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Flight Tips

This 'Flight Tips' section was born from a compilation of useful key-stroke commands and procedures that John Achor, retired Technical Editor, put together for me. He sent it to me because I was having difficulty flying one of his charters. The information was so helpful that I have posted it here.

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This document has moved past what John sent, and is now a growing collection of FS Flight Tips. All may contribute ideas. If you were struck by a clever flight tip, or just one that you have difficulty remembering, please submit it for inclusion here.

  1. Use the DC-3 autopilot (modern version), especially the Altitude Hold to free up your cockpit time. That allows more time to concentrate on other aspects of the flight, airspeed, heading, etc. Remember, in real life you'd have someone sitting in the right seat handling a lot of the chores that are keeping you so busy. Turn the AP on (Z key) and when you hit the desired altitude engage the Altitude Hold (Control + Z). Of, course if you have a free hand, you can click the autopilot hot spots with the mouse pointer.

  2. While I prefer to use the Cockpit View and "look through the windscreen," there are times the Maximize View (W key once) is an advantage. In FS2002, you have the instruments available (W key once) to cross check headings, airspeed, etc. Hit the W key twice more to return to the Cockpit View. In FS2000, you'll need to use the W key to alternate (or toggle) between the Cockpit View and the Maximize View.

  3. Save an adventure or flight at intermediate points (menu: File / Save Flight). Then you can reset the flight to the last save and give it another go.

  4. Touch & Go (T&G) landings - These procedures may ease the strain of T&Gs ... Crash and Dashes. After touchdown, do not let the tail settle to the runway. As soon as you have the main gear stabilized on the runway, "stand the throttles up" - that is, increase power to maintain a reasonable speed and to keep the tail "flying" - 30" MP should be enough. Your main concern during this phase should be keeping the bird going straight down the center of the runway. If you used more than one-quarter Flaps for the landing, retract the flaps to one-quarter Flaps. Roll in some nose-down trim (you've been trimming nose up during the approach). Check the pitch-trim wheel to see that you are near neutral. Recheck that prop controls are set to High RPM (full forward). Now, advance the throttles to takeoff power and follow through as if it was a normal takeoff. Don't retract the gear prematurely. When you have a positive climb indication on the Vertical Velocity Indicator (VVI, sometimes called the Vertical Speed Indicator - VSI) - AND - the Altimeter shows an increase in altitude, call for Gear Up. Follow normal procedures for power reductions and flap retraction.

  5. Barometric Pressure ... Your altimeter will not display the correct altitude unless it is set for the current local Barometric Pressure. Nothing quite so disconcerting as descending on an ILS and watch the altimeter go negative, when you know better. The solution? Hit the "B" key before take-off, every 15 minutes en route, and while setting up for the approach to land.

  6. Slow the World Down - If things are happening too fast, slow them down. Use the menu: Options / Simulation Rate / Half Speed. That gives you twice as much time to see what is going on. The drawback is that it takes twice as long for control inputs to take effect.

John Achor

More Flight Tips

Quick Pre-Flight Setup. I use the menu bar on the left side of FSNavigator to quickly set-up initial flight information. Consider a short 39 NM IFR flight from KBOS, Rwy 33L via SKR NDB, 251; to DRY NDB, 338; with an ILS approach, 109.1, to Rwy 35, KMHT.

Move your aircraft to either the ramp or a gate at Boston Logan Airport. For many airports FS2002's "Go To Airport" function, Alt-W-A, provides the option to move your aircraft to the Active Runway, to a Runway of your choice, or to Gates or Ramps. Load Real Weather at Alt-W-W or get it from SquawkBox if flying On-line.

Put the following information in the left side of FSNavigator by highlighting the desired window, typing the numbers, then hitting 'Enter.' The following picture, with numbered entry points, show where everything should go.

FSNav frequencies

1. 135 is the KBOS ATIS Freq. for Weather and Runway Information.
Note: If you are flying On-line, you cannot receive ATIS by tuning the published frequency. VATSIM/SquawkBox will directly provide the ATIS Information.

2. 109.1 is Rwy 35 ILS frequency at KMHT.

3. 114.4 is the MHT VOR Freq. MHT, 3.9 NM from KMHT, is not in this flight plan, but is simply used to monitor the distance to the airport.

4. 251 is the SKR NDB Freq., the first waypoint after KBOS.

5. 1943 is the Transponder Code. ATC will assign this code if you are flying On-line.

6. 320 is the no-wind hdg from KBOS to SKR NDB. This entry also sets 320° into the AutoPilot.

7. 4000 is the assigned altitude for this IFR flight. This entry also sets 4000 ft into the AutoPilot.

8. 800 is the planned Rate of Climb on the way to your 4000 ft cruise altitude. This entry also sets the 800 FPM Vertical Speed into the AutoPilot.

9. 353 is the OBS for NAV 1. Since Nav 1, in this case, is tuned to an ILS frequency, the OBS function is disabled. However, I always set the OBS to the runway hdg as a reminder of what is in front of me for the ILS approach.

So there it is, you can easily enter all of your flight information and it's available to review with your flight plan for correctness.

Victor Airways ... If you are flying On-Line, there's a good likelihood that ATC will route you along Victor Airways, established by VORs. You can get a jump on the flight planning by clicking the "L" button to the right of FSNavigator, which will show the Low Altitude en route Airways.