PMDG 737 rebuild series, week 8: Center over head continued, preview releases, Navigraph support

Welcome to week 8 of our PMDG 737 rebuild series for Talking flight monitor (TFM). Last week, we introduced the main area of the center overhead panel and preview releases of TFM. This week, we will cover anti ice and hydraulics panels. We will also describe when preview releases are provided for download.

 

Anti ice panel

 

The anti ice panel isn’t complicated to use. On the other hand, it has many controls to go through. Since keyboard shortcuts are assigned for groups of controls, we will provide the groups with keyboard shortcuts here, then cover all of the controls in the provided demo video.

 

ALT+W – Group that contains all window heat controls.

ALT+P – Left/right probe heat switches.

ALT+G – Wing anti ice switch.

ALT+E – Group containing engine anti ice switches.

ALT+ 1- 5 – Indicator groups containing all panel indicators.

 

Hydraulics

 

The hydraulics panel isn’t complicated and has few controls on it. The 4 switches have no keyboard shortcut at this time. We want user feedback on whether to include keyboard shortcuts for these switches. The indicator groups do have keyboard shortcuts though. Here are the controls and groups of indicators.

 

Electrical ½ switches

Engine ½ switches

ALT+1 – Electrical indicator group.

ALT+2 – Engine indicator group.

ALT+3 – Electrical pump overheat indicators.

Next week, week 9, we will finish the center overhead panel and provide a new preview build for everyone to take a look at.

 

When are preview builds released?

 

Recently, we have been getting questions about the timing of preview releases. Preview releases are built when a major portion of the 737 is finished. Examples are the forward overhead, aft overhead, center overhead, glare shield, and others. This gives us time to finish a significant portion of work while fixing bugs identified in the previous preview build. If significant work means multiple areas of work, then the preview build may be delayed for a while.

 

Bug reporting and feature requests

 

When reporting bugs or new features, follow the following guidelines.

 

  • When reporting on 737 bugs or features, report them against the preview releases of TFM.
  • Any other aircraft, report bugs and features against the current release.

The above guidelines will change for the 777 and the 747. We are no longer taking bug reports and feature requests for the PMDG 737 series. Again, any new bug reports and feature requests should be reported on the preview releases.

 

Navigraph support in TFM

 

This past week, we discovered that Navigraph owns a public API for downloading the current and past Navigraph cycles. TFM is in the process of applying for access to their APIs. When approved, TFM will have the ability to directly download the Navigraph databases. Implementing the ability to download the databases will take time. When support is finished, TFM will have the following workflow.

 

  • TFM will offer the ability to download a new cycle.
  • The user is directed to a secure Navigraph login page.
  • The user signs in with their Navigraph username/password.
  • Navigraph will request permission to grant TFM access to the Navigraph account.
  • When granted access, TFM will download the current cycle.
  • Once approved, TFM will download the current cycle without intervention.

 

We hope you are enjoying the PMDG 737 rebuild series, and hope to see you next week for some new features and content. To report a bug or new feature request, press right bracket (]), then CTRL+SHIFT+I while TFM is running. To contact us, feel free to fill out the contact us form. One of us will get back to you soon.

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PMDG 737 rebuild series week 7: Center Overhead/main area

Welcome to week 7 of the PMDG rebuild series for TFM. Although We only have one panel for this week, there is a new key feature to be aware of when using panels with lighting knobs. We will now take a look at the Center Overhead panel’s main area.

 

Center Overhead main area

 

  • ALT+B – Circuit breaker knob. Use I to increase and D to decrease.
  • ALT+O – Overhead panel knob – I to increase and D to decrease.
  • ALT+E – Emergency lights – Use arrows to change.
  • ALT+U – Equipment cooling supply switch – Use SPACE or ENTER to change.
  • ALT+X – Equipment cooling exhaust switch – Use SPACE or ENTER to change.
  • ALT+C – Chimes – Use arrow keys to change.
  • ALT+S – Seatbelt sign. Use arrow keys to change.
  • ALT+ 1 – ALT+5 – Panel indicators.

 

We would like to remind everyone about a few important points.

  • TFM is owned and developed by Jason Fayre and Andy Borka.
  • The preview versions are ‘use at your own risk.’ Neither of us will take responsibility for its current affect on pilot’s flights.

To report a bug or new issue, press right bracket (, then CTRL+SHIFT+I while TFM is running. If you would like to contact us at TFM, fill out the contact form. We look forward to seeing you during week 8!

PMDG 737 rebuild series, week 6: Electrical, APU, wiper panels; preview releases

In week 6 of our PMDG 737 rebuild series, we will cover the Electrical, APU, and wipers panels. We also introduced preview builds of TFM, so keep reading to find out more. Unfortunately, I lost my laptop to a Windows crash and am still putting it back together. Now, on with the panels.

