View Full Version : When will PM provide a CDU that works as it should be?

03-25-2009, 08:00 AM
I have just flown a flight exercise including a few holdings. The CDU is acting terrible in each holding.
- it doesn't follow the holding path as it should be
- the holding path disappears suddenly and you are lucky when you get it back by pushing EXEC
- sometimes the holding path was lost and had to be reprogrammed
- the holding path jumps from big to small
So, one is not even able to follow the holding manually. On the track picture you see the "fight" I had to deliver in each holding to keep it within bounderies.

I always have to use that CDU version giving me errors that bothers me less.
After versions that worked "relatively well", I had versions or still have a version:
- which didn't follow the programmed route as soon you intend to change something (e.g. putting the approach and runway)
- that changed the descent speed always to the set value in knots and not limited by the mach value giving me overspeeds while descending.
- in which the second flight only remembered the setting of the descent speed from the former flight and used that for climbing speed so that only at cruise level there was an acceleration to the set cruise speed.
-that while approaching the speed suddenly goes to maximum descent speed
- in which new fixed flightlevels cannot be set without the whole lot of waypoints changing to the same flight level
- that, which, ............. It makes me sick.
And when I explicitely ask for support they act as I am the only one with those errors.
Anyone with similar problems?
OK a new build just appeared. What will be the bugs now?

Using Boeing PM-PFD/MCP/CDU + Engravity CDU

Michael Carter
03-25-2009, 08:17 AM
This is irrelavent to your problem, but I find a lot of satisfaction in flying a hold by hand.

I did that just last night flying into Augsburg from Frankfurt. ;-)

Matt Olieman
03-25-2009, 08:50 AM
Robert I'm not picking on you, you make some good points and I respect that.

CDU is a complicated piece of equipment on the flight deck, requiring a tremendous amount of logical programing. I've talked to several pilots that had the opportunity to play with CDU's in a Level D simulator, and have come up with errors similar as you mentioned.

I find that our hobby is mainly compromised of perfectionist :) which is a good thing, but can be frustrating to others (mainly vendors).

We can be obsessed of panels colors that does not match. Every panel has to be identical color match. I go onto a REAL flight deck and see multitude of colored panels. I see different sets of greys and some brown or vise versa.

Get's complicated, doesn't it???

PM CDU and their other vendor products are in a continued evolutionary state, just as many other vendor products. Will there be bugs, you bet ya!!! I don't know of any program that does not.

The other day I was flying approaches and lost my yoke control (a bug in an other vendors programing), I had fun, franticly trying to make a safe landing without using a yoke, a wonderful and successful challenge (just an added feature). That's the way I look and accept bugs, keeps you on your toes.

Like any of the products in our hobby, the products keep getting better and better (some would even say, better then the real thing), it just takes patience and appreciation of those who continue to support our small group of flight-sim builder hobbiest.

Matt Olieman

03-26-2009, 01:52 AM
Thanks, Matt, for your reply.

It is here not a question of colours or appearances. I don't need a shiny car, but it should ride properly.
You surely have a point if you say that the CDU needs complex programming. But, in the exercise flight of yesterday, someone used the CDU of a PMDG aircraft and all the holds went smoothly. So, the CDU delivered with an add-on aircraft works better than the one of PM, which should be the best because they are merely specialized in those things. And I will not even talk about the price which is of the order of tens for the PMDG and thousands for the PM.
Let me give a simple example
I have a CDU version now which I can hardly use during descent and surely not during approach.
If I have on the LEGS page an approach configuration like
WP1 270/FL150
WP2 250/FL090
WP3 220/FL060
WP4 190/3000
WP5 180/2500
there is a good chance that it suddenly, without any reason, jumps to a speed of 300 kts between WP1 and WP2 or to 250 kts between WP3 and WP4.
If in the same configuration I force a certain waypoint to be on a certain level, say FL050 for WP2 I get after EXEC
WP1 270/FL120
WP2 250/FL050
WP3 220/FL057 <---- goes up again?
WP4 190/3000
WP5 180/2500
Don't tell me that this is not possible to program that adequately.
The fact is also that all the problems started when I used my Engravity CDU. Not because of the piece of hardware itself, but because I had to start from a certain build (version) to let it work properly. And since that build everything went worser every time. You speak about "the products keep getting better and better". Well, this is going in the opposite way for PM products.
Probably your moto is "a bug a day keeps the doctor away" but moving backwards is always hard for a human.
I must admit that I still have to test the last build, but I cross my fingers.
Best regards

Matt Olieman
03-26-2009, 06:47 AM
All have possibilities Robert :)

And again your concerns are legitimate, but please bring this to the attention of PM, I can assure you they are just as much interested in resolving these issues as you are.

