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VOR tracking for the vertically challenged

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Good Evening All,I've spent the last couple months of my free-time trying to teach myself some basic navigation techniques. Right now I'm working on VOR tracking in low-altitude airways. Tonight I made a mistake, and I'm hoping someone can set me straight.To set the stage, I was tracking the outbound radial from the Yakima VOR station (HDG285), and everything was going fine until I approached the KSEA ILS transmitter and tuned it in. This occured where I have circled in red below. Immediately the course deviation indicator told me I was too far right. I corrected my course to the left, but could not center on the signal, the CDI just kept indicating that the ILS was to the left. To make a long story short, when the CDI finally indicated it was time for final approach (CDI centered), I was well south of the runway. Had I not been familiar with the Seattle area, it would have taken me too long to figure out what had gone wrong (I was very low on fuel, which is the subject of another post to be).Now I know that the route that I flew probably broke every rule in the book, and it looks like a couple of drunken pilots had control of the plane (I have two in mind ;)). My question is, does anybody know where I went wrong? Is the ILS really only meant for the final approach? Any guidance (no pun intended) would be appreciated.Misdirectionally yours - Clueless in San Diego

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I wish I could help but the same think happened to me at KIAG, unfortunately, I believe it is more likely a bug in the ILS than something the user has done wrong. However, I am very unfamiliar with the effects of VOR/ILS being used together, so I'm most likely wrong. So if anybody can offer guidance, I too would appreciate it.Scott

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Hi David,IFR flying can really be exciting, can't it? Sometimes almost too exciting! Especially if it is the real world and you can't see ANYTHING out the windows! SCARY! But let me see if I can tackle your problem. Don't know if my answers will be exactly right, but maybe they can help a bit.Regarding one of your last questions, "Is the ILS really only meant for the final approach?" The answer is yes and no. The ILS needle can definitely help at any point but it should not be the final determination until you really know you are nearing the final approach area--getting near the Outer Marker for the runway you want to land on.As shown by your example case, the ILS needles will help you align with the runway but won't tell you clearly whether the runway is ahead of you or behind you--at least not until it might be too late and, as happened to you, you end up flying away from the runway rather than towards it. And as you pointed out, that can be REALLY bad if you are low on fuel! :)In your particular situation, I feel you really needed to add an intermediate step during your flight planning. You need to plan on entering into a standard landing pattern. You should not be thinking about being headed to a particular airport or even a particular runway but rather headed for that magic spot that will put you into the correct standard approach pattern.There are many online tutorials and books that diagram what a standard approach pattern looks like--sort of a rectangle with the runway in the middle of one side of it. There is a reason why it is so widely used in tutorials--it works! :) If you don't have a picture of one to look at, let me know and I will send you one. My email address is at the bottom.Using a standard approach pattern is certainly not the only way to do it, but it will work! And in almost any situation--especially when you are going into an unfamiliar airport with out using ATC to tell you where to go. And you need to be able to always "see" that pattern in your mind even if you are not looking at the GPS or Map View.All of the following assumes starting at that red circle you drew on your screen print--probably still some 40-80 nm out from the airport. Even though the ILS needle became active fairly early, you still needed to be tuned into a VOR or NDB that would lead you north of the airport first--or at least directly towards it so that you would not end up south of it.In this case with an intent to land on a southerly heading into 16R or 16L, you could use the SEA VOR and first head directly towards that which would head you directly toward the center of the airport. Then once your DME indicated you were still around 15 nm away, you turn northerly to a heading of 320 (that's the back course heading for the ILS and runway heading of 160 for 16L or 16R) to enter a standard left turning landing pattern. You would then be flying parallel to the runway and parallel to the localizer.Also by this time you need to have gotten your altitude and airspeed down closer to pattern altitude and airspeed. What they should be depend greatly on what type of aircraft you are flying. Check the references and know what they should be.It won't be cruise speed or cruise altitude but it also won't be landing speed or ground level. But it will be something closer to the latter. For a heavy it may be 200 kts and 2400' AGL. For a Cessna it might be more like 80-110 kts and 12-1500' AGL.The type of airport might effect both as well. For larger major airports, the numbers tend to be somewhat larger, whereas with the smaller fields, both numbers tend to be smaller.During that turn you would probably get even closer to KSEA--maybe 10-12 nm on your DME. But as you came out of the turn to a heading of 320 you would see the DME stop decreasing and even begin increasing again as you start going north of the airport.You would then fly northerly on that heading of 320 until you are again showing on your DME that you are back out at least 15-20 nm or so away from the SEA VOR. Then turn westerly on a heading of 230 so that you will be headed towards crossing the runway heading at a right angle to it. You also still need to be reducing altitude and airspeed down closer to the approach numbers.You would maintain that for only a couple minutes and then turn a bit more southerly to a heading of approximately 185. That would put you on a heading that would intercept the ILS somewhere around the outer marker and put you on final approach. In general, the outer markers are usually somewhere around the "feather" end of those yellow or green ILS arrows on the GPS or Map View screens. At this point, you should definitely be down to approach altitude and airspeed.If you was using the autopilot (AP), that would be the point--as soon as you get turned to that heading of 185--you would engage the APR button and let the AP take you in. As soon as you intercept the Localizer, you would see the AP turn off the HDG light and turn the aircraft directly in line with the runway. Likewise as soon as you intercept the glideslope, you would see the ALT light go out and the aircraft will begin it's descent. The AP will gradually get you centered on both of those but it may take a short while for all those adjustments to be made--have some patience with it.If you are not using or don't have an AP available, then you still have to do what the AP would do--you need to intercept the Localizer beam while still outside of the outer marker and still below the glideslope.Then you turn to the final heading lined up on the localizer and watch for the Glideslope needle to start falling. As it just about reaches center, then you back off some more on the throttle and begin a standard rate of descent for your aircraft and try to keep both needles relatively close to centered.That should get you down safely to flare out altitude a few feet above the runway. As you level out just above the ground, cut throttle and let it settle down gently on it's own.Try not to "fly it to the ground" with the elevator. If you have gotten the airspeed down where it needed to be before beginning your descent, then because you have leveled off and cut throttle, airspeed will gradually bleed off and the aircraft will settle down on it's own.That should get you where you want to be. Let me know if anything I said does not make sense. Hope it helps.One final thought--you get a lot of practice time flying straight and level simply because that is what takes up most of the time in a flight. But you only get a relatively little time to practice the landing portion of a flight because that takes up only a relatively small amount of the total flight time.That is most unfortunate because you are spending by far the greatest amount of practice time doing the EASIST part of flying! You need to reverse that for a while. Use Slew Mode and save some flights that put you in several typical approach situations. Then practice just the approach over and over again.You will find that it will improve your enjoyment of flying tremendously as you improve your competency in doing what is probably the most important part of flying--ending the flight safely at the destination! :)Remember, any landing you walk away from is a good landing! :)Happy Flying!Bill Molonybmolony@bellsouth.netAtlanta GA USAUnder the 27L Approach to KATL--the busiest airport in the world :)PS I added a graphic that might give you a better picture of what I was trying to describe. Hope this helps!

