OpusFSX Flight Simulator Interface for and

OpusFSX_Overview  OpusFSX_User_Guide  OpusFSX_Getting_Started_Single_PC  OpusFSX_Getting_Started_Networked_PCs  OpusFSX_Live_Weather  OpusFSX_Live_Camera  OpusFSX_ButtKicker


OpusFSX Flight Simulator Interface for FSX & Prepar3D

The OpusFSX Live Weather Engine

Jean-Paul Mes_5.jpg

29 July, 2014

Opus Software Limited

Email: opusfsi@opussoftware.co.uk  Website: www.opussoftware.co.uk/opusfsi.htm  


Overview... 3

Live Weather Features. 3

Sky and Cloud Textures. 4

Slow and Low Flyer Configuration.. 4

High Flyer Configuration.. 4

Configuration.. 5

Dynamic Live Weather 6

Flight Plan Options 6

Update Weather 6

Weather Download Options. 7

Smoothing and Stabilisation. 8  

General User Preferences

Automatic Settings 

METAR File Import 10

Save Current Weather as Static Theme. 10  

Static Weather Themes. 10

Recommended Settings and Practice

Building Live Weather. 11

Weather Data Collection.. 11

METAR Station List Corrections and Additions

Historic Weather Data

Weather Data Import (current and historic). 12

Weather Data Smoothing.. 14

Mist and Fog Layers. 14

Low Overcast Effect

Cloud Icing. 14

Cloud Positions and Textures. 14

Cirrus Cloud Layers. 14

Winds and Temperatures Aloft. 14  

Turbulence and Dynamic Head Movement (DHM)

OpusFSX Site Effects

Flight Planning Assistant Reports

Weather Reports

OpusWeather (METARs)

OpusWeatherReport (GRIB Data)

OpusFlightReport (Flight Plan)

OpusSidStarReport (SIDs and STARs)

Spy Messages. 19

Live Weather Assistant Maps

Client Side Weather Control

PMDG FMC Wind/Temp Data Request

FSUIPC4 Settings

Reporting Anomalies and Errors. 19

FAQ.. 19



The Live Weather Engine is a standard feature within the OpusFSX Flight Simulator Interface for the Microsoft's Flight Simulator X and Lockheed Martin Prepar3D simulators.

The Live Weather Engine provides live weather updates on your OpusFSX system. The live weather data is acquired by either downloading the current METAR reports for all Met stations within your weather horizon or importing the METAR reports contained within a user specified import file. The weather engine's horizon covers an area of 1280km by 1280km centered on your aircraft's current position, this is the size of the detailed Dynamic Weather region created by the engine.

As you are probably aware the use of METAR data to update the weather in the simulator leaves a lot to be desired. To adjust the weather correctly using METAR updates you are forced to clear the current weather completely and either load a totally unrealistic globalised weather pattern, resulting in the same weather horizon to horizon and false ATC and ATIS reports, or reload the new METAR data very slowly one station at a time. This METAR update process is not only totally unrealistic, but can result in a great deal of screen flicker while the simulator slowly loads the new METARs. There are also problems with METAR voids, METAR morphing, and inconsistent weather synchronization across networked systems using METAR updates. These problems are inherent within the FSX and Prepar3D simulators. On the other hand, our Dynamic Weather loads instantly into the simulator with no screen flicker, no disturbance to the flight, no weather morphing, and no inconsistencies with ATC or ATIS.

The Live Weather Engine has set a new standard for weather updates within the simulator community. OpusFSX provides the most efficient and accurate weather updates for Microsoft FSX and Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D simulators.


Live Weather Features


Sky and Cloud Textures

The Live Weather Engine does not include any sky and cloud textures. For optimum effect we strongly recommend you install sky and cloud textures from packages such as Flight Environment X (payware) or HDEv2 (freeware) for clouds with the sky upgraded by Danny Glover, and use the OpusFSX Live Weather Engine for the actual weather updates.

We would strongly recommend using lower resolution 1024 cloud textures and also not using HD cloud textures, this will be beneficial in terms of frame rates as well as looking more realistic and less harsh.  


Slow and Low Flyer Configuration

If you cruise below FL200 then just set your Destination, Max Cruise Altitude and enable Adjust Options Automatically.

Alternatively, if you prefer to set options manually, then disable Adjust Options Automatically and set ALL DEFAULTS in the Weather dialogs, then you are already set for low and slow flying. Always make sure you specify your Destination within the Weather dialog. Low flyers should not set the Enable Wind Stabilisation option since the LWE will automatically stabilise the wind should you climb above the Recovery Altitude + 250 feet or 19250 feet whichever is the higher.


