smartCARS 3

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$6.99 a month


What is smartCARS 3 and Why Do I Need It?

smartCARS 3 is a flight tracking and management system for Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Prepar3D, X-Plane, and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Virtual flying communities need a flight tracking system (known as an ACARS) to help its pilots plan, track, and report flights.

Many tools exist for this purpose, but smartCARS 3 packs in a host of additional features to make online flight simulation more fun and more reliable. It is used by hundreds of virtual airlines, loved by thousands of pilots, and is the most advanced flight tracking system available for desktop flight simulators.

Why choose smartCARS 3?

  • Manage flight schedules, effortlessly track flights, and instantly submit pilot reports (PIREPS)
  • View and review past PIREPS
  • Chat with a huge community of fellow simulation enthusiasts via the integrated chat
  • Listen to music and live entertainment via the integrated JetStream Radio player
  • Plan flights on SimBrief without leaving smartCARS
  • Create a one-of-a-kind experience by installing (or creating) plugins
  • Integrate with industry leading software1


Advantages for the Community

smartCARS streamlines operations at both brand-new and veteran communities.

  • Most services are cloud-hosted by TFDi Design for free2
  • Advanced flight tracking customization allows for community-specific tuning
  • smartCARS 3 is developed by an experienced, established company with award-winning customer support3
  • Web management system allows easily community-wide customization
  • News and welcome messages can be displayed to pilots
  • All major desktop flight simulation platforms are supported
  • Developers have nearly limitless customization ability via plugin creation

Your Pilots Will Love It

smartCARS isn't just designed to benefit the community administrators; it is also designed to be thoroughly enjoyed by pilots.

  • Modern, easy-to-use user interface
  • In-app flight searching and booking
  • Multi-bid support
  • Charter flight creation support
  • Smart flight event recording
  • Easily continue tracking a flight after a simulator crash
  • Integrated map of online simulation flight and air traffic control (VATSIM, ICAO, and smartCARS)


smartCARS 3 is available for sale as an open beta. It costs $6.99 USD per month with monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual options.

Who pays for smartCARS and who gets access?

A community representative subscribes to smartCARS 3 for the flat rate mentioned above and receives a license to distribute smartCARS to all of their community members. The cost to a community is not per-pilot and the members of the community do not have to pay to fly with their community.

Why an Open Beta?

Our virtual airline partners and our developers have been testing smartCARS 3 since March of 2023. As a result, the application is quite stable and feature-rich. That said, smartCARS 3 does not yet have smartCARS Premium, which makes it incomplete. We are actively developing smartCARS Premium features for smartCARS 3 and will release the suite, as a whole, when it is finished.

Despite the "open beta" status, we encourage any existing smartCARS communities to begin testing and integrating smartCARS 3 immediately. This allows time to become familiar with the new system, create custom content if needed, and report feedback to our team.

How does it work for smartCARS 2 License Holders?

A smartCARS 3 subscription includes access to smartCARS 2 for its existing customers.

Of course, purchasing a new smartCARS 3 license and getting started immediately is the standard procedure. That said, many existing smartCARS 2 license holders may be eligible for upgrade pricing. Due to the huge variety in when and how virtual airlines have licensed smartCARS from us, it is impossible to provide a blanket upgrade policy.

If you have an existing smartCARS 2 license, please contact our support and we will handle upgrades on a case-by-case basis to determine the most fair course of action.


smartCARS is natively compatible with phpVMS v2.X/phpVMS v5.5, and phpVMS v7.

smartCARS can support other web systems (including custom solutions) via editing of the web files.

Virtual airline server requirements:

  • PHP 5.6 or later
  • FTP (or similar file management) access
  • MySQL
  • PHP Database Objects (PDO)

Client desktop requirements:
  • Windows 8.1 or later only
  • 1GB or more of RAM
  • 250MB of hard drive space

1Limited integration is provided by default but further integration depends on support from third-party developers.

2TFDi Design provides cloud storage for client-related assets (installer, logos, etc.), plugins, and feature-specific data storage included in the price of a license.

3TFDi Design was awarded 'Best Support from a Developer' by FSElite in 2017.