spilok

What is BEST FMC tutorial to start learning

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Assume NO FMC experience at all.  Could you please recommend the very best tutorial for learning this navigation system.  I have depended on the default GPS for too long, and I'm missing being able to get some great aircraft that only use the FMC programming. 

 

Stan

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PMDG NGX tutorial flights, then some of the great Youtube NGX tutorials

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Stan,

What I would say is that although the principles are similar, the specifics of each FMC differ from aircraft to aircraft, and particularly between manufacturers; this (along with the other systems differences, of course) is part of the reason why real-world pilots study and train on a specific aircraft type.

The number one thing which is common to all navigation systems regardless of interface is that they are simply a tool to get you from A to B along a particular route. So if there is any one thing to understand, really, I would say it is the fundamentals of how an IFR airways route is constructed and flown, including departure & arrival procedures etc. If you have a general grasp of that, then you will at least have a good idea of what it is you are trying to achieve with the tools provided to you!

After that, I would simply select the aircraft you want to fly, whether that be a 737, A320 or something else entirely, and read the documentation and any tutorials specific to that aircraft. This should get you up to speed with how to operate the FMC on that aircraft type. Once you get the hang of that, you will then be able to transfer that knowledge to most other types, whilst accepting that each aircraft type is designed for a particular mission and therefore the tools provided to the pilot (in the form of things like the FMC) will be tailored to the demands of that general type of operation taking in to account the technology available at the time the aircraft was designed. Thus there are some features useful for long-haul flying that the B777 FMC has that the B737NG does not have, there are things which the B777 has that the B744 does not because the B777 is a later design and more processing power was available to the designers of the FMC at that time. Airbus have slightly different ways of working but the basic package on the A320 is broadly similar in operation to the short-haul Boeings and so on.

However, a "generic" FMC tutorial isn't really out there: it would be so full of caveats as to be useless.

Hope that helps!

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One thing I can certainly recommend, is the book: Flying the Boeing 700 Series Flight Simulators, by Captain Mike Ray. It is a truly excellent book if you want to know everything about how to fly a modern airliner and operate its systems, and not just for Boeing 700 series jets either; because it is aimed at understanding how to operate pretty much any flight simulator jet airliner, and as a result, it is an excellent guide on how to understand the FMCs in all flight simulators, including ones not found in Boeings.

You can buy it from a number of places, but Mike has his own website store and it's actually on sale at a reduced price from Mike's web store right now, you can find it in downloadable PDF format, or as a ring-bound book, which is useful since it stays open on the page you are looking at. It is frequently on sale at places like PC Aviator and Flight Sim Store too, so looking about a bit is worth it if you want to save a few quid.

Mike Ray was a United Airlines Captain for years, flying a number of different aircraft, and he writes his books in a lively and amusing style complete with fun cartoons, which will keep you reading it and enjoying it, and not feeling like you are cramming for an exam, but you also know that it is written by someone who really knows what they are talking about, so there's a ton of fun facts you learn along the way when reading stuff by him. His web store is definitely worth a look, as he has written a number of very cool books for flight simmers, and there are a number of shorter PDF documents available there too in his $1 download section (which as the name suggests, is full of downloads which cost just one Dollar). These typically discuss and explain specific things about airliners and other aircraft, such as 'problems with an FMC', or 'How to fly a precision approach' etc.

I'd post a link, but the police would come and arrest me lol, so instead I'll tell you his web store address is: www.utem.com

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As Simon said it all depends on the plane you want to get. The only thing that FMC's have in common is that they (well, usually...) work with buttons which you have to press... and well, there you have it: the general FMC tutorial. :cool: If you want to learn more about it you HAVE to pick a plane and learn that specific FMC.

As I am typing I am thinking you may be thinking that an FMC is something like a GPS unit. Well, not really. You can plug a specific GPS unit in tons of different aircrafts but that doesn't work this way with an FMC. Every plane with an FMC has its own version. Of course FMC's in Boeing 7## have a lot in common but an FMC in a 777 is different than one in a 737NGX. And they are even more different than an 'FMC' in an Airbus.

So first pick your plane and then learn the FMC. And whenever you pick another plane in the future, be prepares to learn things over again. Of course you will know the basics by then but FMC's will always be different.

