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mattbell

Majestic Dash 8 Q400 Help

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Hi.

 

Ive just started to learn the Majestic Dash 8 and think it is a fantastic piece of software, however on a flight yesterday I kept having a few problems.

 

1. I was on a flight From Manchester (egcc) to Amsterdam (eham) Using the FMC to fly the Flight, At Random times the Autopilot kept Disconnecting and put the Aircraft in to a turning Descent (not a dangerous descent in the sense it was within the descent range) this occoured about 3 times throughout the Flight without any changes by myself to the Flight Controls.

 

2. At about 25 Miles out I disconnected the Autopilot to hand fly the aircraft into land at Amsterdam, as soon as I Disconnected the Autopilot the Aircraft went into a 90 Degree nose Down Dive and I was unable to recover the Aircraft either by reconnecting the AP or by manual controls.

 

As I'm still new to the Aircraft, I'm pretty certain that this is likely to be caused by me not setting it up correctly, can anyone help with trying to identify possible causes to this.

 

Thank You

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Hi.

 

Ive just started to learn the Majestic Dash 8 and think it is a fantastic piece of software, however on a flight yesterday I kept having a few problems.

 

1. I was on a flight From Manchester (egcc) to Amsterdam (eham) Using the FMC to fly the Flight, At Random times the Autopilot kept Disconnecting and put the Aircraft in to a turning Descent (not a dangerous descent in the sense it was within the descent range) this occoured about 3 times throughout the Flight without any changes by myself to the Flight Controls.

 

2. At about 25 Miles out I disconnected the Autopilot to hand fly the aircraft into land at Amsterdam, as soon as I Disconnected the Autopilot the Aircraft went into a 90 Degree nose Down Dive and I was unable to recover the Aircraft either by reconnecting the AP or by manual controls.

 

As I'm still new to the Aircraft, I'm pretty certain that this is likely to be caused by me not setting it up correctly, can anyone help with trying to identify possible causes to this.

 

Thank You

I'm certainly not a Q400 pilot but I spent many hours with one when we created our training program for it so I can help you out a bit.

 

The autopilot disconnecting - is this actually the autopilot disconnecting (accompanied by the aural chimes of it doing so) or is the autopilot nav mode losing the active flight plan? The former will only happen if you stall the aircraft or physically disconnect it. In the latter situation the autopilot remains active but dumps itself into roll hold and pitch hold mode which means it's effectively saying 'I have no route to follow' so just keeps the aircraft straight and level.

 

This is normally caused by 'no links' in the FMS flight plan page, which is what you would call a 'discontinuity' in an Airbus or Boeing FMC. When you're flying look in the nav page to make sure there is an active 'from' and 'next' selection. If there isn't, then you'll get the nav disconnect.

 

The nose down issue sounds like a stall to me, or some trim problem. 25 miles out is quite a long hand flown portion and the Dash has a hellish workload late in the approach with flaps, gear, bleeds, props and other things to think about. Perhaps leave the AP in until established and see how you get on with the aircraft 'in the groove' for landing.

 

The standard profile for a Dash is 180kts when intercepting the LOC, reducing to 160 with flap 5, gear down at 5 miles, flap 15 and reducing to Vref by 1000 feet AGL. She is a handful but I can't see why you'd lose control suddenly like that. Something is a bit wrong.

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Welcome to the Dash 8!  Hands down the most realistic handling aircraft (especially on departure and approach) I've ever flown in desktop flight simulation!

 

That's good advice that Ben provided to you, and should help you with your auto pilot usage.

 

I"ll add one small thing... unlike many other aircraft that have FMS, the Dash's auto pilot flies off of the NAV page, which in turn takes waypoints from the Flight Plan page while flying in the "NAV" mode..  It's an important distinction.

 

Keep on flying her, and you'll love her even more!

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The behavior you describe sounds like a controller configuration issue to me.  The Q400 is an amazing sim and you have to take a few extra steps to have everything configured properly. 

 

First, and this will seem a little counterintuitive, but the Q400 doesn't play nice if you have constrained the sensitivity or put really big null zones on your controllers.  Max out the sensitivity and minimize the null zones if necessary.  

 

Second, it's an absolute must that you configure your joystick or yoke using the MJC8 Q400 Control Panel.  If you haven't already, do the following:

  • Start up the sim and load up the Q400.
  • Bring up the Control panel (separate exe outside of the sim, it's the same thing you use to set weight and balance before the flight)
  • Click on the "Flight Controls" page. Make sure your controls are going across the whole range of your stick and that the center number (rightmost column) reflects the actual center position of your controls.  I suspect the center position of your elevators is off, thus the nose-dives.  If you want to adjust the sensitivity you can do it here, but based on my experience it's best to leave it at 1.000.
  • Do the same thing with your engine controls on the "Engine Controls" page.
  • Last and certainly not least:  Click the "Apply" button (bottom left).  The config info will not be remembered if you fail to do this.
  • Reload the Q400 (you can do this inside the sim, but I always close and restart FSX), do a flight and see if that helps.

When I first got the Q400 I didn't bother with this and the bird would start spinning around like a Frisbee once I left the ground.  If you're sure you've taken all these steps, you might want to try calibrating your controllers and going through the process again.

 

Finally, if you're using FSUIPC to manage your joystick or yoke axes, make sure you have the corresponding axes disabled in the FSX controller configuration.

 

Hope this info helps.  Like others have said, you'll love the Q400 once you get this ironed out.

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Agree, Q400 is a great challenge to fly.  Also agree it sounds like you might have a controller conflict where two devices are operating a single the same control surface.

 

Check controller assignments and use CPAN to set appropriate ranges.

 

Cheers, Rob.

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I had this same issue and it was caused by my yoke not being calibrated right. The autopilot compensated for the constant slight nose up elevator by dialling in nose down trim. Autopilot off = quick drop and short stop.

 

Calibrate your controls and also calibrate via the Majestic control panel as well.

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