High Flyer Configuration

If you cruise above FL200 then just set your Destination, Max Cruise Altitude and enable Adjust Options Automatically. If your system has wind shifts enable the Adjust Sim Friendly Options, if your system has severe wind shifts then enable the Use Maximum Stabilisation option too.

Alternatively, if you prefer to set options manually, then disable Adjust Options Automatically and specify your Destination within the Weather dialog and enable the Download GRIB Forecast option to get GRIB forecast data for winds and temperatures aloft. Enable the Sim Friendly GRIB Winds option to minimise the chance of wind shifts. If your system is well behaved and you want true forecast data at all times then turn off the Sim Friendly GRIB Winds option. But this option gives you winds very close if not the same as the true forecast, especially if you have specified your Cruise Altitude. Select the Enable Wind Stabilisation option in the Weather Smoothing and Stabilisation dialog to minimise the chance of wind shifts. When set the surface winds injected into the simulator will be stabilised (static) everywhere until such time as they are recovered by the LWE. Stabilised winds are indicated in the Opus weather report windows with the phrase 'Static DDD/SS' immediately after the actual surface wind.

If, and only if, your system still experiences 'major' wind shifts during the cruise then you can also set the Stabilised GRIB Data option, but most systems will not need this option. It is included for the few that do.



You will need to set your FSX to run in windowed mode (i.e. press ALT+ENTER, or turn off full screen mode in the FSX View menu) in order to display the FSXSERVER form. The server and all client displays will be paused whilst the dialog is active.

The Live Weather Engine is enabled via the OpusFSX server program's Configuration dialog, accessed via the Configure button on the FSXSERVER's main form.


To enable, tick the Enable Live Weather Engine checkbox within the Configuration dialog.

Ensure you have disabled all other weather injection from FSX/P3D, third party engines, VATSIM/IVAO etc.

You can temporarily enable and disable Live Weather updates, or force an update of the Live Weather using the OpusFSI Live Weather options within the simulator's Add-on menu.


The Live Weather update parameters and import options are specified within the Weather dialog, accessed via the Weather button on the FSXSERVER's main form.

Dynamic Live Weather  

If the Disable Weather Update on Startup option is enabled the LWE will remain dormant until you force a weather update either via the Addon menu or via the Update Weather button in the dialog, or via a Shortcut Control. This option allows you to enter their flight details and adjust the weather settings prior to generating and updating the weather at the start of your flight.

You may enter (or paste) your flight plan, or a list of ICAO, nav aids and general waypoint codes into the Flight Plan or En Route Station List edit box. Your flight plan destination ICAO will be automatically copied to the Destination ICAO field. Refer to the section below for a description of the Flight Plan Options.

Configure a Destination ICAO Code and up to four alternate airfield designations. Always specify your destination ICAO, this is very important in preventing wind shifts. The specified destination and alternate airfield weather is updated automatically without the need to constantly download new METAR reports. These automatic updates ensure compliance with the current downloaded METAR reports at these locations. You can change the ICAO codes in flight. It is recommended you update the weather manually (via the dialog or add-on menu) when you change the ICAO codes, either before a flight or whilst airbourne.

Weather Report windows provide accurate weather reports for the specified destination and alternate airfields. These reports can be used in place of ATIS and are accurate out to the edge of the weather map (640km about 400 miles or 345nm).

The Cruise Altitude setting in the weather dialog allows you to specify a reference cruise altitude. You can enter a three digit flight level, or FLnnn format (e.g. FL230), or an altitude. All altitudes less than 1000 feet are interpreted as an implied flight level. For the Sim Friendly GRIB wind adjustment, any cruise altitude less than 20000 feet will reference the forecasted tropopause height.

The Adjust Options Automatically option uses your specified Max Cruise Altitude to determine the optimum weather settings for your flight including the Recovery Altitude and Forced Recovery altitude. If your cruise altitude is below 6000 feet then GRIB will be disabled. Refer to the Automatic Settings section for further details. If you prefer to set these manually then you can do so in the Smoothing and Stabilisation dialog, remember to disable the Adjust Options Automatically option first otherwise it will override your manual settings. If you have problems with wind shifts or temperatures then enable Adjust Sim Friendly Options, which will select Sim friendly GRIB winds and temps, again if you prefer to set these manually then you can do so in the Weather Download Options dialog. The Use Maximum Stabilisation option should be enabled for systems that suffer badly from wind shifts. Wind and pressure stabilisation is enabled together with Stabilised GRIB Data if appropriate. You can set Stabilised GRIB Data manually in the Weather Download Options dialog.

