What is ACARS?

ACARS stands for "Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System". It's a digital data link system used to transmit messages between airplanes and ground stations via airband radio or satellite.

In terms of VirtualFlight.Online, phpVMS ACARS is a software application you can run alongside Microsoft Flight Simulator that helps you track flights, refer to operational flight plans, and review your performance while in flight.

Installing ACARS

(for simulators other than Microsoft Flight Simulator, scroll to the bottom of this page)

Downloading and installing the phpVMS ACARS client

Creating a profile

After running ACARS for the first time, you will need to create a new "profile". The ACARS client can be used for multiple airlines, or multiple users within the same airline - therefore it lets you specify them as 'profiles'.

Syncing your scenery

The "sync" function in the ACARS client allows it to interrogate your simulator scenery database - this is how it knows if you're on a runway, a taxiway, or even at the right airport. If you update your simulator scenery (e.g. add a new airport), you can re-sync as often as you wish to make sure it's accurate.

Add the fsuipc-lvar-module to your community folder

In order for the ACARS client to work correctly with Microsoft Flight Simulator, you need to add the fsuipc-lvar-module add-on to your simulator community folder.

You can download it from here:

Once downloaded, you need to extract / unzip the downloaded file. This will leave you with a folder called fsuipc-lvar-module and theĀ file you downloaded. You can now discard the downloaded .zip file and move the fsuipc-lvar-module folder into your simulator community folder.

Worth noting - this does not mean you need to run FSUIPC - you just need the LVAR module in your community folder.


The ACARS client has several icons in the left margin:

Starting flights

After filling out the flight details within ACARS (remember to populate the passengers and payload!), just click the "Start Flight" button either in the left margin of the ACARS client application, or in the Flight page.

Note - you must be on the ground at the departure airport, with the power off in the aircraft to start your flight without incurring any penalties.

Here's a quick checklist:

Ending flights

When you arrive at the destination airflield, you must find a parking space and safely shut down your aircraft before ending the flight in the ACARS client application.

At the end of the flight, the summary page becomes available to see how performed.

Finally, you can submit or cancel your PIREP - it should be filed quickly, and will be visible to view in the website immediately.

Choosing flights

You can start a flight in ACARS in several different ways:

Choosing flights in the website

If you choose a flight in the website, you can "send it to ACARS". This will only work if ACARS is not already running.

Choosing flights in ACARS

You can search the flights database directly from ACARS, in the Search page.

Configuring flights directly in ACARS

You are not required to send flights to ACARS from the website. ACARS is loosely coupled to the airline - at the point a PIREP is filed, the airline, flight number, code, and leg number are matched against the flights database. If a matching flight is found, the PIREP is associated with it. It becomes important to get this right for tours - where you can see your progress through a tour reflected within the website (a green tick appears next to each leg you have filed a PIREP for). Obviously if you enter incorrect details, the tour leg will not be ticked.

While we would encourage you to send flights to ACARS from the website, if you're careful everything should work as intended (famous last words!).

It's all gone wrong - how do I file my flight?

If all else fails, you can file a "Manual PIREP". Pilot pay is cut by 50% if filing manually.

Using ACARS with other simulators

FSX & Prepar3D

If you are using FSX or Prepar3D, you can still use the ACARS client - but you'll need to install some extra components first:

After installing both, run MakeRwys. MakeRwys also needs to be re-run whenever there are scenery changes (if you want gates/runways to be updated).


X-Plane uses a custom plugin.

Go back to the Airline