Modern Flight Management System (FMS) provides advanced flight planning and navigation capability.

Flight Management System (FMS) requires four main elements:

  • Flight Management Computer (FMC)
  • Display System (could be existing EFIS)
  • Data Base Storage Unit (DBU for waypoint storage)
  • Control Display Unit (CDU) with keypad

From the cockpit, the FMS is normally controlled through a Control Display Unit (CDU) which incorporates a small screen and keyboard or touchscreen. The FMS sends the flight plan for a display to the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), Navigation Display (ND), or Multifunction Display (MFD).

The navigation database (NDB) is normally updated every 28 days, in order to ensure that its contents are current.

Prior to departure, waypoints (including those of the origin and destination) are entered into the FMC via the Control Display Unit (CDU) to define the route.

FMS initialization also involves updating the FMS with operational flight parameters such as aircraft weight and fuel load.

The FMC’s navigational database includes airports and ground beacons and requires periodic updating (every 28 days with 13 update cycles per annum). The update is usually distributed on CDROM but requires a floppy disk for installation on most aircraft.

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