I recently purchased EFB and wanted to pass on some tips related to runways and scenery in FSX and EFB.
I too was having problems with the whole runway.txt thing and getting EFB to recognize runways I had installed within FSX. I did review the Forum FAQ (Runways.txt / Runway identifiers are greyed out), the documentation within the runway.txt document itself, and scoured the forums. I was utimately able to figure out what the issue was and corrected it. So I thought i would share my discoveries. Most importantly, the examples I show follow the FAQ and text documentation, however, I hope my explanations help to provide a better understanding of those documents.
I created a multi-leg flight from Indira Gandhi Intl (VIDP) to Abu Dhabi (OMAA) and then from Abu Dhabi to Cairo Intl (HECA) as part of a world tour. The default FSX runways for those airports are as follows: VIDP: 09/27 and 10/28; OMAA: 13/31; and HECA: 5L/23R, 5R/23L, 16/34
In real life, VIDP added runway 11/29; OMAA added 13L/31R and changed the existing 13/31 to 13R/31L; and HECA added a new 5R/23L and changed the old 5R/23L to 5C/23C. So, as you can guess, errors came up within the DataProvider as the new runways just did not exist. In the case of OMAA I had to add a line in the Runway.txt as follows:
OMAA 13 13R
OMAA 31 31L
Basically, the designator of 13/31 in FSX has been changed to 13R/31L in real life. So by adding the two lines, it allowed the Display Unit to recognize 13R/31L at OOMA. Unfortunately, for the new runway (13L/31R), just as the instructions state, there was nothing I could do... unless I had scenery that matched the changes.
I think this is the biggest question that I saw from scouring the forums: If I install scenery in FSX, will it recognize and be correct in EFB. The true answer is that it depends on how accurate the scenery is that you installed along with the what cycle navigation data that you may be using. So I did a test. I downloaded the three following scenery files. Be mindful of the dates:
Cairo International - HECA - by Matthew Brooks and Ray Smith, May 2010
Abu Dhabi Intl Airport (OMAA) United Arab Emirates by Victor Nauta & Ray Smith, December 2014
Indira Gandhi Intl (VIDP) India by Craig Scott, June 2014
I installed the files into their correct locations under the FSX Addon Scenery folder. I then started FSX and added the scenery files via the FSX Addon Scenery dialog. I then made sure that the scenery updated and worked correctly in FSX (meaning that when I selected the airport in FSX I was able to select the new runways, etc...). When I was sure that it all worked, I shut down FSX and then started the EFB DataProvider. I then selected the Simulator scenery data update from under the Data Menu which allows EFB to update its scenery database. After about five minutes, everything finished.
I then started the EFB DisplayUnit and reloaded the routes I had created. No error messages came up and all of the new runways were in place. Additionally, the taxiways and stand locations seemed to match what had been installed in FSX. The only thing I had to do was remove the OMAA modification I had placed in the Runway.txt file and then Reset the Airport Data Cache which is a button located under Display Unit/Settings/Miscellaneous. After reseting the data cache again and checking the airport, both 13L/31R and 13R/31L were in place. I tested this by taxiing from Terminal 3 at VIDP, which is close to the new runway 11/29, all the way over to runway 28. I then departed VIDP and landed runway 13L at OMAA and taxied to the terminal. The moving map was on for all phases and I also verified against Navigraph Charts (current cycle).
The *only* issue I came across was at Cairo (HECA). Rwy 16/34 is a closed runway and per the FAQ, "if a runway in real world has been closed but is still available in FSX, you will no longer find navigation data for such a runway. In such a situation use the word "nil" for the third column, e.g.: ABCD 22L nil." I did that, however, I still saw runway 16 come up for departures. However, 16/34 did not come up for arrivals. Also, as a heads up, HECA has no SID/STARS within the Navigraph Charts DB (current cycle) and no SIDS or STARS were available in the Dataprovider (just in case you were wondering).
So I know this is long-winded but the point to all this is that it appears that EFB will read installed runways, provided that:
1. The scenery itself has been designed to account for the real life additions and changes.
2. Your navigation databases are current or at least contain the real life changes.
3. The scenery has been installed correctly into FSX and is working correctly. This is very important.
4. If the scenery is working, then shut down FSX and start the EFD DataProvider and run the Simulator scenery data update.
5. Once complete, remove any modification you may have made to runways.txt first.
6. Start the EFB DisplayUnit. Go to Settings/Miscellaneous/Reset Airport Data Cache
7. Put in your flight or look up an the airport and see if you get errors, e.g., runway assignment warnings, If no errors then all is good. Start FSX.
8. If you do get errors, then retrace the steps I have tried to outline above. In some cases, you may have to add the specific changes to the Runway.txt file.
I did have an initial problem, but when I retraced my steps, I discovered that I had not installed the scenery into FSX correctly. Once I did that, everything worked great. Now understand that this may not work for everyone because there are some many variables that could affect FSX scenery and EFB. Hopefully, as I stated above, this will help clarify some of the information.
Lastly, my sincere thanks to all the folks at AivlaSoft for developing an excellent program that has been a great addition to my flight sim hobby. I would not have taken the time to write this if i did not feel the program was well worth it.