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P3D and topcat

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Just got P3D up and running and loving it will never go back to FSX lol my question is can we still use TOPCAT

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Just got P3D up and running and loving it will never go back to FSX lol my question is can we still use TOPCAT

 

TOPCAT is wholly independent from the sims. If you're talking about the FSUIPC function to connect to send/receive weights (DO NOT USE THIS WITH OUR AIRCRAFT!), then any sim that uses FSUIPC will work with it, obviously.

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Yeh send and receive weights kyle it wont let me with the NGX and P3D

 

You shouldn't send weights to our aircraft, ever. They built the PMDG data off of the FS9 model. The only valid way to adjust weights in our aircraft is through the FMC PAYLOAD/FUEL screens.

 

If it's not letting you through P3D, then you might want to reach out to them about it (though, admittedly, they aren't as active as many would probably like). I'm 99% sure they use FSUIPC for that transaction, but if you have PFPX, you might as well just link the programs (explained in the PFPX manual) and do it that way. Run everything out of PFPX. It's more realistic that way, in theory, as no takeoff planner knows the actual takeoff weight. It's all assumed values based on bag and passenger counts, so running your takeoff numbers off of PFPX dispatch numbers adds "error" into the number, which is more like actuality.

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Kyle maybe you have missed something or i have. But what i do is in the NGX i set 174 pax no cargo and in TOPCAT i click that button that shows exact weight of the NGX with its fuel load also that i got from PFPX. I take that number from TOPCAT lets 60000kg i then subtract the fuel lets say 4774 and that would give me ZFW of 55226 tonnes and i would then set that in PFPX ZFW

 

Thats why i do it

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Kyle maybe you have missed something or i have. But what i do is in the NGX i set 174 pax no cargo and in TOPCAT i click that button that shows exact weight of the NGX with its fuel load also that i got from PFPX. I take that number from TOPCAT lets 60000kg i then subtract the fuel lets say 4774 and that would give me ZFW of 55226 tonnes and i would then set that in PFPX ZFW

 

Thats why i do it

 

To be blunt and honest, why are you even opening TOPCAT to begin with? Again, its template was created for the FS9 version of the PMDG 737, so it's not as accurate as it should be. Moreover, you can manage everything from PFPX, and even run takeoff performance calculations.

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To be blunt and honest, why are you even opening TOPCAT to begin with? Again, its template was created for the FS9 version of the PMDG 737, so it's not as accurate as it should be. Moreover, you can manage everything from PFPX, and even run takeoff performance calculations.

Kyle,

 

I think it's due to it's promotion by others.  I too own TOPCAT because I was told, or rather I saw vids by others who explained how TOPCAT worked with PFPX and it was great addition to have on hand.  I am a bit confused now by what you said that TOPCAT was created for FS9 aircraft.  I have used it for planning in FSX and P3D and since it works outside of any other program or sim, I never had any issues.

 

-Jim

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 I have used it for planning in FSX and P3D and since it works outside of any other program or sim, I never had any issues.

 

(Remember that other thread, where you made note of me summarizing...? This is what happens when I summarize. People get confused. For this reason, I usually err on the side of ridiculously verbose.)

 

For the record, this is a common thing misunderstanding in the community, so it's not anyone here in particular. I'm going to make this as crystal clear as possible in hopes that those here can be ambassadors to help the rest of the community understand...

 

TOPCAT calculates two things:

  1. CG (necessary to calculate takeoff trim values)
  2. Takeoff performance

Item 1 requires the program to understand all station loads. In other words, it must understand all weight stations in the aircraft. The TOPCAT template for the PMDG 737 was designed after the FS9 version of the PMDG 737. The weight stations in that version are different (seating locations), along with the generic weights (ZFW, namely). This is an aircraft-calculator mismatch. Seeing that you're attempting to calculate aircraft performance using said calculator, this is not a good thing and will lead to bad data.

