X-Plane can load a information from a flight data recorder (FDR). This is useful primarily in accident investigation and re-creation. In that case, you would need to take the data from the “black box” of the aircraft you’re interested in and put it in a format that X‑Plane can read: the Flight Data Recorder (or ‘.fdr’) format. This is plain text file formatted in a particular way.

This document explains what fields are permitted and a brief explanation of each. Note that even if your instantaneous “snapshots” of the aircraft do not use a given parameter, your data file must use a dummy value as a placeholder.

Once you have formatted the information and saved the file, open it in X-Plane by going to the File menu and selecting “Load Flight Data Recorder File.” Pick your .fdr file by clicking on square button at bottom of explanation window.

Creating a .fdr file

Fields permitted (in any order):

  • COMM: any comment
  • ACFT: the aircraft file to use, with full directory path from the X-Plane folder (ex: Aircraft/Heavy Metal/Boeing 747.acf).
  • TAIL: tail number of the aircraft (ex: N8141Q). Must come immediately after the ACFT line.
  • TIME: ZULU time of the beginning of the flight (ex: 18:54:32).
  • DATE: date of the flight (ex: 03/05/02).
  • PRES: sea-level pressure during the flight in inches HG (ex: 29.92).
  • TEMP: sea-level temperatre during the flight in degrees farenheit (ex: 65).
  • WIND: wind during th flight in degrees then knots (ex: 230,17).
  • CALI: the actual takeoff or touchdown logitude, latitude, and elevation in feet for calibration to X-Plane scenery. (ex: -118.34, 34.57, 456).
  • WARN: time to play a warning sound file, with full directory path from X-Plane itself to the .wav file (ex: 10,Resources/sounds/alert/1000ft.WAV).
  • TEXT: time & text to be read aloud by computer speech synthesis software (10,Copilot left the cockpit here).
  • MARK: time at which a text marker will appear in the time slider (ex: 15,Approach began here).
  • EVNT: highlights the flight path at the specified time, for a specified duration (ex: 10.5).
  • DATA: comma-delimited floating-point numbers that make up the bulk of the .fdr data (see explanation table below)

Table of examples

*Note: Examples are from line 2 of the “Example FDR file.fdr” found in the Instructions folder of X-Plane 10.45.

Data must be entered in this order to display in the correct columns in X-Plane. Use a dummy value (such as 0) if your data does not include a particular field.