The Reuse GRIB Data option forces the LWE to reuse the previously downloaded GRIB data on your PC instead of attempting to download a new cycle. It is intended for use when the NOAA GRIB server is unavailable. The option is disabled by default on OpusFSX startup. The option is automatically enabled once airborne, this is done to prevent any new GRIB cycle data being downloaded after landing. Any new cycle data files will be downloaded only when on the ground before the very first flight.

If you have set your Destination, Max Cruise Altitude and enabled Adjust Options Automatically then you can go ahead and fly without setting any further options in the Weather Download, Smoothing and Stabilisation, and General User Preferences dialogs, they are provided for you to tweak the settings manually if required.  


The Defaults button sets all recommended default options.

Update Weather

The Update Weather button forces a weather update and downloads METAR and GRIB data if necessary. The OK button reloads the current weather data according to your new settings and will not download the METAR and GRIB data again.  The text in the Weather button on the FSXSERVER form is grayed out and changed to 'Updating' whilst the LWE is busy refreshing or downloading and updating the weather.

Flight Plan Options

Identifying your Navdata Source

The flight planning assistance software decodes the standard Navigraph Navdata Navaids and Waypoints text files for use in identifying all Nav aids and general waypoints within the your flight plan. First locate your Navdata folder.

The standard <SIM>\Navigraph\Navdata\ path is the default location for these files but you may Browse to different folders on FSX and Prepar3D systems should they be located elsewhere (e.g. NavDataPro folder). The Navigraph Navdata supplied for the PMDG aircraft is in your <SIM>\PMDG\NAVDATA folder in the wpnavaid.txt and wpnavfix.txt Navigraph files. iFLY files are in the <FSX>\iFly\Navdata folder.

If you do not have any  Navigraph files then a default version of the files (apart from SIDs and STARs) are automatically installed into your <SIM>\Navigraph\Navdata folder, to update these subscribe to Navigraph's FMS data service at www.navigraph.com.

You will know if OpusFSX has extracted the Nav data because the NAVAIDS.DAT and WAYPOINTS.DAT files will be created in the OpusFSX folder. The NavData is reloaded each time you change the folder location, or press the Reload or Process the Flight Plan buttons, or exit the dialog.

N.B. you only need to identify your Navdata folder once and it will be used for all aircraft types, you do not need to change the Navdata folder when selecting aircraft from different manufacturers.

Entering a Flight Plan

The LWE will automatically import flight plans activated via FSX. The full file specification for all FSX/P3D activated (loaded) flight plans is displayed within the main Spy window of the FSXSERVER program. However if you wish to manually import or enter and process a flight plan then you can do it via this dialog.

Entering a Flight Plan Manually

If you enter the flight plan manually then your flight plan should start and end with a station's ICAO code, i.e. in the form,

            <origin> <nav aids and waypoint fixes and airways> <destination>

e.g. EGCC 53.317167N2.318000W WAL33 TULIP LFST

Your departure and destination points are required in order for the software to identify the specific Nav aid or waypoint since many of them have shared names. So make sure you specify your origin and destination ICAO codes. The origin, destination and fixes can also be defined as Lat Lon fixes. 

The formats for Lat Lon fixes are as follows,  

<sign><lat>/<sign><lon>:<code> e.g. 12-34-56/-123-45-67 or 1234/-12345 or 1.23/-1.23:ABC1
<lat><N or S><lon> <E or W>:<code> e.g. 12-34-56N123-45-67W or 1234N12345W or 1.23N1.23W:ABC1
<N or S><lat><E or W><lon> :<code> e.g. N12-34-56W123-45-67 or N1234W12345 or N1.23W1.23:ABC1


<sign> =  + (optional) to indicate North or East  
- to indicate South or West  
<lat> =  dd-mm-ss  
<lon> = ddd-mm-ss  
<code> =  optional ICAO code or station name
dd = degrees in 2 digits
ddd = degrees in 3 digits 
deg = degrees represented in decimal form e.g. 30 minutes would be 0.5 degrees  
mm =  minutes in 2 digits

Importing a Flight Plan

You can import any Microsoft FSX or FS9 PLN formatted flight plan (with .PLN filename extension). The import option will initialise its path to your My Documents folder ready for you to navigate to your actual Flight Simulator X Files, Prepared3D Files, or other folder name (for foreign language systems). Your PLN folder's location is remembered by the FPA software after you have selected the required .PLN filename. An Import Cruise Altitude checkbox option is provided to enable or disable the importing of the cruise altitude from the flight plan.

All flight plans activated within the simulator are decoded and processed automatically. For this to happen the FSXSERVER program must be running before the flight plan is loaded into the simulator.

Processing a Flight Plan

The software ignores all identifiers that are not listed as Nav aids and waypoints. Airways are recognised provided the entry point is specified, also if you have specified both entry and exit points in the flight plan (usually done) then the FP Assistant will replace the Airway with the list of points en route and provide weather information and upper winds/temps for each of those navigation points.