 

Item 2 requires the program to understand the aircraft weights and the parameters related to the airfield/runway/weather. These values will be the same regardless of simulator (unless the scenery changed between versions of the sim - runway shortening would be the only concerning factor, really).

 

For this reason, it's completely pointless to even open the program for anything 737-related. PFPX understands all Item 2 values, and ignores Item 1 values entirely (forcing you to defer to the FMC-calculated value). This gives you only relevant, and actionable, data.

 

 

----------

 

 

One thing that trips people up a whole bunch is this concept of "matching worlds." You always have to keep that in mind. In other words, remember what values are being matched. I often see "is PFPX compatible with [insert sim here]?" Of course it is, and I'm not sure why someone would ask. Logically, the 737 burns the same amount of fuel in FS9 as it does in FSX, as it does in P3D, as it does in the real world - provided the developer is at least moderately competent. The matching here is from each simulation to the real world burn value. Heck, if it were commercially licensed, you could probably use it for real world flight planning if you wanted to given that fact. Ever wonder why a lot of aviation rules of thumb that work in the real world work in the sim, or why, if you get a real world dispatch sheet, it will work for our aircraft? Their calculator is designed to match the performance data of the real plane, just as our simulation is designed to match the performance of the real plane.

 

Thus, by the transitive property:

PFPX Perf Data = Real Boeing 737 Perf Data

Real Boeing 737 Perf Data = PMDG Perf Data

PFPX Perf Data = PMDG Perf Data

 

The inverse is true about the weight and balance side of things. The values being matched there are actually aircraft specific. Seeing that these values vary between the FS9 version and the FSX version, the FS9 PMDG 737 template will not accurately calculate loads for the FSX version, just as a 772 CG/Trim calculator wouldn't accurately calculate the CG/Trim of a 738. One thing a lot of simmers don't realize here is that CG/Trim is usually calculated on a per-aircraft basis, unless the whole fleet is exactly the same. Go to your local flight school and look at the weight and balance forms for each aircraft. Unless their fleet all has the exact same options, the CG worksheets will be different for each tail number, even if they're the same model (a G1000 panel has a different weight than a steam panel). You should not use the worksheet for one tail number for another.

 

Another example is your nav data. Your real world charts won't match the options in your FMC unless your in-sim nav data is current. Similarly, if you're trying to fly an ILS approach to an airport like EDDF, your current charts won't help you unless the airport file has been updated with the frequency changes.

 

 

 

Everything here is all about matching the data in the sim world, with the data in your calculators, with the data you have from the real world. If any of those are out of sync, then the system falls apart, or will give bad data. In this case, TOPCAT has an old weights template from the FS9 version. You'll get bad trim and weight data from TOPCAT if you use that. PFPX handles everything but the trim calculation, and the FMC can provide that on its own. For that reason, just use PFPX with the TOPCAT performance module linked.

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(Remember that other thread, where you made note of me summarizing...? This is what happens when I summarize. People get confused. For this reason, I usually err on the side of ridiculously verbose.)

 

For the record, this is a common thing misunderstanding in the community, so it's not anyone here in particular. I'm going to make this as crystal clear as possible in hopes that those here can be ambassadors to help the rest of the community understand...

 

TOPCAT calculates two things:

  1. CG (necessary to calculate takeoff trim values)
  2. Takeoff performance

Item 1 requires the program to understand all station loads. In other words, it must understand all weight stations in the aircraft. The TOPCAT template for the PMDG 737 was designed after the FS9 version of the PMDG 737. The weight stations in that version are different (seating locations), along with the generic weights (ZFW, namely). This is an aircraft-calculator mismatch. Seeing that you're attempting to calculate aircraft performance using said calculator, this is not a good thing and will lead to bad data.

 

Item 2 requires the program to understand the aircraft weights and the parameters related to the airfield/runway/weather. These values will be the same regardless of simulator (unless the scenery changed between versions of the sim - runway shortening would be the only concerning factor, really).

