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Nick Dobda

Newbie questions running the NGX 727 Tutorial 1

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I have gone through the Tutorial 1 four times now, and have a few odds and ends questions that have been running through my mind, so here they are. Some are really random. Keep in mind to this point (the past 15 years) all I've ever flown was the default 737, so that is all I know about.

 

What does CMD stand for in CMD 1 &2? I understand what they do, but I can't find what those letters stand for. 

Why are there two autopilots? I see you can't "autoland" without both of them, and I thought I read that if you want to do the classic ILS landing, you just run CMD-1 and I guess click it off just prior to landing to flare and finish out (like I always did in the default). What does the second autopilot do and why is it necessary to autoland?

 

On the PFD once were in the descent, it shows the ILS freq and heading. For some reason my heading is yellow with a line through it... what does that mean?

 

On takeoff, we should click on CMD A at +400 radio alt... the tutorial says to watch the radio altimeter readout at the bottom of the PFD... where is this readout? On the tape I can see the ground drawn in, with the altitude shown as baro altitude... no numbers telling me 0 (Speficically I'm looking for a 0 value as Im sitting there waiting to take off because this is (or should be) the radio altitude. For now I just click on the CMD A at 800 alt (baro alt is about 200 on the ground). 

 

Finally, a few general questions

 

How does a pilot know which runway he is going to land on prior to taking off? You program everything in as your sitting at the gate, but you have to pick the STAR and runway to land on... but the runway to land on isn't fully known till you get there... is this correct? 

 

Also, I'd like to create my own tutorial kinda... but in the US. At this point I can program in a real life route (using flight tracker etc..) but for things like altitude and speed restrictions and the like, I have to know how to read a SID & STAR (im assuming these values are in there somewhere). Is there a good tutorial somewhere that goes over how to read US navigation charts and use this info to help program the computer?

 

Specifically, I am going to run the route from Midway to Pittsburgh. There is no SID out of Midway, but theres these departures. For example, CICERO seven.. if the first point in my route is LEWKE, and if Im taking 13R... well, what does the information in CICERO seven mean as far as programming it into the FMC?

 

Whats the difference between CICERO seven and Midway one? Why would you choose one over the other?

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1) CMD = Command 

 

2) There are two independant autopilots CMD A / CMD B. When you expect normal landing (for example following a ILS catI or VOR, or RNAV approach), you can use only one autopilot as if it had to fail you would take back in manual anyway.

For autopilot where you would expect not to be able to land the aircraft manually, you need more redundancy as if one autopilot fails, the other one would be able to land the aircraft.

This a very basic summary explanation off course, as factor are to be considered (amongst them whether the aircraft is certified fail operative or not).

But the principle is there, the second autopilot is just a "backup" of the first one.

 

It seems that in the default NG of fsx, clicking on the CMD (A/B) turns the autopilot off. In the PMDG's NGX as in real, the autopilot is disconnected by pressing on the CMD button but on the A/P disconnect swith on the yoke (you can map a key for that switch in the keys commands options of the FMC). A first press disconnects the A/P, a second press silent the warning.

 

In the worst case you can also disconnect the autopilot by use the disconnect bar under the CMD buttons but it is not the normal way to proceed.

 

You can disconnect the A/P anytime you like but before the MDA or higher depending on companies' SOP.

 

3) The radio height is displayed when below 2500ft AGL on the bottom center of the PFD (in the brown part).

Have a look at the FCOM v2 to find some illustrations about the radio altimeter.

 

For all the matters regarding the aircraft, you will find a lot of answers in the documents provided with the NGX:

_ Aircraft systems > FCOM v2

_ Flights procedures and checklists > FCOM v1 & FCTM

_ General informations and PMDG's generic > Introduction documents.

 

I would strongly advise you to search in these documents as going from the default fsx 737 to the PMDG's NGX is quite a big step!

And especially the automatic flight and MCP which are very unaccurate on the default aircraft!

 

4) The ILS course is yellow and crossed out when there is a missmatch between the Left and right course settings on the MCP.

 

Basically for an ILS cat I you would set the ILS frequency and the course setting only on the left  or on the right.

 

For an autoland or for ILS cat II and III, you have to set the same ILS frequance and course on both the left and the right.

 

If you have the ILS frequency set to the both but different courses set, then the system warns you by displaying the ILS course on the PFD in yellow and crossed out.

