No Money Mondays: PMS530

December 29, 2022

The GNS530 is a GPS navigation system found in aircraft that provides a range of functions, including the ability to display maps, flight plans and communicate with air traffic control. It can also provide weather information. Adding a complex instrument like the GNS530 to a flight simulator can be challenging due to the high level of attention to detail and realism required. The PMS530 project for Microsoft Flight Simulator by PMS50 aims to offer an enhanced version of the built-in GNS530 GPS, with the goal of replicating the original as closely as possible.

One of the main features of the PMS530 is its workaround for the MSFS U-turn bug, which can cause issues with navigation in MSFS. The package also offers a range of map modes, including North Up and Track Up, and includes a terrain map and map cursor with waypoint selection. Other notable features of the PMS530 include the TCAS (anti-collision system) which works while flying with friends, NEXTRAD weather data, a weather radar, wind indicator, VNAV page, and dynamic flight plan distances. It also includes a flight plan catalogue and the ability to import flight plans, procedure maps and a METAR display with a decoded option.

In addition, the PMS530 includes the GNS430 GPS, state saving between sessions, message management, a configuration file, a startup screen, and various graphical enhancements. It also offers night/day lighting for added realism.

But wait, there is more: The PMS530 also feature changes to the original logic for loading and activating approaches, allowing users to choose whether to load an approach or activate it. If an approach is activated, the autopilot will go directly to the first approach waypoint. The Direct To function now works correctly, allowing users to direct to an approach ICAO waypoint. Flight plan waypoints are now available in the DirectTo FPL element list without manual input. The PMS530 also includes a feature to remove approaches, which was not available in the original MSFS GNS530.

There are various graphical enhancements available with the PMS530, including a more readable display screen, automatic day/night brightness, and a declutter function for maps. There are also three maps available, including a terrain map, and all procedures have an associated map displaying the procedure waypoints. The PMS530 allows users to load up to 19 flight plans in the PLN format, which must be named "fplx.pln" and located in the "fpl530" folder at the root of the mod folder. The PMS530 also includes a message management system with three types of messages: Advice, Warning, and Caution.

The clarity of the interface is unrivaled.

The PMS530 includes a config file, "config.json", located in the "Config/pms50-gns530" directory of the mod, which allows users to customise various aspects of the package. The config file includes an option to activate a weather radar, which is not a standard feature of the original GNS530. When activated, users can display a legend and toggle between map, radar horizontal, and vertical radar modes. The PMS530 also includes a wind indicator and a VNAV page and allows users to save the state of the package between sessions. Finally, the PMS530 includes a startup screen with customisable graphics.

The PMS530 project is also compatible with external hardware, such as the Realsimgear GNS530 (See our review of it here) , allowing users to take their simulator setup to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned flight sim enthusiast or a newcomer to the hobby, the PMS530 is worth considering as an enhancement to your simulator setup. It is a valuable addition to any flight sim setup and its compatibility with external hardware like the Realsimgear GNS530 makes it an appealing choice.

Not a good image of the sharpness and clarity PMS530 provides on the Realsimgear GNS530

Compared to other freeware options, the PMS530 stands out for its attention to detail and realism, as well as its wide range of features. Many users have found that the PMS530 offers a level of functionality and immersion that surpasses its rivals in the freeware market.

Personally, I am unable to fly the aircraft that feature the GNS530 without this mod. And I am sure you won’t either once you have downloaded the files from their Github,
copied over the folder containing the PMS530 to your MSFS community folder and tried it out yourself. If you fly VFR in Microsoft Flight Simulator, this addon is a must-have. I tried the Working Title GNS530 from the Marketplace and it pales in comparison. Both in lack of functions and in the execution of the interface where PMS50 have done a fantastic job. I am sure you will do like I did and head to their discord to thank them for this beautiful freeware. They give excellent support there as well.

The PMS530 is always a part of my flights if it is featured in the chosen Aircraft

PMS50 also have a GTN750 which is free with limited features but will set you back 25 Euro for One year and 75 Euro for a lifetime license. I would have paid this amount for the PMS530, and it amazes me that it is freeware.

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