Tutorial

fp2fms video tutorial: https://youtu.be/clR_5E4k758

INSTALLATION

Download (above) the fp2fmsxxx.zip file. 020 is version 0.20. 10 is 1.0.

Unzip as shown above. Unzip into its default (fp2fms020) folder.

Double click (above) on the folder you just created via the unzip operation so you can move into it to see it’s files.

Double click on fp2fms.exe (or the run.command if you have a Mac) to start the program. fp2fms.exe/run.command is a self contained fp2fms file. Do not delete any of the folders or files as they are needed to run fp2fms. You will not have to download any Java libraries. The .bat file (Windows build only) is used if you have an issue and contact me about it. I may ask you to run fp2fms using the .bat file. Otherwise, just ignore it for now.

Documentation on the WP Identifier Textbox

Textbox will turn red (above) if there is a syntax error. A space must follow a waypoint name.

Waypoint names (above) must be 5 characters long.

The waypoint (above) name is too short.

Below is a screen shot of fp2fms with an IFR Flight Plan (fpl) file loaded. This trip is from KLAX (Los Angeles) to KLAS (Las Vegas) and includes a Departure Procedure (DP) and an Arrival (STAR).

Below is a link of what an fpl file structure looks like. It is an XML file type. I wanted to just paste it into a web page but the XML structure was changing the web page formatting so I just made the file available on my Dropbox account, if you are interested in looking at it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wws9z3et4epdoda/ForeFlight.fpl?dl=0

Below is what an fms file structure looks like. fp2fms converts the fpl XML file above into an fms file, for Xplane.

I
1100 Version
CYCLE 1802
ADEP KLGB
ADES KPSP
NUMENR 6
1 KLGB ADEP 0000 33.81793002705434 -118.1518910945215
3 WPDIS DRCT 0000 33.86526841150084 -117.9283089274236
3 WPDAM DRCT 0000 33.87648522874765 -117.6610969010354
3 WP503 DRCT 0000 33.94096065521253 -117.0885162984739
3 WP504 DRCT 0000 33.91577221007967 -116.6227106368226
1 KPSP ADES 0000 33.82966702706373 -116.506694093205378

The fms file data (above) is what gets loaded into the Xplane’s G1000 and shows up as a flight plan. It will also work the same way for the Garmin 530 and 430 GPS units.

It will also work for jetliners with a Control Display Unit (CDU) to interface with their FMS. The default Xplane B-737-800 can use these fms files also.

Above: 737-800 CDU

WHERE DO FPL FILES COME FROM?

FPL files are created by Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) software programs. Many, but not all of them, can produce fpl files. Personally, I use ForeFlight EFB on my iPad. I pay for a ForeFlight subscription because I am also a real pilot and fly a real C-172. In Xplane 11, I fly their default C-172 with Garmin 530 and 430 GPS units. There are other flight planning software programs that may be able to export an fpl file format. In any case, once you find the software that you like to use for this purpose, fp2fms can open those files and convert them into fms files your Xplane can use.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT USING FOREFLIGHT

I found a bug in ForeFlight’s exporting feature and reported it to ForeFlight. They acknowledged it was a bug and let their development team know about it. When it will be fixed I have no idea.

The bug is that their fpl file should have UTF-8 Encoding, but it fact it does not. The manual fix on our side is simple: open the file in Notepad or Notepad++ and set the Encoding to UTF-8 and then click Save. That’s it. Presently, because of this bug, if you do not do this, fp2fms will not load the file. A pop-up dialog in fp2fms will remind you to do this Save procedure on your fpl file first.

There is another problem I found with the ForeFlight fpl file. The XML tag for <Identifier> contains additional data that is only of interest to ForeFlight. I reported it and they turned the information over to their development team. What they will do about it I have no idea.

In the mean time, I have added code to strip out this data that is not needed to produce an fms file. fp2fms will work correctly on ForeFlight fpl files as they are today, or in the future, if it turns out they remove this data from the <Identifier> tag.

I recommended to the developers they create a new <tag> to hold their data. I noticed other software programs have created their own tags which fp2fms can conveniently ignore. Of course, who am I to tell ForeFlight what to do?

Important Note for Xplane users: fpl file and fms file altitudes are displayed in G1000 and 737-800 CDU units. However, they are not displayed in the Garmin 530 and 430 units, so you can leave the altitude fields as they are: 0000. Just an FYI.