 

5) First I don't think you take off on 13R at Midway as it is not described on any departure but rather 13L or 13C.

Then these departures are based on radar vectoring and instructions from ATC.

 

Cicero 7:

 

TAKEOFF RWYS 13C, 13L, 22R, 31R: Climb assigned heading to 1.2 DME. Thence... 

. . .via tower assigned heading/vector to assigned altitude

 

"ALL AIRCRAFT: Expect radar vectors to first enroute fix. Maintain 3000’ or assigned lower altitude. Expect clearance to requested altitude/flight level 10 (ten) minutes after departure. Complete initially assigned turn within 4 DME."

 

All is described here. Regarding the FMC programming, you would just select the T/O runway (and the CISRO7 if available) and would get a line with "vector" in the leg page.

It means that you would then have to either fly the departure manually or, if you want to use the A/P, use the HDG SEL roll mode and enter the headings in the HDG box on the MCP.

 

In real life or on an online network, you would get all the guidance and necessary information to reach LEWKE by the ATC.

 

Now with regards to the info you're requesting about the SID/STAR and the differences between Cicero7 and Midway 1, you can find all the charts here:

 

http://www.airnav.com/airports/

 

The informations quoted above about Cicero7 are extracted from the departure charts on this website.

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Bud,

 

Thank you for taking the time to explain those things. It will take me a few times to read it to digest it. Its going to be a lot of learning, but completely satisfying one day...

 

I dove right in and did Tutorial 1, but re-did the route MDW to PIT. I saw when programming the departure, you're right, it pretty much was the departure with the TO being a VECTOR. Second line was LEWKE, and so on.. I ended up deleting the first departure, and it took me directly to LEWKE. 

I ran into VNAV not being able to be turned on because the runway was beyond the 5 degrees... Once airborne turning VNAV on started everything off and the AP took over. You had mentioned to use the HDG to follow ATC to LEWKE... so I guess in real life, had I left the departure line in the MCP flight plan... would I just click VNAV on when ATC instructs to resume own navigation?

 

How compatible are FSX ATC and the NGX? I'd imagine it would completely destroy the SID & STAR and any altitude restrictions.. do most simmers just fly on their own flight plans?

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Just leave the first line, don't delete it. In such a case the option is to set the runway heading in the MCP HDG box, just arm the VNAV on the MCP and leave the other button blank for now (don't click on HDG on ground!).

 

A note here, do not confuse VNAV and LNAV. On your post above, I guess you're talking about LNAV and not VNAV.

LNAV (Lateral nav) is a roll mode and as you said you cannot arm it on ground if you initial segment is more than 5 deg apart your runway heading.

VNAV (Vertical nav) is a pitch mode.

 

So when you are ready to take off, manually move your throttles forward to approx 40% N1 (this is done to check for symmetric trust before applying takeoff thrust) and wait just shortly for them to stabilize (don't wait to long here it should less than 2 seconds), then press the TOGA button.

 

On the FMA, you should read N1 /      / TOGA then HLD/      /TOGA after 80kt.

 

Once at Vr, rotate to smoothly to 15 deg (in around 8s to avoid tail strike) and once in the air adjust the pitch to maintain V2+ 10-20kt. Retract the landing gear as soon as you have a positive climb.

 

At 400ft, engage the HDG SEL mode on the MCP and you should read N1 / HDG / VNAV on the FMA (above 400ft).

The FD will provide you with guidance to maintain the heading selected on the MCP and the speed depending on the phase in the FMC (first V2 + 20 then after acceleration height, the different flaps manoeuvers speeds, then once cleaned 250kt until 10000ft).

You can also engage the A/P at 400ft if you like.

 

From now you will just have to enter on the MCP HDG box the heading instructed by the ATC or your own if your own if you don't have ATC.

 

To switch to LNAV, you must be on an intercept heading to the segment to the first waypoint on the leg page, ie the one displayed on the top right of the ND.

 

In your case, without ATC, the easiest is to turn roughly toward LEWKE, enter a dct to LEWKE in the FMC then swith to LEWKE. You could also directly enter a dct to LEWKE while still on runway heading and then select LNAV, but this can send to undesired path depending on the situation.

 

Before clicking LNAV, always double check what is you next waypoint and if you are on an intercept heading. Otherwise, you may proceed to a wrong waypoint, or LNAV would be rejected with a message on the FMC "Not on intercept hdg".