The nearest four Met stations within 128km (80 miles) of a navigation point are added to the download list. The Flight Plan Options dialog lists all identified navigation points extracted from your flight plan.

Click on the Process the Flight Plan button to decode the Flight Plan and display the result in the Identified Navigation Points box. The navigation aids and waypoints, where they exist, are displayed with their Lat/Lon coordinates, general type and two letter country codes. Where possible the specified label of any lat/lon waypoint fixes are shown. Airway fixes are displayed in green. Alternate Met stations are displayed in red. If you subsequently change your alternates then you will need to process the flight plan again.

Just remember to force a weather update to download the METARs. Until then there will be no METAR data since it hasn't been downloaded. After downloading, all the non-reporting Met stations are removed from the list.

The Flight Plan En Route Weather Report displays the navigation points associated with each listed Met station, refer to the Weather Reports section for further details. The OpusFlightReport text file in the OpusFSX\Themes folder provides details of all cruise winds, cruise temperatures and local weather reports at each of the navigation points.

Deleting a Flight Plan

To delete a flight plan simply press the Reset button.

Weather Download Options


Disable the Adjust Options Automatically option in the Weather dialog if you wish to manually set Download GRIB Forecast Data or the Weather Update on Approach parameters. Also disable Adjust Sim Friendly Options and Use Maximum Stabilisation if you wish to set the parameters manually here.

Dynamic Weather Options

The default Weather Update settings are 60 minutes and/or 160km travelled. The minimum Live Weather Update frequency and distance is 5 minutes and 16km respectively. The Weather Update Period and Distance can be set to up to a maximum of 60 minutes and/or 400km (248 miles). Any distance above 175km (108 miles) will result in increasing the injected Dynamic Weather Theme size. Take into consideration your FSX cloud draw distance and your ground speed when setting your update time, if the update time is not frequent enough then you may reach the cloud draw distance before a weather update takes place. We recommend setting a Cloud Draw Distance of between 70 and 110 miles in the simulator. The lower setting of 70 or 80 miles will be adequate for low level VFR, and anything from 80 to 110 miles for high level flying. The clouds at the range of the Cloud Draw Distance will either condense into view or dissipate out of view as you fly toward or away from them.

If you do not like change and you don't fly beyond 192Km then you can disable weather updates via the simulator's OpusFSX Add-on menu but be aware that if  you eventually perform another weather update, the injected targets may be completely different from the current wind and may cause one or more wind shifts.

If you want historic data then set your sim time to the required time within the last 24 hours and tick the Download Historic Weather checkbox.

Tick the Download GRIB Forecast Data option if you want to use this forecast data instead of the OpusFSX simulated winds and temperatures aloft. This is only relevant if you fly above 20,000 feet. Refer to the Winds and Temperatures Aloft section for further details. After ticking this box you must manually download the weather using the Update Weather button in the Weather menu. Clear Air Turbulence comes into effect above FL200 when the GRIB option is enabled, note that FSX does not display wing flex for Clear Air Turbulence.

Sim Friendly GRIB Wind Targets should be enabled along with the Wind Stabilisation option in the Wind Smoothing dialog on any system experiencing troublesome wind shifts. The Sim Friendly GRIB Wind Targets option causes the LWE to adjust any 'sim unfriendly' wind changes in direction and speed.

The Sim Friendly GRIB Temperature Targets option causes the LWE to adjust any 'sim unfriendly' temperatures, enable this if FSX is having difficulty maintaining its targets.

If enabled the Background GRIB Processing option (default ON) will process GRIB data (i.e. GRIB data extraction and the data decoding) slowly in the background and does not affect the sim during this period. The GRIB data is extracted and processed at the beginning of the flight whilst on the ground.

The Stabilised GRIB Data option goes a step further for systems experiencing wind shifts in the cruise, and makes the GRIB forecast data static, i.e. no further GRIB upper wind/temperature forecasts are downloaded during the flight.

The possibility of wind shifts cannot entirely be ruled out, this is due to bugs in the FSX/P3D code, that's why you should always disable the 'Aircraft stress causes damage' FSX option.  

Weather Update on Approach

If you suffer from wind shifts then tick the Disable Update on Approach checkbox. On approach, all weather updates will be disabled for Disable Weather Update For minutes (default 30 minutes) on the final descent as soon as you descend through the Disable Update when Below height (default 1800 feet AGL). This process is cancelled whenever you climb above Assume Cruising when Above height (default 2000 feet AGL).

