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andreadebiase

How do you guys pick your landing runway in FSX?

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Not strictly a PMDG 737 question but that's all i fly hence my post here. Below is a description of what I do but I am curious to know how others do it.

 

Prior to departure when I program the route in the FMC I would normally select the arrival runway based on the metar report and this works most times, however, FSX ATC sometimes asks to land on different runways (sometimes even with tailwinds for what ever reason) and the problem is that If I get assigned a runway that is much closer to my position I have a tough time slowing down on time, respecting speeds and altitudes and getting the plane in the right configuration for landing to the newly assigned runway. ("des path unachievable" message on the FMC  comes up which is not surprising but really does not help). 

 

So  recently I have started  to program in the FMC always the landing runway closest to my direction of arrival regardless of what the metar says  so that if I get another one it can only be one that is further away which makes my flight longer but at least adds more distance allowing me to keep my approach smooth and without acrobatics to make it on time to the runway. This may be not what happens in real life but the reality is that I am bound to the FSX ATC limited options. Anyway, my question is how do you guys do it? is there a better way?

 

 

 

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I use ASN and now AS16 with a preloaded matching flight plans and with the wind lock option turned on. When I'm around 100 miles out I use the weather request hot key to check the winds at my arrival airport to make the decision on which runway I'll be using. I don't give much credence to the default ATC.

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Unfortunately no method is ideal.  In FS9 I had a much better time predicting.  Active Sky would match ATIS in the sim and vice versa.  I'd tune in ATIS and go from there.  I've noticed in FSX that this is not the case for some reason.  Never got a response as to why, other than the way DWC is implemented. FSX ATIS never reports the right altimeter from what the ASN or RW say.  Winds are typically off as well.

 

In FSX, I try to use ATC with a flight following, tune is ATIS before departure and plan my landing based on winds.  I enter the route via FlightAware and leave out the runway assignment.  Once ATIS comes alive with a runway I input this on descent and alter as needed to make the route realistic.  What tends to happen, even with forced winds locked in ASN is the ATIS will report a runway, but upon contacting the tower for landing clearance I will get something totally opposite.  It's infuriating.  Last two flights into KEWR the winds favored RWYs 4.  ATIS reported 4 R and L.  So I had my plan all fixed up for a perfect downwind with excellent decent profiles.  Then upon contacting tower I was given 22L (or R).  Not happy.  Was way too low IMO at that point and had to go downwind and land visually.  

 

I realize things like this can happen in real life, but it's so much different.  It's no joy to scramble in a multi-pilot jet as one person for a bogus RWY assignment.  Now one might say, screw it, land on the runway you expect based on winds.  Although this happens on small uncontrolled airfields, it's not ideal, nor very realistic for commercial traffic. 

 

A lot of people simply ditch ATC and even AI for the bogus way it works.  AI for example is another joke.  I was on final just past my IAF into LAX last night for RWY 6L.  I chose this RWY for a reason.  Most traffic seemed to be getting the 7's.  Well, next thing you know some company clown is hotdogging his way in from of me and getting clearance for 6L!  I had to request 6R and all went fine, but jeez man. 

 

I do find airports with only parallel runway are much easier to predict.  SNA, LAX, PHX, et cetera.  Get those multiple direction airports and you have no clue what FS will assign you.

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So recently I have started to program in the FMC always the landing runway closest to my direction of arrival regardless of what the metar says so that if I get another one it can only be one that is further away which makes my flight longer but at least adds more distance allowing me to keep my approach smooth and without acrobatics to make it on time to the runway. This may be not what happens in real life but the reality is that I am bound to the FSX ATC limited options. Anyway, my question is how do you guys do it? is there a better way?

I use METAR and current weather in ASN to determine the likely landing runway to program in the FMC. When I arrive I let FSX ATC assign a runway, but if it makes no sense I just ignore it. I also ignore its senseless vectoring and follow the STAR procedure.

 

Remember, you are not bound by FSX ATC. If it gives you an unsuitable runway to use then ignore it and use a suitable runway. The worse that can happen is that some ai traffic has to go around. FSX ATC is adequate for immersion purposes but does some stupid things. Just ignore it when it does.

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With stock FSX:SE ATC you can request the runway you want, but it is quite a pain. You end up putting in several requests - different approach, different runway, sometimes ATC gives you a visual then you request ILS, sometimes it will ask you to sidestep (parallel runways).

 

Note I don't fly such precision offerings a PMDG, I'm on a freeware budget! However I do use FSopen Clouds which injects real world METARS into the stock FSX world. Because of this I can call up the METAR for the airport I'm landing at to see how it compares to FSX ATIS.