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50 minutes ago, Chock said:

Flying the Boeing 700 Series Flight Simulators, by Captain Mike Ray

Do you know what the difference is between this book and his 737NG Training Syllabus book?

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On 9/6/2017 at 7:26 PM, Greggy_D said:

Do you know what the difference is between this book and his 737NG Training Syllabus book?

Yup, the 700 Series book is kind of a 'shotgun approach' to learning to fly PC-based sims of study aircraft such as the PMDG 737, PMDG 747, iFly 737, iFly 747, Level D 767, Captain Sim 757, Wilco 737 300/400/500 etc, all of which have pretty much identical CDUs and FMC capability. It was written when FS9 was just as popular as FSX for many simmers. At that time there wasn't really any realistic A320 simulator kicking about for FS, so although it does mention some differences between the typical FMC CDUs found on different airliners (or MCDU in the case of an Airbus), there was no FSL A320, nor Aerosoft A320, it was the Wilco one which was the most realistic Airbus back then, so it made sense to write a book which concentrated more on the CDUs found in Boeings, and that is what it does. This should not put anyone off, as it is still an excellent guide to how to work and FMC as they are all basically the same in how they function, however, if one is specifically interested in the A320 or A330, then Mike Ray has written some books which concentrate more on those systems, and they are excellent too, in particular, his A320 Pilot Handbook and Flying the A300 Series. These are very helpful if you have either the Aerosoft A320 or the FSL A320 or the Simcheck A300 with the FMC mod.

By comparison, the 737NG Training Syllabus book is specific to that particular aircraft and the systems one will find in it (not always the same for each aircraft), notably where the MCP is concerned, which can be either the Honeywell MCP similar to that found on earlier 737 variants, or the more modern Rockwell Collins MCP found on later NG variants (typically those built after February 2003). Mike flew the 737 for many years and so he is very knowledgeable about it. Needless to say, there are more NGs with the Rockwell Collins MCP and it is the one found in the new 737 MAX too, so that is the main focus of his NG syllabus book. So, if you wanted to concentrate on either the iFly 737 NG or the PMDG 737 NG, that would be the book to get, as it is more in depth, but even then it would still mean you'd have a good grounding on how most FMCs work, since most of the differences between those found on a Boeing and an Airbus are in the terminology they use, such as a derated take off being referred to as a Flex Temperature Take Off on an Airbus and Reduced Thrust Take Off Temperature on a Boeing. The Training Syllabus rounds off with a checkride so you can test your knowledge, which will be considerable if you read that book.

If you are really into 737s, I would also recommend The Boeing 737 Technical Guide by Chris Brady, who is also a very experienced 737 pilot (I think was a line check pilot for EasyJet but I could be wrong about the airline), in any case, what he doesn't know about the Boeing 737 is not worth knowing and reading his book will make you the biggest expert nerd on the 737 it is possible to be, you'll even be able to tell real world 737 pilots stuff they didn't know after reading that one, I'm serious, I have actually done that more than once lol because of having read that book a lot and it allowed me to review the Ariane 737 NG for Avsim years ago and actually sound like I knew what I was talking about, because Chris Brady helped me out when trying to understand some of the stuff in his book when I was writing that review!

 

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I think I will try the PMDG 737 NGX because it seems to be the 737 that is the pinnacle of planes that I've read so much about.  Being a new user of Prepar3dv4, it is also one of the approved planes for this format.  I will start tomorrow.  Thank you for all your advice on this thread.  Seems like there's a lot of written documentation in books that I can probably order.

 

Stan

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Save yourself a few quid initially and just go with the tutorials which come with your shiny new 737, they will pretty much get you up to speed on the FMC and how to stick a route into it. You'll have sussed it out within an hour and by the time you have programmed three or four flights into an FMC, you'll be able to do it in your sleep.

Here's the gist of it, just to make it apparent that it isn't rocket science...