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David,I believe I know the likely cause of your problems.You have to be doubly vigilant when using ILS on runways where both end of the the same runway use the same ILS frequency.In KSEA 16L and 34R LOC have the same frequency, also the same for the 16R and 34L pair.In real life only one end would be operational, the other would be turned off. But in the FS they have all sides always on. This could be a trap. In such case you should not use the ILS signal until you are unmistakingly on the correct side of the runway you are trying to land on. In other words if you are trying to land say on 16R you should not pay attention to the ILS signal until you are on the northerly side of the airport and vice versa, otherwise you will be reading cues to the wrong runway. In other words you must know where you are all the time and have your approach well planned. To answer your question - ILS signal should not be used for situational awareness until the last moment when you are actually about to intercept it. Localizer signal is NOT another VOR. Flying the ILS according to real approach plates would pretty much guarantee that you won't get into such trouble. I can see from your ground track you pretty much 'cooked' this approach according to your own plan. It can be done in the abscense of real plates but one must be very careful about every single detail and know what a reasonable approach, intercept angles should be like.Michael J.

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Hi Michael,Interesting way to put it. I think you said much of what I said in a much simpler way and in a whole lot less words! :) Thanks!However, I think that if you will check, you may find that all reciprocal runway headings use the same ILS frequency.And at every airport I have checked in FS2K2, the real world airport uses the same frequencies so I think MS used the real world to set up their frequency databases.Admittedly I have only looked at a tiny percentage of the thousands of airports out there but I think I see a pattern there. If you find one that does not follow the same patttern, please let me know.Happy Flying!Bill MolonyAtlanta GA USAUnder the 27L Approach to KATL--the busiest airport in the world :)

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It's actually quite simple, be sure to set up a 30 degree intercept angle to the ILS approach. Judging from your map you needed to turn right downwind then left base leg to intercept the localizer.

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>However, I think that if you will check, you may find that >all reciprocal runway headings use the same ILS frequency. I don't think it is true in general. I can't say which one is more typical case but I know plenty of examples where both ends have different frequencies. KOAK 29/11 is a good example.Michael J.

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NO THEY DO NOT! It's a backcourse if they use the same frequency and all major aiports use there own frequency even if it is a reciprocal runway.

