TransOceanic Virtual Airines FSacars Installation Manual Ver 10 by fionan

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									TransOceanic Virtual Airines FSacars Installation Manual Ver. 2.0

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TransOceanic Virtual Airlines Flight Operations Division xi

2 November 2009 From: Chief Executive Officer To: TransOceanic Airlines Flight Personnel Subject: FSacars MANUAL (Ver 2.0)

1. TransOceanic Virtual Airlines has implemented the use of the freeware FS-ACARS software utility. At present use of this software is optional but encouraged as it will add to the realism and your enjoyment of flight simulation by providing additional access to weather, communications with live dispatch (when manned) and the ability to submit PIREPS automatically, (currently not supported at TVA). 2. This manual details the steps necessary to install, configure and use the FS-ACARS software suite. Version 1.0 includes details on how to use FS-ACARS with FSX. It provides a summary of lessons learned and guidance shared in various forum posts in the TVA and SATA forums and manuals.

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3. Recommended changes should be forwarded to the Chief Executive Officer for consideration. 4. Fly safe and have fun!

Kevin McNamara
Kevin McNamara Chief Executive Officer TransOceanic Virtual Airlines

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Table of Contents xii

Section Page Letter of Introduction to FSacars xi Table of Contents xii Section One (Overview) 4 Section Two (Download and Installation) 5 Section Three (Configuring FS-ACARS) 7 Section Four (Installing the FS-ACARS Panel Gauge) 10 Section Five (Using the FS-ACARS Program) 12 Section Six (Using the FS-ACARS CDU) 16

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Section One 1. Overview. FS-ACARS (Flight Simulation Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System) is a freeware addition to Microsoft Flight Simulator used to emulate real-world aircraft ACARS systems. It also provides an automated way to file Pilot Reports (PIREPs) with TransOceanic Virtual Airlines. 1.1. The real-world ACARS system is basically a radio link between an aircraft and an airline flight operations center. It can provide departure and arrival information (gate assignments), passenger loads, fuel information, and performance data, and can be customized by an airline to provide whatever information the airplane can deliver or the airline desires. 1.2. In flight simulation, the FS-ACARS system can be used for flight tracking (such as TVA‘s Flight Tracker System), sending messages to online TVA pilots using the system, requesting weather information, setting fuel levels for the aircraft, capturing extensive aircraft data logs pertaining to event times (wheels up, for example), and most importantly--building and submitting your PIREP to the TVA servers. 1.3. Detailed information on the usage of FS-ACARS is available at: Grupo Sata Virtual website:

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Section Two 2. Download and Installation. Follow these steps below to download and install FSACARS on your computer. 2.1. Download these files to your computer: 2.1.1. FS FS-ACARS 4.0.11 (The main Program) FS FS-ACARS 4.0.15 Update (Required Update Patch) 2.1.2. FSUIPC by Peter Dowson is required & may downloaded at: ipc 2.1.3. The TVA (.ini) specific file: 2.1.4 This TVA FSacars Installation Manual: 2.1.5 The TVAPlanes.txt file: 2.2. Open the file, and you will find the file FS-ACARS.msi.

2.2.1. Right-click on FS-ACARS.msi, and choose Install.

2.2.2. Complete the installation of FS-ACARS. • Follow the prompts—do not change any of the default options. • Click NEXT until you see the last window with the FINISH button.
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• Click FINISH. 2.2.3. Open the file You will see two files:

Copy both files to the default FS-ACARS directory.

The default location is C:\Program Files\FSACARS. Choose Yes or Yes to All on the Confirm File Replace window. Note: This is how the files are updated to the new versions. 2.2.4. Install the TVA.ini file into your FS-ACARS directory. This file can be located at 2.2.5 Open the TVA.ini file using NOTEPAD and change ―PilotNumber‖ to your TVA assigned pilot number. Save the file prior to exiting! Your .ini file should appear as follows: except for the [pilot # change] [FSacars] CompanyICAO=TVA CompanyName=TransOceanic Virtual Airlines CompanySite= UnitSystem=GB Remarks= UseLocal=0 PilotNumber=001 CallsignUses= AcarsSite= AcarsUplinkSite= AcarsUplinkResetSite= StatusSite= FPSite= Antic=
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Change to your number.