Current Data - Weather Servers

Select the required server NOAA, VATSIM or IVAO (remember to disable VATSIM/IVAO's own weather injection).

Tick the Use VATSIM for Missing Data checkbox if you wish to use VATSIM to fill in missing dynamic weather data (not historic) from the other servers, useful for areas such as NZ.  

When the Download NOAA TAFs checkbox is ticked the LWE will download all available TAFs for all METAR stations. This option is only applicable when the NOAA Server is selected. The downloaded TAFs are shown within the OpusFlightReport.txt (FLIGHT PLAN) text report.

Historic Data - Weather Servers

Currently the Secondary Server identifies NOAA, another option for the secondary server will be implemented in the future.

Smoothing and Stabilisation


Low Altitude Wind Smoothing

If you don't suffer from wind shifts then you can just leave the default maximum values of 15 for Max Speed Change and Max Direction Change. Generally the only times when the wind shows greater variation is when it is calm or just a zephyr, so the direction isn't really important.

Otherwise if you do have wind shifts at low altitudes (below 20,000 feet) the Max Speed Change option allows you to fine tune the surface wind smoothing by specifying the maximum allowed wind speed change every 16km. You can also specify the Max Direction Change (default 15 degrees).

High Altitude Wind Stabilisation

Disable the Adjust Options Automatically, Adjust Sim Friendly Options and Use Maximum Stabilisation options in the Weather dialog if you wish to manually set the High Altitude Wind Stabilisation parameters.

The Enable Wind Stabilisation option has been provided for users who suffer from wind shifts and mainly fly at high altitude, typically above 20,000 feet. Wind Stabilisation applies to both dynamic weather and METAR file import. Ideally set this on the ground before a flight not during. Wind variance is automatically disabled when Wind Stabilisation is enabled since this has been known to be troublesome in FSX.

Automatic Wind Stabilisation will automatically enable Wind Stabilisation once you climb above the specified Recovery Altitude + 500 feet.

Enable Dynamic Wind Control is enabled by default but can be disabled on systems that do not cope too well with the direct ambient wind controls, or in multiplayer mode if you experience a problem.

Enable Pressure/Temperature Stabilisation is intended for long haul high level flyers. All weather reports indicate when a 'Static' QNH is in use. The LWE will recover the surface winds and temperatures separately to the surface pressure. The LWE always attempts to achieve a smooth recovery of the surface pressure.

The Recovery Altitude is where the winds will attempt to recover eventually to the true surface wind, default 19,000 feet. A lower setting is advised for those experiencing very serious wind shift problems. It will allow the stabilised winds to be maintained to a much lower altitude, probably at the expense of being able to recover the current surface winds reported in the latest METARs. Wind stabilisation is enabled automatically if the user climbs above the Recovery Altitude plus 500 feet.

The maximum permitted wind direction change, Max Wind Change, can be specified (default 30 degrees change).  If you do want to adhere strictly to the METARs (with a risk of wind shifts) then set the Forced Recovery altitude (see below).

A Forced Recovery altitude (default 12000 feet) allows full recovery of the reported surface winds after wind stabilisation and during the final descent from 19,000 feet. The full recovery may cause a wind shift at the configured altitude, if this is not acceptable then set the altitude to 0 feet to disable it. Any wind shift you experience here is less worrying because you are lower down and travelling slower, usually in much calmer winds.  

Enable Cloud Smoothing will attempt to preserve all cloud layers and coverage surrounding the aircraft. The extent of the preservation zone increases with increased elevation. All Cloud Smoothing is disabled when the aircraft is within 64km (40 miles) of the specified Destination.

It is not possible to stop FSX re-positioning the individual clouds but the OpusFSX LWE can preserve the cloud layers, cloud types, cloud bases, cloud depths, cloud precipitation, and overall cloud coverage.

General User Preferences 

The Thunderstorms Require TS Descriptor option when enabled only produces active thunderstorm (CB) clouds when the TS descriptor is specified within the METAR statement. When this option is disabled either TS or CB in the METAR will produce an active thunderstorm.

The Magnetic Variation is disabled by default. When enabled, there will be a difference between the reported wind directions METAR and GRIB forecast data which always report directions with respect to True North and the current wind directions within the simulator and reported by ATIS which are always Magnetic directions. To assist the pilot, the LWE will show the current Magnetic Variation in the weather report windows, displayed in the form 'MagVar XX.X' at the end of the surface wind information. You must ADD this value to all wind directions to convert them to Magnetic directions at the current location. Please note, OpusFSX cannot show the Magnetic Variation at the Destination or Alternate sites, only at your current location in the simulated world.