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>NO THEY DO NOT! It's a backcourse if they use the same >frequency and all major aiports use there own frequency even >if it is a reciprocal runway. Hey Mr. R lets not muddle the issue even further. NO, the same reciprocal LOC frequency does *NOT* automatically mean backcourse approach. It could be backcourse but could also be its own ILS. And Bill is absolutely correct - there are quite a few airports where both reciprocal frequencies are identical and they are not backcourse approaches (KSEA a good example).Michael J.

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OK Mr. M.All I'm saying is that not all runways reciprocals use the same frequency. That's all.

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Bill,Thank you for your wonderfully detailed response. The bold red line was the route I had intended to take, just was thrown off by the ILS signal. The information you and Michael provided has helped immensely. I still have plenty to learn. But that's what makes this so much fun, and for me, very close to the real thing (even though I'm not a pilot).BTW - I always like to work on my landings. My favorite method is landing on the carriers with the A-6E. If you can nail those, you can handle almost anything :)

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Thank you Michael. I learned a valuable lesson today.

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Airports that use the same frequency for the ILS have a little switch that determines what runway is going to be active at that time. Some airports allow, based on the inbound traffic, an airliner to make a straight-in "type" approach without having to fly all the way around the airport to pick up the ILS on the active rwy. They just change the active runway.ILS, unless stated elsewhere ie. approach plate, etc. are only good out to 18nms. That is for the localizer, the glideslope is only good for 10nms. Remember, that's only if it's not printed otherwise. Some, like an ILS out of Berlin, if I remember right during the cold war, were to be followed all the way through East Germany. But I digress, the first three steps, in ANY instrument procedure are always 1. Tune 2. Identify 3. MonitorThe way you were coming in from Yakima, you shouldn't ever use the ILS like that to navigate. Remember the localizer CDI once against the wall, won't tell you how far away from course you are, you could be a mile, you could be thirty miles, and the ILS has a very narrow band, as indicated by the green arrows in the map view. You should have used another VOR or NDB to get close enough to pick up the ILS signal, like Bill showed earlier.Like you said though, you were able to find your way, and in the end that's what counts, but oh my, if that was an instrument checkride............Lobaeux

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Jeppeson's SimCharts are fun to play around with.

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David:As a sometimes browser, that is as someone who occasionally browses the MSFS2002 Forum on Avsim, today I ran into one of your posts and took an interest in the problem you had with the VOR Tracking and what you called a: Vertically Challenged--post. Well I wanted to give you my spiel on this one. I did not read the other posts in complete detail, but I think I can add some thing to what was said that might be helpful to you. I wanted to fly the approach, check on your problem and give you my own slant. You can get a lot of them, but try this one. Go back and fly it. I think you'll find it works quite well.First, let's do some first things first, however.In your post you said, and I quote, "

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Hi Lowell,Just wanted to say that everything you have said so far makes perfect sense. Obviously you know exactly what you are doing. But even if I disagreed, since I am not a "real world" pilot, I would never assume that I could correct your instructions anyway.But I do feel maybe you might have misinterpreted David's intent. And David, please correct me if I am wrong. Since the graphic David included in his message showed that he eventually did land on a southerly approach--Rwy 16R or 16L, I believe that indeed was his intent from the beginning. (I can't tell for sure because of the graphic is not zoomed in close enough, but I believe it was probably 16L.)And I believe that is further confirmed by the fact that he still chose that southerly landing approach even though he could have changed to 34R or 34L while he was still south of KSEA. I can think of only one reason that would not be the case and that would be if his altitude was still too high at that point and he still needed to bleed off some altitude before entering final.So unless David corrects me, I would personally appreciate it if you would also take that approach as you continue your instructions. I say that because I am seriously interested in hearing what you have to say. I believe I can learn a lot from your experience.I look forward to your continuation.You have me "on the edge of my seat"! :)Happy Flying!Bill MolonyAtlanta GA USAUnder the 27L Approach to KATL--the busiest airport in the world :)

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Very interesting thread. Being far from a real world pilot myself I would love to hear more about this too. :)

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Bill:David's comments left out some very necessary information if one wants to truly solve his problem immediatelly without more information. So I took the situation just as it appeared to me. I thought he was trying to make the ILS approach to runway 34R. It is the only approach that uses the "SEA" in the identifier. All three of the other runways use different disignations. Look for my next installment. Thanks for your reply.