 

 

Or... just land on the runway with the pretty lights turned on nearest the nose! :P:D

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Hi,

 

I don't use FSX default ATC at. It is not accurate at all and I fly exclusively online on IVAO.

 

To choose the runway arrival, I do the following during the preparation of the flight plan:

_ Check airport AIP to see whether the airport has a specific runway use program

_ Check the TAF and weather charts to see what weather and therefore runway to expect

_ Check the STAR that would give me the most constraints in terms of early descent

 

Then during the preflight, I select or not the runway and approach during preflight in the FMC depending on the duration of the flight. If it is a short flight and I don't expect a significant weather change at destination then I program the arrival and approach before takeoff. Otherwise, I wait for being about 100nm from the default TOD to enter the most probable arrival and approach depending on the weather (if not ATIS is available on the network). If an ATIS is available then the problem is solved.

 

The issue with the FSX default ATC is that it doesn't take the STARs into account (if I recall well it exclusively vectors you, I haven't used it since 2006...) neither does it consider the airports specific programs.

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Hi,  I know this is not by the book but I don't use any form of ATC. Taking off is no problem. I use Navigraph charts for Runways and STARS and formulate an arrival from the last waypoint which I usually find somewhere in the STAR and devise an Approach into the selected runway normally the longest one eliminating any unforeseen problems. My method gives you more time to get a coffee or whatever without having to listen to ATC chatter. 

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A lot of times I will look on flightradar24 and see when they are using at the actual airport.

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Remember, you are not bound by FSX ATC. If it gives you an unsuitable runway to use then ignore it and use a suitable runway.

 

Agree that FSX ATC is not ideal, but if using it you can request a different runway or approch.

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Agree that FSX ATC is not ideal, but if using it you can request a different runway or approch.

You can, but you can only choose from the list it offers. That won't include everything.

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I don't use default ATC at all. It gives me more headaches than realism. Maybe addon ATC is a solution for you, but I am not sure since I don't use them either.

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I haven't really used default ATC for a while but from what I remember it isn't intellegent.

 

For me...you have to start with the METAR/TAFS , even if they are not perfect. If the prediction isn't as forcast you have to go ground, or change your runway when you get there. Or ATC on VATSIM or IVAO will change the runway for you. I use ASN, but also just google metar EGLL for example.

 

If there is no control at your airfield, the main rule is to try and land into wind, even if it is a cross wind, but only slightly favors a particular runway.  This gets tricky when an established pattern is in operation, if artifical traffic or real people. Someone at some stage has to say , 'ok the wind has changed, should we be coming into this runway?'

 

If I feel it could be a variable wind landing you could consider the alternate airfileld, which might have a more favorable wind component.

It depends on the 'Get-there-itis' factor or 'I need to get to bed-itis' factor. :smile:

 

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/get-there-itis

 

On the PMDG you do get the wind vector arrow, which is good at a glance.

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I am usually simulating an actual flight so I use the runways and flight path of that flight as available at flightaware.  Nice thing about this approach is I can see how ATC vectored the flight for final, laid over on top of a sectional or enroute chart (in the US) and there is a table for each flight containing altitudes, speeds and headings.  Of course my altitudes will vary because I plan my own payload but the rest is a pretty good simulation.

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With stock FSX:SE ATC you can request the runway you want, but it is quite a pain. 

 

You can only request runways offered in the list and that list does not include all runways. Usually what ATC offers as an alternative is a parallel runway to the assigned one which 99% of times I don't care because i still have tailwinds (which is my main reason for needing another runway). However, to give ATC some credit, I noticed that if you declare missed approach it may offer you to land on the runway with headwinds so maybe ATC knows that you are assigned a tailwind runway and instead to offer you the option to change asap forces you to do a missed approach and then you can change (kinda pathetic but hey...is FSX ATC). 

 

 Now one might say, screw it, land on the runway you expect based on winds.  

 

I have done this but because i have Traffic 360 basically there is always someone departing which forces me to a missed approach (which BTW can be fun).

 

I have tried to fly without ATC and i find it a little weird to be on a 737 with 150 souls on board and not letting anyone know of my flightplan.....

 

So in regard to this topic and thank you all for sharing your thoughts, is P3D any better on this front? i have asked this question in the P3D forum but no one replies which makes me that that P3D is just the same software (bugs included) with a different name.

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is P3D any better on this front?

