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Flight Planning

Overview

Flying an airliner is usually done using IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). This means that you will be flying with an IFR flight plan. The IFR flight plan is usually created before the flight, and is then loaded into the aircraft's flight management system (FMS).

See MCDU F-PLN page for more information on the aircraft's flight planning in the Multipurpose Control and Display Unit (MCDU).

There are various ways to load a flight plan into the aircraft. In real life pilots usually use an external data link to load flight plans made for the flight by their company. Or they use the MCDU to enter a flight plan manually from their flight briefing documents.

In the A32NX for Microsoft Flight Simulator, we have these options to load a flight plan:

As Microsoft Flight Simulator uses a very simplified flight planning system, we have created our own custom FMS (Flight Management System) which is used in the A32NX. It is much closer to the FMS in the real aircraft and it understands and represents real world flight plans much more accurately.

A custom FMS on the other hand results in issues syncing the flight plan from the aircraft back into the simulator. Therefore, simulator-features as the MSFS ATC or the VFR Map will not always work as expected. Especially flight plans with complex routing may have significant issues if saved backwards or loaded externally through the simulator's simplified flight planning.

This is a general issue for all realistic and complex airliners in Microsoft Flight Simulator and unless the simulator's built-in flight planner and ATC is significantly improved this will always cause problems with realistic airliners.

MSFS World Map Flight Planning, ATC and VFR Map

Depending on how you want to use the A32NX in combination with the MSFS' World Map Planning, ATC and VFR Map, you can choose between different methods to load a flight plan into the A32NX:

See Setting Sync MSFS Flight Plan for more information.

Not Using MSFS World Map, MSFS ATC or MSFS VFR Map

This is the ideal setup for users who want to use the A32NX in combination with Online ATC services (Vatsim, Ivao, PilotEdge,...), 3rd party ATC add-ons or no ATC at all.

We recommend to use our built-in integration with SimBrief for flight planning. This will allow you to directly import flight plans from SimBrief into the MCDU.

See our SimBrief Integration Guide for more information.

As long as MSFS ATC and VFR Map are not required, the aircraft's flight plan does not have to be synchronized back to the MSFS flight planner (set flyPad's Setting > Sim Options > Sync MSFS Flight Plan to None).

The MSFS ATC and VFR Map will not be aware of the flight plan at all and cannot be used.

For SimBrief Import Do Not Set a Destination in the MSFS World Map

If you plan to import a SimBrief flight plan please do not set a destination airport in the MSFS World Map as otherwise the aircraft will import the MSFS World Map flight plan, and it will not offer the "INIT REQUEST" option.

Using the MSFS World Map Flight Planner to Create and Load a Flight Plan

This is the ideal setup for users who do not use Online ATC nor the MSFS ATC service and want to use the simplified flight planning of the MSFS World Map. Please do expect some issues especially for procedures (SID, STAR, APPR).

If you want to use the MSFS World Map Flight Planner to build and load a flight plan, you need to set the Sync MSFS Flight Plan option in the flyPad's Setting > Sim Options > Sync MSFS Flight Plan to Load Only.

This ensures the MSFS flight plan is loaded into the aircraft's flight plan when starting the flight.

Any changes made to the flight plan in the MCDU will not be saved back to the MSFS flight plan. This means the MSFS ATC and VFR Map will not be aware of these changes.

Using the MSFS World Map Flight Planner and MSFS ATC

This is the ideal setup for users who want to use the simplified flight planning of the MSFS World Map and the MSFS ATC service (in spite of the known issues with MSFS ATC). Please do expect issues especially for procedures (SID, STAR, APPR) and MSFS ATC instructions.

If you are using the MSFS Flight Planner to build and load a flight plan, and you also want to use the MSFS ATC even after making changes to the aircraft's flight plan, you need to set the flyPad's Setting > Sim Options > Sync MSFS Flight Plan option to Save.

With this setting the aircraft will attempt to save any changes to the flight plan made in the MCDU back to the simulator's flight plan. This will not always work as expected and may result in issues with the MSFS ATC. See the warning below for more information.

Synchronization Issues Expected

The aircraft's custom Flight Management System provides better accuracy and features over the default flight plan manager in Microsoft Flight simulator which results in issues syncing the flight plan from the MCDU back into the simulator. Do not expect it to work properly in all cases.

Importing a SimBrief Flight Plan and Using MSFS ATC

This is the ideal setup for users who want to use the advanced flight planning of SimBrief but still use the MSFS ATC service (in spite of the known issues with MSFS ATC). Please do expect issues especially for procedures (SID, STAR, APPR) and MSFS ATC instructions.

If you are using the aircraft's built-in SimBrief integration to import a flight plan, and you also want to use the MSFS ATC you need to set the flyPad's Setting > Sim Options > Sync MSFS Flight Plan option to Save.

When importing a flight plan from SimBrief into the MCDU, do not select a destination airport and do not build a flight plan using the MSFS World Planner.

With this setting the aircraft attempts to save the loaded SimBrief flight plan and any subsequent changes to the flight plan made in the MCDU back to the simulator's flight plan. This will not always work as expected and may result in issues with the MSFS ATC. See the warning below for more information.

Synchronization Issues Expected

The aircraft's custom Flight Management System provides better accuracy and features over the default flight plan manager in Microsoft Flight simulator which results in issues syncing the flight plan from the MCDU back into the simulator. Do not expect it to work properly in all cases.


Last update: January 5, 2023