1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor
CDU/FMS with Friendly Panels and PMRJ
Finding an affordable solution to providing Flight Management that works well and realistically is a near impossible task due to the complex nature of FMS software and develoment time. Sometimes we stumble across a method that *will* work, but maybe not at 100%. Here are my findings using the extremely affordable 'Friendly Panels LJ45' package.
After realizing the gem that we have now in the latest version of FSUIPC with Mousetrapping, thanks to Peter Dowson, the gears started to spin in my head on how to have some simple FMS/CDU functions working on a basic level with my hardware. I remembered back to a few months ago when Friendly Panels released their LJ45 package with CDU/FMS sofware. After reading and re-reading the posts on the new FSUIPC mouse trapping functions, I decided to purchase the FP LJ45 package and test it out.
After installing the software and selecting a flight plan and setting it up, I moved the CDU (which is a seperate window from the MIP in the software) over to the Instructor's Station monitor and set out to fly.
After takeoff I engaged the AP Master, YD, and ALT HLD and then pressed the FMS button on the included EFIS panel. Upon engaging the LNAV button, the aircraft gently turned and followed the Flight Route that was depicted on the Project Magenta line, and would turn at each Waypoint as hoped for.
I then tried using the DTO (Direct To) function and typed in different VORs and airport identifiers, and it worked flawlessly.
The TUNE page is wonderful too, as it will automatically tune to the closest Navaids in the vicinity of the aircraft. Upon hitting the select key, I was delighted to see that my Nav Frequencies on the PMRJ RMU updated just as commanded.
Furthermore, it's very nice being able to look up all pertinate info on each and every Airport such as Runways available, the length and material, and Instrument navigation info plus the Communication Frequencies there too.
With the flight testing portion proving the package's worth, I decided to figure out some interfacing issues.
I determined that the LNAV function in this package is actually the VOR/NAV hold and it works fine using my hardware, as long as FMS is selected on the package's EFIS panel. I plan to upgrade my FSUIPC and as soon as my Innovative FSP EFIS panel arrives, I can use the mousetrapping to make that function work with the hardware FMS button (hopefully!)
As expected, there are some things that this package wont do in regards to Project Magenta RJ software and I knew that some of these would be an issue.
1) When pressing DTO, or changing Waypoints, only the original waypoints that were entered from the original flight plan will be displayed. Basically, if you skip a waypoint or divert you will not see the updated route on your PMRJ Navigation Display.
***However*** the aircraft will STILL fly the new route or DTO command. Situational awareness is key here to a successful diversion since your display wont show a new line to your new destination.
2) When engaging FMS on the EFIS, the Primary Flight Display will still show VOR/NAV but it's using the FMS directed info to fly in Lateral Navigation (LNAV). The key here is to remember that you should select FMS if you want to fly the route in the CDU or NAV if you want to fly a radial off a VOR.
3) Once you land and exit the runway, dont expect to update your flight plan in the CDU and it show on your ND (see #1 above).
IN FACT, dont expect it to update even if you 'END FLIGHT' and 'CREATE NEW FLIGHT'. I found that I must go into my PMRJ software PCs via RealVNC (network software) and RESTART PMRJ and that's after I have selected my new flight plan from within FS9.
THEN it will show the NEW flight plan on the PMRJ Nav Display properly. This is a hassle but for all the functionality, it's not so bad.
How I hope/plan to implement:
My plan is to mousetrap the functions needed off of the panel(s) within the FP suite and then map them to my hardware for a functional CDU for my full size LJ45 sim. I discovered that the CDU screen works flawlessly when positioned on a 2nd monitor and resizes easily to any size I forced it to. Once I obtain a CDU bezel and 5" screen, I will move the CDU over to that screen for true In-Aircraft functionality.
For the time I am unable to expand my PMRJ suite by purchasing the MCP/CDU that is required for all the functions to work even more correctly. As a result, this $20 software package, even with its few issues (that are not related to the software, but how Im using it) is an Excellent purchase for those wanting a bit more realism to their Learjet sim or any other sim since Friendly panels offers the CDU only for about $11 bucks.
I hope that this method offers CDU functionality to others who are currently on a tight budget or who can live with only 90% functionality with regards to how the info is handled when used in conjunction with PMRJ.
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75+ Posting Member
Thanks for the info. I was wondering myself how it would work with the PMRJ software.
Boeing 777 Builder
An excellent summary Eric. Considering not everyone needs (or wants) full functioning hardware but do want that added realism, an affordable package is good news. I use the FP's GNS software package and, although not as real as RealityXP, they approximate very well and have had FSX compatibility way before RealityXP.
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150+ Forum Groupie
Very interesting topic, Eric,
I wonder if this approach would work with the Feelthere 145 / Legacy range as well - This could also be a solution for other Regional folks, thanks to Pete Dowson.
1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor
Thanks for taking the time to look it over. It really is exciting and I cant wait to get my CDU built and interfaced (hopefully via the new FSUIPC mousetrapping, which is the next testing phase) and able to have all the good points from the software.
One point of posting so much on it was due to the fact that the CDU can be used in any FS aircraft, so it potentially means that anyone can have a basic FMS for very cheap that works well.
I report back after the new FSUIPC testing. That will push me toward the hardware development then.