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B1900D Learning Curve Questions

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After nearly 1400 DC3 hours and many more in other piston aircraft I decided to venture into commercial aviation, VATSIM and a heavy metal virtual airline. The VA chosen allows me to get my obligatory minimum flights in using my DC3 as well as other vintage aircraft, such as the PMDG DC6. Great way to become familiar with VATSIM again and enter the VA heavy aircraft world slowly.

My choices as a P3Dv4 user were limited. I chose the Carenado 1900D to begin this transition. I have read every post here and watched about every video I can find, in addition to reading what passes for manuals many many times.

I’m getting somewhat comfortable flying the 1900D manually, meaning without a GPS or the FMC. I’m getting a “feel” for flying the aircraft.

I wish to put a few questions out here to see if I’m on the right track in my learning and see if there are perhaps easier ways to accomplish flight planning and transitions. I had quite a frustrating time coming up to speed as each video or tutorial was either for FSX or XPlane 11. Nothing for P3D. But there, in theory, should not be a whole lot of differences.

My main issue is transitioning from the cruise route to an approach. The only way I can get the FMC, GPS and FD to work together is to assign the highest elevation on the route to ALL waypoints initially before takeoff. Once I have my ILS info and fixes all set up for the approach I press the APPR button in the AP. I IMMEDIALTLY reset the ALT SEL button to maintain altitude. These two button presses are the ONLY way I can see to descend using the ALT SEL scroll wheel ALT setting gauge. I can plan ahead and insure, using pitch and throttle, to get to my desired altitude. I can then switch to VLOC and capture the GS and land, no problems.

If I attempt to descend without fist entering APPR mode the AC either will not descend or flies off in some odd direction as it heads for Mother Earth.

The issue: It seems “odd” that the only way I can descend from cruise altitude is entering APPR mode. What if I just wish to descend for weather, and then reclimb? Is this the only way? I cannot seem to find another.

What am I doing wrong here? Any help would be most appreciated.

I REALLY want to start with this smaller aircraft and work my way up, just like the big boys do. It is so tempting to just go buy the new Majestic Q400 for P3Dv4 and start the months of training there. I’m thinking it’s a mistake, perhaps I’m wrong.

Any thoughts out there?


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If you want to learn to fly with an FMC, you are better off going to the Majestic Q400.

There you will find a properly implemented unit.

Carenado's avionics are "lite" implementations that will not help you with the finer details that you are trying to master.

Just my opinion..


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Hi R9,

I don't have the aircraft but one problem that is universal to all Carenado navigation equipment that may present a problem on Vatsim - is when you have your flight plan all setup from departure to destination - ATC may give you a "Direct To" a specific waypoint which is very common in the real world - if you use your navigation equipment to comply - it unrealistically blows away your entire programmed flight plan... To be fair the default GPS does the same which I believe all their navigation equipment is based off of... There is a way to insert a double waypoint that Jim Robinson spoke of in posts here but when doing this the autopilot will fly to the correct point (it's aiming for the imaginary path between the two redundant waypoints) however your HSI or MFD will not display the correct readings as the path has a zero length - it's a kludge... Just food for thought... With realistic ATC you want something 3rd party GTN/GNS compatible - or - a higher level simulation (PMDG/Majestic/CRJ/B717)...


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The 19Hundo isn't the best airplane to do all the FMS automation thing with...I flew it for just over 4-years with over 3000 hours of which 2300 were PIC for a 121 carrier in the mid-Atlantic/Northeast...We didn't have autopilot; just 2 NAV/COMMS, ADF, Mode S XPNDR, EGPWS and TCAS II. Flew it into the big hubs and airports in the hinterlands of Maine and West Virginia...LOVED every second of it!

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