Welcome back! Last week, we started rebuilding support for the PMDG 747. During the PMDG 737 rebuild series, the blog post titles got very long in some cases. During the PMDG 747 rebuild series, the blog titles will resemble this one: PMDG747 week 2 roundup. With that in mind, let’s get started with the PMDG 747 week 2 roundup! This post may be longer than most, but keep reading to find some interesting changes to the airports database, and the first panel to be supported in the PMDG 747.
Why the changes?
The airports database structure has significantly changed since TFM 23.1, released at the start of January 2023. The new database design reduces the memory footprint of the airports data loaded into memory. When TFM starts, it loads the airports database. This database is over 3GB in size while it lives in memory. Each time a user requests information from the database, it calculates that user’s current location in relation to everything in the world. The resulting airports database takes up an additional 3GB of memory. To reduce the number of times TFM recalculates the user’s current location in the world, TFM constantly recalculates the user’s current location every 250MS. The consequence is that every 250MS, TFM eats another 3GB of memory. This forces the CPU to over work, pushing incomplete work on to the GPU, which eventually overloads. As a result, MSFS users experience audio buffering, jittering or jumping video, or significant lagging when the airports database is loaded. P3D users don’t experience these problems because the airports database is small enough to rebuild without taking up significant portions of computer resources. To make it easier to work with the airports database, all users will have the same changes to work with. Below are the changes made to the new airports database structure.
* When starting TFM for the first time, you must build the airports database.
* Start TFM.
* Go into TFM settings.
* Find the airports database section in the tree.
* In the airports database window.
* In the P3d airports database area, locate and set the P3D airports database folder.
* In the MSFS area, locate and set your MSFS airports database folder.
* Locate the “rebuild airports database” button and activate it.
* A message will appear, notifying you when the database is finished building.
* Press the OK button to close settings.
* Restart TFM by pressing right bracket (]), then CTRL+SHIFT+X.
* When TFM restarts, it will load the new database.
* Most TFM airport database features such as the ILS tracking system stay the same. We will announch any changes when they occur.
* Most airport database features run faster. A test of the ‘Where am I?’ feature accessed by pressing right bracket (]), then SHIFT+C significantlly improved in speed.
* Report bugs in the GitHub issue queue if you find any problems.
* We removed the freeware flight planner. It requires a significant rewrite to comply with the new airports database design.
* We removed the airports search window found under procedures menu in the freeware flight planner. It requires significant rewrites to comply with the new airports database design.
PMDG 737 updates
The 737 isn’t quite finished yet. There are a few items that need finished. The audio/comms panels are taking a little longer than expected because we need to contact PMDG support for clarification on some of the controls. The FMC redesign is delayed because we are looking into what alternate design will work best. Aside from these outstanding items, the 737 is complete. If you have a special request for the PMDG 737, drop us a line and we will look into it.
PMDG 747 updates
Overhead Maintenance/Electrical panel
We added the overhead maintenance/electrical panel. This panel controls electrical activity in the engine generators and APU generators. It also defines how electricity flows from the APU and generators. As always, there is more than one way to access the controls in a panel. Either use the TAB key and move through the controls, or use the assigned keyboard commands, listed below. Since there are groups of controls in this panel, each keyboard command will take you to the group of controls linked to it.
ALT+G – Generator field reset switches. Group that contains 4 engine generator reset switches. Change by pressing SPACE or ENTER.
ALT+A – APU reset switches. A group that contains the 2 APU reset switches. Change with SPACE or ENTER.
ALT+S – Split system breaker. Change with SPACE or ENTEr.
ALT+N – Ground power test switch. Change with SPACE or ENTER.
ALT+P – Towing power switch (748 only). Change with SPACE or ENTER.
ALT+1 – Generator reset indicators. Readonly.
ALT+2 – APU reset indicators. Readonly.
ALT+3 – Split system breaker indicator. Readonly.
The “Where am I?” feature has a new capability. In the past, this feature would announce the runway, gate, or taxiway where the aircraft is currently located when on the ground. In addition to these locations, “Where am I?” will announce the airport code if you are not located at a runway, gate, or taxiway, but are located somewhere within the airport’s geofenced boundaries. This helps identify when you are at the airport in the below cases.
- You ran off the runway during landing.
- You completely missed the runway during a landing.
- You are landing on a runway that does not exist in your scenery.
- * You attempt to drive around the airport and get lost.
- * Pushback puts part of your aircraft in the grass or other surface.
- * You attempt to taxi and run off the taxiway onto another surface.
- * Other scenarios not listed.
It is our goal to give the “Where am I?” feature the ability to automatically announce location changes. This post is one of the longer ones we have written, so we will close for now. Until next week, have fun flying!