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Guest _Christopher_

Autothrottle usage - what's right?

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Greetings, all.I ask the following only of rated pilots of Boeing aircraft - specifically the 737 NG series.I am using a particular add-on where Autothrottle is not available if the autopilot is disengaged. Yet another add-on I have, the PMDG 737 series, has it so that if you are in certain speed modes, such as VNAV, with the Autothrottle armed, then the Autothrottle controls the engines even though the PF is hand flying the maneuvers manually with the autopilot off.I need to know the correct procedure, as I am striving to perform correct procedure since I am about 3 semesters from attempting to actually certify on a jet through my flight school. I want to start practicing correct procedure now so that I am that much more proficient when I get that far.Can the Autothrottle control Boeing NG series aircraft without the actual autopilot engaged in real life? Is A/T control with A/P off an inaccuracy that FS allows?Thanks in advance for any advice tat any NG drivers can provide. In FS I do like A/T controlling speed so I can concentrate more on maneuvers during a hand flown approach, but I need to quit practicing this if it is not real world procedure.<> Spelling Errors Correction

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>I am using a particular add-on where Autothrottle is not>available if the autopilot is disengaged. I think this is not correct. By principle A/T and A/P are separate and operated independently. But some airlines may have as part of their standard operating procedures to discourage pilots from using A/T alone. Michael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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Exactly. I was hoping it was an option, such as with PMDG's 737, where you can be hand flying an approach but still have speeds managed by the A/T.I have posted in a few spots, but finally realized unless I can get hold of some actual NG pilots, I most likely will never know. I have the official Boeing Flight Manual, as well as Continental's manual, but neither have any specifics on if Autopilot has to be engaged to have managed speed modes during flight.

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Sorry I meant in the other add-on on the option part.Right now A/T can only be used when autopilot is on AND A/T is on. If A/T alone is on and not Autopilot, the the only speed management option is TO/GA mode. Once you engage VNAV, unless the Autopilot is on you have to manage the throttles yourself.Once you engage the Autopilot, only then does the A/T take over and manage speed in VNAV mode.Also, if I am flying the pattern or circling to land, I have grown used to being able to use the SPD mode to manage speeds manually with the MCP. However in this case I cannot do so. The Autopilot HAS to be on for the SPD mode to be managed by the A/T. otherwise speed is the responsibility of the PF.That's what I was trying to clarify here as to if that is the case in the real Boeing aircraft, regardless of carrier options and SOPs.

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Christopher,You should be able to use the A/T without the A/P on. Make sure your engine driven generators are online. You might also need the flight director on, I'm not sure.

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Thanks, Ryan. I figured as much. This works for me with the PMDG model. It just differs from another developer's product, so I was trying to catch the attention of some NG drivers to see which was which and what I should actually be doing per procedure.:-)

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I've read that SWA doesn't allow their pilots to use A/T on approach (otherwise it is okay). The intent of this is to keep the pilot "in the loop" while flying approach. As a pilot who flys without the option, I find this appealing. All my approaches are flown with one hand always on the throttles and the adjustments are just a part of the routine. I'm "in the loop" and become instantly aware of abnormalities such was wind shift/shears, etc.However, I always use it on the simulator. Seems there's not enough situational awareness sitting in front of the computer verses in the cockpit where there's an awareness of motions, sounds and control response. On the plus side, my hours spent on the simulator have seemed to help my instrument scan when flying.

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VERY true. As student pilot I can say I have the exact same feeling. In the actual aircraft there is an entirely different feeling than when you are in front of a PC. Most of my sim time is recreation, although I do get a BITof practice out of it -- nothing ever comes close to the real thing. I think I use FS mainly for "dreaming" of where my career COULD take me.On the SWA bit, I have read the same thing. They also disable the autobrake systems in all of their fleet. On landing, the pilot has to do all the braking. This method is appealing to me for sure. In FS I have NEVER relied on autobrakes. It's too hindering. That and it's one less step to worry about during a critical phase of flight - in FS especially. In FS the plane comes to a complete stop before you can deactivate Autobrake, unless you are quick with a mouse. In real life, you brake to a certain speed then get the heck off the runway so the chap behind you on final can land . . .If this is so in real life, I can see where SWA gets their ideas from.

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>This works for me with the>PMDG model. It just differs from another developer's product,It has been known for a long time that PMDG offers unmatched fidelity in their products. I am surprised you even entertained a thought that "another" developer's product could be superior in this regard. :-shyMichael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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:-)Never said so. I have both, so I naturaly fly both. Pleasures of running a review site :-) But to do an honest review, I must do proper procedure. Without knowledge I cannot be objective or fair in the articles that I write. So I always strive to learn. That and the fact that I am in flight school and hoping to actually fly one of these lovely machines one day makes learning all the more . . . full of anticipation.:-)Chris

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