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Jemz

Figuring out when to descend and change heading

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Basically, I'm a major newbie in VATSIM and I rarely use it from the complexity of it but I thought I'd give it ago but the one thing that really confuses is me is when no Air traffic controllers are covering the air space you are in how are you meant to work out when you need to start descending and how are you meant to work out the heading when you're about to go on approach.

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Well generally I'll use stock aircraft and the default ATC will tell me the altitudes and headings, but I don't really want to use the default ATC.

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Default ATC is worthless. 

 

OK, first: 

 

What kind of aircraft are you flying? 

 

If, using default aircraft (not able RNAV), I would recommend using conventional VOR/DME navigation and charts. 

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Default ATC is worthless. 

 

OK, first: 

 

What kind of aircraft are you flying? 

 

If, using default aircraft (not able RNAV), I would recommend using conventional VOR/DME navigation and charts. 

 

I know its worthless that's why I'm trying to move away from it.

 

I'm using PMDG 737NGX at the moment.

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ok, that's fine then. The NGX will get you there ;) But are you using charts? The charts will tell you all you need when it comes to headings and altitude restrictions etc.

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ok, that's fine then. The NGX will get you there ;) But are you using charts? The charts will tell you all you need when it comes to headings and altitude restrictions etc.

 

Well, I use charts to see the taxiways etc, but when it comes to charts for the altitudes will it tell me when I should start the descend and what heading I have to go at to bypass the localizer

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Here is the chart for ILS 09L at Heathrow.

 

Inbound track (heading) 091 and you need to be at 2500 ft about 8 miles out to intercept the ILS.

 

So you generally maneuver the aircraft into a 20-30-40 degree (what ever works) intercept on the localizer 10 miles out (or longer, if you want that), and then follow the glide after you have established on the LOC. 

 

http://www.ead.eurocontrol.int/eadbasic/pamslight-D72D15FFA392BBF39FD7F69F210EC9BC/7FE5QZZF3FXUS/EN/Charts/AD/AIRAC/EG_AD_2_EGLL_8-1_en_2011-03-10.pdf

 

I highly recommend using the charts. Real pilots use them for a good reason. 

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Here is the chart for ILS 09L at Heathrow.

 

Inbound track (heading) 091 and you need to be at 2500 ft about 8 miles out to intercept the ILS.

 

So you generally maneuver the aircraft into a 20-30-40 degree (what ever works) intercept on the localizer 10 miles out (or longer, if you want that), and then follow the glide after you have established on the LOC. 

 

http://www.ead.eurocontrol.int/eadbasic/pamslight-D72D15FFA392BBF39FD7F69F210EC9BC/7FE5QZZF3FXUS/EN/Charts/AD/AIRAC/EG_AD_2_EGLL_8-1_en_2011-03-10.pdf

 

I highly recommend using the charts. Real pilots use them for a good reason. 

 

Wow, cheers this actually helped out so much. Really appreciate your time in helping me out. ;)

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Wow, cheers this actually helped out so much. Really appreciate your time in helping me out. ;)

 

No problem, glad it helped :)

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No problem, glad it helped :)

 

Sorry about this final question, do I turn to that heading when I start the decent or when I hit 2500ft

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Sorry about this final question, do I turn to that heading when I start the decent or when I hit 2500ft

 

Understand that every approach is different and unique. Some approaches may have high terrain in different sectors etc...That's why it's paramount to study the charts before you shoot the approach..

 

In the case of EGLL 09L you will be good to descend to 2500,  but not below 2500, before you are established on the localizer. 

 

I generally time the descent so that I hit the glide slope intercept altitude a little bit  before I establish on the Localizer. 

 

And again, charts: This will give you the altitude restrictions to join the ILS 09L at EGLL without radar control: 

 

http://www.ead.eurocontrol.int/eadbasic/pamslight-D72D15FFA392BBF39FD7F69F210EC9BC/7FE5QZZF3FXUS/EN/Charts/AD/NON_AIRAC/EG_AD_2_EGLL_7-13_en_2014-05-01.pdf

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Couple of things:

 

- First of all, the PMDG will calculate a descent point for you if you have learned how to use the FMS.  There are a number of great tutorials on YouTube on how to set up a flight, and the two PMDG published tutorials spend a lot of time on inputting a route.

 

- Second, when you use a published approach (i.e. a chart of a specific route into an airport), you should also verify that the altitute and speed restrictions published match the ones in the FMS.  They often don't in our sim world - but it's easy to fix once you get the hang of the FMS.

 

-  Third, here are two numbers that will help you if you don't have a plane that will calculate that point for you:  3 and 5.   If you multiply the elevation you have to lose (i.e. 36,000 feet down to a way point at 6,000 feet) by three, then divide by 1,000, you will get a good estimate of where to start your descent.  For instance, dropping from 36,000 feet to 6,000 feet means a descent of 30,000 feet.  Multiply by 3 and you get 90,000, then divide by 1,000 and you get 90 miles.  This works quite well and is commonly used by pilots flying planes that are not sophisticated.   The number 5 is the used to mutliply your ground speed to get your descent rate.  If your ground speed is 250 mph, multiplying that by 5 gives you a descent rate of 1,250 per minute. 

 

So there's your descent profile - no FMS needed!

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