The Include Wing Flex Data option is disabled by default to prevent the simulator erroneously fluctuating the ASI and VSI when the simulator's turbulence and thermal setting is enabled. This simulator turbulence effect is responsible for providing wing flex and ASI fluctuations. The erroneous fluctuations interfere with and fight against the normal ambient wind target changes within the sim making them undesirable, and problematic in some aircraft sims (e.g. the MD aircraft types). If you wish to enable the simulator's turbulence and thermal effects giving you wing flex (FSX menu option - Options, Settings, Display. Select the Weather tab, there is an option for turbulence and thermal effects on the aircraft, make sure it is not disabled), you must also tick the Include Wing Flex Data option. To see wing flex enable the 'Advanced Animations' option in the FSX menu option - Options, Settings, Display - Graphics tab. Note, the wing flex option can cause some aircraft simulations to loose A/T or A/P lock.

High level cirrus cloud is not included within the standard METAR reports.

The Auto Cirrus Clouds option automatically displays cirrus cloud whenever it determines the weather is quite changeable, possibly due to a weather front. The cirrus cloud coverage is generated randomly between the configured lower and upper Cirrus Altitude Range based on the aircraft's current latitude. The lower range will be adjusted to between 10,000 feet at the poles to 20,000 feet at the equator, the upper range will be adjusted to between 25,000 feet at the poles to 60,000 feet at the equator. The calculated limits are graduated throughout the polar, temperate, and tropical zones. For example, at EGNX East Midlands (latitude 52.8 degrees) the limits are set to range from 15,900 to 43,100 feet. In fairly stable conditions the cirrus cloud will be disabled. In flight, the cirrus is reassessed every 80 miles flown.

Disable Cirrus Clouds if you don't want any cirrus clouds at all, either auto or random.

If you haven't selected auto cirrus or disabled cirrus clouds then the Live Weather Engine generates a single cirrus cloud layer at a random height between the configured lower and upper Cirrus Altitude Range. The valid range of altitude settings are from 10,000ft up to 60,000ft (default range is 16,500ft to 45,000ft).

Low Overcast Effects come into force whenever the overcast cloud cover is less than about 6000 feet AGL. You must be IN the Low Overcast Effect to see it. Overcast by definition means 90% or more cloud coverage. Don't expect to see solid blanket type overcast when looking vertically downward ... you WILL see transparent holes just like you do in real life until you get IN an OpusFSX Low Overcast Effect (an overcast below 6000 feet).  

Disable Fog and Mist effects if required. The mist and fog effects place a thin layer of cloud on the mist/fog layer so that it is visible from above.

In P3D simulator mode the Enable Volumetric Fog option is set automatically using the VolumetricFog setting within the Prepar3D.CFG file. If you change this setting during a P3D session then either change the Enable Volumetric Fog Effect in OpusFSX to match P3D or restart OpusFSX. This option is ignored whenever the Microsoft FSX simulator type has been selected.

The Reduce Maximum Upper Visibility Limit option is for those users who prefer their upper visibility limits to be reduced a notch. The visibility at altitude (28,000 feet) is reduced from the usual 128km to 96km depending on the weather conditions.

Realistic reduced visibility is an effect seen in the real world which we have simulated for FSX. You may ignore (disable) realistic reduced visibility by configuring the distance as required, a value of zero disables reduced visibility entirely.

The Default Surface Visibility setting defaults to either 32km (20 miles)  or 48km depending on latitude and time of year. The maximum visibility at altitude is usually 128km (80 miles) and attained at or below a target altitude of 28,000 feet. This maximum visibility can be reduced to 96km (60 miles) whenever average surface visibility is reduced below some predetermined distance depending on your Max Surface Visibility setting.

Of course when using Dynamic Weather the visibility values in the METARs will override this setting so it only comes into force when the METARs state CAVOK, 9999 or 10SM conditions.  

Automatic Settings

Parameters changed by the Automatic Settings

Parameters changed by the Automatic Settings

Setting the Adjust Options Automatically uses your specified Max Cruise Altitude to set the weather related options, see the table below. Dialog settings won't be updated until after the next  weather update. These options are different to the Default settings.

Cruising Below 6000 feet

Cruising Between 6000 and Below 12000 feet

Cruising Between 12000 and Below 22000 feet

Cruising 22000 feet and Above

Weather Download Options
Weather Download Options - Weather Update on Approach
Assume Cruising when Above 1750 feet 2000 feet 2000 feet 2000 feet
Disable Update when Below 1500 feet 1800 feet 1800 feet 1800 feet
Descent Disable Period 30 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes  
Smoothing and Stabilisation - High Altitude Wind Stabilisation
Recovery Altitude 19000 feet

If Adjust Sim Friendly Options is ticked in the Weather dialog then,

Cruise Altitude minus 2000 feet (minimum 5000 feet).

