The HUD information layout is shown on the images below, in 2D panel view and in full-screen view.

HUD layout in full screen mode

HUD layout in landing mode

All the necessary flight information is displayed on the HUD so that you can fly the aircraft while looking outside:
Expert users might be interested in learning how to integrate this HUD in any panel. This section is dedicated to people who know how to edit a panel though the panel.cfg file. If you think you can do this, click here to access the HUD integration section.

Speed Vector and Acceleration

This is definitely the most important part of the HUD. Unlike classic aircraft instruments, such as the attitude indicator and the compass, the speed vector shows exactly where the aircraft is flying. You can fly the aircraft through its trajectory. When the speed vector is above the synthetic horizon, the aircraft climbs. If it is below the horizon, the aircraft descends, even if the nose is above the horizon.
The speed vector is accurate and refreshed in real-time.

On the Mirage HUD, the flight path vector also shows when the gear is down and locked. This allows the pilot to concentrate on the trajectory when landing, without having to look somewhere else.

Speed vector shape when
gear is up

Speed vector shape when
gear is down and locked

The Mirage HUD also provides information about the acceleration through 2 indicators that move up and down next to the speed vector. If they are positioned above the speed vector, it means the aircraft is accelerating. If they are below the speed vector, the aircraft is decelerating. If the 3 symbols are aligned, the aircraft speed is constant.


Constant speed


The acceleration symbol shape changes when the afterburners are turned on.

Standard engine power

Afterburners on

HUD Landing mode

When the landing gear is extended, the HUD automatically switches to the landing mode. The airspeed and altitude are moved to the upper part of the display, the Mach number disappears and a new symbol appears: the landing incidence guide. It shows the range of correct incidence for landing. You should maintain the speed vector within this range to make a perfect landing.
When the aircraft is in landing configuration (gear extended, flaps and slats deployed, airspeed around 150-180 knots), the speed vector has just to be aligned with the runway entry to guide the aircraft to landing.

Click to enlarge
Landing preparation is almost perfect: the speed vector is
in the incidence range, speed is constant, the gear is down and locked.
The speed is a little high.
(click to enlarge)
Click to enlarge
Close to land, the aircraft situation is perfect:
airspeed is good, the speed vector is aligned with the runway
and still in the incidence range, the speed is constant and the gear is OK.
(click to enlarge)

Click to enlarge
The situation is good but the speed
vector is almost out of the incidence range.
(click to enlarge)
Click to enlarge
Bad situation: the speed vector is out of the incidence range.
The incidence is too high and speed is low.
(click to enlarge)
Click to enlarge
The speed is low and the aircraft is decelerating.
(click to enlarge)

Navigation Information

If a flight plan has been entered or loaded in the GPS, the HUD provides navigation information to fly to the next waypoint.
The bearing and distance to the next waypoint are displayed.
A triangle in the heading tape shows the direction of the next waypoint, if the GPS mode is engaged. If not, the triangle shows the autopilot target heading.
If no flight plan is defined, the bearing and distance are blank.

Target Designation Box

The radar developed by Eric Marciano must be installed to enable this feature.
The target designation box shows the direction of the target selected on the radar (even if the target is too far to be visible) and the distance to the target (in NM), below the box. It allows you to fly your aircraft to the target for interception.
When the distance to the target is less that 1 NM, the distance stops being displayed.

The target is at 23.4 NM, beyond visual range. The speed vector is aligned with the
target designation box to fly directly to the target.

Click to enlarge
At 7.5 NM, the target is hardly visible (the contrails
are visible), the designation box shows the direction.
(click to enlarge)
Click to enlarge
At less than 1 NM, the distance information
disappears. The target is now visible.
(click to enlarge)

The target designation box is active as long as a target is selected on the radar. If you unselect the radar target, the box disappears.


The HUD displays an arrow alert when a collision with the terrain is probable.

Click to enlarge
The altitude is low and the aircraft is descending.
It triggers a warning shown with the up arrow.
(click to enlarge)

Mirage HUD Integration

The best way to understand the HUD panel integration is to see how it is integrated in the Mirage 4000 panel described here. The integration is exactly the same in FS2004 and FSX.
Basically, the HUD is an XML gauge that is listed in the panel.cfg just like any other gauge. In fact, the HUD provided here has 2 gauges: 1 for the 2D/3D panel integration and 1 for the full-screen usage using the "mini-panel" feature of FS2004/FSX.

In order to have the HUD showing in a panel, edit the panel.cfg and use the following gauges:
 Keep in mind that the file must be in the panel directory if you want to have the HUD working.

Here is the example of the Mirage 4000 panel:

gauge00=Mirage_4000!HUD Main,362,96,300,290

Just like for any other gauge, the HUD is positioned at 362,96 and its size is 300 by 290.

The HUD full-screen integration uses the mini-panel feature of FS2004/FSX. This is why it must be integrated in a separate panel window which identifier is MINIPANEL. Here is how it is done in the F-16 panel:


gauge00=Mirage_4000!HUD Full, 190,35,644,660

The [window05] section defines this window as a mini-panel, which includes the HUD in full-screen mode. Consequently, the HUD will appear in full-screen when you press the W key. Pressing the W key switches the panel off, which makes the mini-panel appear. Pressing W again switches the mini-panel off, and pressing W again brings the panel back.

For more information about the integration of gauges in a panel, please refer to the Microsoft Panel SDK.