How to control the GNS 430/530?

I fly in VR and have a nightmare of a time doing anything with the rotary knobs on the GNS 430/530. Short of buying the Realsimgear 430/530, do you have any advice on how to control these? Are there still no hotkeys for these controls (■■■, why??). I seriously spend minutes trying to just get one turn on the correct knob. It is an absolute nightmare to control. Please tell me there is a better way, lol.

Moved to #virtual-reality-vr:cockpit-interaction

You could build a button box. Not that hard really. I use Mobiflight because it was so easy to program. I have a 3in1 printer but you don’t even need a 3D printer. Realistically it would cost less than $100 to build a box to control those 2 radios. Personally I wanted to control the whole 172 cockpit so my solution is a little over the top (maybe). Virtual Reality General Aviation Button Box - Self-Service / Home Cockpit Builders - Microsoft Flight Simulator Forums

There’s a Cockpit Zoom/Focus button in VR which is helpful for this kind of thing, I have it mapped to a thumb button on my joystick - I cant remember if it is mapped by default, check your controls in the VR section

Have a look at an behringer xtouch, it’s a midi controller that with software such as axis and ohs, the rotaries can be assistance assigned to various controls, it has 8 rotaries and 16 buttons and an a and b mode which doubles up the number of options.

I use it in vr, it takes a bit of muscle memory but it works.

The x touch is £47 on amazon, axis and ohs c£15 from just flight or simmarket.

You can also make a template of what you’ve assigned to the various rotaries and pdf it, then put a copy in ebag (freeware from so you can view it in vr to remind you what’s where as you’re getting used to it.

I’ve got it set up to control the 430 in the pmdg dc6.

Only thing I’m not sure of if you have the gtn 750 if it would interact with the touch screen.

Check out my DIY control box: [WIP] cheap DIY VR Control Box - 6 dual encoder / 8 button / 1 3-pos switch project
Very cheap to make, and effecive.

I don’t like the 430/530 either. I use the pay ware version of the GTN750 and the following link will take you to MODS that allows you to use the GTN750 with just about any plane in MSFS. Basically the GTN works inside the G1000 faceplate. Some pay ware planes from the MSFS Store, like Carenados, already have the faceplate for their planes that work with the GTN750.
There is also a free version offered by the developer but lacks of some features like Navigraph, METARS, and other things. Since I subscribe to Navigraph I went with the premium version. The GTN750 is touch screen. .

JDs GTN750 on Others Mod » Microsoft Flight Simulator

The thing is that with touch screens you are forced to use the mouse in VR to operate everything. Ugh… I actually prefer the 530 (modded version of course) because with my encoders I can operate virtually everything (certainly everything I need) with 3 of my dual encoders and a few buttons, just as in a real unit. Very immersive. That includes zooming, changing views, clicking to enter letter with encoder, activating flight plan legs etc.

I have many G1000/G3000 and some G3X functions mapped too, but ultimately they reply more on touchscreens and button rows, so those can’t be mapped to an easy VR box that can be operated by touch. So 530 is perfect, I use it exclusively when I fly PA28.

You can not avoid using the mouse, even if you program some buttons here and there. I ended up disabling all my mechanical switches on my Alpha and Bravo because I can not find them when I am on the dark side (VR) and that alone gave me a more realistic feel/immersion. I still have the original profiles in case I want to use my monitor.

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Oh, yes, I can and I do! The only area I have to use mouse now (at least in PS28) is the menu bar and associated windows, but those are not naturally immersive anyway, so it’s OK. With all aircraft operations I can fly without touching a mouse even once.

GPS is taken care of with my VR Control box - it’s dual encoders and buttons are grouped together and are shaped differently so I have no problem operating it by touch intuitively. Besides controlling GPS the 6 dual encoders and buttons also control the autopilot, heading bug, radio frequency tuning and swap (just as on the real thing), Transponder and ADF tuning, course bug, altimeter etc. - all the knobs on the instruments are covered, and some buttons/switches. The limit is only my memory, there is only so much layouts I can remember. But everything I really use is intuitive now.

By flipping a switch the encoders also control fuel tank switching and fuel pump and other things. Gear, flaps, landing lights and parking brake are mapped to throttle quadrant buttons that I can reach without thinking. My custom made trim wheel (controlled by my VR Control Box board) is very precise, and rudder trim encoder doubles as rotating starter key (click on it and it becomes a rudder trim knob again).

Almost all switches and functions are also operated via voice commands by a virtual “copilot” that I programmed using VoiceAttack with MSFS plugin, using free MSFS profile as a base. It can now read me checklists at my voice request (i.e. “piper preflight checklist”), engaging some switches, interacting with me for other items (waiting for my “clear prop!”, “flaps set” or “runway verified” phrases at appropriate places). She can do almost everything at my command (yes, it’s a “she” because the most natural voice I could get is female, besides, it’s more pleasant).