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David, and all interested:I have taken one more crack at this. This time, remember, as before, there was a little shortage of information to get this all right without talking directly with David. I am shooting from what I saw. One thing I leaned in a technical writing course--it is hard, hard to explain things so we all see them the same way. But here is my shot at finishing this up. Happy flying. If anyone wants I'll do some screenshots of all this.For David:and All others who are interested.I want to post once again on the problem David was having with his VOR tracking and low altitude airways. He made a mistake. We are looking at that mistake. Or, if that is not completely possible, we are looking at some situations which have come about because of his inquiry which we can only hope are similiar, and also that our solutions or answers will be useful.Once again: All radials are exactly that. They emanate outwardly from the VOR in 365 directions, or degrees if you will. We only need to use 360 degrees of the compass.There is no KSEA ILS transmitter. There are only the four ILS localizer courses at the SEA, or KSEA airport. This is the Seattle-Tacoma Airport in Washington state.Those four ILS systems are as follows: ILS Runway 16R as: 111.7 Mhz and 161 degrees inbound.I-SZI.ILS Runway 16L as: 110.3 Mhz and 161 degrees inbound.I-SQN.ILS Runway 34R as: 110.3 Mhz and 338 degrees inbound.I-SEA.ILS Runway 34L as: 111.7 Mhz and 338 degrees inbound.I-TUC.Notice on the approach plate, or other information being used that the ILS localizer for runway 16R, frequency 111.7 is identified as I-SZI, Channel 54. The Channel number is for the use of Military aircraft usually, but be very concious of the morse code used to identify the localizer. If you do not know morse code, and most don't, all you have to do is look at the code, and listen to the frequency and read it off. Match the code in your ear to the code on the chart. The information for the ILS localizer for runway 16L, frequency 110.3 is identified as I-SQN. I will omit the UHF or military channel information for this and other systems. Look at the morse code how it differs.The information for the ILS localizer for runway 34L, frequency 111.7 is I-TUC. Again, look at the morse code.The information for the ILS localizer for runway 34R, frequency 110.3, is I-SEA. Again, look at the morse code.And although the CAT II, and CAT III approach information is not to be considered here, those approaches do exist.More importantly for the CAT II and CAT III pilot and aircraft--we can now see from above that each of the four standard ILS approaches have a different identifier even if the frequencies do match! Look carefully. There does not appear to me to be any back course approaches in use at the KSEA airport. So we shall not discuss the back course approach.This particular discourse need go not much further. This is not a contest to see who has the most knowledge about the ILS course. This is merely a training exercise in how to fly the ILS course. And like so many other things, there are a multiplicity of ways to accomplish this goal. This is just one that works. The ILS information is taken from the U.S. Terminal procedures Northwest, Volume 1 of 1, dated: 20 May 1999 and I think probably still accurate.The CDI. The CDI does not indicate when it is time for final approach. Final approach might be construed as a lot of things done a lot of ways, but not by the use of the CDI. Let's not try to figure out here just what does make this final approach. Let's just see if we can fly the one I believe David wanted to fly. And we'll look at some things on the way.I believe David wanted to fly the ILS to Runway 34R at KSEA. This is identified above as:ILS Runway 34R: 110.3 Mhz and 338 degrees inbound.I-SEA. And please, don't forget your morse code for I-SEA. You do need to listen to it, and identify that you are on the correct ILS frequency.If I step back a bit here, and we recall that I flew this in the Baron, and the Cessna 172 both, and both times from the Yakima airport, here is how I did it. I must reiterate:I took off South or Southwest, made a right climbing turn to intercept the Victor-4 Airway a few miles NorthWest of the YKM VOR. I kept climbing until I reached my cruise altitude of 10,500 feet. Remember, I was VFR and practicing IFR. I did not use ATC. I did not use weather or clouds. Do it the easy way first. Introduce clouds next, and lastly do the ATC. Also, do it the easy way, use the autopilot. Use it like in a real airplane. Engage the heading hold, use the heading bug, use the altitude mode, use the rate of climb settings you would use in a real airplane. Why not do it all. Microsoft Flight Simulator, remember: As real as it gets.In so far as the autopilot goes, I like to fly heading hold most of the time. But reserve the NAV lock for now and then use. During your actual approach we'll speak on this stuff a bit more.Now, we climb, we track the 285 degree radial off YKM.ASAP we take the number two nav unit and tune it to SEA VOR. We tune the ADF to the ODD or DONDO Non Directional Radio Beacon at SEA on 224.0 Mhz.Note: This radio beacon is not part of the official runway 34R ILS approach into SEA. In fact, the published approach is an ILS/DME approach and I am sure uses a radar vector to get into position for this approach. But this is not an official approach we are flying here. This is just practical training. The NDB is there, and no doubt it was a part of the approach at sometime in the not too distant past. You can use this information to fly thousands of similiar approaches all over the world. So let's use DONDO. Where were we? Oh. We just tuned in the ADF, but got no useable signal. How do we know? The ADF needle has not responded. It points about ninety degrees off the selected NDB. Dondo is ahead, and the ADF needle is pointing hard right. What about the number two nav? We set it to SEA. Wow! Look! We are at 5,500 feet climbing in the Cessna and we have a good, useable signal. The CDI is working, and if we listen on the frequency, to SEA we can identify the morse code. Good. if things are going this well, just tune the number one VOR to SEA and center the needle. Now we can center them both by hand, which is just fine if we were on course when we switched freqencies, or we can look at our low altitude or VFR charts and set the airway reciperacal or the outbound radial off SEA. There will be three or four degrees difference between the bearing or course where you fly into the SEA VOR, as oppossed to where you flew out of the YKM VOR. IF you departed YKM on the 285 Radial, then expect to arrive at SEA (should you be so bold as to overfly that VOR) on something between the 280 and the 290 degree heading needed to hold the course as you approach the station on the opposite radial. You fly in actually on the opposing radial with the heading approximating your original heading out of YKM.(If this is hard to understand, let me know and we'll try to clarify. But all things are not easy).Since we have tuned in the ODD radio beacon on the 224.0 frequency, with luck it will respond some miles out from SEA and we can then use it for more practical navigation and more precise location information. Here is what we might do next.We climb on up to 10,500 or any altitude which gives us a safe margin for terrain clearance. Use what you will just avoid the cumulo granitus. Level off. Fly the autopilot. Enjoy the scenery. Now, I was about all day getting up to 10,500 but I made it. And by then I had great DME information, Ground speed, time to station so on. With all this (and can you believe I had GPS too?) Well, listen, just use it until you can fly this trip without it, then don't use it. That's simple.Start planning your descent and approach before you need to start down. I figure in the Cessna 172 I needed to get down to about 2,000 AGL for flying the ILS approach. You don't really need an approach plate to tell you this. Seattle is at sea level,and that is a good initial approach altitude. I was racking on about 100 knots, and with my distance and time showing on the DME it was easy to see that I ought to start down about 16 minutes out from SEA. I did exactly that. With sixteen minutes till I was to hit the VOR, I powered back to 2100 or so RPM, still on the autopilot; I set the rate of descent at 500 FPM and the new altitude to 2,000 and punched the buttons to go on down. Use your altitude hold and the airplane will lock onto the new rate of minus 500 feet and start you down to 2000 that you have selected as your new altitude (do this on the autopilot, in your radio stack).Now by this time you ought to be getting a bite on the ADF. When you see the needle reacting, listen to the code. Identiy the station by the code. Now fly a new heading direct to the NDB at ODD (Dondo). This is not part of the official approach, but we'll use it instead of radar to get setup for that FINAL approach we need so badly.You're now descending toward DONDO. Your