Differences between X-Plane and Reality-XP GNS430/530

 What is Reality XP?

The RealSimGear GTN/GNS devices are incredibly valuable training tools if you are a real world pilot. There is a great simulation of the GNS430 and GNS530 included with X-Plane 11, and there is also the option to purchase an add-on called Reality-XP.  This is a program that has taken the GNS/GTN trainer software that Garmin as produced and has imported this into X-Plane, Prepar3d and FSX. 

 Real-Life Training

As a pilot currently going through my instrument training I have found the Realsimgear GNS430 such a great learning tool. If you are using Xplane 11 you may already know that the XP comes with a G530 and a G430 software and if you have any real-life experience with the GNS system you will quickly come to realize the differences between the two.

 Accurate Simulation

In just a few decades Garmin has become the #1 choice for avionics in the general aviation industry. Almost three-fourths of all US single/twin-engine aircraft have been outfitted with some type of Garmin avionics. What Reality-XP has brought to the table is an affordable way to have the actual Garmin software inside the simulator, this allows you to see and use all of the sub-menus and functionality of the real device instead of the simplified version included with X-Plane 11.

 Proficiency With The GNS530

Flight training is expensive and nothing is a bigger waste of money than paying a Hobbs meter and an instructor to learn how to use one of the world's most popular GPS systems. Using Reality-XP with RealSimGear products is one of the easiest ways to save money during your flight training. For the cost of 1 flight lesson, you get to learn your GPS system inside and out. It was just the other day when I was out with my instructor who almost has 1500 hours and I showed him a trick that he had never seen before. This is because I am able to sit down and learn the system inside and out. Follow along below where we will point out the differences between the X-Plane system and the Reality-XP system. 

Here you see the RealityXP main navigation screen. This screen accurately depicts what you will see in the real aircraft. This includes the customizable data fields you see like WPT, DTK, TRK, DIS, and GS. You can customize these to your liking just like you would in the real plane.

 Above you will see the default X-Plane 11 Nav screen which is a very basic and rudimentary representation of the actual Garmin system. You can still perform the basic tasks like load procedures, waypoints, and airports but is missing a lot of symbology and features that you would find in the real aircraft. 


A little known feature in the actual GNS system is the AUX page. The AUX page is such a game-changer for real pilots as you have access to flight timers, Schedule reminders, checklists, RAIM/WAAS functions and an assortment of other flight planning features. The AUX page is something that is completely missing from the default X-Plane 11 GNS system.


 TAWS-B (terrain awareness warning system) is another feature that comes with Reality XP. TAWS provides audio and visual warnings on screen to alert the flight crew of upcoming terrain threats. This is done by referencing your position with a Jeppesen database and then providing you with a conflict resolution.

 TAWS provides such incredible situational awareness. The photo above indicates the level of terrain threat. Red indicates that you are within 100FT of the depicted terrain. Yellow means you are within 100FT-1000FT of the terrain and black indicating greater than 1000FT of clearance. This is a great tool if you do any mountain VFR flying. 

Lastly, a major feature which is probably our favourite is TCAD (Traffic Collision Avoidance Device) this will show you the direction and the altitude difference between nearby aircraft. Along with the visual alert, you also receive a VCO (voice callout) providing you with the direction of the traffic. If you fly on online networks like VATSIM or Pilot edge this is a must-have feature.

 Nav Data Updates

Another question we get asked a lot is if it is possible to update the nav data that is used for the GNS, GTN or G1000 products.  If you are using the GNS or G1000 included with X-Plane 11 then it is very easy to get current nav data by using a Navigraph subscription, take a look at this video where we explain the process.  If you are using Reality-XP then unfortunately, this is not possible.

In summary, if you are looking to get to know the GNS or GTN system inside out then Reality-XP is well worth the additional $49 investment.  If current nav data and procedures is more important then you will probably be happier using the default GNS system included with X-Plane 11.  Remember, you can easily switch between the two, depending on your training objective.