 

Electrical

The electrical panel is much like the rest of the panels we covered so far. The methods of access are present: tabbing through the controls and using keyboard shortcuts. We will go over the keyboard shortcuts below.

 

  • ALT+B – battery selector. Use arrows to change.
  • ALT+R – Ground power switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
  • ALT+C – Cabin utility switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
  • ALT+F – Passenger seats (IFE) switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
  • ALT+D – DC power group. Has 3 controls.
    • DC power selector. Use arrows to change.
    • DC volts – Indicator.
    • DC amps – Indicator.
  • ALT+A – AC power group. Has 3 controls.
    • AC power selector. Use arrows to change.
    • AC amps – Indicator.
    • AC volts – Indicator.
  • ALT+S – Standby power selector. Use arrows to change.
  • ALT+I – IDG disconnect group. Has 2 controls.
    • IDG #1 disconnect switch – Toggle with spacebar or enter.
    • IDG #2 disconnect switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
  • ALT+G – Generators group. Has 5 controls.
    • Generator #1 switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
    • Generator #2 switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
    • APU generator #1 switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
    • APU generator #2 switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
    • Bus transfer switch. Toggle with spacebar or enter.
  • ALT+N – Indicators group. Has 14 controls in this group.
    • Battery discharge
    • TR unit
    • Elec
    • Drive #1
    • Drive #2
    • Standby power
    • Ground power available
    • Transfer bus #1
    • Transfer bus #2
    • DC source
    • AC source
    • Generator #1 bus
    • Generator #2 bus
    • APU generator bus

 

APU

The APU panel is self explanatory. It only has 6 indicators listed below.

 

  • ALT+T – EGT needle. Indicator only.
  • ALT+M – Maint. Indicator only.
  • ALT+O – Low oil pressure. indicator only.
  • ALT+F – Fault. indicator only.
  • ALT+S – Overspeed. indicator only.

 

Wipers

Wipers is a simple panel that has 2 controls listed below.

 

  • ALT+L – Left wipers. Use arrows to change.
  • Alt+R – Right wipers. Use arrows to change.

Restart TFM!

 

We added a new keyboard shortcut to restart TFM. You can use it by pressing right bracket (]) then Ctrl+Shift+X.

Preview versions of TFM

 

We started releasing preview versions of TFM last Monday. This gives users the ability to get hands-on experience with the new features before they appear in the normal release. Since we started offering preview versions of TFM, people have been asking some questions about the process. We will answer the most common questions in this section.

TFM is open source. This means that anyone who has an interest in new features can get the source, build it, play around with the new features, then report back in the GitHub issue queue. Some users aren’t interested in the source or don’t have the technical skills needed to run TFM from source. So, we offer preview versions that are installable and ready to use. The preview versions can be installed side by side with the official release.

You can access the preview versions from the preview releases section of the website. When a preview version is out, it will have a higher version number in the release notes than the official release. When the preview build becomes the official release, the preview releases page will offer the official version. There isn’t a schedule for the preview releases, so we will make announcements when they are released to the public. As a friendly reminder, preview builds have no support attached to them. Use at your own risk. On the other hand, the official release does come with support.

If you need to contact us, feel free to do so on the contact page. If you need to report a bug or new feature, press right bracket (]) then Ctrl+Shift+I while TFM is running. We hope to see you during week 7 of the PMDG 737 rebuild series.

TFM PMDG rebuild series, week 5: the fuel panel

This is week 5 of our series in rebuilding TFM support for the PMDG 737. This week, we will cover the fuel section of the Forward Overhead panel. This one isn’t very complicated, so, let’s get started.

 

Fuel panel

There are more controls and indicators on this panel. As a result, we had to simplify the keyboard shortcuts. They are listed below.

 

  • ALT+A – Move to the aft fuel section.
  • ALT+F – Move to the forward fuel section.
  • ALT+C – Move to the center fuel section.
  • ALT+X – Move to the fuel transfer and cross feed section.
  • The transfer/cross feed sections contain the fuel valve indicators.

As with any other panel, this one comes with settings to turn on/off the offset as it changes. Go to settings/PMDG/737 speech events/Forward Overhead/fuel to see them.

We want your feedback on any TFM features. To report a bug or new feature request, while TFM is loaded, press the right bracket key (]), then press CONTROL+SHIFT+I to open the GitHub issue queue. Please look to see if your feature or bug has already been reported. If not, feel free to post a new report. Otherwise, make a new comment on an existing report discussing your bug or feature. To contact us about getting started with TFM, feel free to fill out our contact form. One of us will get back with you soon.

PMDG 737 rebuild week 4: Flight controls and navigation/displays

This week, we continue with our series on rebuilding TFM support for the PMDG 737 aircraft. In week four, we will cover the flight controls and the navigation/displays panels. Before we get started, a quick reminder that there are plenty of websites that show how the 737’s panels are used.