Change=no [Events] UseCargo=0 FlapsEvent=1 ToutchDownEvent=1 TOLDPosEvent=1 TOCTODEvent=1 ComFreqEvent=1 GearEvent=1 FlightLengthEvent=1 VrV2Event=0 FlightPosEvent=1 N1Event=0 DurationEvent=1 FuelEvent=1 WeightEvent=1 MetarsEvent=1 DistLandEvent=1 [Realism] NoSlew=0 NoPause=0 Crash=0 PIC=0 MinReset=0 MaxReset=0 Wave=.\alert.WAV [Log] Log= Mail= URL= passwd= [SendLog] Password=0 PilotNumber=1 Date=1 Hour=1 Callsign=1 IATAN=0 Regist=1 Depart=1 Arrival=1
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Alternate=0 PlaneType=1 SpentFuel=1 IniFuel=0 EndFuel=0 Dur=1 Len=1 TD=0 ZFW=0 Log=1 Version=1 2.2.6 Users with Windows VISTA, should complete the following: Go to your FSacars directory normally c:\program files\FSacars. Click on FSacars.exe to highlight (right click) and bring up ‗Properties‘ Check box (Run this program in compatibility mode for) In drop down menu choose (Windows XP (Service Pack 2) Check the box under ‗Privilege Level‘ (Run this program as an administrator).

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2.2.7 Unzip and place the previously downloaded ―tvaplanes.txt‖ file in your main FSacars directory folder. 2.2.8 Your installation is complete!

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Section Three 3. Configuring FS-ACARS. 3.1. Start MSFS2002, MSFS2004, or MSFSX and position yourself at any location with any aircraft model. Ensure the engines are off, and parking brakes are on. 3.2. Press Alt + Tab to return to the Desktop. 3.3. Start FS-ACARS. Result: When FS-ACARS begins you should be presented with the following screen:

3.4. Select TVA – TransOceanic Virtual Airlines from the list. 3.5. Click the Choose Selected Company button. Result: FS-ACARS want to make sure your plane is positioned correctly.

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3.6. Click ―Yes‖. Result: The main FS-ACARS window with the Flight Plan tab displayed! 3.7. The first time you start FS-ACARS, you have to tell the program where certain files are located, your callsign, etc. 3.8. Select Options from the Config menu. Result: The FS-ACARS Options Window.

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3.9. Make the following changes to the FS-ACARS Options:

3.9.1. METAR Source. VASTIM is the correct setting to ensure the weather data you get from FS-ACARS matches what VATSIM is displaying. If you are flying offline, you may want to choose another option..

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3.9.2. ServInfo Path. Point it to where you have ServInfo installed. While not necessary, this is one way to expedite filling out the FS-ACARS flight plan. 3.9.3. Use Gauge (check the box unless using FSX (the gauge is not compatible

with FSX)) – this enables your system to communicate with the FS-ACARS
panel gauge.. 3.9.4. Use Local Database (check the box). 3.9.5. FS Flight Plan Path. Point it to where MSFS stores your *.FLT files. This is typically My Documents\Flight Simulator Files. 3.9.6. Log Path. Point it to where you want your FS-ACARS log files stored. 3.9.7. Automated Start (optional). 3.9.8. Automated Stop (optional). 3.9.9. Minimizes to Systray (check the box). 3.9.10. Plane Position and Status (check the box) – this enables your system to auto-update the TVA flight tracking system.. 3.9.11. ACARS Online (check the box). 3.9.12. Gauge IP -- leave this set to unless you are using a program like WideFS and intend to run FS-ACARS on a different computer than MSFS will run. If that is the case, update the IP address to reflect the IP of the computer running MSFS. 3.10. Click Close to save your changes and return to the main FS-ACARS window. 3.11. Exit FS-ACARS to save the changes. 3.12. Exit MSFS in preparation for panel gauge installation.

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Section Four 4. Installing the FS-ACARS Panel Gauge (OPTIONAL) 4.1. Note, due to differences in the MSFSX file structure and the fact it uses a different gauge fileformat, at present the FS-ACARS Panel Gauge is NOT available for use. FS-ACARS is still available to record flight data and autosubmit PIREPS, but the in-cockpit functionality is not usable. FSX users should disregard Section 4 and proceed to Section 5. 4.2. Go to your root FS-ACARS folder and run the program called fsacarsgi.exe.