Let's say you want to fly from Manchester to Paris. All you have to do is choose that as the start and end points of a flight in the P3D flight planner (in this case EGCC and LFPG obviously), then have P3D's flight planner generate a route along high altitude airways. Then you fire up your 737 and go to the FMC. First you tell it your position, by entering the airport ICAO code for the airport you are at and the gate you are at into the FMC. This will start the aircraft's navigation laser ring gyroscopes spinning up to align them with the Earth's rotation so the aircraft knows where it is, this takes about ten minutes, so whilst that is happening, you can stick the flight plan into the FMC. First you enter the departure airport and the arrival airport ICAO codes, then enter the cruise altitude for your flight and the runway you expect to depart from and any SID you wish to use. Then you put in a few other bits of info, such as the wind speed and direction, what flap setting you will use, whether you want economic or speedy flight (by entering the cost index as a number, typically between about 5 and 100 depending on your preference), then you stick your weight in and the fuel load, which will give you your V-Speeds, which you click on to okay them. When you've put all that in, you open P3D's navigation log and then on the FMC's route page, you would enter each of the waypoint names P3D generated when you got it to calculate a route. When you've done all that, you activate the flight plan and press execute on the FMC and you are in business. Taxi to the runway, line up, put the brakes on, then arm the LNAV button on the autopilot's Mode Control Panel, arm the autothrottle and then select Take Off/Go Around thrust and when the engines have spooled up, you release the brakes and fly it off the deck by rotating to about 10-12 degrees nose up, when you get airborne you arm VNAV and then at about 800 feet AGL you engage the autopilot and put your cruise altitude into the MCP, then the thing flies itself to Paris whilst you sit back and pretend it is hard to operate an airliner whilst doing a crossword puzzle and drinking coffee. At 10,000 feet, you turn the landing lights off and at cruise altitude you set the alarm clock for about one hour or so and then have a nap. Total PIC flight hours logged, about one and a half hours, total time actually really piloting the thing, including the landing and the take off, about ten minutes. :biggrin:

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Chock,

You make it seem pretty manageable.  It always concerned me as to WHERE do you get all the information to put into the FMC (like wind speed and direction, fuel load, etc.) in order to program it.  I look forward to doing this so that I can look back on it and say, "that wasn't so bad now, was it?

Thanks again.

Stan

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1 hour ago, spilok said:

Chock,

You make it seem pretty manageable.  It always concerned me as to WHERE do you get all the information to put into the FMC (like wind speed and direction, fuel load, etc.) in order to program it.  I look forward to doing this so that I can look back on it and say, "that wasn't so bad now, was it?

Thanks again.

Stan

Chock is wise.  Listen to Chock.

For myself, I use Simbrief.  Takes a bit of time to learn how to read it but it has nearly everything you need on the generated PDF.  You learn where to find the interesting stuff like the flight plan, fuel load, cost index, winds aloft, ISA temperature deviation, and payload.  You can find some good tutorials by Googling "Simbrief PMDG 737". 

Edit:  Here's a good tutorial for an XPlane 737 where he walks through finding the info on the OFP to enter into the FMC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grwUen8_X8c

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I'd also recommend Mike Ray's books on the 737 and 747. 

There's also this uploaded earlier this year by an active Ryanair pilot

Some bloke called 'Fight or Flight' also made a youtube video on the 737 NGX a couple of years back. I'd recommend that too ;)

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If you use something like EFB or Active Sky and put your basic route into that (i.e. the start and end points), you can easily determine the winds aloft along your route and at your cruise altitude and you can put that straight into the FMC, so that's easy. It doesn't matter if it isn't perfect, you could just go off what P3D displays when you hit Control+Z when you are sat at the gate and that would work okay, because in reality you would be only putting a forecast in, they are never spot on and you can alter it later in your flight anyway. For stuff like the payload weight, fuel, CoG etc, you can get that from your flight sim's set up and in fact with many flight sim FMCs you can just click the fields on the FMC and it will populate it with that data anyway, because in reality you would have a zig zag load sheet which you'd sign in order to confirm the load on board your aeroplane is correct, so that info actually should be easy to come by, which it is.

Really, an FMC's CDU might look complicated, but that is only because it was deliberately designed to look important for psychological reasons. This was so that pilots would treat it seriously when it was first introduced and would understand that what you put into it was important, but it was certainly a lot less of a faff than using an old Delco Carousel nav system. Much of what determined the CDU's final design appearance was that it was made to look like the pocket calculators which were becoming available at the same time FMCs started showing up, and they are about as hard to use as an FMC's CDU once you get used to it, i.e. there really is nothing to it.

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