 

Flight controls panel

The flight controls panel has two parts. The top section that contains the controls to manipulate, and a bottom section that holds the indicators. Below are the shortcuts for the flight controls panel.

 

  • ALT+ A – Captains controls, or control A.
  • ALT+B – F/O controls, or control B.
  • ALT+P – Spoiler A.
  • ALT+O – Spoiler B.
  • ALT+Y – Yaw damper.
  • ALT+N – Alternat flaps armed on/off.
  • ALT+F – Alternat flaps position switch.
  • ALT+1 – ALT+0 – the different indicators for this panel.

 

Navigation/Displays panel

 

The navigation/displays panel is fairly simple. It has no indicators and only 5 switches. Below are the keyboard shortcuts.

 

  • ALT+V – VHF navigation selector switch
  • ALT+I – IRU selector switch.
  • ALT+F – FMC selector switch.
  • ALT+S – Source selector switch.
  • ALT+C – Control pane selector switch.

 

To report bugs and new features, while TFM is running, press right bracket (]), then CTRL+SHIFT+I to open the issue queue. Take a look at other bug reports/feature requests before posting a new one. If one similar to your own idea exists, comment on that one before creating a new one. Have questions or want to get started? Fill out the contact form and we will get back with you soon.

PMDG 737 rebuild, week 3: Looking “Forward” to next week

Over the past two weeks, we have been rebuilding the PMDG 737 Aft Overhead panels. This week we finished them. They follow the same format as the previous ones. Switches and buttons first, then indicators. As always, each panel has its own set of settings found in TFM’s settings dialog. Below is a list of panels not covered in previous weeks.

 

Dome lights

It has a single switch to set the dome lights. Choices are dim, off, and bright. This panel has no keyboard shortcuts assigned to its controls.

 

EEC

 

  • ALT+L – Engine #1.
  • ALT+R – Engine #2.
  • ALT+1 – ALT+6 – The various EEC indicators.

 

Oxygen

 

  • ALT+X – Oxygen needle.
  • ALT+O – Oxygen switch
  • ALT+1 – Oxygen indicator.

 

Gear

 

  • ALT+1 – Nose gear indicator.
  • ALT+2 – Left gear indicator.
  • ALT+3 – Right gear indicator.

 

Flight recorder

  • ALT+F – Flight recorder switch.
  • ALT+1 – Flight recorder indicator.

If you would like to provide feedback to TFM, while TFM is running, press right bracket (]), followed by Ctrl+Shift+I to launch the GitHub issue queue. Here, you can create new issues to report a bug or request a new feature. If you see a feature or bug report similar to your own, comment on that one before considering making a new one. If you need help on a one-on-one basis, or need help getting started, feel free to contact us. We will get back with you soon.

 

PMDG 737 rebuild, week 2: PSEU and service interphone

In week 2 of the PMDG 737 rebuild, we took time to rebuild the aft overhead panels PSEU and service interphone. These panels are fairly simple, featuring a single control for each. The PSEU panel has an indicator, and the service interphone panel has a switch that turns the service phone on and off. Again, these panels come with companion settings for TFM found at settings>PMDG>speech events> 737.

PMDG 737 rebuild, week 1: ADIRU panel

This past week, we started working on the rebuild for the PMDG 737 series of aircraft. The process requires moving around source code and building new user interface elements. This week we present a new IRU panel with some exciting new features. This new 737 panel allows a pilot to jump directly to major sections of the window, check the state of panel lights quickly, and going to TFM settings allows the pilot to change whether the switches and lights speak or stay silent. As an added bonus, the IRU panel sports two flashing IRU lights when the FMC is ready for the GPS coordinates found in the IRU display section of the panel. Below are the keyboard shortcuts for the IRU panel.

 

NOTE: The new IRU panel is named ADIRU and is found under the Aft Overhead when in the cockpit panels dialog.

 

  • ALT+D – jump to the display selector.
  • ALT+L – jump to the left IRU mode selector.
  • ALT+R – jump to the right IRU mode selector.
  • ALT+1…ALT+9 – jump to individual lights on the panel.

 

The panel lights will automatically announce their states when gaining focus. To check for the two flashing lights, press ALT+2 and ALT+3 for the left/right IRU indicators. Then, read current line with your preferred screen reader. If the value constantly changes between on and off, the indicator is blinking.

To provide feedback on TFM, feel free to fill out the contact form, and we will get back with you soon. To leave a feature request or bug report, press Ctrl+shift+I while TFM is running. This takes you to the GitHub issue queue where you can look up other bug reports and feature requests. If you see a similar bug or feature already posted, add a comment to it. Otherwise, feel free to create a new one.