 

Last point regarding the default fsx ATC, it is widely unaccurate and doesn't comply with the procedures in use (SID/STAR).

I don't know if it reflects the radar vectoring in USA (I never use the default ATC) but for at the beginning in some airports in Europe, it was ridiculously out of anything even comparing it to the radar vectoring given by real ATC (not even talking about the SID/STAR non compliance!).

I would rather advise you to get rid off it and get familiar with the published procedures.

Self-vector you if the procedures include radar vectoring, and when you feel ready, move to online networks where you will have human ATC (IVAO, Vatsim...).

 

NOTE: Please full names at the bottom of each post (or in the signature). It's a rule on this forum.

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Romain did a great job answering the rest, but I wanted to address a few things.

 

 

 


How does a pilot know which runway he is going to land on prior to taking off? You program everything in as your sitting at the gate, but you have to pick the STAR and runway to land on... but the runway to land on isn't fully known till you get there... is this correct? 

 

This isn't quite correct.

 

The general flow of things is to set up everything except the runways until they're assigned. Keep in mind that in some cases, this might prevent you from entering the SID or STAR. For the departure, it's easy enough to just wait and select the runway when it's assigned (at the latest, as part of the taxi clearance), but you can take a guess by listening to the ATIS, especially if the airport only has one runway. It's a common misconception that the active runway is always the one with favorable wind - BWI as an example, only lands on the 33s, using 28 for departure; or lands on 10, using the 15s for departure.

 

Using BWI as an example, you wouldn't have to choose the runway at all if you were flying the SWANN departure as an example. Just select the departure and transition and hold off on the runway until it's assigned. Once it's assigned, add it in. It doesn't have to all be done at once. Same goes for the STAR. It's best to add the STAR in while sitting at the gate, but if it does not require a runway (the EXEC light will light up without a runway chosen if this is the case), then do not add one in. If it does, take your best guess, but keep in mind that it may change.

 

The base thing to keep in mind when learning about this plane, and all of its automation, is that there's a reason there's still a person up front. Automation is great, and to a large degree, we can hand over a big portion of the flight over to the automation, but there are situations where information may be delayed, and you need to just use your best judgment.

 

 

 


Specifically, I am going to run the route from Midway to Pittsburgh. There is no SID out of Midway, but theres these departures. For example, CICERO seven.. if the first point in my route is LEWKE, and if Im taking 13R... well, what does the information in CICERO seven mean as far as programming it into the FMC?

 

A SID (Standard Instrument Departure) is a departure. The Midway and Cicero are both SIDs, even though they're not as "pilot nav" as you're expecting (they're both heavily vectored, which is more "ATC nav"). Putting the Midway or Cicero into the FMC really doesn't do too much, but should be done, as it enters some initial guidance information (initial heading up through a certain altitude, and so on).

 

While this doesn't go too deep into the chart symbology, this might help you understand SIDs/STARs:

 

 

 


I dove right in and did Tutorial 1, but re-did the route MDW to PIT. I saw when programming the departure, you're right, it pretty much was the departure with the TO being a VECTOR. Second line was LEWKE, and so on.. I ended up deleting the first departure, and it took me directly to LEWKE. 

 

You might not have much interest in flying on the other side of the pond, but I'd definitely recommend flying the tutorial as it was written, even if it's just once, to see how it all fits together. Continue on to the second tutorial for some more advanced concepts (and a little more hand flying), and then head off around the world wherever you'd like.

 

 

 


if you want to do the classic ILS landing

 

This one's really nit-picky, but this one gets my hackles up...

 

It's an ILS approach. The landing is a separate concept. What you described (following a path to the airport, kicking off the AP, and then landing manually), could also be an RNAV approach instead of an ILS, though you couldn't autoland on an RNAV (at least legally, as of right now).

 

 

 

 

As Romain also mentioned - and I have a feeling it is your user name - but full names are required to be in your post content here in the forum. I know it might seem redundant, but since most people don't use their names as user names, we check for compliance by glancing at the bottom of posts. In order to keep things consistent and simple, that's where it needs to be.

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Thanks all, I will take some time to digest everything, probably be back in a few days with more Q's, but that will be a new thread.

 

As for the tutorials... yes for sure I plan on doing them both. In fact, I finished Tutorial 1 three times, but still wanted to do it several more times until I knew it front and back. As mentioned, its a huge step from the default 737, but doing the same route over and over without thought and just following the directions outlined in the tuturial seemed less attractive then doing Tutorial 1 with tweaks (doing the same basic tutorial except switching up the routes).