 

For this reason, it's completely pointless to even open the program for anything 737-related. PFPX understands all Item 2 values, and ignores Item 1 values entirely (forcing you to defer to the FMC-calculated value). This gives you only relevant, and actionable, data.

 

 

----------

 

 

One thing that trips people up a whole bunch is this concept of "matching worlds." You always have to keep that in mind. In other words, remember what values are being matched. I often see "is PFPX compatible with [insert sim here]?" Of course it is, and I'm not sure why someone would ask. Logically, the 737 burns the same amount of fuel in FS9 as it does in FSX, as it does in P3D, as it does in the real world - provided the developer is at least moderately competent. The matching here is from each simulation to the real world burn value. Heck, if it were commercially licensed, you could probably use it for real world flight planning if you wanted to given that fact. Ever wonder why a lot of aviation rules of thumb that work in the real world work in the sim, or why, if you get a real world dispatch sheet, it will work for our aircraft? Their calculator is designed to match the performance data of the real plane, just as our simulation is designed to match the performance of the real plane.

 

Thus, by the transitive property:

PFPX Perf Data = Real Boeing 737 Perf Data

Real Boeing 737 Perf Data = PMDG Perf Data

PFPX Perf Data = PMDG Perf Data

 

The inverse is true about the weight and balance side of things. The values being matched there are actually aircraft specific. Seeing that these values vary between the FS9 version and the FSX version, the FS9 PMDG 737 template will not accurately calculate loads for the FSX version, just as a 772 CG/Trim calculator wouldn't accurately calculate the CG/Trim of a 738. One thing a lot of simmers don't realize here is that CG/Trim is usually calculated on a per-aircraft basis, unless the whole fleet is exactly the same. Go to your local flight school and look at the weight and balance forms for each aircraft. Unless their fleet all has the exact same options, the CG worksheets will be different for each tail number, even if they're the same model (a G1000 panel has a different weight than a steam panel). You should not use the worksheet for one tail number for another.

 

Another example is your nav data. Your real world charts won't match the options in your FMC unless your in-sim nav data is current. Similarly, if you're trying to fly an ILS approach to an airport like EDDF, your current charts won't help you unless the airport file has been updated with the frequency changes.

 

 

 

Everything here is all about matching the data in the sim world, with the data in your calculators, with the data you have from the real world. If any of those are out of sync, then the system falls apart, or will give bad data. In this case, TOPCAT has an old weights template from the FS9 version. You'll get bad trim and weight data from TOPCAT if you use that. PFPX handles everything but the trim calculation, and the FMC can provide that on its own. For that reason, just use PFPX with the TOPCAT performance module linked.

Kyle,

 

Clarification is everything but re-read what you wrote in post #8.  Did you not think in the least that perhaps some people might get confused in what you stated?  I still have yet to learn the skillful art of being very careful, clear and concise with my own words as they can get twisted around rather easily when people are trying to understand what was written.  Some folks take things a little too literal.  I know you took a lot of time explaining in post #10 but so seemed to go from one extreme to the other.  I'm not trying to be a hard case here, just considering how I interpreted what was said and maybe how others would do the same.

 

 

Perhaps it would have been safer to state that if people use TOPCAT for PMDG aircraft, just use it for CG and takeoff calcs.  Everything else in TOPCAT is based off of the older PMDG aircraft and can cause issues.

 

-Jim

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Clarification is everything but re-read what you wrote in post #8.  Did you not think in the least that perhaps some people might get confused in what you stated?  I still have yet to learn the skillful art of being very careful, clear and concise with my own words as they can get twisted around rather easily when people are trying to understand what was written.  Some folks take things a little too literal.  I know you took a lot of time explaining in post #10 but so seemed to go from one extreme to the other.  I'm not trying to be a hard case here, just considering how I interpreted what was said and maybe how others would do the same.

