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, selecting “Load Flight” and picking your file from the list. You can show only .fdr files by clicking the Flight Data Recorder button or find it in another location on your hard drive by using the “Open Saved Flight Not Listed” button.
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/Laminar Research/Boeing B747-400/747-400.acf).
- TAIL: tail number of the aircraft (ex: N12345). Must come immediately after the ACFT line.
- TIME: ZULU time of the beginning of the flight (ex: 18:00:00).
- DATE: date of the flight (ex: 08/10/2004).
- PRES: sea-level pressure during the flight in inches HG (ex: 29.83).
- TEMP: sea-level temperature during the flight in degrees Fahrenheit (ex: 65).
- WIND: wind during the flight in degrees then knots (ex: 230,16).
- CALI: the actual takeoff or touchdown longitude, 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: 5,Resources/sounds/alert/1000ft.WAV).
- TEXT: time & text to be read aloud by computer speech synthesis software (5,This is a test of the spoken text.).
- MARK: time at which a text marker will appear in the time slider (ex: 5,Marker at 5 seconds).
- 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 (ex: 5,10 & see explanation table below)
*Note: Examples are from the “Example FDR file.fdr” found in the Instructions folder of X-Plane 11.
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.
|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|
|radio altft||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|
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.