.
To me there are a number of things key to a database, ease of installation and use, the user base and the support offered, the ease of backup and restore and finally the the ease of bulk loading and extraction of the data. However the truth is that if you feel the product satisfies your requirements you’ll be happy with it, the list of requirements are mine – not what every one will want.
This is not a comparison of databases or their features, I haven’t used them all so can’t comment. It is not a comparison of content, that would take too long – it’s just a list of the ones that I know about.
The Freebird Database.
I experimented with the Freebird Database a number of years ago, at the time there were a number of things that I didn’t like about it I presume that these have been remedied but can’t say for sure. The first and to me the main one of these was the inability to get the data out of the system, if you wanted to move to an other platform.
At the moment the database seems to be undergoing a major revamp, as they are not issuing new copies of the database and are asking for people to express an interest through a “Facebook” page. Although the package wasn’t for me, one of the big plus points in my book was the facility to have an evaluation copy for a month or so – where you could get used to the product and see if it suited. This was something that seemed to be sorely lacking with many of the other aviation databases on the market.
Pacific Aviation Database.
The Pacific Aviation Database is a not for profit group, they produce a database for the plane spotter. It is produced by plane spotters and is an excellent tool for the hobbyist, there are some rules that have to be followed if you want to subscribe to the group. The group is self supporting and has a number of “Google Discussion Groups”, where information may be exchanged and support obtained.
As to the rules, these are fairly straight forward and generally revolve around politeness and common sense. They can be contacted through the PADB site, where you can enquire if there are any vacancies in the restricted numbers that can be supported by these people who provide the software because they enjoy the hobby.
Aerodata Software Ltd.
This is an extremely comprehensive database as such there are some fairly rigorous rules to follow, along with the charges that using the database and it’s support entails. There are two versions of the database Quantum+ and Quantum Lite, both come with a runtime access license so no additional software should be required and all versions of the Windows® operating system are supported. The Quantum Lite version of the database has a greatly reduced data set, but is significantly cheaper at £75.00.
Having had a look at the Aerodata web site, there does not seem to be much in the way of documentation – however there is a significant descriptive narrative describing each version. Again having gone through the site but not looked at the software for a number of years, there still doesn’t seem to be a way of extracting your own data other than printing out logs and check lists.
Plane Base NG
This is a free to download database, available from the Plane Base site. This database certainly seems to tick most of the boxes, although I haven’t used it other than a cursory test. I will at some point in the future put together a full review of the software and data, but that will have to wait for an other time. I would certainly give this one a try if I was looking to take up the computer side of the hobby.
The software and the very complete documentation suit can be downloaded from the site, there are extensive FAQ sections and the support looks to be pretty good. All in all an impressive effort from these people and only likely to get better. Runs on all but the oldest versions of Windows and is currently being tested on Windows 10, so there is some degree of future proofing as well.