Need help understanding the compatibility with Touch Screens

I’m getting mixed messages when searching out information on touch screen compatibility within the sim. It seems it was functional at one time and then became disabled through an update. Yet it seems there is third party software that brings the functionality back. Is my understanding correct?

There is an app called Air Manager. There are several versions.
Android App from Play Store: $21.99
Air Manager V4 for Desktop: $75+ USD
Air Player V4: $34+ USD
Which do I need? I’ve read the descriptions on their website but still don’t understand all I know about it. It does not stand to reason that the Android App for a fraction of the cost would provide full functionality but the description on the Play Store doesn’t seem to suggest any limitations. So what am I missing?

Also are there others to consider?

I just purchased 2 10" tablets that I’m hoping to integrate into the sim and have successfully popped out a few screens using Space Desk but obviously there is no touch capability.

Thanks so much for any guidance from the community.

You can check out this thread. Crunchmeister71 is very knowledgeable in this subject.

The pop out screens do not allow touch screen functions. They also drop your FPS to 30 as soon as you activate one. I am personally waiting for a fix for this. Some of the Garmin screens in the cockpit are far superior to anything air manager has for MSFS right now.

The benefits of air manager is mainly that you do not take that FPS hit while using it. It is very flexible with what you can add. There is also a very good video tutorial on how to create your own functions. The customer service they provide for the app is extremely high. Air manager has been around for a very long time. There is a huge array of instruments, but not a great deal actually works with MSFS. I have all I need for the information I use at my level, but the choice was very limited.

From this only the landing gear and parking brake are touch sensitive. I will be honest though, I still use the mouse regardless. The main Garmin display came at an extra cost.

I use space desk also. I see it as one of the better apps for utilising a tablet for an extra screen. If you are going to invest in Air Manager, then choose the desktop version. The tablet versions are standalone, which means that you would have to do any editing on the tablet. Being able to use space desk and edit Air Manager on a desktop makes it so much easier.


For context

The android app is just for Android. This means that you will have to do everything on the android screen. I use an Ipad, and asked if I would need to buy both versions desktop and air player. I was told that I could just buy the Air player only.

The desktop app is what it says. You can use this as an overlay on top of MSFS, or since you have space desk and tablet, extend your screen and drag the out put there. The interface is not difficult to use.

Air player as I have said is for Apple stuff.

Thank you SanMan, I will check this out.

Thank you syldon13 for your reply.
So if I purchase the full desktop version I can do all the editing, such as gauge window size and orientation of multiple gauges on my PC monitor then pop those out to either tablet and there is no need to have the Android version of the Air Manager also running on each tablet. Basically the Desk Space app and the desktop version of AM will handle everything I’m hoping to do. Correct?

As far as I understand, that is correct. Air manager for desktop, and use space desk to extend your monitor and display your panels.

Also the link that I provided to the other thread on the forum, Sling380 is also very helpful. If I am not mistaken, I think he is affiliated with Sim Innovations, the creators of Air Manager.

This is Crunchmeister71 setup. I know he is running space desk for his tablets. The two monitor above his yoke and throttle are 15.6 touchscreens which are controlled by a device called the Knobster. I have been using his setup myself as a reference. But as stated before, once a instrument is popped out, you take a frame rate hit. This is something that needs to be fixed by Asobo.

But according to syldon13 above, he says the AM prevents this framerate drop. I did in fact see the drop from about 60fps to 30fps immediately on the popout. This is something I obviously want to avoid but it seems it’s still there even using AM. I am also using a Beringher X-Touch mini along with Axis ans Ohs and I am struggling to learn the scripting procedure. There is just a lot of confusion as to what, how and why all this stuff works. Then without fully understanding the stuff I already have I’m adding more into the mixture. I’ve seen the Knobster in action on YouTube and it’s pretty cool but it seems to me I should (at some point) be able to do anything I want with the gauges by using the X-Touch along with the touch screen capabilities of the tablets and AM. Anyway I will get more into this later today as I now have to get ready for an appointment with my ophthalmologist. :face_with_monocle:
Thanks again for the information.

OK, let me see if I can help clear up some of your confusion.

