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Lead Chicken

Perhaps there ARE stupid questions

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I apologize in advance if this turns out to be one of them. I did quite a bit of research before deciding to ask without being able to find anything and would appreciate input from someone experienced

 

I was looking for a way to pull up a chart in MS Flight to find out the altitude of airports I'm approaching because when I don't know how far it is to the deck, I'm guaranteed to make a crater. As I was looking for answers I started to wonder why nobody else seemes concerned with this. So, my question is: Should I even be particularly concerned with knowing this, or should a proper approach and lineup with the runway yield enough visual cues to get the correct altitude and glideslope without knowing how many feet between me and the runway? I'm just not sure if I'm worrying about something trivial or if it's so important good sim pilots always know the answer before ever taking off and that's so obvious it goes without saying.

 

TIA for anything helpful thrown my way.

 

Sincerely,

 

A clueless clustercluck.

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The most realistic thing to do would be to look up approach charts and follow the exact procedures. The next best thing (if there are no charts or if you don't like those) would be to use ILS (if available): the glideslope will tell you if you are too high or too low or spot on. If there are no charts or ILS you might want to look up the altitude of the runway figure out how high you need to fly before you get close to the airport (something like 1000 feet above the ground would usually do if you plan on flying a circuit/pattern before you line up with the runway). But with or without the knowledge of altitudes, you usually always use visual cues anyhow to get the correct altitude and line yourself up with the runway.

 

When I fly towards little airports in Alaska I simply descent to an altitude that looks good enough for flying a circuit/pattern: after a while you know when you are about 1000 feet from the ground. And if I already know where the airport is from a greater distance I simply descent straight in on visuals. If you do if often enough you know how high or low you need to be to make it to the runway.

 

So it depends a little on what kind of airport you approach (big, small, ILS or not).

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If you only want to use the built-in map, clicking on the airport will bring up the airport data which includes the field elevation. Try to approach from 1000' higher than that number.

 

And there are NO stupid questions!

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Hi Lead,

 

I was encouraged when I read your post. Landing is one of the hardest things to do when someone is new to the hobby. Since Flight was introduced a don't recall seeing any questions about landing and I saw this as an indication that Flight isn't attracting newcomers. Regarding your "guaranteed to make a crater" remark: The default zoom setting, at least in the view from the cockpit, is 0.7. Your real-world skills will not be directly transportable to Flight. And a runway that's 100 feet wide will appear to be 70 feet wide at this wide angle setting. And when landing always try to line yourself up with the centerline of the runway. Don't try to compensate for your position in the cockpit. If you touched down with you exactly on the centerline the aircraft might be 18 inches off center. That's always close enough, no matter how narrow the runway is.

 

Jim F.

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Thanks a bunch everyone! I'm pleasantly surprised 'cause I was a bit worried that my post might qualify as flame bait and your responses resulted in a little sigh of relief. Maybe I've got digital shell shock from all the trolls and flamewars I've been seeing on youtube. ;)

 

I'll definitely make use of the tutorials section. I just spent a little more time with FSX and realized what at least part of my problem is. Back in the day you used to get an actual book with flight sims (and other games), and now you have to figure out where detailed information is buried amongst tutorials, fragmented bits of in-game documentation and possibly a set of pdf files. I was trying to figure out some of the comm and nav gear just by trying to interpret the markings on the buttons which surprisingly didn't turn out to be very effective. Oh how I miss the dead tree editions of manuals!

 

I have a strong renewed interest in spending some quality time with flight sims, so I expect I'll be around. It's amusing to be thought of as "fresh blood" though. The stuff in my veins qualifies for antiquity two times over! :)

 

Be afraid of more questions to come. Be very afraid.

 

/tony

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Keep the questions coming. We would not be here if we didn't like talking about this kind of stuff!

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More and more I find myself looking to SkyVector for airfield info before making a flight. I look up the airport to find its altitude, runway directions and surrounding terrain to help decide the best approach direction. The Flight Plan is great for working out multi-stop missions.

 

List of Alaskan Airports: http://skyvector.com...=title&sort=asc

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