rate of descent is set to get you down to approach altitude over the DONDO NDB or thereabouts. IF it works out fine, if not make some adjustments. Just judge it. It'll work out.As you are now approaching DONDO, you have to tune number one VOR or nav receiver to the ILS for Runway 34R. Look at all the good information we talked about. Better yet, use MSFS2002 and let the Mapped Information show you all this. Use the Map a lot. It has most of this navigation information on it. And by now you ought to be able to fly the NDB, so set up the number one, or two, your preference, to find and identify the ILS. When you see your needle (CDI) reacting, you can identify with the use of the morse code. Verify that the needle (CDI) is to the side of the indicator you expect it to be on (left in this case from our position on the east side of the course and holding a NW heading. Once satisfied you have a good ILS signal, and you are definitely navigating by your ADF, then switch both Navs to the ILS and identify on both receivers. Set both course indicators to the inbound runway course (338 degrees). Technically, this is not necessary on the old CDIs. But it is a requirement on the newer pictoral nav units and it makes a great reminder about where you're going and where your airplane ought to be headed on final.Now, we're tuned to the ILS on two receivers. We're flying to the NDB and what do we do next? We're about down on our altitude to the initial approach altitude. The beacon is ahead on the nose and coming up fast. The ILS is splayed out across our course and the airport to the right, but we have to go left this time. We need room to manuver, and set up for that final approach. As we begin to get clues that we are just about to arrive over the NDB and over the center of the ILS going the wrong way, we turn directly outbound on the reciperical heading we need to get to the runway. Yikes, we're going the opposite way on purpose.The ILS was, we said two or three times previously, 338 degrees; so we go 338 minus 200 is 138, plus 20 is 158. Then we turn left to 158 degree heading to fly, or to parallel the outbound course on the ILS. (You can just add or subtract 180 degrees if it is easier for you. For most of us it isn't). Either way we fly outbound heading about 158 degrees.We watch all the indicators. What is happening? Where exactly are we? The ADF has swung. It now ought to be pointing approximately behind us. Only approximately due to the overshoot in the turn. The ILS? What does it show? Is it important? Well, with the pictoral nav, it shows the exact location of the course and in relation to your airplane's location if you have it set up and have the head of the CDI arrow setting on 338 degrees (the inbound reference). But if you have no PNI (pictoral navigation indicator) and you have the old CDI, look for this:Suddenly you are flying away from the airport, and away from the ILS transmiter. So you can expect the needle to show the opposite to the inbound information. It shows you are needing to go right, but the ILS is to your left now. Disregard it. Don't worry. It will all work out.How else might we know where we are? Well in MSFS2002 until you get totally confident, use your GPS. Use your Map display. They both show you here at this time (just hit pause for a bit) that you are outbound, and west of the ILS course.Now, we need a procedure to get squared away. Just happen to have one. It is called flying the procudure turn. Time yourself right now for one minute. If you are not down to your initial approach altitude, make sure you are working on your descent too. At the end of one minute, make a forty five degree turn to the right. (Use the charts you have to figure out the best direction of turn). This is not official here so figure it out in relation to terrain, obstrucitons, so on. If the world's tallest building is on the right, better turn left.Fly one more minute. While flying this one minute leg, verify all your radios are still tuned, still set. Keep on flying the airplane. You are not a passenger. This is the time to cross check everything. Course indicators still set? Altitude okay? Autopilot doing as expected? Check it all. You have a whole minute.Make your procedure turn now. Do a 180 degree turn. Need a procedure to do the procudure turn? Use the one we used before. If you are now flying 158, plus the 45 to the outbound heading, it is about 203 degrees. About. So plan to come around to the opposite or 203 minus 180 is 023, or 203 degrees, plus 20 is 223, minus 200 is 023 degrees. Your intercept heading for the ILS is now almost Northeast or 023 degrees.When you fly this turn, make it to the inside. That is, if our first turn is right, make your next turn left. If your first turn is left, make your next turn or last half of the procedure right. This keeps extending your pattern and giving you more room to operate in. (As well as complying with normal airspace restrictions and so on). Note: Don't you hate word processors? I just lost about three or four hunderd good words of instruction here. This is NOTEPAD and I just hit the wrong key and boom--it was gone.Well, where do I take up again? Ha. What a bummer.Where are we, what do our instruments show, what do we do next, and is this scary? Ought we to be afraid just because we are perhaps in some cloud? Let's see.If we did as we ought, we are now headed toward the ILS course on an intecept heading which is approximately 45 degrees more than the course inbound. So if the inbound is 338, the heading we ought to be on is about 023 degrees. We are now gong Northeast and the course is a bit left of north. Our CDI or pictoral nav shows the course to the right. Our altitude is still at that 2,000 or if we do have an approach plate, it is as dipicted on the chart. This is close enough if we are on our own, clear of ATC, and have all the facts about the terrain. Now we run our landing checks, get it all done but gear and flaps maybe. In the Cessna we can forget the gear huh? Not in the Baron.Good time to get our airspeed and power exactly as we would like to have them. If you have a chart, you can use it to figue out more details here about how to time your approach, how long it will take. Just look at the boxes on the lower right of the approach plate. Use the information to help in your planning. If you don't have it. Not to worry. We'll do fine.As we near the approach course, or the ILS, we see the CDI starting to swing slowly in toward the center of the instrument's face. This is our clue to make or plan how to make our turn onto course; the ILS course. It is simple in the PNI version, and you must work just a little bit harder when using the older version of the CDI instruments. Use trial and error. If you do have the pictoral version and are using it, use the lubber line as an aid. When the CDI hits the end of the lubber line, start your turn and use enough bank to keep the CDI and the lubber line just touching each other for as long as possible.If you make this turn properly you'll be on course, on the ILS, and below the glide slope. The DME ought to verify your position as outside the ODD NDB by two or three miles, and you can double up on all your pre landing checks now. Get it all done but the flaps and gear.Okay. Power is set. Airspeed is on it. Altitude is right. Autopilot is on. Altitude hold is on. Now go to the nav stack and click to get your autopilot set to APPROACH mode. I use the altitude hold, and the approach mode. When the glide slope comes alive, and your autpilot captures it, the altitude hold will kick off automatically. When this happens, drop the gear. Make sure you are at or below gear speed if in a retractable gear airplane such as the Baron. Set your power so you can get the speed and descent you want. Your choice here to set up a rate on the autopilot for descent. Manage airspeed with power and use the autopilot for the rate of descent works. What ever you do you may get an argument here. Do you control rate or airspeed with power? Do you do which with pitch? I'll let you figure that out. But don't be scared.I bring this up because one pilot spoke of it in his reply. Believe me, there is nothing scary about it. It is business for the pilot. Just beautiful, lovely business. Let's not be scared now, after all we're pilots. Now if you have a big old thunderstorm on your path directly ahead, or if your fuel is about exhausted, or if your wings are carrying just about all the ice then can handle, well then, you might be allowed to show a little more concern. But don't be afraid. It hampers your ability to do the job at hand. And it is doing the job, day in and day out that counts. I hope that this set of instructions has given some one or more of you an ida about how you might learn a little about how to do this job, on this little procedure for this one approach. Keep in mind the universal here.Happy FlyingIf we need corrections, and we might, let me know. All of this information is subject to error. Please advise if you see the need for changes.Lowell Wiley