(Note, if installing the gauge on the Level-D 767, please follow the instructions at Step 4.9 (below) before running the fsacarsgi.exe program) You should now

4.3. Select ―File‖ then ―Open‖. Do not panic if nothing appears to happen. The program may take several minutes before you see anything as it scans your entire MSFS directory for installed aircraft and panels. Eventually you will see the main panel section menu: 4.4. You will note there are several ways to select a panel. All panels are listed on the upper left menu. Alternatively, you can search via aircraft manufacturer, type and variation. Select the panel you wish to modify and click the ―OK‖ button at lower left. You will now see a representation of that main panel. Overlaid on it will be the FSACARS hotspot button that turns the gauge view on and off (a white button with the FSACARS logo) and the gauge itself (looks like a computer CDU). 4.5. Click on the FSACARS hotspot button and drag it to whatever location you desire. Ensure the button does not cover up any buttons/controls/hotspots on the panel as it will override those button functionalities with its own. A good location is generally on the glareshield (pictured) or somewhere on the edge of the panel.
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4.6. You can also click on the FS-ACARS CDU (Computer Display Unit) to drag it in a convenient area. Generally somewhere over the panel is ideal. 4.7. Lastly, you can click and drag to expand or shrink the CDU as you desire. Don‘t make it too small as it will be difficult to read the text on the screen. 4.8. When complete, select ―File‖ and ―Save‖. The program will make a backup copy of your original panel.cfg file and save the modified panel with the FS-ACARS gauge settings as your new panel.cfg file. 4.9. At this point you may open a new panel to install the gauge on it, or exit the program. 4.10. Instructions for installing the FS-ACARS gauge on the Level-D 767 panel. 4.10.1. The gauge installation program looks for the panel‘s default ―main panel‖ and installs the gauge over that panel. The problem is that it treats the Level-D 767‘s First Officer Panel as the main panel. To fool the gauge installation program, make the following changes before attempting to install the gauge. 4.10.2. Open the Level-D 767 panel.cfg file with Windows Notepad. The file will be located in your MSFS\aircraft\LVLD_B763\Panel directory. Section One of the file (Window Titles) should read: [Window Titles] window00=Boeing 767 Upper Panel window01=Boeing 767 Main Panel window02=Boeing 767 Upper Panel First Officer window03=Boeing 767 Main Panel First Officer window04=Boeing 767 Overhead window05=Boeing 767 Pedestal window06=Boeing 767 FMC window07=Boeing 767 MCP window08=Boeing 767 Standby Instruments window09=Mini Panel window10=Main panel 4.10.3. Modify the window03 line to read ―Boeing 767 First Officer‖ (depicted below) and save the file: [Window Titles]
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window00=Boeing 767 Upper Panel window01=Boeing 767 Main Panel window02=Boeing 767 Upper Panel First Officer window03=Boeing 767 First Officer window04=Boeing 767 Overhead window05=Boeing 767 Pedestal window06=Boeing 767 FMC window07=Boeing 767 MCP window08=Boeing 767 Standby Instruments window09=Mini Panel window10=Main panel 4.10.4. The Level-D modification is complete. You may now proceed back to Step 4.1 and install the gauge.

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Section Five 5. Using the FS-ACARS Program 5.1. Start MSFS and all programs as you normally would to fly a flight. Ensure the

plane is at the departure gate with all engines off and parking brake on before you start the FS-ACARS program.
5.1.1. Note: You should have a flight chosen from the TransOceanic Flight Search: 5.1.2. If you are flying on the VATSIM network, please ensure the remarks field of your flightplan contains ―FS-ACARS‖. 5.2. Minimize MSFS and start the FS-ACARS program. You will be presented with the company selection screen. Again select TVA and, once you are at the main FSACARS screen, select ―Yes‖ in response to the ―plane at departure airport‖ question. You are now looking at the Flight Plan page. There are four ways to fill out this page: Manually, from the saved MSFS Flight Plan, from your VATSIM flightplan if you have Servinfo installed, and from an FS-ACARS flight plan if your flight plan software can create that kind. 5.2.1. Manually. If you are going to manually fill out the flight plan page, the fields are pretty much self-explanatory. Fill out your:

TVA FSacars Manual - 18 - Departure Airport Arrival Airport Alternate Airport Altitude(Flight Level). Note, altitude should be entered in as the Flight Level in hundreds of feet (i.e., 37,000 feet or Flight Level 370 should be entered in as FL370). Failure to enter altitude correctly could result in incorrect Top of Climb, Top of Descent indications. If you are flying an extended flight and will step-climb, enter in the first altitude you will level off at. Aircraft Type. This should be the same designator used in your VATSIM flight plan. Pilot Number. Enter in the numerical part of your TVA PID. For example, if your PID is TVA002, you would enter ―002‖. This is

essential for proper processing of your PIREP! (NOT CURRENTLY ENABLED AT TVA) For TVA Staff with ―low number‖ callsigns only: Enter in the numerical portion of your PID without the leading zeros. In other words, TVA012 would enter in ―12‖.
TVA FSacars Manual - 19 - Flight IATA. Enter in the full the applicable flight number (i.e., TOV1234). NOTE: On VATSIM we will use ―TOV‖ as our IATA 3 digit code. Regist. Enter in your aircraft‘s registration number. Pilots flying codeshare-(partner airline) flights should enter in the IATA ―3‖ digit Code for that airline and applicable flight number SELCAL. Enter in your SELCAL code if the aircraft was equipped with the system. Note: For SELCAL to work properly, you must also have that specific SELCAL code entered in your Squawkbox4 aircraft type configuration options. Callsign. Enter in your full TVA PID (i.e., TVA123). For TVA Staff with ―low number‖ callsigns: Enter in your full TVA PID with leading zeros (i.e., TVA014). Online. Select VATSIM if flying on the VATSIM network. If flying off the network, select ―Offline‖. Note that your ability to communicate with dispatch, other aircraft, and auto-submit PIREPS will require that you have a live internet connection to the computer while using FS-ACARS. If you are not flying on VATSIM but will have a working internet connection during your flight, select ―Online‖. Voice. If flying online, select the appropriate voice code. Cargo and Pax fields. Fill out as desired. Route. Type in your Flight Plan route. Remarks. As desired. 5.2.2. From an MSFS Flight Plan.

TVA FSacars Manual - 20 - If you have an MSFS flight plan prepared (which will drive your MSFS GPS system), you can load many of the flight plan details directly from that file. Simply click on the ―FS Flight Plan‖ button at right, locate your specific flight plan and select it. Many of the flight plan fields will be automatically filled in from the flight plan data. Manually fill in the remainder of the fields per section 5.2.1 above. 5.2.3. From a VATSIM submitted flight plan using Servinfo. If you have already submitted a flight plan to the VATSIM Network and are connected to VATSIM in MSFS, start your Servinfo program. Once Servinfo is started, refresh the VATSIM data and confirm you appear in the program. Note that if you just connected to the VATSIM

network, it may take up to five minutes before you appear in Servinfo. Once you appear in Servinfo, minimize the Servinfo program and click on the ―Servinfo‖ button on the FS-ACARS flight plan page. Most of the fields in the flight-plan form will be populated. Manually fill out the remainder of the fields per section 5.2.1 above. 5.2.4. From an FS-ACARS flight plan. A number of flight simulation route planners provide the option to create an FS-ACARS flight plan. If you have created an FS-ACARS flight plan, simply click on the ―FSacars‖ button. As with the other methods above, many of your flight plan fields will be populated. Manually populate the remaining fields per section 5.2.1 above. 5.2.5. Once you have the flight plan form completely filled out – leave it alone! Making any changes to it once the FS-ACARS program goes active will flag your flight file as ―tampered‖ and make it impossible for you to autosubmit a PIREP! (NOT CURRENTLY SUPPORTED BY TVA) 5.3. You may now minimize the FS-ACARS program to the systems tray. This should be the last time you need to look at the program until your flight is over.
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5.4. Go back to MSFS. You should see the FS-ACARS button to bring up your CDU. In some panels, the button itself is not visible, but the hotspot is present allowing you to brink up the CDU. 5.4.1. This button is a simple ―on/off‖ button. Pushing it once makes the CDU visible. Pushing it again hides the CDU. The FS-ACARS CDU will be running regardless of whether or not it is displayed on the screen. 5.4.2. If you display the CDU at this point you will see ―waiting for connection from Progam‖. Your interface with FS-ACARS will not begin until you

actually activate FS-ACARS by releasing your parking brakes to push back from the gate.
5.4.3. Once you release your parking brakes to push back from the gate, the FSACARS program will start logging and the interface with the cockpit CDU will become active. Detailed instruction on how to use the CDU are provided in Section 6 of this manual. 5.4.4. Fly your flight as you normally would. Once you land, taxi to the gate, and set your parking brakes, FS-ACARS will recognize that you are now at the gate and stop the log. It will now be ready to submit your PIREP. To submit your PIREP: Minimize MSFS. If FS-ACARS is not already visible on your desktop, click on the icon in the systray and maximize the program. You should see a window with details about your flight and asking you if you want to accept the flight. Review the details of the flight, paying particular attention to total flight time to ensure it is correct. If the data is correct, accept the flight. At this point, FS-ACARS saves the details of your flight in a local database on your hard drive until you are ready to submit it. If you are not already connected, establish a connection to the internet now. If you do not already see the ―Submit PIREP‖ window, click on the ―Flight Log‖ tab and then the ―Send Log‖ button. Enter in your pilot number. This MUST be the same pilot number you entered in the flight plan screen and MUST be the numerical part of your TVA PID.

