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Guest iiMiller

course vs heading

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Hey everyone,another newbie question for you guys and girls. I am moving up from the props to the Jets and particularly the Lear and small business jets doing long hauls across the US and some trans-altantic flights so I have started using the autopliot feature and I am noticing that I can set the alt and directions and let the plane fly and I have no problems with setting the alt but when it comes to setting the direction I see course and heading dials and would like to know what is the difference between the two? I have an idea that course is a set direction that never changes while the heading is the current direction of the plane. Am I right? When setting a course with auto pilot what is the difference?thanksPaul

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Guest Shalomar

Donny AKA ShalomarFly 2 ROCKS!!!Hi Paul!The difference is chiefly what mode of autopilot you use.When you use the heading hold mode, the plane will turn to whatever heading you set. In the Nav mode is where course matters. The advantage is that the autopilot will compensate for wind. You may have noticed that the number that changes as you turn in the GPS is called "track". It will often not agree with your compass "heading", because of wind.If you are tuned to a VOR and engage Nav mode the autopilot will try to intercept whe=atever radial your course is set to. You have to be in range of a VOR to use NAV mode unless you flip a switch which takes data from your GPS and feeds it to your instruments- and the autopilot. It is usually on the main panel, the two positions are "nav" and "GPS". That switch must be in "Nav" mode to do an ILS aproach.I don't want to confuse you too much, it is something that can much better be demonstrated than explained. FSNet anyone?Best Regards, Donny:-wave

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Hey Donny!,that makes alot of sense. I didnt even know that there was two modes for autopilot. So I would assume the nav mode is good for small planes while the vor mode is best for the big planes? You are right I do notice that my bearings are off a little when flying but now it makes sense. Yea I am down for some online flying!Paul

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Just one addition-it really has nothing to do with the autopilot!I just flew a RW flight from the Detoit area to dulles and back yesterday (actually Leesburg-Dulles had an huge landing fee). While there I visited the fabulous Smithsonian museum at Dulles.One of the statistics there is that 80% of the air traffic in the US are not "commercial air carriers" but GA aircraft. I bet most GA aircraft have no autopilots or very basic ones at best....I have a very nice autopilot on my Baron-I hand flew the whole trip including the approaches-which in Leesburg were somewhat low. Why?-that is flying-taking off and punching the autopilot for 2 hours is not-imho! It is nice to have-also very boring to use-sometimes for long trips-but then at that point I am not flying but monitoring.In any case-these terms are basic seat of the pants flying terms-not autopilot ones! :-)By the way-when I use the autopilot I often use the heading mode instead of the nav mode-I find I can do a faster job of compensating for wind than the nav mode can.A couple shots of the museum:http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg


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>So I would assume the nav mode is good>for small planes while the vor mode is best for the big>planes?Er, "Nav mode" follows the VOR radial no matter what size the plane...How did you 'graduate' from GA to jets without learning the basics of flying and navigation first? :)


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Guest RonB49

And just one more addition; the definitions.o Course is the direction from point A to point B.o Heading is the direction that you must point the plane to stay on course.With no external forces (mostly wind), heading and course would be the same. A crosswind tries to blow you off course. You correct by pointing the nose into the crosswind. R-

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see if you read my post i said its a newbie question so that means I tried a little of everything to get an idea of what i like to fly and how to fly and your smart remarks didnt add anything to answering my question outside the fact that you find entertainment pointing out the misunderstanding i have with the technical terms and concepts. Thanks Donny for helping me out on FSNET I got some real useful tips and instruction and the other members who gave positive and helpful advice.thanksPaul

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Guest Shalomar

Donny AKA ShalomarFly 2 ROCKS!!!Paul was asking specifically about the autopilot and my response was deliberately simplistic, perhaps overly so.IMHO, the learning center is a step backwards the way info is scattered all over, and many people who have not been with MSFS long would be much better served with documentation that can easily be printed out in its entirety. I suggest Paul, and any newbie, download the FLY II documentation from the FLY II Miscelaneous category and print out the Flyhawk section and the Radio Flyers section. Though it is for a totally different airplane, the Malibu docs can help more with autopilot and HSI use. If you are interested in twins, the Kodiak section.FS9 IMHO is far from intuitive, I actually had little trouble getting around FLY II, even the GPS and Flight Planner sans manual for a few months. And it was my first ever Terminal Reality product. Learning the FS9 shell is tough enough, if I didn't know flying already I don't think I would have learned very well from FS9. The lessons IMHO are as yet not an adequate substitute for detailed docs in a format you can use for bedtime reading. The Baron scenario fails both engines because "a single engine failure is beyond the scope of this lesson". Hello, didn't they set the scope?FS9 does better in some ways with documentation, I like the kneeboard being available for Vspeeds- though not all a/c utilise the capability.The fact is, simming is like my other two hobbies, chess and mountain biking. People either wanna do it or they don't. Lots of people just don't get it, just like I don't get what they find interesting about what is on TV a large percentage of the time. Someone who even wants to sim is rare enough. Those who want to try it AND have some time to do it are an especially precious commodity. It common even in real aviation, climbing in the plane with an instructor is much more fun than studying for the written, and that is a major factor in why people drop out. Is that phenomena so much different from a newbie simmer wanting to fly more difficult planes?The average American spends four hours or more a day watching TV. The average simmer manages to squeeze in two to three 1 1/2 hour sessions a week. And some say we are obsessive. We need all the friends- and simmers- we can get.Best Regards, Donny:-wave

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>FS9 IMHO is far from intuitive, I actually had little trouble>getting around FLY II, even the GPS and Flight Planner sans>manual for a few months.Of course , GPS's with color moving maps, terrain/terrain warning features, IFR overlay's, and even satellite uplinked weather systems, have come a long, long way, since the GPS depicted in FLYII. I wouldn't put too much time into studying the FLY GPS, since it's really out of date. The stock FS9 GPS, although somewhat simplistic, is a more accurate representation of what's available. L.Adamson