Matt Olieman

Trevor Hale
03-26-2009, 08:18 AM

What builds are you using? I do not have any of the issues that you speak of.


03-26-2009, 01:22 PM
Flying real world computerized machines is sometimes so redundant and boring that a lot of airline pilots spend free time building or restoring biplanes, gliders, ultralights or else to be able to enjoy hand FLYING...Then, I always find curious that some of us spend all their energy and money recreating push button virtual cockpits that frustrate them because they do not always perform according to a preloaded program!
No Offence because it is my own opinion with its own limited merits, but flying a holding pattern correctly is one of the great challenge a pilot can be proud of , virtual or real. Programming it and looking at the airplane do it by itself may be interesting at best the first time, but totally boring thereafter.
I am amazed by the quality of PM Avionics every time I switch them on, and I find unfair to critize them based on the fact that they are not always fully compatible with every software or hardware sold on the market, or worse with every personal and often unperfect setup.
As far as I can see, the latest builds corrected most if not all of the bugs created by the change of NavData source. Thanks PM for an amazing product and happy 10 Years anniversary.

Matt Olieman
03-26-2009, 02:22 PM
I love shooting those CAT III approaches, unassisted. :)

Matt Olieman

03-26-2009, 02:44 PM
Hey Matt! Cat III. Wow that's autoland irl.

03-26-2009, 09:07 PM
Can do CAT zillion all manual...it is a sim!!
Cheers and happy flying.

03-27-2009, 02:22 AM
Can do CAT zillion all manual...it is a sim!!
Cheers and happy flying.

I know! :) But I'm impressed since it takes skills.

Matt Olieman
03-27-2009, 05:33 AM
It's loads of fun when you turn off your outside view and see where you end up. See what side of the runway you're on when you've landed. I have to admit :( I've had a few grass landings.... LOL

I used to have a 72 year old IFR instructor (he was fantastic), since the first day of IFR instruction he kept me under the hood as soon as I lined up on the runway for take off, then removed the hood at 200 ft AGL on approach.

Matt Olieman

03-27-2009, 05:36 AM
Just to add something here, Obviously I have contact with real world CDU's and they are way short of perfect as well. A real aircraft autoland system will NOT land on the numbers everytime you have to remember there are many manufacturers of CDU units and many manufacturers of the software facilities for them! If an aircraft uses a honeywell unit but the software is not from honeywell then you will get bugs!!

Look at airline maintenence bills that shows how many glitches etc are in the real plane! My sim is built to look like a real life deck ie not perfect and certainly well used! I love looking at my sim in maintenence mode! :-)

Matt Olieman
03-27-2009, 07:06 AM
rhysb, very well put and thank you for your comment.

We thrive for perfection, which is not bad, it's good :) but let's keep it in perspective. It's like the scenario I used with the panels in a real cockpit, it's amazing how scratch-up, banged-up and different colors they are. That's the real thing.

I know there are some equipment (planes) that requires functional autopilots if they are to be flown. But I remember my Brother used to fly for Eastern (B727 and DC9) and talked about how many times the Auto Pilot was not functional and the FAA sat in the jump seat. It's a real work out, keeping the plane +/- 100 ft. for 2 to 3 hours, particularly someone watching over your shoulder.

I recall when I lived in Montgomery, Alabama and flied in and out of there in a DC9 (as a passenger). I used to talk to the pilots quite a bit and got to know them (I was a regular). They loved going in to smaller airports like Montgomery and do the visual approach (hands on, no autopilot). I've know B747 pilots going back to fly the smaller aircrafts so they can do that.

I love the challenge of me flying by the seat of my pants, that's real flying, I've got control of the airplane, not some damn computer. :)

I've had some tough instructors when I learned to fly, one kept hammering me in the head, "always believe you can land an airplane anywhere in any condition. Top of a tree if need be." I've seen several planes that have done that, and where the pilot and passengers walked away uninjured. Another one, "Fly, practice until you become one with the aircraft, you are the aircraft, you control the aircraft, not the aircraft controls you, then and only then you are the pilot."

