Navigation: Flying a 737 from A to B in IFR (Using
tutorial on Navigation by
Using this tutorial you can take off from any airport
& land at any ILS
equipped airport, right on the center line, in very low visibility.
It is also useful for general navigation because the principles
are the same. I have chosen Chicago O'Hare to Minneapolis St
Paul, about 280 miles. Visibility of 1 mile. This tutorial uses
the the FS2002 Flight Planner, GPS
, which means you have the simple options to change to the correct
Communication (COM) frequencies. The principles are the same
whatever Simulator you use provided you have the facilities.
images for full size image
Flight Planner. Use the Flight Planner from the Menu at the
start of your flight.
In this case Chicago O'Hare is selected as Departure
airport & Minneapolis St Paul as the Destination
airport. An altitude of 30,000 ft (Flight Level 300) is selected
& IFR conditions
. Click 'Find Route' & you will be presented with
a map of your route. Set altitude (30,000 feet (Flight Level
300) in this case). Save.
now for a little pre-planning. In order to make an approach
in poor visibility (IFR)
you will need to find the ILS frequencies of the runways at
your destination. You can do this in Flight Planner while
the Route Map is displayed. Double click on your destination
airport on the map & then you will see a Facilities
window. See images on left. It is a good idea to zoom in to
your destination airport & print the diagram so you can
familiarise yourself with the runways.
a note of the ILS
frequencies for your Destination airport. Click OK
& Fly Now.
should now be at Chicago O'Hare. Open the GPS
window & move it to the top left corner, conveniently out
of the way. . See image on left. This is a good time to set
your Autopilot settings (do not turn Autopilot on at this stage).
Set Altitude (30,000) & Airspeed (250 kts for initial speed
below 10,000 feet). Heading & Course as your GPS directs.
In this case it is 310 degrees.
ATC (see image on left) & select Contact Ground.
Follow instructions. They will then hand you to Tower
for takeoff. . In this case we are instructed to climb out on
ready to roll! 5 degrees of flap are selected for takeoff &
retracted at 1000 feet above ground. Rotate (Takeoff) at 160kts,
maintaining the centerline as you go. Gear up immediately after
safe climb is established. & don't forget - Flaps up at
takeoff you may be given ATC directions to turn towards your
intended flight path. If not, do this yourself. Gentle consistent
turn & climb. Watch the airspeed. Below 10,000 feet, stay
within 250 kts. Note the heading & Green Route track. Turn
your aircraft on to this heading.
you have established direction & climb this is a good
time to select your Autopilot. See enlarged image on
left. Make sure your Altitude & Air Speed are set &
switch the Nav/GPS switch from Nav to GPS. Then turn
on all Auto switches. A/P,
The Press the Nav, Alt & IAS (indicated
Air Speed) switches. If you have done this correctly
you should be able to take your hands off the controls &
the aircraft will fly itself.
your cruise altitude is achieved consult your kneeboard to
determine cruise speed & set autopliot to this speed.
can see from the same image that we are now 105 miles from
destination. At 30,000 feet this is the time to commence decent.
Descent should start at about 30-35 miles for every 10,000
feet. So 30,000 feet descent starts at 100 miles from destination.
We are on autopilot so to decend simply turn the Altitude
reading on the Autopilot down in stages. Unless otherwise
instructed by ATC, you can set it to 20,000 then 10,000 ft.
FS2002 Kneeboard gives useful data on speeds, etc. The
image on the left shows approach speeds for 30 degree flaps.
can see from the image on the left that we are 41 miles from
Minneapolis St Paul but the ATC still has not provided an option
to communicate with the tower. Airspeed has been reduced to
below 250 kts & altitude is just below 8000 ft. No flaps
have been set yet. This is a good place to Save your Flight
in case it all goes wrong - you can just go back to this stage
& try again!
10 miles from destination ATC came into contact. Our
instructions are to join a right hand circuit for runway 040.
Make a turn so you are parallel to your runway & in the
opposite direction & preferably not within 10 miles . This
is what is called Downwind. Still on autopilot switch from GPS
to Nav & set your heading as required. In this case it is
sure you maintian a distance of at least 10 miles from the airport.
is a good time to set your Nav 1 to the ILS frequency
of the runway in use. In this case it is 109.3. Set it in the
STBY window & then switch it to the ACTV window to make
it active. A bar should now appear on the main Nav gauge. Reduce
altitude to about 4000 feet unless otherwise instructed.
about 20 miles on the Downwind section of the circuit we are
making a 90 degree turn on to a heading of 310 degrees, the
base leg of the approach circuit. Do this by simply setting
the autopilot Heading indicator to the correct reading.
You should start to bring flaps in at this stage & reduce
speed to about 180 kts. About 10 degrees would be right. Reduce
altitude to about 3000 feet.
the runway heading & turn in advance so you
line up approximately with the runway for your final approach.
You may then set your autopilot to APR
. Re-set the Nav/GPS switch to Nav. Note I have set the
Course indicator to the runway heading & the needle
is nicely lined up for the runway. Extend gear at about 8 miles
from the runway & increase flaps to 25 degrees. Airspeed
at about 170 kts. The Altitude is now being controlled by the
autopilot ILS. Increase flaps to full & reduce speed to
3/4 mile the runway comes into view. Autopilot (& F/D
& A/T) now comes off & I prefer to hit 'W' on my
keyboard to get a full screen view for landing.
& safe in 1 mile vis.
This tutorial is not meant to be authoritative & is
bound to contain inaccuracies in relation to how it should be
done in real life. I am a VFR
rated PPL, not IFR & certainly not commercial. This is simply
my own self taught method how you can fly a jet in Flight Simulator
from A to B & intended for entertainment use. If anyone
can provide corrections or more detail please do ;).
Boeing 737, which required a run through MDL
Repair Utility as it refused to be displayed in Windows
XP. (See FAQ at the
Lair about this if necessary).