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Guest ExtraPilot

Several folks have commented about learning the background information you need to enjoy Flight Simulator thoroughly. The Learning Center contains lots of valuable information, but if you want to follow the the path of a real-world pilot in training, here are some free resources available on the Web:Learning to Fly: http://www.aopa.org/learntofly/AOPA has created a special page for Flight Simulator aviators, which includes links to a variety of good information related to FS2004:http://www.aopa.org/special/microsoft/flightsim.htmlYou can also learn much from the free online courses and information available at http://www.aopa.org/asf/You do not need to be a pilot or an AOPA member to use these resources.I especially recommend the Safety Advisors (http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/advisors.html), which also serve as excellent overviews and training supplements.Online Resources:Start with http://fsinsider.com/articles/bestfree-add-ons.htm, which will lead you to many useful sources of information. Some of the links in that article are broken (the FAA just updated many of its Web pages), but you can find the FAA Training Handbooks mentioned there at:http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/You should start with "Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge"(http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/handbook/). The updated version of this standard text covers the knowledge required for a private pilot certificate, but it also includes much useful information about flying turbine aircraft.To learn more about how to fly, see the "Airplane Flying Handbook" (http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aircraft/airplane_handbook/)The "Instrument Flying Handbook" and the "Instrument Procedures Handbook," both available at http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aviation/ will take you through the knowledge required for flying under IFR.

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Hey Paul, Just wanted to point out a simple misunderstanding. "How did you 'graduate' from GA to jets without learning the basics of flying and navigation first? :)" ...That was just a joke. I see how you could take it to heart, but really it's just some kind spirited razzing... We're all here to learn. Good post btw.Danny

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you are correct Donny I think I took it out of context a bit and should have seen it for what the comment was. I dont mind some good jokes, even at my expense, lol. Well there are still tons to learn about autopilot and here I thought it was to make flying easier :). I also was wondering when everyone here does fly with auto pilot do you use the most direct point to point or do you plot waypoints along the way? Does distance play a part on which style, direct or waypoints, you use? I also noticed that ATC will help you out along the way by giving you instructions as needed is this the way pilots fly in the real world?thanks againPaul

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Paul, I'm glad you responded to bill the way you did. his response made me angry as I too needed the answer Salomar gave. I'm a "newbie" and I may stay that way unless I get good intelligent answers which I generally do from great, and patient people here at this forum.I LIKE JETS!!! I crash them all the time, especially 747's. I know more about the than the GA planes because they are of interest to me. I don't have to know everything about them because no one crashes with me or sees me when I fly.( course I am thinking about getting FS Passeger if only to terrify people. I'm pretty horrible sometimes, but then sometimes I'm great:-))Sometimes we forget that there are some of us who enjoy the hobby because it is fun or allows us to do something on a simulator that we can't do in real life. I fly radio control aircraft. I have trainer, a P-51 full package, and a f-16 jet. I fly all of them very well and crash less than I do with the sim. Why,,I don't know. Maybe it is because if I crash my models, it's time , money, and tears(heavy on the tears part.) When I crash a 747 going into KCVG or KDEN, I cuss, hit the "reset" and crash again. IT'S FUN. It's a toy.Heck,Man...Go get you a B2 out of the library. Great panel!. You don't need licence to fly it. Fly a Cessna And just after you get clearance from the tower to land on 14L at KORD number 2 behind a Baron on final, hit the ALT button, change to the B2 and land on top of it. Really dumbfounds the ATC:-)You don't have to learn everything in order in "YOUR WORLD", and the only requirement to "Graduate" is irrevokable desire.Sorry for the ventBest regardsJan1,KINDWhen I push the button and it works, I'm happy:-)

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Well there are still>tons to learn about autopilot and here I thought it was to>make flying easier :). I also was wondering when everyone here>does fly with auto pilot do you use the most direct point to>point or do you plot waypoints along the way? Does distance>play a part on which style, direct or waypoints, you use? I>also noticed that ATC will help you out along the way by>giving you instructions as needed is this the way pilots fly>in the real world?>A few auto-pilot comments....In the kitplane market, which also appeals to many ex-military & commercial pilots, as well as GA only,We end up installing these new high tech, solid state, lightweight, and GPS guided auto-pilots ourselves. And since the plane might be on the sportier side to fly, instead of a "stable" bus, the auto-pilots seem to get a lot of use for cross-country flights, or distances such as 20 miles through Class B , ATC controlled airspace.This is what I do, out here in the west, where you have to contend with mountains & a lot of military restricted airspaces. Get a sectional map & figure a rather direct course, but allow for the restricted spaces, mountain passes, fuel stops, and possibly the freeway for a possible emergency landing. I'll also figure in scenic areas such as national parks, lakes, etc. Many times, the VOR low-altitude routes will follow a close to direct course, but if not, you can avoid the zig-zagging.Then, I can program all these waypoints into my hand-held color moving map GPS at home. The GPS will show mountainous terrain, warnings if I get to close, and all the restricted spaces, as well as airport airspaces such as Class B.Once all loaded, the GPS connects to the auto-pilot, and it will fly the entire "track", or just parts of it. More time to look out the windscreen for other aircraft, quick study of charts, or dealing with ATC.Other times, when you just want to go for a few laps around the pattern, but fly 3 or 400 miles one way instead, you can use the GPS combined with a sectional chart, to plot new courses for fuel stops, restroom stops, gambling & lunch stops, etc. Then just follow the GPS track line manually, or let the auto-pilot do it.L.Adamson

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