Airline pilots get to prove they can do that, every six months.

Matt Olieman

03-28-2009, 02:31 PM
Hello all,

I was a short time busy and didn't look at this thread for a couple of days. Wow, it seemed I started a lot of talks here.

Well, to answer Trevor first : I use build 400. Did you ever did succesive flights?

Secondly, Jackpot: I fly a "naked" PMDG (without gauges). Further, I use GF modules, either programmed by their own program or by FUIPC commands. I use 3 PC (FS-PC with PM-MCP / PC2 2 monitors PFD/EICAS and PC3 CDU and second EICAS). All PMchecks give OK.
My set-up is shown in http://www.robflightsim.net/RFSmycp.html

By the way, I never land on auto. I always shut down MCP and A/T at about 1000ft and land manually like the "state of the art".


Matt Olieman
03-28-2009, 03:37 PM
There you go Robert, land by the seat of your pants :) :) :) LOL Sounds like you like a good challenge too.

Matt Olieman

03-28-2009, 05:55 PM
Well Matt, as I said, it's the state of the art. I have been many times in the cockpit (before 9/11 of course), even during approach and landing (my wife always complained that she was a "landing widow"). The pilots always shut down the MCP and A/T at or above 1000ft and told me that you have to do that in time in order not to have a sudden "configuration change" close to the ground.

03-30-2009, 03:14 PM
Yes thats very true, the window of change gets smaller from that point in and in the event of a ground cushion, windshear or crosswind the autopilot can not recover in time

05-04-2009, 07:36 AM
... what will be considered (by the PM development team) worth the time it takes to fix some bugs, which I will intentionally NOT label as "SEVERE", nor "MINOR", etc. etc.

So, regardless to any judgement, I simply wish:
- I could see more CDU messages, since we know there are many missing;
- I could see the screen page showing the phase of flight could switch from TAKE OFF, to ACT CLIMB, ACT CRZ and ACT DES on its own, when it becomes ACT ive;
- I could see the "PRE FLIGHT COMPLETE" label showing up (as it ought to) with no LSK links to any other CDU pages.

Happy and safe flying in the meanwhile to y'all.

05-04-2009, 03:59 PM
After 10 years of development, i think that PM's s/w could be better for all of us. PM was the path-finder and they deserve a better profile.

All these issues are known for many years and people either used "to live with them", either flying with no autopilot, either found other solutions....

Keep flying and hoping......


Michael Carter
05-04-2009, 08:19 PM
There are some of us that are glad we're not a slave to PM.

The aircraft we chose to model may not be compatible with PM, and that's OK!

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

We may not have every output for the systems logic we need, but that's OK too. What we do have with whatever flight model we've chosen is reliability, and no wondering if "is it supposed to do that?" Or, "Why isn't it doing that?"

I'm not lumping all non-PM users into a 727 catagory or pre-FMC catagory, but the simplicity is refreshing.

Learn to fly the plane, by hand, or as it was designed to be flown and don't expect the AP to save your *** when thing don't work out as planned.

No slight to the many users of the software, but sometimes things get so complicated that one little function that doesn't work can lay waste to the most meticulously planned flight.

05-05-2009, 02:42 AM
After 10 years of development, i think that PM's s/w could be better for all of us.
Well, Eddie, that's also my opinion. I have installed now the latest CDU version and I must admit, the holds seem to be better now, but things are still going crazy when going in descend and approach.
In an approach configuration like this
WP1 270/FL150
WP2 250/FL090
WP3 220/FL060
WP4 190/3000
WP5 180/2500
it still doesn't follow the programmed speed. For instance after passing waypoint WP3 it goes suddenly up to 250kts again were it should reduce to 190 kts. So, approaching has to be done semi manual (AP).
And once again, it is not the kind of aircraft that is doing wrong, but it is clearly PM. If PM indicates 190kts and the aircraft does 250kts, that's something else, but that isn't the case here.

If we don't need PM we can always revert to Ford trimotor or something like this. FS9 is full of those a/c.