 

No.  Default ATC is nothing more than a child's toy. However, it  most definitely is not the same thing. Few of the bugs we learned to survive with in FSX, such as the acceleration effects head movement, are gone. It is a totally different graphics engine that uses DX11 and the GPU instead of DX9 and all done by the CPU.  It has vastly improved the management of memory and OOM errors are almost a non-issue for most people. Even the SDK has improved vastly and many of the short comings of FSX ground polygon layering are resolved.

 

If you want realistic ATC, learn to fly.  If you want the next best thing join the one of the on line ATC simulation groups.  The only other option is add on software.  The default ATC is not an option.

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I use pro ATC X... Also have a habit of listening to the ATIS very often.

At least I don't programme the STAR till I am close to my T/D.

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I use OPUSfsi and around 200 miles or so from destination airport, it tells you what rwy are in use for landing or departure. Of course you have to put the destination first in opus weather.

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200 miles or so from destination airport

 

For what it's worth, you're almost never going to get an actual runway assignment that far out. You might be able to guess that the runway in use will be similar to what you'd head that far out, but keep in mind that actual runway assignments are a lot closer in. This occurs about 50-70nm out, and can change.

 

As an example:

I could pick up a text version of the ATIS 200nm out to help set the direction of the STAR (some STARs have different altitudes depending on the runway configuration), but I'd avoid selecting the approach that far out. Closer in, the first controller you talk to in the TRACON will usually be the one to assign a runway. This may actually change, if the controllers find an advantage to it, but in general, you'll get the assignment 50-70nm out, or about mid-way through your descent.

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I use the arrival ATIS for wind and choose an appropriate runway from that. Put a suitable STAR in fmc and away you go. I use ASN to get the weather and tune radio to 122.00 as I get close. If you're high or fast just use the fmc to hold at a fix on the flight plan. Also dont assign a STAR on departure - you just waste time deleting it  later and get in a right mess with discos etc

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For what it's worth, you're almost never going to get an actual runway assignment that far out. You might be able to guess that the runway in use will be similar to what you'd head that far out, but keep in mind that actual runway assignments are a lot closer in. This occurs about 50-70nm out, and can change

 

I've found that the High Altitude arrival sector with Center will normally give me the current SID if it differs from my flight plan.  I've had runway changes just prior to the OM.  Approach is real understanding in these last second changes, take the change or be turned out of the sequence and vectored to Last. :smile:

 

blaustern

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I've found that the High Altitude arrival sector with Center will normally give me the current SID if it differs from my flight plan.

 

I know we're getting more runway-dependent STARs over here, but the way you wrote that sounds distinctly like the European STAR system. If so, we don't really have similar over here. Center does help set the sequence into the TRACON, but the TRACON is the one assigning the runways. The best Center will know is directionality (e.g. "Descend via the X STAR, landing North").

 

 

 


I've had runway changes just prior to the OM.  Approach is real understanding in these last second changes, take the change or be turned out of the sequence and vectored to Last.

 

Yep. Gotta love flying into busy fields.

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The best Center will know is directionality (e.g. "Descend via the X STAR, landing North").

 

I agree.  :smile:

 

A bit of trivia, the Center owns all the airspace within it's boundaries and allocates certain airspace to the TRACONS through a Letters of Agreement.  This may have changed, but I'm sure some of your FAA buddies would know for sure.

 

blaustern

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A bit of trivia, the Center owns all the airspace within it's boundaries and allocates certain airspace to the TRACONS through a Letters of Agreement.  This may have changed, but I'm sure some of your FAA buddies would know for sure.

 

Nah, it's still the same. If you look at each airport's entry in the A/FD, it will list the ARTCC it's part of. It's a way of establishing positive control from top down (ARTCC > TRACON > LOCAL).

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For what it's worth, you're almost never going to get an actual runway assignment that far out. You might be able to guess that the runway in use will be similar to what you'd head that far out, but keep in mind that actual runway assignments are a lot closer in. This occurs about 50-70nm out, and can change.

 

You are right. That's why I double check the weather report at 50 miles from airport.

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With many flights connected to atc or your company via acars, a simple message telling you expected arrival runway and approach to plan for is not unusual if you are still a long distance from destination. Most airports do not change runways so quickly and have normal operations based on forecasts and many other things besides weather unless winds get high. Like KLAX, it takes a lot of winds from the east to change operating runways. Unless you are coming in after midnight. New York and Chicago airports all have to plan with each other and runway changes are a very big operation.

 

For me, I check either liveatc.net if the airport has a feed, or flightaware and flightradar24 to see what aircraft are arriving with. The routes I fly are real routes picked from great sites like flightaware and stars would be based on the filed plan and runways on what the airport is doing in real life at the time. - David Lee

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