Else, 19000 feet

Cruise Altitude minus 4000 feet 19000 feet
Forced Recovery 12000 feet

If Adjust Sim Friendly Options is ticked then,

Cruise Altitude minus 2000 feet (minimum 5000 feet).
Else, 12000 feet

Cruise Altitude minus 10000 feet 12000 feet
Max Wind Change 30 degrees 30 degrees 30 degrees 30 degrees

If Adjust Sim Friendly Options is ticked in the Weather dialog then the following weather related options are always adjusted with any GRIB download,

Sim Friendly GRIB Wind Targets = ENABLED

Sim Friendly GRIB Temperature Targets = ENABLED  

If Use Maximum Stabilisation is ticked in the Weather dialog then the following weather related options are always adjusted with any GRIB download,

Enable Pressure/Temperature Stabilisation = ENABLED

Max Wind Change = 20 degrees

METAR File Import

As an alternative to the weather data collection over the Internet the software can be instructed to import its METAR data from a user specified import file. The minimum Import METAR File scan frequency is 5 seconds. Refer to the Weather Data Import section for details.

Save Current Weather as Static Theme

This dialog also includes a Save Current Weather as Static Theme button which can be used to save the current Dynamic Weather (or METAR file import weather) as a named static theme. The theme covers an area of about 250km (160 miles) in each direction around your aircraft. You can choose to save the theme with any name provided it is not prefixed with 'Opus'. Refer to the Weather Data Import section for further details on loading the saved weather.

N.B. Take great care not to overwrite one of the standard FSX/Prepar3D themes, the software will query you if you select a theme that already exists, but will overwrite the theme if you answer Yes to the query.

Static Weather Themes

The use of static weather themes is efficient and guarantees consistent weather and cloud formations across all systems. Weather themes do not require the transfer of METAR reports from the server to client systems.

To ensure correct synchronization, the desired weather theme for the flight must be selected in the FSXSERVER's Weather dialog, and not via the usual FSX Weather menu. The Enable Live Weather Engine checkbox should be unchecked within the server Configuration dialog, otherwise the static themes are grayed out in the Weather dialog.

If at any time the weather or cloud formations differ on your client machines, possibly due to you manually pausing one or more of the simulators, this can happen as a result of displaying an FSX dialog, then you can quickly resynchronize the weather by displaying the Weather dialog on the FSXSERVER and clicking on the OK button to reselect and reload (i.e. synchronize) the chosen weather theme. You may of course choose to browse for a new weather theme and select that.

This procedure may also be required after the client systems have first connected. For example, when you have not prepared everything, including the weather theme, on the server system before the client connections are made. In either case, the resynchronization is almost instant.  

If the Live Weather Engine is disabled then no static theme will be loaded on start up when the User Specified static weather theme option is set and the User Specified Theme Filename is blank.

Recommended Settings and Practice

Upgrade to the latest Release or Beta Version.
Set all Defaults in all weather dialogs. *
Specify your Destination.
Specify your Max Cruise Altitude. **
Update the Weather. ***
Check the Weather ****

* This should enable the Adjust Options Automatically and the Adjust Sim Friendly options in the Weather dialog.

** If you specify a Cruise Altitude of 6000 feet or more the LWE will download and process the GRIB forecast data from NOAA.

*** If GRIB data is downloaded then the Opus Upper Atmosphere Report will be automatically displayed showing the progress of your GRIB data download and processing. If you have specified Background GRIB Processing in the Downloads dialog then the GRIB data extraction and lengthy decoding will proceed at a slower pace and can take several minutes. Otherwise the processing will be done as fast as possible at the expense of FSX performance or frame rates. The GRIB data is only downloaded once before flight and the decoded data will be valid all day or at least for nine hours so this is normally not a concern or problem. However, most users need GRIB data for flight planning and preparation.

**** Before flight you should get into the habit of checking the weather. At the very least display and check the Opus Local, Lower, Upper, and Destination Weather reports. You may also like to examine the various Opus text reports accessed via the FSX Addon menu. There are separate reports showing the downloaded METARs, all the GRIB wind and temperature targets from 4000 feet up to FL540, all the en route weather for any specified flight plan including TAFs if you have enabled them, and finally an easy reference to all relevant SIDs and STARs. This report gives a handy direction and bearing for each listed SID and STAR.

The Opus weather reports (e.g. The Destination Weather) should be checked during climb and descent to monitor all wind and temperature targets, compared with the actual FSX ambient conditions. This way you will know that your sim is operating as expected.

Never disable weather updates, FSX will NOT cope on its own it simply cannot contain all the necessary data.