So between VR Control Box and VoiceAttack I have almost everything needed during flight covered. I can even interact with ATC by saying things like “Acknowlegde” or “Tune 2” or “Select 3”. Not entirely natural phrasing, but the whole ATC dialog isn’t. No mouse though. I’m waiting for VR controller support for airliners though, because that would be too much. But still, autopilot will be better operated via encoders, and checklists are so much better with interactive voice operations.

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You are definitely more savvy than I. I am using voice attack also, but mainly for keyboard commands I use frequently, such as switching the mouse control Cabin Views, setting the Altimeter, for planes, such as the King Air, where the knob for the Baro is between the seats. I still like to be able to do some things in the cockpit, like setting up flaps, etc. It is what makes it more realistic instead of using voice.

Certainly, and that’s why I made my VR Control Box. Until we have VR controller support, that’s the best we can do to avoid using the mouse.
Note that with a free VoiceAttack MSFS plugin you can actually say something like “set heading to 210” or “tune radio to 108.25” and it will do that. However I don’t use that as all that i better handled by my encoders, and it’s more realistic. Also, speaking numbers like that is not always reliable.

There’s a middle ground for vr and remembering what various functions do etc.

There’s a freeware electronic bag on which lets you pdf documents and drop into the ebag and then view in vr, similar to little nav map you can size the window to suit zoom in or out etc and scroll through whatever’s in there

You can do a template in excel of what buttons are assigned to what function, pdf it and drop into ebag and pull up in vr. You still have to feel your way around but it’s really helpful while you learn to remember what button does what.

With axis and ohs I use a behringer xtouch mini and alpha yoke and bravo throttle.

Admittedly you are feeling around a bit and I have seen custom knobs for the behringer to help with feel etc but it’s more than doable.

Even if you don’t go for this set up I would recommend the ebag as you can put notes, frequencies approach plates anything that’s a pdf

I use the very same ebag, but just for charts. I feel that encoder box has to be intuitive enough to not use any cheat sheets, otherwise it defeats the purpose. It should be intuitive and you should not be feeling around to find things. That’s why I designed it the way it’s done (see my post link): compact and logical. Also the encoders are positionally easy to remember and resemble GPS and autopilot units somewhat.

So the idea is that after a bit of getting used to, it’s easy to remember and to get used to. It’s easier than it looks :slight_smile:

( inner knob / outer knob / encoder push click / button to the left of the encoder):

  • Top left: radio tuning - like a real thing, mHz / kHz, COM1/NAV1 switch, SWAP. On switch set to Bank 2 - the same for COM2/NAV2
  • Top Right: Altitude / VS / AP Alt mode / AP VS mode
  • Mid Left : Heading bug/AP (shaped like heading knob on Garmin) / AP Hading sync/ AP heading mode
  • Mid Right: Course (VOR, OBS - shaped like course knob on Garmin) / Altimeter / STD / *
  • Bottom Left (ribbed knob shape): Transponder / GPS Zoom / Transponder position (locked,1,2,3,4) / *
  • Bottom Right (smooth knob shape): GPS dual encoder - page flips, push for cursor, letter selection etc. - just like the real thing.
  • *GPS buttons: bottom left 2 buttons are DIRECT and FMS, bottom right 3 buttons are MENU, CLR, ENT

Second bank (engaged but flipping the switch) has less used functions like COM2/NAV2, ADF tuning, Fuel pump and switching fuel tanks left-right etc.

Trim wheel is exactly that. Rudder trim knob is Starter/Magneto rotator, after push click it becomes rudder trim knob.

I looked at the plugin, but to be honest, I am extremely paranoid when it comes to my PC security, and my whole network, and running scripts from anyone is something I don’t like doing. There are some exceptions of course. I think what Asobo needs to do is to improve mouse control by making the sensitivity a little more forgiven. Right now is like you have to have the hands of a surgeon to twitch the controls, it need to be so precise…Maybe I need to adjust my mouse DPI…

I ended up getting the x-touch mini, and plan to use Axis and Ohs with it. The Behringer should be here in a few days, and looks like it will provide everything I need. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. The DIY boxes look awesome and I would love to build one (I used to build guitar stomp boxes), but I’m in grad school and have nowhere near enough time to tackle one of those atm.

You might have seen it, there’s an axis and ohs thread on this forum to help you out, Oliver the axis and ohs developer is really active on the thread and really helpful.

You can trial axis and ohs for 7 days before making a decision to purchase.

With other users help I have mapped the 430 in the Dc6 to the x touch, so if I can help in any way let me know.

Thanks a lot, man. I really appreciate that. I’ll see what I can get done on my own, but may be hitting you up for help.

Well, my X-Touch arrived, and I am completely lost, lol. I’m using Axis and Ohs, and am struggling to get this thing working. I’m starting out with the Asobo Cessna 172 steam gauge edition. I can map a few of the autopilot buttons (HDG, NAV, ALT, VS up and down… all using buttons), but cannot get the ALT REF rotary knobs set up. In addition to this, none of the GPS commands will map. I’m not entirely sure where to start. Just seeing if you have any quick ideas before I take my issues to the AAO help page. Thanks!