XACARS Tutorial

ACARS stands for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System. It is used by modern aircraft to transmit short, simple messages to (mainly) ground stations. At Freeworld Airways, ACARS is used to track flights, so that accurate reports on routings, fuel burn and other flight details can be kept in the company records. Furthermore, ACARS makes your aircraft visible on the Live Map. This manual intent is to show pilots how to use the X-Plane plugin, XACARS.

Installation

First you need to download the plugin which conforms to your operating system at: http://www.xacars.net/index.php?clientdownload

(2015-03 The current Xacars version 2.5.5 for Windows/XP 64bit seems to be right here or here , the MacOS version is still at 2.5.4)

Install it following these instructions (from the README.txt file that comes with the download):

XAcars installation instruction 
=============================== 
To install XAcars copy the files xacars.xpl (capitalization is different for mac,
linux and windows) and the directory XAcars to your x-plane/resources/plugins directory. 
CAUTION: Do not rename the xpl or the directory. They have to be as they are! 
On Windows you must copy the files from BASEDIR to the rootdirectory of x-plane 
(that's the directory where your x-plane.exe is) too. On Linux and OSX 
these libraries should be installed - if not, please install them.

 

Do not change the servers, since it will be done automatically by the custom FWA Configuration File (xacars.ini) for your XACARS. This can be downloaded through the Freeworld site by going to your “My Profile” page, right margin, under “ACARS Config”. Click on “Download Xacars Config” to download a personalized “xacars.ini” file which includes your pilot’s profile data. Place the “xacars.ini” file into your “X-Plane/Resources/Plugins/XACARS/” directory, and you are ready to start X-Plane.

Starting ACARS

For ACARS to start working, you first have to input your flight data.

Bring up the blank form via X-Plane menu “Plugins”, “ACARS” and then by clicking “Open ACARS”.

From the booking on the website, enter your flight number (1), and then click “Flight Data via ACARS” (2). Note: The Flight Number will always begins with FW, not FWA.

XACARS Steps 1 and 2

Once it is done, the form will look like the one you see below.

As you can see, the Alternate Airport and Altitude are not filled by the system. Please enter the corresponding data. The altitude should be in feet, not in Flight Level, and must be in accordance with the aircraft performance and the airspace regulations. If you are flying online, it must be the same as your filed flight plan.

When you are ready to start your engines, click “Start ACARS”. This will fill in the bottom part of the form, where times and fuel consumption are recorded.

Now you can click “Hide” to minimize the form, and work your way through your flight as usual. XACARS will be recording the flight statistics in the background without further user intervention.

During the flight, if you wish to view your block fuel, you can look at this section under the “Plugins - XACARS - Show ACARS” menu.

XACARS Steps 3 to 6

Sending the PIREP

After your flight, and if this form does not automatically flag up as soon as your engines have spooled down, you have to pull it up manually (Plugins/XACARS/Show ACARS), and select the network (if any) that you flew on for the flight. If flying on IVAO, select ‘Other’ and type IVAO. Then click ‘Send PIREP’. After a few seconds (up to one or two minutes), you will be notified that the PIREP has been sent successfully. It may also ask you to save the current PIREP. Do so at your discretion if you want to keep a history of your PIREPs. Another window will pop up asking you whether you want to clear the data – click ‘no’. This feature can be used later, to clear the form, and allow you to fly the return flight if you wish, without having to restart the simulator. This is it!

As soon as your PIREP is received, a Staff supervisor will get an e-mail notification. He/she will review your statistics and approve it, or request further clarification from you if anything seems unusual. Please feel free to take a deeper look into the features of X-ACARS at: http://www.xacars.net

Enjoy!

FWA Operations Staff