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Nick Dobda

Weather & Runway Selection

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Flying the PMDG 737-800 NGX

 

Pre-Pre flight, I'll go to flight aware and choose a real world route between two airports, usually peek at any sids / stars at airnav.

 

Pre-flight prepping I enter FSX at the gate at the departure airport cold & dark, with real world FSX default weather loaded.

 

Then I will get into the weather menus to get the departure airport & destination airport weather specifics (wind, direction, barometer & cruise wind)

 

Then I will leave FSX altogether and enter into a spreadsheet the airports, weather info, passenger & cargo info, fuel, takeoff settings, landing settings. At this time I would choose departure and arrival runways based off the wind.

 

Then enter back into FSX and get going on the checklists and program the route in the FMC

 

takeoff, cruise, land.

 

 

 

1. Is this process typical? What is your typical process?

 

2. If I chose to use dynamic real world weather, how could I check weather conditions (active runways) while en-route without leaving the sim? I suppose I could tune to ATIS - is this the only way? How do they do it in the real world?

 

3. What if winds are calm? What's the procedure for picking a runway to land / takeoff on?

 

Another few general questions while I'm posting.. on a missed approach, clicking TO/GA sets things in motion and the plane enters into the holding pattern. In real life, typically does the plane make it to the holding pattern, or are they vectored back onto the approach before reaching the hold?

 

Is there a way to program in a [vector]? For example, a route ends at a VOR, and instead of going direct to say the first point of an RNAV approach, I want to go via vector (click off LNAV & turn on HDG to line up manually).

 

Thank you!

 

Nick Dobda

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Flying the PMDG 737-800 NGX

 

Pre-Pre flight, I'll go to flight aware and choose a real world route between two airports, usually peek at any sids / stars at airnav.

 

Pre-flight prepping I enter FSX at the gate at the departure airport cold & dark, with real world FSX default weather loaded.

 

Then I will get into the weather menus to get the departure airport & destination airport weather specifics (wind, direction, barometer & cruise wind)

 

Then I will leave FSX altogether and enter into a spreadsheet the airports, weather info, passenger & cargo info, fuel, takeoff settings, landing settings. At this time I would choose departure and arrival runways based off the wind.

 

Then enter back into FSX and get going on the checklists and program the route in the FMC

 

takeoff, cruise, land.

 

 

 

1. Is this process typical? What is your typical process?

 

2. If I chose to use dynamic real world weather, how could I check weather conditions (active runways) while en-route without leaving the sim? I suppose I could tune to ATIS - is this the only way? How do they do it in the real world?

 

3. What if winds are calm? What's the procedure for picking a runway to land / takeoff on?

 

Another few general questions while I'm posting.. on a missed approach, clicking TO/GA sets things in motion and the plane enters into the holding pattern. In real life, typically does the plane make it to the holding pattern, or are they vectored back onto the approach before reaching the hold?

 

Is there a way to program in a [vector]? For example, a route ends at a VOR, and instead of going direct to say the first point of an RNAV approach, I want to go via vector (click off LNAV & turn on HDG to line up manually).

 

Thank you!

 

Nick Dobda

Your set up process looks fine to me. If you're using PFPX or Simbrief it will give you the current winds at your departure, arrival and alternate airfields and if you're using active sky next you can actually set up your route in the main program before departure and then call up the weather for those same airports via the flight simulator menu. That solves your weather problem. In the real aircraft either they would use the ATIS once within range or have it delivered to them by Datalink/ACARS which sadly isn't really modeled inside the sim at this time.

 

If the winds are calm then the runway use would be down to either local preference for noise abatement or proximity to the terminal or gate areas to allow for shorter taxi, lower noise, lower fuel burn. Flights could also request certain runways depending on the approach aids available or if it's a quiet airfield, their direction of arrival. If it's a busy place like Heathrow however then good luck with trying that!

 

Missed approach procedures are published on the runway charts for each approach. A missed approach however can be a high workload situation and crews will often be 'helped out' by ATC with vectors which are to climb straight ahead and level off. Also crews may ask in certain cases in advance (if landing in low visibility say where landing is not assured) for vectors in the case of a missed approach. ATC will usually help out.

 

Certain airports (usually those surrounded by terrain) have rather hellish go around procedures that are very complicated and must be flown accurately. Kabul for example has a crew note for EK 777 pilots stating that the autopilot must be disconnected and manual control taken in the event of a one engine go around or and I quote 'impact into terrain is almost certain'. Gulp!

 

You'll see 'vectors' in your FMC for certain arrivals but this simply means a section of the flight plan where there is no lateral navigation. In the real world once you're given vectors the non-flying pilot would usually 'close up' the legs that you're not going to fly and select the nearest fix to your new course. Hope that helps.

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I noticed on final, once committed to a go around, step 1 is to click the TO/GA, this takes care of the lateral and vertical as it seems clicking the TO/GA even trips the FMC into going into that missed approach fix and holding loop.

 

Also at that time the FMC is then clear of all the previous route info. I'd have to go into the Departures page of the FMC and re-select an approach, which then loads as the plane remains in the holding loop.

 

I am guessing in real life during normal day to day operations (no excessive traffic or whatnot) the plane wouldn't make it to the holding loop, and instead be vectored by ATC back to the approach.

 

So in sim world with no ATC and me flying the plane by myself, it wouldn't be unreasonable to click TO/GA and let the plane do it's thing while I pull back up the flaps, gear, disarm the spoilers, engine switch etc... then get back into the FMC to re-load the approach... and eventually look up in time to change to HDG and navigate reasonably back to the approach fix and start over again - correct?

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I noticed on final, once committed to a go around, step 1 is to click the TO/GA, this takes care of the lateral and vertical as it seems clicking the TO/GA even trips the FMC into going into that missed approach fix and holding loop.

 

Also at that time the FMC is then clear of all the previous route info. I'd have to go into the Departures page of the FMC and re-select an approach, which then loads as the plane remains in the holding loop.

 

I am guessing in real life during normal day to day operations (no excessive traffic or whatnot) the plane wouldn't make it to the holding loop, and instead be vectored by ATC back to the approach.

 

So in sim world with no ATC and me flying the plane by myself, it wouldn't be unreasonable to click TO/GA and let the plane do it's thing while I pull back up the flaps, gear, disarm the spoilers, engine switch etc... then get back into the FMC to re-load the approach... and eventually look up in time to change to HDG and navigate reasonably back to the approach fix and start over again - correct?

 

Yep that's perfectly reasonable.

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