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Bill:I have just taken one more look at what I think David did, and what he said. And then at your reply. I have to say I still believe he was attempting an ILS approach into runway 34R at SEA. Here is why I can continue to believe this. One: Red Circle or no red circle, one must tune the ILS somewhere in order to use it. Someone unfamiliar might do it way out from the airport. Two: Notice that on the sideview chart, the one showing the descent profile--believe it or not he appears to have maintained the glide slope right on down to the ground or near to it.Three: Everything he said leads me to believe this was his intent. He planned to fly this ILS approach into this airport. He also refers to the KSEA ILS. Well, there is no KSEA ILS. But there is an I-SEA localizer for the 34R ILS approach. That is how I see it. Now, let me make some comments on your reply. Hopefully this may help you as well as David. In my opinion, IFR flying is not exciting because you "can't see out the windows." And in fact, it can go from routine, kind of a run-of-the-mill flying to very exciting for a variety of reasons I guess, but not seeing out the windows is not particularly one of them. Not in and of itself. You speak of "the final approach area." I am not sure what that is. This needs more thought or study. The standard landing pattern you speak of sounds like a "standard trafic pattern." Remember, standard traffic patterns are not used all the time. And in fact, often less than more at tower controlled airports. And hardly ever by IFR traffic on approach.There is no "Magic Spot." If there is I have not found it. And believe me I am sure I have looked. Ha. And you too Bill, assumed things by looking at that little red circle. Ha. I have to believe now that you missed David's intentions farther than I may have, which we don't know yet. You speak of the back course being 320. Sorry, no. There is no back course at this airport. No official back course. You might say well all ILS courses have a back course. Okay. I'll admit you might get to do that. But offically SEA does not use any back course approaches or so my charts tell me--and if they did the heading would be 340 degrees, not 320. Sorry Bill. Now, I must say you put a lot of time and effort into helping David. That is how it should be. And you may know him, whereas I don't, and you may know exactly what he needs, whereas I don't. So surely you did not do all wrong here. But I have not been able to see this your way yet at all. Let's both ask David to give us more information next time. Come on David, next time give us all the information you have on this. Ha. Please--be way more specific! Ha.And if you can or if you can't--keep on flying. Keep on having fun with MSFS2002.

