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ATC/IFR Clearance In FS2004 When Using FMC In PMDG 737N...

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Dear All,I hope you can please help me with this query.I would like to know that when using the FMC to create a flightplan, is it possible to still use the FS2004 ATC to get IFR Clearance and be in communication with ATC throughout the flight or not please?I ask because I notice that even when not using the FMC and creating a flight plan with FS2004's default Flight Planner, it creates a route but very often when using ATC and IFR Clearance, the flight pretty much does not follow the route at all.Thank you in advance

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You can, but you need to mirror what you put into the FMC as a route within MS flight planner as it knows nothing about what is programmed into the FMC and will only follow the route *it* has.Ray

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Thanks for the fast reply.I understand, thanks for explaining.Just some other questions then:1. To view an entire flight plan in the FMC, do you need to select an arriving runway and if so, how does one know which runway ATC will clear one to when one is creating the flight plan at the beginning of the flight? Or does one choose a runway and if ATC clears to another one, select the specific runway that one has routed for previously?2. How does one ensure that the aircraft follows the route in the FMC and FS2004 flight planner and does not keep gliding off or going a different way alltogether due to ATC transmissions saying turn XXX degrees and so on?3. Following on from that, if one uses VNAV to pretty much follow the flight plan directly, would ATC try to interfere by saying to turn XXX degrees which might not be along the same route as the filed plan?Thanks in advance and sorry for all the questions.

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Hi Richie,1. You just select the arrival runway, once ATC tells you where to land.2. If you use LNAV, the plane will fly the route entered in the FMC. ATC will require you to stick to your planned route.3. You may not be able to use VNAV during descent, as ATC may give you instructions that are different from the FMC calculations. At most airports, ATC will give you vectors to final, although you can request transitions at some airports. These clearances will override any pre-planned route.Cheers,Gosta.http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg

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Hi,Thanks ever so much for the reply, as you can probably tell i'm very much a novice :)I understand the responses you've given me to the questions I asked and I shall try this out to see how it goes.Perhaps you could help me with one other thing please. If I do use an IFR Clearance by having the same flight plan in both the FMC and FS2004, the first ATC communication is normally fly runway heading, climb to xxxx feet and so on. Then normally an instruction to turn to xxx heading comes - do I engage LNAV before this instruction to follow the plan in the FMC or do I follow ATC command? I ask because I always find that the aircraft does not follow the route exactly and always is drifting some 2 to 5 nm from the actual route on the flight plan and this is when follows ATC's commands and not flying using LNAV.If one uses LNAV to fly the exact Flight plan as it is on the FMC, does this cause the ATC to carry on issusing heading commands which then cause the aircraft to veer away from the course plotted?Thanks again.

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The local ATC is going to boss you around while you are within his airspace. Since Flight Simulator does not currently handle SID/STAR, you are going to get the ATC's version of this.Once you get outside the airspace, you will pass over to an enroute or center controller who should be a bit better aligned with your flight plan.You'll run into the same sort of problems at the destination airport once you get within the control area again.You can fly what the controller tells you via HDN mode instead of LNAV and then pick up your flight plan once the ATC has vectored you around to your first real leg or you can ignore the controllers until you reach your first real leg and check in with the enroute/center controller there.Niether are perfect, but heavies in MS Flight sim are really an afterthough ...Your other option is to fly online with real controllers who actually have a brain and know what a heavy is. ;)Ray

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Hi,Thanks ever so much for your time and for explaining this to me :)Would another solution be to file the Flight plan in FS2004 as a VFR therefore still retaining contact with ATC but not having the restrictions of IFR?That way I suppose you would perhaps avoid the turn XXX heading and so on whilst you could still be in contact with ATC - or am I thinking of the wrong thing here?Another thing is, Gosta kindly mentioned that one might not be able to use VNAV for descent due to ATC perhaps giving different instructions to those in the FMC - would this be the same for the climb, considering that ATC normally get you to do the climb in stages so one wouldn't be able to fly straight to FL300 and one would need to do in stages as ATC advise? I suppose you could adjust the Cruise Level each time ATC advises of the next level and then finally set it as FL300 when ATC clear this?Also, is there any idea if it would be possible to perhaps integrate the FMC with the FS2004 ATC, perhaps when the FS2004 SDK is out to allow people who want to fly a Flight plan in the FMC with the FS2004 ATC on an IFR without the current workarounds needed?Lastly, is there a separate GPS like the one that comes with the MS default models or is that integrated into the PFD so to speak? As with the MS default models, you see the information on the PFD but you can also load up the GPS.Thanks ever so much for all the help, I am looking forward to trying this all out.