First, Air Manager doesn’t restore any functionality to the sim. It’s a standalone piece of software what works completely separately. It will display analog instruments and gauges / bezels. If you have those on touch screens, then any switch or knob becomes controllable via touch. If you have the Knobster, then you can touch any knob on your touch screen, it becomes highlighted, and you can use the Knobster to control it.

The frame rate drop you speak of only happens when you undock / pop out MSFS instruments such as the Garmin screens. This is an issue that’s been in the sim in some form since before launch. Originally, your first popped out instrument would cost you about 5 fps, then 2 fps for each subsequent. As of the VR update last December, we’re in the terrible mess where popping out anything drops you to 30 fps, even if you were doing well above 60 with bleeding edge hardware.

This means if you’re flying a plane like the C152 without any glass screens to pop out, then you don’t lose any frame rate. Or if you simply don’t pop out any screens at all, you can still use Air Manager, and lose no frame rate. However, if you want to, for example, use your G1000 PFD and MFD on popped out screens, then you’re going to take the frame rate hit. There’s no working around this. It’s a core problem with the sim that’s been utterly ignored by Asobo.

As for touch functionality, that’s completely broken in the sim itself. There’s nothing that can be done to fix this. It’s up to Asobo to fix it. AM doesn’t “restore” this or fix it in any way. What it does is provide you with instrument interfaces external to the sim and make those touch-enabled. It wont’ fix broken sim touch. If you pop out the G3X or the TBM’s GTC 580 panels, all of which are touch screens, you can’t use them on a separate touch panel. You SHOULD be, and back before last year’s VR update that absolutely killed pop out performance, it did work awkwardly, and there was a workaround you could do to make it work much more reliably. Again, this is up to Asobo to fix.

As for which version of Air Manager / Player to get…

If you plan to use popouts, then Air Manager for PC is the only one you need to get. Use Spacedesk on your tablets and they become external wireless monitors for your PC. Nothing else is needed. You can certainly run versions on multiple devices (full license required for each device you use). But keep in mind that if you intend on popping out an instrument from the sim (like the G1000 for example), you can’t drag that window over to another device running AM.

As you can see from the photo of my CJ4 setup posted by @SanMan140579979, I’m running a pair of touch monitors, an iPad, and an old Android tablet. The tablets are running Spacedesk and they work great.


as @Crunchmeister71 says Air manager is not part of MSFS. The hit you take from using it is minimal. I have a similar set up in as much as I only use the desk top version.
Their wiki is here which explains the versions.
And their forum is here.

For using extra panels, Air Manager is the best option I could find. Even if Asobo fix the pull out screen issue, I would still use Air manager around it. Not all airplanes come with a radio altimter. Remember to factor in the cost of a community panel (about 10-13€) from the Air manager download section.

These are the ones I found work with all airplanes.

You have to download your instruments and panels within the create/edit tab then look for download.

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Thank you very much for your detailed explanation Crunch. So if I’m fully understanding, in order to have the touch capability I would simply use AM with Space desk but no popping out of cockpit screens. I would actually be using templates from AM to facilitate the gauge/screen as desired.

Do you know if there’s any way to integrate something like the X-Touch mini (midi device) into AM? I have functionality using it along with Axis and Oh’s but as I posted earlier I have little knowledge of the scripting process so my use of the X-touch has been limited.

Thanks again!

Okay, well I’m still somewhat confused but I guess I just need to jump in with both feet and learn it.

The chart you show would be for individual gauges and not specific to any one aircraft but those functions would work on all. Such as the Cirrus SF50 parking brake can be used on one portion of a tablet to simply activate the parking brake. And so on? You’d basically have a bunch of small gauges laid out as desired on the tablet?

Correct. Basically you will use the instruments to create a panel for your chosen aircraft. The wiki is a great place to answer any questions you may have.

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Thanks guys, much appreciation to all. :+1:

Hi guys,

I don’t want to upset anyone here but i felt i should address some of the topics of this thread. There is some mis-information floating around so its best we clear that up so people are not given wrong information. Again my intention is to help this community gain better understanding about this topic. There is plenty i can learn so lets learn new stuff together.