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Hi Lowell,Enjoyed your description! :)Thanks for the info.But I wonder what happened to David.Hope all of this helped you David!Happy Flying!Bill MolonyAtlanta GA USAUnder the 27L Approach to KATL--the busiest airport in the world :)

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Hi Lowell,I agree that we do have very little info to go on. But after reviewing the messages again, I noticed something more.Check out Message #10. It was David's response to the graphic in my Message #2. In his #10 he said, "The bold red line was the route I had intended to take...." From that I can only assume that a southerly approach into 16R or 16L was indeed his intent.As for his reference to the "KSEA ILS", I don't believe he was referring to any actual ILS or VOR or NDB indentifier but rather simply a generic reference to any ILS signal coming from the Seattle Airport whose ICAO code happens to be KSEA.I was indeed definitely mistaken in my statement "back course being 320". It should have indeed been 340--or to even be more accurate, 338. I was not at the time actually looking at charts but rather just picturing in my mind what was happening. And I was just using a little dime calculator to figure the correct approximate heading. Apparently I pushed the wrong buttons! :)I am well aware that there is probably no official "Back Course ILS" at KSEA but my reference was simply a generic and an approximation. I probably should have used the term "reciprocal" heading instead. And I definitely should have been more accurate with my calculations.RE my reference to "the final approach area" and your reference to a "standard traffic pattern", I have heard all kinds of terminology and phrases used to describe those--both from real world and sim world pilots. From my reading, I have found very little that actually standardizes the terminology for any such words or phrases.I know that a lot of real world documentation shows a wide variety of versions of each and most share a lot of similarity. But there are a number of phrases and descriptions and graphical representations that seem to work just fine in most situations.Of course nearly all of that goes out the window when you are flying in ATC controlled airspace where the FAA has accepted much of the responsibility for getting you and all other aircraft in the area down reasonably safely. You don't question them, you just follow their instructions--to the letter! :)And at an major international airport such as KSEA, one would NEVER be allowed to do what David, you, and I are discussing anyway! :)I personally LOVE IFR flying! It is extremely exciting to me. I love setting up weather conditions such that the runway is only visible when I am just a half mile or less short of touchdown. And then I fly those dials and push those buttons and love it when I have successfully hit the runway "on the numbers". (And yes, I know that you don't really try to hit touchdown on the runway numbers :)But of course that is safe to do in FS2K2. I don't know that I would feel the same in a real aircraft. But I can imagine that it could be a real adrenaline rush to say the least!!! :)Lowell, I very much admire and am very jealous of your real world experience! I love hearing you "talk the talk" from the perspective of someone who has really "walked the walk"! Keep it coming!Happy Flying!Bill MolonyAtlanta GA USAUnder the 27L Approach to KATL--the busiest airport in the world :)