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Richie it could also done very easy with FSBUILD, that's a great flightplanner...For example you created a flight in FSBUILD and the program saves it automatically in the flightplan directory of FS2004 (*.pln) and PMDG (*.rte) and in correct format....It even takes into account the weather along the route when you have FSMETEO or ActiveSky WXRE.Then start FS load the generated flightplan via the default flightplanner...Then via the FMC load the same flightplan but in PMDG format...So ATC and the FMC talking about the same flightplan via just a few clicks of button :-) Have fun...Andr

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Very tough to explain simply, but consider the FMC to have the entire planet worth of charts loaded into it (thats that navdata file you downloaded coupled with the optional sid/star data). It is a very powerful version of the simple GPS installed in FS9.Since the FMC directly interfaces with data from the IRS's and GPS's and Nav Radios (You can see this on page 2 of the POS page), it knows where it is once calibrated (good thing PMDG didn't implement that, cause sitting around drinking coffee while waiting for the IRS to align is rather unfun).By using the Route functions of the FMC, you are basically plotting your course out on all those charts that span the world. Once you have entered in this information, the FMC uses it coupled with the navigation data fed from IRS/GPS/NAV to keep you flying the course you have charted.You can think of LNAV being similar in nature to NAV except instead of tracking VOR/NDBs, you are tracking to fix points since the aircraft knows where it is, it does not have to hop from tracking station to tracking station.Ray

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Hi Richie,there seem to be two separate issues here - first, the workings of FS9 ATC, and then the plane drifting off route. The latter happens, if you have inserted very long route segments, say 200nm or more. If you can't shorten the segments, there is a workaround. Once you passed waypoint A and you have turned to the correct heading towards waypoint B, just reselect that waypoint on the FMC Legs page, which will cause the aircraft to go directly to that waypoint. You will now stay on course, and ATC should be happy as well. FSBuild is a great tool. If you don't want to pay for the shareware version, there is also a freeware one, which works well with both the MS flight planner and the PMDG FMC. You simply create a flight plan before starting FS, then you just load it via the FS planner, and also into the FMC.Cheers,Gosta.http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg

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Hi,Thanks to you all for your help, it is really great to have got such expert answers so quickly and in such a friendly manner :)I shall definitely try all these suggestions out later on today and let you know how I get on by posting back here.There are as you've explained several options so it will be good to try them all out and see which work the best.I'll also try using a VFR instead of an IFR and see how it goes, as well as trying out the VNAV on and off during climb and descent when using the ATC on IFR to see how it goes.Apart from that, I'll have a look at FSBuild and all the other suggestions to see how it goes :)Thanks very much and I will let you know how I get on - hopefully that and all the kind explanations you've given will help others as well with the same questions.

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Hi Ritchie,I hardly ever fly IFR, if I do the easy way to be able to fly your SID or Departure Procedure is when the tower tells you to contact departure frequency ***.**, reply then pick the new frequency but do NOT contact it. Wait until your a/c is settled on route to the last waypoint in the SID and then contact the departure. By then FS ATC will recognise you as on track and following the flight plan.It may give you instructions rapid fire one after the other. If so simply wait until the last instruction says resume own navigatin or similar, then acknowledge.Works for me when I want to fly the SID as published.

