wheels1911

New to 737 NGX FMC questions

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My main question is that most of the time when i put in my ARRIVAL STAR it never actually lines up with the runway. I was just curious if that is normal on most flights?

because i would imagine once you get close to airport you will receive vectors anyway??

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STARS are designed to put you in the right place for an approach to the runway, so they can be to a FAF (final approach fix), and from that point you would then be vectored or you'd intercept a localiser on a recognised heading from the FAF, such a vector is on the chart when that is the case. Some STARS are more complete and will line you up with the runway too, but as you've discovered, not all of them do that.

The TOGA switch(es) on the real 737 are a couple of black buttons on the front of the throttle levers, but these are hard to use in a VC when you are busy, so you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+G. I think there might also be a click spot somewhere on the MCP for it too, but it's so long since I've used anything other than the shortcut, I couldn't tell you exactly where that one is.

 

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15 hours ago, wheels1911 said:

also where is the TOGA button?

See the Introduction document. This and many other useful facts are there.

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15 hours ago, Chock said:

The TOGA switch(es) on the real 737 are a couple of black buttons on the front of the throttle levers, but these are hard to use in a VC when you are busy, so you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+G. I think there might also be a click spot somewhere on the MCP for it too, but it's so long since I've used anything other than the shortcut, I couldn't tell you exactly where that one is.

It's the bottom left corner of the MCP, just near the screw.

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16 hours ago, wheels1911 said:

My main question is that most of the time when i put in my ARRIVAL STAR it never actually lines up with the runway. I was just curious if that is normal on most flights?

because i would imagine once you get close to airport you will receive vectors anyway??

STARS at the busy airports send you off in a tangent usually opposite and parallel to the final approach. During busy times you would follow that tangent (or VECTOR as its labeled in the FMC) until either ATC tells you to turn and intercept the approach course or you visually identify when the time is right for you find your place in line.

 

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It also depends on a few other things. Have you been selecting a runway in the approach page? Are you selecting ILS, RNAV, or another type? The FMC will line you up to intercept that type of approach. Anything other than ILS in non-precision, meaning it will get you in a general path and then you'll need to complete the application visually. If you're using ILS you'll need to make sure that you're tuned to the ILS frequency and arm the approach mode on the MCP to intercept and start flying the final.

Here's a fantastic series of videos from a real Boeing pilot about flying approaches in the PMDG:


Non-precision approach:

 

Visual approach:

RNAV Approaches:

CATIII ILS Autoland:

And there are others still on his cahnnel. Check them all out.

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Okay example for you Lets say im Doing an approach into KPDX Portland Oregon

 

i select the runway when im in my FMC for my arrival star.

"Are you selecting ILS, RNAV, or another type"

ill select RWY ils 28L

Im useing the TMBERS2 arrival

I activate then go to plan mode on my mcp and go threw the steps, the route doesn't actually line me up to the runway at all, it turns me Parallel and then says Next way point is vectors....

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8 minutes ago, wheels1911 said:

turns me Parallel and then says Next way point is vectors....

Aaah yep there's your issue. See the approaches are all programmed exactly as they would be in real life. In real life you would have ATC and some approaches require ATC vectors to get you set up on the ILS final. So if you look at your plan view you should be able to see the ILS waypoints. Unless you're flying on VATSIM with a controller or using a program like ProATC/X it is up to you to get to the final approach fix altitude and line yourself up with the ILS intercept.

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The most simple way to do this is to fly on the parallel track past the first waypoint in the ILS a short distance then move that next waypoint to the top of the legs page in the FMC and hit execute.

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yeah i could do that. The worst part about it is that I personal think it extends my Altitude a littler higher so i have to go threw and change it in my FMC but yeah..... Anyway thanks Connor

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I will be attempting my first ever FMC programmed flight this afternoon after I get home from work (EGPD Aberdeen to EGAA Belfast Aldergrove). The data has already been added to the FMC, and I have my V speeds/trim setting etc all calculated. Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed that everything is correct, and that I remember to lower the undercarriage and flaps when I make my approach!!

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8 hours ago, wheels1911 said:

yeah i could do that. The worst part about it is that I personal think it extends my Altitude a littler higher so i have to go threw and change it in my FMC but yeah..... Anyway thanks Connor

I was bent on relying on automation when I first started flying the NGX - mostly because it was really cool coming form the default 737.

The more I flew the NGX and the more I used human ATC (vatsim) the more it becomes apparent that learning how to use the automation "on the fly" as a tool to get you to where you want to go becomes valuable.

For example, you're flying into Portland... and when your typing in the route into the FMC on the ground at your departure airport, you plan on flying in the TMBRS2 into PDX and taking the transition to land on 10L.

Enroute, the weather changes and the airport is now landing on 28R, so when you realize this (either by ATC assigning you an approach to another runway, or you pull up the weather and see a change in winds) you must reprogram the FMC in flight to route you through the 28R transition.

So you reprogram the FMC, and execute. And suddenly you are 2000 feet above the programmed flight path - what do you do?

Or you are inbound and you are planning on an ILS 28... but ATC clears you for the visual 28 once you see the airport- you could continue on your FMC route and fly that VECTOR waaay downwind of the runway -- but the ATC just gave you permission to shave off a ton of your route --  and you want to take advantage of that clearance... so you will have to "take control" of the plane and make it go somewhere that may be more efficient then the pre-programmed route.

To do this requires you to rely less on the FMC and more on your own flying skills - or the other automation at your disposal.

 

My discussion above is just food for thought based off what I've learned since I was a "newbie" on the NGX. The STARS purpose is to get traffic flowing to the airport to a common point (or vector) and are most useful during rush hour when there are many many planes coming from all directions trying to get to the airport. To fully appreciate them you have to consider the ATC element. It would be so difficult or impossible for one or two controllers to route 30 planes coming into PDX from all different directions, and save so much communications by having inbound planes follow the STAR into the airport. The STAR takes all the random planes coming in and potentially funnels them down to a single vector. That makes it much more manageable from an ATC standpoint.

It makes less sense when you are all alone in the sim approaching an airport, and make you wonder why is this thing routing me on a vector pointing away from the airport?

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In RW there's also a great chance of ATC vectoring you away from the STAR when you're not anywhere near the vector yet, depending on current traffic.

I'm using the default ATC and what I do mostly is flying the STAR until the vector, intercepting that vector and then use HDG SEL to vector myself (since stock ATC doesn't support STARs) on base towards the first ILS waypoint and when I get close to the localizer intercepting it to line up with the runway.

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