 

Are you asking to admit that what I wrote was confusing, or are we trying to continue to answer the question? The former is largely irrelevant because I then clarified my earlier commentary, but to answer what I think your question might be:

 

I'm not entirely sure how someone could mix that up seeing that my posts, this whole time, were related to the sending and receiving of weights. The very fact that the TOPCAT function refers specifically to the FS9 version should give someone an idea that something is different about it, and that there's a reason behind the dev drawing attention to it.

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 PFPX handles everything but the trim calculation, and the FMC can provide that on its own. For that reason, just use PFPX with the TOPCAT performance module linked.

It really is that simple.

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Within pfpx I use it for takeoff and landing. Love the integration within pfpx

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I don't usually use PFPX as the weather can change during preflight

 

You don't have to buy any of these programmes.You could use a pen and a calculator, and online resources.  Although it would take a long time. The programmes are there to help compress the flight sim experience. Make things a bit quicker..but still realistic...where possible.

 

PFPX is just a flight breifing tool...whether it happen like that when you step in the plane is another story. Down to the skill of the user.

 

PFPX gives you the flight plan (which you can export into the CDU of the 737), it can export to VATSIMS flight plan page.  Gives weather info, TO Landing performance, Spying on other VATSIM pilots.  It is really useful.

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I don't usually use PFPX as the weather can change during preflight

What do you use? You indicated a couple of posts back that you used it for takeoff calculations.

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I don't usually use PFPX as the weather can change during preflight

 

So the role of a dispatcher and flight planning is superfluous then?

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What do you use? You indicated a couple of posts back that you used it for takeoff calculations.

I think I got TOPCAT and PFPX confused since this topic title was P3D and TOPCAT. Forget the prior post you made about TOPCAT. Vernon, what do you use to replace PFPX? How do you get your fuel amount?

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Guys hold on a second, i said i don't use the TOPCAT feature in PFPX. Instead when the loadsheet arrives +6 i then use the TOPCAT software and run it from that.

 

However i now use a real world source i got from an NG pilot when they used paper but now its electronic devices they use.

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the loadsheet arrives +6 i then use the TOPCAT software and run it from that.

Vernon

What does +6 mean in this context?

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You could try Simbrief. I find it quite useful and priced just right (it's free). TOPCAT only gets used to support take-off performance calculations. Rather than fuss with getting all of these tools to yield precisely the same ZFW, I just top up the cargo with whatever I need to get the PMDG model ZFW to equal that estimated by Simbrief. It all works very smoothly.

 

I can't say I have ever calibrated Simbrief fuel flows against the PMDG model. The author of Simbrief claims to have created his dispatch briefings using manufacturer data, but all I can say is that I have never had to dip into reserves and the fuel remaining at the destination is pretty close to that predicted. There is provision to tweak Simbrief's flows, but I have never felt sufficiently motivated to do that.

 

John

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This is what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps, Kyle.

 

 

Let's define three separate quantities here:

 

-a simulator (FSX, P3D) with a PMDG 737 running in it

-TOPCAT

-PFPX

 

 

PFPX has an interface to TOPCAT. Original question asks about TOPCAT and subsequent posts indicate that we are probably not talking about PFPX interface, so I'll try not to include it here.

 

TOPCAT has two principal functions:

 

 

-weight and balance calculator

--this function is NOT usable with PMDG 737 (or 777 for that matter) with regards to flightsim connection, regardless of platform.
--this function is however usable in all other regards, and I use it with Manual ZFW (or alternatively, I input load in TOPCAT and load accordingly via MCDU in FSX) and fuel plan input from elsewhere (in my case SimBrief) or with estimate if I am not feeling like doing a proper planning excercise.

 

-performance calculator

--this function is usable with or without any flightsim at all. It will compute landing performence given input parameters. Works like a charm, within single digit percentages of whatever real tool I checked against.

--one function that is there with regards to connection to sim, is a "Get" button for mass. That works - it gets the current mass at any given moment.

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