TVA FSacars Manual - 22 - Note: For TVA staff with ―low number‖ callsigns only: At this point you must enter in the numerical portion of your callsign without the leading zeros (i.e., enter 15 not 015). This number MUST match the pilot number you had in the flight plan page when you started FS-ACARS and MUST be the numeric part of your PID without the leading zeros for auto-PIREP processing to work. Once you hit ―OK‖, the program will automatically communicate with TVA‘s servers and update your logbook with the departure and arrival times, flight time and fuel used. The comments section of your logbook will indicate the PIREP was submitted using FS-ACARS. You may manually enter the TVA pilot center after filing your PIREP, access your logbook, and enter in your actual departure and arrival gates and edit the logbook comments as desired.

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Section Six 6. Using the FS-ACARS CDU 6.1. The FS-ACARS CDU is only useable if you have a connection to the internet during your flight. You do not have to be flying online, but FS-ACARS needs to be able to communicate with our servers for the functionality of the CDU to work. If you do not have a connection, FS-ACARS is simply a flight recorder that will store your flight data and (if desired) submit your PIREP to our servers once you are connected to the internet. 6.1.1. Note the FS-ACARS CDU is the gauge installed in Section 4 and NOT available for use in FSX. FSX users should disregard this section of the manual. 6.2. The FS-ACARS CDU is a control unit very similar to a real-world ACARS or FMC. You have a screen at the top and a keyboard on the bottom. Alongside the screen are a number of select keys (Left Select Keys or LSKs to the Left and Right Select Keys or RSKs to the right). Below the screen near the keyboard is a little blue button on the right hand side. When you click that button, you can use your keyboard to enter data instead of clicking on the keyboard buttons. Note that when that button is clicked (blue light illuminated) your keyboard is NOT talking to MSFS or Squawkbox. Click on the blue button again to return to normal operations. The other important keys you care about are the scroll up/down buttons in the bottom row (up arrow, down arrow), the Enter key next to them, and the "up screen" key immediately above the Enter key. Up Screen moves you back up a screen to the default menu screen if you are looking at a lower level screen... 6.3. The selector keys give you the following data/options: 6.3.1. LSK 1 – Show Log shows the FSACARS automated log messages that have been recorded by the system for PIREP and record purposes. 6.3.2. LSK 2 – Show ACARS shows the ACARS messages that your system has transmitted to or received from the server. These may be METAR, position, flight status or text messages 6.3.3. LSK 3 – Weather allows you to get current METAR data. This works much like the .metar command in Squawkbox. When you click it, the weather request screen will pop up. Simply enter in the four letter ICAO ID of the
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field you want weather for. Type it in and hit the "Enter" button. The request will be transmitted and generally within 30 seconds you should get the current ICAO data on the screen. You can click on the "up screen" key to return to the main menu. Should you wish to view the METAR report again, simply click on the Show ACARS LSK and scroll up to that message. 6.3.4. LSK 4 – Show weight shows your current aircraft weight based on weight data and fuel data the FSACARS program is receiving from MSFS. 6.3.5. RSK 1 – Free Text allows you to send text messages to other online FSACARS units or (when manned) TVA‘s live dispatch ground station (callsign MSPFOTA). Sending messages is quite simple. Simply click on the Free Text button. A new message entry screen appears. Message format is "SENDTO CALLSIGN MESSAGE" "SENDTO" must be entered in all CAPS. Callsign must exactly match the callsign the pilot entered in FSACARS in the Flight IATA. Message is simply the message you want to send. So, to send a message to UAL1234 you might type: "SENDTO UAL1234 HELLO BOB. HOW ARE YOU." Once you hit the "Enter" button, the message is transmitted and the recipient should receive it within 30 seconds. 6.3.6. When you receive a message, you will hear a message alert tone in MSFS. Simply open up the ACARS unit and the message should be visible on the screen. It will read something like: "UPLINK MESSAGE SENDTO your callsign MESSAGE" If by some chance you don't see the message, click on the "Show ACARS" LSK and take a look at the latest message to come in.

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