Welcome to week 23 of the PMDG 737 rebuild series. Last week, we covered the forward panel, the now available TFM 22.11 preview, and a test flight in MSFS with the PMDG 737-800. This week, we are going to cover the lower forward panel, keyboard help mode, simbrief support, the first run quick help dialog, checklists, and what is left to finish in the PMDG 737.
Lower forward panel
The lower forward panel is self explanatory. It does have quite a few brightness knobs on it though. As a reminder, pressing the letters I or d on your keyboard will increase or decrease brightness knobs values. There are 17 controls on this panel, so keyboard shortcuts take you to groups of controls. Included are the settings to select whether TFM should automatically announce the control state changes. They are located at TFM settings/PMDG/737 speech events/Lower forward.
Main panel group (ALT+M)
- Main panel brightness, left side
- Main panel brightness, right side
- Main panel brightness, background
- AFDS (flight directors) brightness
GPWS group (ALT+G)
- Flaps inhibit switch
- Gear inhibit switch
- Terrain inhibit switch
- GPWS inop indicator
DU group (ALT+D)
- Outboard DU brightness, left side
- Outboard DU brightness, right side
- Inboard DU brightness, left side
- Inboard DU brightness, right side
- Inboard map brightness, left side
- Inboard map brightness, right side
- Upper DU brightness
- Lower DU brightness
- Lower map brightness
Keyboard help mode
Keyboard help mode is similar to NVDA’s or JAWS keyboard help mode. While TFM is running, press right bracket (]), then the question mark (?). Next, press any fully qualified TFM keyboard command to get a basic description of that keyboard command. To turn keyboard help mode off, repeat the keyboard command to turn it on. Another thing to mention here is the keyboard manager. You can now select any command in the lists and press ALT+E to execute that command. Don’t forget to turn keyboard help mode off to return to normal usage. I forgot once on a flight and ended up in a little trouble.
Simbrief flight plan support
We are going to start working on Simbrief support in TFM. This means that TFM will download the last flight plan generated through the Simbrief website. At first, users will have the ability to display different sections of the flight plan. The sections will be customizable in TFM settings when we get to that point. Later on, we will have the ability to bring the next waypoint feature over to the PMDG aircraft. It can also be used to finish the freeware flight planner, and a limitless number of other things. Get your ideas together because we will need them in the future.
Quick help dialog
The quick help dialog appears when starting TFM. It displays a few ways to get keyboard help and lists a few of the most common keyboard commands TFM has to offer. To hide the dialog during future TFM starts, check the don’t show me this again option and press the OK button.
Checklists and first officer features
Earlier today, we found a file in the PMDG 737 folders for MSFS that contained just about all of the checklists for the 737 we would want to use. After requesting permission to use the file, PMDG granted our request. This means we don’t have to come up with alternative checklists for the 737. Developing the automated/manual checklist system is going to be time consuming, but easy. These checklists will eventually work into a first officer type of feature. As with the Simbrief section above, get your ideas for future features together because we will need them later on.
What’s left of the PMDG 737?
We have to implement the control stand, fix some bugs with the electrical panel, and clean up code. If no major problems come up, or no more major features need implementing, I suspect that the PMDG 737 for P3D and MSFS should be ready by Christmas vacation.
We covered many things today. Hopefully, the next few weekly blog posts will wrap up progress on the PMDG 737 as well as introducing new features. As always, we will keep everyone up-to-date on what we know.