 

The learning curve is gigantic. People go to college to learn this stuff... and here I am trying to learn it all on discussion threads, youtube, trial and error, and a few manuals. Some people like fishing, golfing, reading in their spare time, I guess this is my thing.

 

Thanks again!

Nick Dobda

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People go to college to learn this stuff...

 

Surprisingly, no. Even people who go to aviation colleges don't learn this, specifically. They might get a class that discusses automation, but what you're learning is stuff you'd learn later on, when getting a type rating. Then again, they've also gotten their instrument rating by that point, which, again, isn't a full college thing (you can take a 40 hour class at your local flight school over a few weeks), but would arm them with knowledge about routes, SIDs and STARs.

 

I, for example, spent 0 hours in college learning anything aviation-related as part of a class.

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Just leave the first line, don't delete it. In such a case the option is to set the runway heading in the MCP HDG box, just arm the VNAV on the MCP and leave the other button blank for now (don't click on HDG on ground!).

 

One more note after reviewing the STAR JESEY2 into KPIT - Say I'm coming into 27R.. it says I should continue beyond ROOSA on a heading of 101 and expect vectors for 28R from ATC.

 

So im thinking ahead while Im at work here so forgive me is my assumptions are incorrect---

 

I figure on configuring the approach at the deprture airport, JESEY2 and also the approach to 27R. Will the FMC show a [VECTOR] in there between ROOSA and the next pickup point, NASTY or ZAIKO (as seen on the RNAV chart for 27R)...

 

If it does... once the flight gets to ROOSA what happens? do I have to click off LNAV and (with the lack of ATC fly my own headings... maybe take a tour of downtown pittsburgh then turn back towards NASTY and pickup the ILS on my own... what if I want to autoland? Do I click back on LNAV, LOC... and APR once the LOC gets intercepted?

 

Maybe nothing of what I said is making sense... if it does my appologies, and re-ask me to clairify something

 

Nick Dobda

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Well if you select the JESEY2 and the ILS28R/RNAVZ28R/RNAV28Y (pick up the one you want here), after ROOSA you may have a vector 101 deg or discontinuity (don't remember, it may depend on the way the STAR is coded in the AIRAC).

 

If you have a vector, then when passing ROOSA, the A/P will remain in LNAV and maintain hdg 101 until you change roll mode.

If it is a discontinuity, roll mode will drop from LNAV to ... CWS. It means that the A/P will still control the pitch but not the heading anymore. It's a kind of hybrid mode where you can control the roll with the yoke while the A/P still controls the pitch and speed.

 

In any case, when passing ROOSA, it will be the moment for you to select HDG SEL and self-vector if you want to continue the approach with the A/P.

 

Regarding the vectoring, I'm not really competent to tell you what path to follow. Personnally, in absence of any ATC, I would probably head towards slightly before Nasty on the LOC to be establised on the LOC at latest Nasty using HDG SEL. 

I would also control my descent from ROOSA to that "point" to be levelled at the IF altitude (4000ft) using first LVL CH and V/S if LVL CH would bring me to 4000ft to early.

 

But as I said from ROOSA, some may give you more accurate advice on the path to get to NASTY.

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I got a chance to run this approach again, this time out of Detroit. Both out of Detroit and out of the STAR coming into PIT, there were vectors. Taking off from 3L in Detroit, loaded VNAV and the HDG to self vector to the first waypoint on the Akron 5 departure (VEELA). Selecting LNAV prior to the next segment becoming active forced a turn onto a magenta line following the runway. But as I vectored to VEELA, the first segment beyond VEELA became active, at that time I clicked off HDG onto LNAV, and continued the route.

 

Into PITT... beyond ROOSA, there was indeed a vector. LNAV and VNAV remained active on the last heading (101). Clicking off LNAV self vectored to the first point in the RNAV approach, again as I approached the first point it became active, but by then I was acquiring the ILS and getting ready to autoland.

 

Thanks for all your help again. I'll probably fly a few more routes between a few cities before moving on to tutorial 2.

 

Nick Dobda

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I'll probably fly a few more routes between a few cities before moving on to tutorial 2.

 

Do tutorial 2 first, honestly. Based on your narration, I think you could use some of the tricks that it would teach you.

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