Best regards

Matt Olieman
05-05-2009, 06:36 AM
I and like others have mentioned before, this is not the place for constant disgruntle conversation regarding your views of satisfaction/expectations of vendor products.

If we (fellow users of this or other products) can help correct a situation through software/hardware manipulation, I know their are plenty of folks that will gladly help.

As I mentioned before, when I bought my PM Software 7 years ago, I was happy with what I got and expected some updates, but they've developed it way beyond my expectations. I feel I've gotten my moneys worth at least 20 fold.

Go talk to some real world pilots and ask how many times their MCDU freezes up or can't punch in certain settings.

I'm paraphrasing Mikes words; but, you don't fly an airplane by pushing buttons, you fly with yoke/side stick, rudders, throttle at hand. That takes skill and that's what I call being a pilot. The rest is learning how to fly a game by manipulating buttons.

This is why Airline pilots go home at the end of the day and fly their C-172's or whatever.

Matt Olieman

05-05-2009, 06:59 AM
I quite agree, Matt.

Just, one remark - we don't have a co-pilot and have to handlle everything by ourselves. A better CDU in approach would be helpful

But, also a positive note: the holds and the messages (in coop with the Engravity) are now working fine with the new version.

For the rest - let's enjoy FS - it has never been so good than nowadays !(XP-FS9-many add-ons and... a GF9800GTX+)

Case closed


06-04-2009, 06:28 PM
Hi guys,

Im a long time user of PM.As a 767 builder I find the software does what it is supposed to for manual flight. As Rhys says regarding real world ops with various hardwares and various softwares, things do screw up from time to time. Read the Big Boeing FMC guide. A great read but it scares the life out of me to read how messed up things can get with these amazing systems. The are an aid to the pilots, to make life easier.

The point made by Robert is the fact the software "works" for one flight but not the next. Personaly I think the CDU has come along way from where it was when I purchased in 2002. Its based on the 737 system. In the real world 767 uses PIP or pegasus. And they suffer from some terrible bugs. I have nearly every build on an external HD. I may sit down and read the release notes with them sometime. The NAVDATA from navigraph has made the route planning alot easier and more stable. I havent had a CDU failure in ages. A Few things bug me but I have so many other problems with a project this size that it fades into the "out of my control" folder. I have found Enrico very helpfull anytime I mailed him with a problem or indeed a request. And the 767 is NOT a primary aircraft on PMs list.

So its grin and bare and enjoy the process even though it gets on your goat!!


06-04-2009, 11:09 PM
I remain amazed at the way people just brush of anothers issues. Robert has a very legitimate complaint. And you wouldn't expect this performance in a real aircraft! I use PMDG and the Engravity CDU and it works perfectly. Pm charge a small fortune and all I hear is people having problems with the software. I paid $60.00 for PMDG and it works. Other than the price of PM, I would not purchase their product because there are too many glitches, especially for a supposedly top of the line product. While I may not have the hardware functionality of PM, I do have a reliable system and hardware configuration.

Like Warvet says - just my ten cents worth.


06-05-2009, 07:18 AM
I do recognize that one cannot expect to download the smiths FMC manual from this site, fire the sim, and watch the CDU performing EXACTLY the same wonders ...

I am aware of (some of) the many options that Boeing/Airbus offer on customers' demand ...

That's to aknowledge that PM task is not an easy one, that's for sure.

But you can't help to witness the sharper degree of accuracy that some other replicas have reached, and it would take 'em just one more step, that is the ability to run as standalone modules on networked pcs, instead of FS gauges on one single machine ...

Just speaking out loud, I truly can't understand why - whilst they're fighting against major problems - PM don't pay (enough) attention and fix some little annoying details; or why - after one bug has been fixed once - it shows up again in later releases ... really puzzling.

Take one, since we're talking about the CDU (for a 737): the PRE FLIGHT status, which shouldn't be coupled by any LSK links to other CDU pages, once it has become COMPLETE.

Take another: the "active phase of flight" page, since the TAKEOFF page that doesn't switch to ACT CLB page, then to ACT CRZ page, then to ACT DES page, all by itself.

PMDG CDU does both these things correctly ... and I guess it bothers us quite a lot to see that PM - on one side - can offer far more, but - on the other side - can't just get rid of these stupid kind of hobbles !

It's another two cents ... long live PM, anyway.