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Wow, I'm so sorry I was MIA for the last 3-4 days. I'm having computer problems (self-inflicted of course), and tonight was the first night to get back on the forum. You guys are fantastic, but I still have to read through all the replies.Lowell - You deserve a special thank you. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect such a detailed response. I now have to apologize to you for my delay in following up this thread. Unfortunately, I'm in the home stretch of writing for a federal research grant (I'm actually about to reach the big four-oh, and I've spent more time in school than I care to admit). But I'm a biologist, Jim, not a pilot (note the reference to Star Trek, an old favorite for me). But I digress. Let me give you one answer that certainly sparked lively discussion. My intent was indeed to land on 16L. I'm actually on a cross-country trek that started in San Diego (my adopted home town). All my flights are basically hand-flown, although I do use the autopilot to hold course (with occassional corrections for wind). This is true of my landings as well. I figure if you have to use the AP all the time, your really not flying. As for the ILS reference, I'll be the first to admit that I still have much to learn, including terminology :-shy. What I was trying to do was fly toward the airport, and then enter a left traffic pattern (left turns, correct?) in order to land on Rnwy 16. As far as VOR navigation, what I understand right now is that, as you stated, the radials all eminate from the VOR station. I follow one radial toward the station (inbound) and then the opposite VOR outbound. Your correct, I don't yet know the terminology. But if I waited to learn it correctly first, I wouldn't have been able to ask my question.Radio navigation is new to me, and I find that for myself, the best way to learn is by making mistakes. The beauty with FS2K2 is I cannot hurt myself (or anyone else for that matter) by my mistakes. The only thing that gets damaged is my pride. At this point I lack any approach plates. Each day (when I can), I pull out an old world atlas from the bookshelf and pick my next destination. I then have a general idea of where I'm heading, and I use the flight planner to set up my flight. I know that this is far from real-world flight rules, but it works fine for me now. BTW - I am in no way implying that I shouldn't be admonished for using the wrong terminology and not supplying all the needed information. Guilty as charged.As for the plane, although I've been practicing flying jets lately (ERJ-145), my cross-country trek is in the Beech King Air. I like this plane, and it allows me to enjoy the scenery on my trek. You could best describe my flights as a combination of VFR, but using instruments for navigation.So there you go everyone. When I have the time (I have a defective mainboard that I need to replace first), I'll read through all the responses and post responses as needed. And Lowell - please don't stop with the education. I love to learn :-)

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>>outwardly from the VOR in 365 directions, or degrees if you >will. ??????I highly doubt it. 365 - What for ? The concept of the 'radial' is purely abstract. VOR station consists of 2 transmitters - one transmits the background reference steady signal the other one is a rotating beacon which provides the "phase" information relative to magnetic north - in a very simplistic description. In fact there are inifinite number of radials if one wants to be precise but the aircraft receiver can only discern 360 of them. One could probably built another super-VOR receiver that could work with 0.1 deg accuracy.Michael J.

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Hi David,Welcome back! Hope you get your PC problems under control real soon! NO FUN!!!! :)Yep, you did open up a can of worms to say the least! I think Lowell and I in particular have had some very lively conversations back and forth while you were away. It has been MOST interesting for me. I hope it has been likewise for him.I only have one comment at this time about what you said and that involves whether to use the autopilot (AP) or not. First let me say that I agree totally with you that at least for the time being. In order to learn the mechanics of IFR flying, you must indeed learn how to do it manually.But at the same time, you also should never shy away from using the AP either for normal flying. I think that Lowell will probably agree with this too. After all that is what the pros do all the time. They rely heavily on the autopilot throughout most of the flight--especially in the heavies but even in the smaller aircraft.It is sort of like if you are driving a nail, there is certainly nothing wrong with using a hammer to do it. Beats the heck out of trying to use your fingers to push the nail in--even if you have the strength to do it!!!The AP does not replace the pilot. It just adds one more tool for the pilot to use. But the pilot is still in control and must know exactly what the AP is doing at all times. But the AP has a tremendous ability to make some very complex navigational computations far more quickly and more accurately than any human can do.I look forward to hearing your responses to what we've discussed. I am glad that we can help out. On top of that I have learned a few new things myself!Happy Flying!Bill MolonyAtlanta GA USAUnder the 27L Approach to KATL--the busiest airport in the world :)

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