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Richie, I may be missing something, but as I understand it the drifting away from a flightplan as shown on a GPS or any navigational display happens when you are flying a heading given by ATC? This is perfectly normal and is caused by the wind blowing you off course. The important thing to understand is the difference between heading and track. When ATC tells you to fly heading 123 he expects you to point the nose in that direction. The ATC people take into consideration the winddrift when doing this. Sometimes you

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Hi,Thanks for the further advice :)I'll try that out too Robert, I appreciate your comments.Tord, thanks very much also for the detailed response and I do appreciate it greatly :)I think perhaps I did not explain myself well enough regarding the drift from course.What I am finding is that the aircraft doesn't follow the pink line on the flight plan at all and often the aircraft flies past well past a waypoint before ATC instructs to turn the aircraft, and very often the aircraft is flying a different route to the one plotted when using ATC's instructions.Normal deviation for example when one is flying in the same direction as the pink line but perhaps on the left or right of it is as you say normal but i've noticed the behaviour I mention in the paragraph above this one.The reason for this could of course be that I don't set the aircraft to follow the flight plan and I just follow ATC's commands all the way which results in the aircraft not going anywhere near the direction of the flight plan filed and flying in different directions as per ATC command.I understand now from all the kind explanations that the main reason for the ATC telling one to turn XXX degrees after the initial departure and when one has been transferred to a central controller is because one is not resuming own navigation and following the flight plan themselves either manually or via LNAV.It also doesn't help if you're a novice like me who flies the plan totally using the A/P, including heading changes and all that :)Thanks very much, I shall try all these suggestions out and definitely get back to you if I have any more questions and to let you know how it goes.

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Hi,Well, i've spent some time today trying everything out and these are the conclusions that they've led to.Firstly, I filed a FP in the FS2004 Planner, saved it and then used the Pln2Rte utility to convert it into a file that I then loaded up into the FMC.I got IFR clearance from ATC and I then went through the take off and so on, and activated the LNAV. After take off, ATC handed me over to departure but I only tuned the radio and did not contact them.I then used LNAV and once the aircraft was flying the FMC plan, I contacted ATC and I flew pretty much alright with proper IFR contact from ATC but thankfully without them telling me to turn here, there and everywhere which all the times before was the case - obviously, this time it was not a problem as I actually used the LNAV to establish and fly the plan before making ATC contact with departure.Now, the problem came when I was at the TOD. At this point, I was told to expect vectors to the ILS runway, at which point I requested a different approach via a STAR which was filed. I added this to the FMC and it did the route fine.But whilst following the route using the LNAV, the ATC told me to turn in a totally different direction and so something obviously went wrong there.It was basically pretty much alright up to the point of descent and then it went wrong.I didn't use VNAV at all during the flight as I did not know what stages that ATC would want the climb to be done at so I handled the altitude and speed use the A/P. Is there a workaround to this in order that one can use the VNAV and IFR ATC in conjunction?So, that didn't work so I then tried the tutorial that I downloaded after seeing the details in another thread here (Fred Clausen's Tutorial). This time I only created the flight plan in the FMC and ignored the IFR ATC, instead only contacting ATC on a VFR basis.This was alright without any commands to turn here or go there, but it too tended to mess up on the approach and so the landing turned into a mess :)It is just a shame that at this time cannot be more integration directly between the IFR ATC and the FMC because on approach, even when selecting the same STAR and runway via the IFR ATC as is entered on the FMC seems to cause problems as the FMC has one route to get to that STAR but IFR ATC have a totally different route.Perhaps the FS2004 SDK might mean that something can be improved in this respect.On the flight I did just with the FMC, the approach and landing didn't go well at all - maybe because I didn't have any ATC guidance :)I tried FSBUILD - the freeware version and the patch to allow it to be used with 737NG but it didn't seem to want to save any route I created for some reason eventhough I tinkered around with the settingd and went through the help pages.Out of interest, do you always use the FMC for your routes and if so, are you using the ATC either on IFR or VFR? What is one supposed to do on approach when it keeps directing one to to go in a totally different direction to the FMC?I think you can tell i'm a novice but it is fun to learn :)Thanks

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Hi Richie,>It is just a shame that at this time cannot be more integration directly between the IFR ATC and the FMC because on approach, even when selecting the same STAR and runway via the IFR ATC as is entered on the FMC seems to cause problems as the FMC has one route to get to that STAR but IFR ATC have a totally different route.http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg

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