I took a few days to make my own scenery files of my home airport, KUGN and surrounding area to help me practice my cross-country flight planning. By using Ortho4XP, which is just fantastic for creating realistic ground textures using actual satellite imagery. I learned how to use it from this video from Q8 Pilot on youtube. I’ve learned alot from this channel, actually.
I downloaded satellite imagery of a very wide area (most of the midwest) at very high resolution, which helps me find accurate visual references as they’ll look from the air. Best decision I’ve made in awhile, as this has greatly helped me find my way around and taught me the best visual references to look for on a chart.
On my first cross-country I flew from KUGN to KJVL and back. I virtually flew the flight and set up X-Plane with the same expected winds to help me gauge my magnetic heading calculations, while looking for visual references from above while matching them to my sectional chart. Overall, I found a lot of problems with my original flight plan that I adjusted during the virtual flights. I probably would have missed the airport I was flying to if I hadn’t done this.