Column Header Explanation Example
time secon time in seconds from the beginning of the recording 1.0
temp deg C temp in degrees celsius of the ambient air near the airplane at current altitude 45
lon degre longitude in degrees –117.20
lat degre latitude in degrees 34.000
h msl ft height above mean sea level in TRUE feet, regardless of any barometric pressure setting or other errors 4010
h rad ft radio altimeter indication 0
ailn ratio aileron deflection in ratio –1.0 (left) to +1.0 (right) 0
elev ratio elevator deflection in ratio –1.- (nose down) to +1.0 (nose up) 0
rudd ratio rudder deflection in ratio –1.- (left) to +1.0 (right) 0
ptch deg pitch in degrees, positive indicating up 0
roll deg roll in degrees, positive indicating right 0
hdng TRUE heading in degrees TRUE 0
speed KIAS speed in knots 250.1
VVI ft/mn indicated vertical speed in feet per minute .2
slip deg indicated slip in degrees, positive indicating nose right 0
turn deg turn-slip indicator deflection, positive indicating right .4
mach # Indicated Mach number .5
AOA deg Indicated Angle of Attack 1
stall warn Stall warning on, 1 or 0 0
flap rqst Flap handle position, 0.0 (retracted) to 1.0 (extended) 0
flap actul Flap–1 deflection ratio, 0.0 (retracted) to 1.0 (extended) 0
slat ratio Slat–1 deflection ratio, 0.0 (retracted) to 1.0 (extended) 0
sbrk ratio Speedbrake deflection ratio, 0.0 (retracted), (1.0 extended), 1.5 (ground-deployed) 0
gear handl Gear handle, 0 (up) to 1 (down) 1
Ngear down Gear #1 (nose?) deployment ratio, 0.0 (retracted) to 1.0 (down) 1
Lgear down Gear #2 (left?) deployment ratio, 0.0 (retracted) to 1.0 (down) 1
Rgear down Gear #3 (right?) deployment ratio, 0.0 (retracted) to 1.0 (down) 1
elev trim Elevator trim, –1.0 (nose down) to 1.0 (nose up) 0
NAV–1 frq Nav–1 frequency in a 5-digit integer form with no decimal 11010
NAV–2 frq Nav–2 frequency in a 5-digit integer form with no decimal 10930
NAV–1 type Nav–1 type (NONE=0, NDB=2, VOR=3, LOC=5, ILS=10) 4
NAV–2 type Nav–2 type (NONE=0, NDB=2, VOR=3, LOC=5, ILS=10) 4
OBS–1 deg OBS–1 in degrees 0 to 360 90
OBS–2 deg OBS–2 in degrees 0 to 360 270
DME–1 nm 0.0 means no DME found, any positive value means we are getting DME data 0
DME–2 nm 0.0 means no DME found, any positive value means we are getting DME data 0
NAV–1 h-def Horizontal (localizer) deflection, –2.5 to 2.5 dots, positive fly right 2.5
NAV–2 h-def Horizontal (localizer) deflection, –2.5 to 2.5 dots, positive fly right 2.5
NAV–1 n/t/f Nav–1 NAV/TO/FROM (nav=0, to=1, from=2) 1
NAV–2 n/t/f Nav–1 NAV/TO/FROM (nav=0, to=1, from=2) 1
NAV–1 v-def Vertical (glideslope) deflection, –2.5 to 2.5 dots, positive fly up 2.5
NAV–2 v-def Vertical (glideslope) deflection, –2.5 to 2.5 dots, positive fly up 2.5
OM over Over marker 0 or 1 0
MM over Over marker 0 or 1 0
IM over Over marker 0 or 1 0
f-dir 0/1 Flight director on, 0 or 1 0
f-dir ptch Flight director pitch in degrees, positive indicating up 10
f-dir roll Flight director roll in degrees, positive indicating right 10
ktmac 0/1 Autopilot is holding knots or mach number (knots=0, mach=1) 0
throt mode Auto-throttle mode (off=0, on=1) 0
hdg mode Autopilot heading mode (0=wing-level, 1=heading, 2=localizer or other CDI) 0
alt mode Autopilot altitude mode (3=pitch sync, 4=vvi, 5=airspeed, 6=airspeed with alt arm, 7=alt hold, 8=terrain-follow, 9=glideslope hold) 0
hnav mode Localizer CDI is ARMED for capture 0 or 1 0
glslp mode Glideslope CDI is ARMED for capture 0 or 1 0
back mode Back-course on 0 or 1 0
speed selec Autopilot speed selection, knots or Mach number 0
hdg selec Autopilot heading selection, degrees magnetic 0
vvi selec Autopilot vertical speed selection, feet per minute 0
alt selec Autopilot altitude selection, feet MSL indicated 500
baro in hg Barometric pressure dialed into the altimeter, inches HG 29.9
DH ft Decision height dialed into the radio alt, feet AGL 0
Mcaut 0/1 Master Caution alerting 0 to 1 0
Mwarn 0/1 Master Warning alerting 0 to 1 0
GPWS 0/1 Ground Proximity Warning 0 to 1 0
Mmode 0–4 Map mode: 0 through 4 can give different map results 0
Mrang 0–6 Map range: 0 through 6 will give different map ranges 0
throt ratio Throttle ratio 0.0 to 1.0 (emergency settings can actually exceed 1.0) 1
prop cntrl Propeller RPM command, per engine 2005.4
prop rpm Propeller RPM actual, per engine 2005.4
prop deg Propeller pitch in degrees, per engine 30
N1 % N1, per engine 100.1
N2 % N2, per engine 100.1
MPR inch Engine Manifold Pressure, per engine 0
EPR ind Engine Pressure Ratio, per engine 0
torq ft*lb Engine torque, per engine 584.1
FF lb/hr Fuel Flow, per engine 400
ITT deg C Turbine Inlet Temperature, per engine 1000
EGT deg C Exhaust Gas Temperature, per engine 1000
CHT deg C Cylinder Head Temperature, per engine 0

Additional information

Spaces are ignored.

We only support the format as shown in our example FDR file (DATE,08/10/2004,), not the format preferred by ISO 8601.

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