Test Weather Reports, located in the OpusFSX\Themes folder and accessed via the FSX Addon menu ...

OpusWeather.txt ... The downloaded METARs
OpusWeatherReport.txt ... The GRIB data report
OpusFlightReport.txt ... The flight plan en route weather report
OpusSIDSTARReport.txt ... The relevant SIDs and STARs

Live Weather Assistant (LWA) and Weather Map data ...

Surface QNH
Surface Winds
Surface Temperatures
Surface Visibility
Cruise Level Winds
Cruise Level Temperatures
Lower Level Cloud Cover
Met Station Cover

The LWA and up to six weather maps can be displayed on the server or a networked client.

Remember ...

You should use all the various Opus weather reports and text report files to check your weather before and during flight. Especially BEFORE you fly.

At the very least examine the Opus on-screen weather reports.

BEFORE flight ...

1. Check the Local weather report and confirm the weather has been injected OK.
2. Check the Lower Atmospheric weather report to confirm you have GRIB data downloaded and decoded. It will also show you what winds and temps to expect as the LWE takes you up to FL200 and the GRIB forecasted winds and temps.
3. Check the Upper Atmospheric weather report, again to confirm the GRIB data is downloaded and in use. This will also confirm the expected upper winds and temperatures.
4. Check your Destination weather report, if not within the current weather map then check the Destination report in the En Route weather reports. Then you will be warned of any adverse weather at your Destination.
5. If you have processed a flight plan then check the OpusFlightReport.txt file. You can access this via the Addon menu or directly, you will find it in your OpusFSX\Themes folder. The file content is self explanatory. 

Other Comments and Useful Hints ...

Both the Lower and Upper Atmospheric reports, and the OpusWeatherReport.txt (GRIB Data) report file contain details of the actual downloaded GRIB data cycle. In addition, each weather report contains the METAR day and time code.

There should never be any need to question the validity of the forecasted data. All the weather related information is available for you to examine, as you should do before every flight.

The OpusWeatherReport.txt (GRIB Data) text report shows ALL the forecasted and Opus 'Sim Friendly' adjusted upper wind and temperature target data from FL040 upwards. All data from FL200 and above being derived directly from the actual forecasted GRIB data.

Specify the altitude you are going to spend the most time cruising at in the Max Cruise Altitude. If you set the Adjust Sim Friendly option (Recommended to minimise weather updates amongst other things) then the software will ensure the raw GRIB forecasted data is adjusted (sim friendly adjustments) about this reference altitude. Of course the GRIB forecast is only adjusted when needed at each 500 foot level. You can see the results of this in the OpusWeatherReport.txt (GRIB Data) report file and the Upper Atmosphere Report.

From release version 3.41 onwards, the vast majority of systems can now safely use Non Sim Friendly GRIB Data if they wish but at the expense of more frequent weather updates as you climb and descend. The choice is yours but the GRIB text report file will show you the actual GRIB forecast data for you to examine, including all raw (unaltered) GRIB forecast data.

Helpful hint ...

If the upper winds, above FL200, all veer upwards above your lowest stepped altitude then they will not be adjusted by the Sim Friendly option. This option allows veering wind directions and increasing wind strengths and only adjusts those that are backing (rotating anti clockwise as you climb) upwards.

You can compare the adjusted and raw GRIB in both the text report file and in the Upper weather report.

The actual GRIB data cycle is also identified. There is 360 hours (15 days) of global forecast data in each cycle. The cycles are never posted on time as that identifies the time of the forecast cycle and not the time of release. Cycles can in fact be posted anything up to 9 hours after the cycle time.

There should be no need to force a weather update, the LWE will update automatically to keep all the wind and temp targets appropriate to the current altitude zone. It is usually best to leave the LWE to monitor and adjust (you will need FSUIPC4 installed for this) the winds dynamically.

Use the various on screen weather reports and the shift-Z info bar to monitor your ambient conditions (wind) checking against the targeted wind in the weather report for your altitude.

Start off using all Recommended Settings including the Adjust Sim Friendly option. Get used to monitoring the targets against the current ambient wind.

I usually position the weather report window immediately below the shift-Z info line. I monitor the Lower report during the climb below FL200 then switch to the Upper report as I continue to climb up to my cruise altitude. Then I usually monitor the Destination weather report.

Never use accelerated time during the climb or descent, give your sim and the Opus DWC the best possible chance to maintain its targets. In the cruise if you must use accelerated time only use x2, x4 with supervision. Not all aircraft sims are designed to work in accelerated time.

The above weather checking and target monitoring will confirm that your sim is performing as expected. The DWC on the vast majority of systems will hold the winds within 2 degrees and 2 knots of the desired target values. Remember DWC does require FSUIPC4.


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