You are not the first to be confused by this. I suggested ages ago that the Android and Apple Apps be called Air Manager lite because essentially that is what they are. The price reflects as much. You cannot create/edit instruments with these or use sim popouts and you are restricted to displaying on a single device. The ipad app is limited to using the instruments that are bundled with it. There are a lot but will normally be whatever is in the community store at the time of app release. It does get updated from time to time and obviously what’s been added since the last release will be added at that time. The Android app is a little better in that you don’t have to wait for an app update to get newer instruments but whatever you want still has to be in the community store. The differences are due to rules with the google and apple stores. If all what you want is already in the store then either of these options can work. Personally I would advise going desktop but people have different needs, wants, budgets and current setups so its a personal choice. The important thing is you understand the differences.
Air Player is Air Manager without the creation tools but cannot be used without at least one copy of Air Manager.

I created those tutorials. They were made with an older version of Air Manager but most of the content is still relevant. Many of the instruments have been or are being adapted for MSFS, The issue with having instruments that work in every aircraft is that not every aircraft uses the same sim connect events and variables which is the basis of how AM communicates with the sim. Even the Asobo aircraft use different ones for the same function so this is another sim issue that we all have to work around. Add-on developers will likely do something different again hence the continual need for new and/or updated instruments. It’s generally easier to adapt something existing rather than start over but it needs good data sources from the base sim and that is where MSFS still lacks. You will see more and more instruments with time.

You cannot use Airplayer on its own. You need a minimum of one copy of Air Manager. It can run without AM running but it needs the full functionality of Air Manager for config/setup. Air Manager can administer multiple AP machines. Air player is not for Apple stuff currently. See Sim Innovations site for devices that AP will run on.

This is correct. As Crunchmeister said touch screens connected to the main machine running Air Manager and wireless display extension software such as Spacedesk or Duet for any tablets you have gives the most flexibility.
See here for a spacedesk example i demonstrated ages ago now but still relevant. Notice how you can also use knobster using this method.

I get the general point here so I’m nit picking a little here but you can actually improve some sim functionality within your AM code sometimes. I have done this in some instances where the sim didn’t function correctly but controlling the item via AM in the correct way was possible. Its important to say you are not restricted to analog only instruments. There are examples of digital glass type displays as AM instruments without the need for popouts. Aspen and G5 are the obvious examples.

Again this is my personal view but logical I think. When i see autopilot control heads and such being popped out from the sim it really isn’t necessary. The use of popouts should be limited to those complex instruments that would take a lot to replicate such as the G1000 Nxi etc. I think the TBM touch panels can easily be reproduced as AM instruments without the need for a popout. This would also negate the touch issue with popouts for this kind of instrument.

Sorry this was such a long post. I probably missed something but i hope some of the information here is useful.

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Thank you for clearing things up like that Sling. I always appreciate your input.

Indeed, that one likely could. But would require 2 variants…

  1. for the base G3000
  2. for the Working Title mod, which is far better and closer to the real deal (and far more popular).

The first option would likely be a lot easier since it’s very basic and completely static. The second would be far more complicated, and would likely need to be edited and modified often as WT update their mod and add new stuff to it. In that case, the ideal situation would be to just pop out the in-sim screen and use it via touch without reinventing the wheel. That’s assuming touch actually worked in the sim… :confused:

But I agree. There’s no reason that someone couldn’t build a GTC 580 touch panel that works with either the stock or WT mod. It would take some digging in dev mode to find all the customs vars and events they have set up for the different menus, but could be done for sure.

The G3X though is a complete touch screen interface. As is the PMS50 GTN 750 mod. I could be wrong, but don’t see any way of recreating those in AM beyond the bezel only.

Yes I agree. When something is changing a lot it can be a pain to keep following those updates. In those cases it’s perhaps better to wait until some feature stability is there before attempting. The G3X might be possible but I would need to look into that some more. The GTN’s however absolutely need the sim touch support. Like you’ve been saying for a while if Asobo would just make the popouts work for touch and without the current FPS hit then it would please a lot of users.

The G3X is much like the GTN. All touch support. Just load up the King Air or JMB VL3 and see for yourself. Unlike the GTC 580, there’s no consistent menus. It’s all touch activated like the GTN.