AndyWhite

I love this stuff

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I’ve been simming for years, gradually learning more as the complexity of the modelled aircraft increases. I’ve only recently started flying on Vatsim and it is still a little ‘stressful’ in the good sense. 

I was flying the NGX out of EGCC - no online ATC. I happened to push at the same time as the aircraft next to me (due to the location it was like I’d perhaps tried to beat him to it) Suddenly ATC came on line. I was rushing through my start so as not to hold up the EZY behind me, also becoming concerned that I didn’t have my charts loaded for the taxi route (without ATC I was just going to make my own way...)

I got airborne and settled down. Popped to get a beer. I came back and an alarm was going off (takeoff config horn) I’d had some weird behaviour occasionally so just thought it was a bit of a bug. I couldn’t work out why my pressurisation dial just didn’t seem to ‘look’ right. Why was the VSI showing a gentle climb? 

Yes - I’d forgotten to turn on the packs.... love that I can still get caught out.

Fast forward a couple of weeks - I’m in the newly downloaded 748. I am very familiar with the 400. I was surprised how much was actually different. I set up my FMC. Then I realised I was very lightly loaded so decided to up my zero fuel weight to max. Only a short flight so fuel was about 25 tonnes. 

I did my figures in the EFB. Derated takeoff and assumed temp. Taxied out and lined up. TOGA. 

Up to 80 knots everything was fine. Approaching V1 the acceleration started to stagnate. The approach of the end of the runway was such that it was going to be reached before Vr on the speed tape. I firewalled the throttles and got off the ground, red boxes now appearing around the N1 values. What happened there?

I’d seen some forum chat about derates and assumed temperatures in the 748 EFB so I figured that perhaps I’d either done something wrong or it (shock horror) hadn’t been modelled very well. 

In the approach phase, I’m nearly ten degrees nose up with Flap 1. Bit turbulent and occasional stickshaker activation. In a turn, continuous stickshaker, auto-throttles ‘hunting’ and trying to maintain speed. It was so bad I eventually just flew manually which went better. This was my first flight so I wasn’t sure if this was just ‘how the aircraft has been modelled’ but I was a little concerned...

What I had actually done, without realising, was set up my FMC and performance calcs around a low weight AND THEN ACTUALLY LOADED TO MAX ZFW!! 

I love that the complexity of these aircraft allow me to still get ‘caught out’ in the relatively sterile world of flight sim. 

 

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Welcome, Andy.  Great first post here.  Yes, this hobby offers all the complexity one needs to give the sense of actually being there.  After all, isn't that what simulation is all about?  Even those who don't care for the complexity can still enjoy this hobby, but the PMDG products do require study and focus.  Great stuff!

Edited by dmiannay

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3 hours ago, dmiannay said:

Welcome, Andy.  Great first post here.  Yes, this hobby offers all the complexity one needs to give the sense of actually being there.  After all, isn't that what simulation is all about?  Even those who don't care for the complexity can still enjoy this hobby, but the PMDG products do require study and focus.  Great stuff!

Well said!  It is easy for us Flight Simmers to forget that most professional pilots converting from say a B737/800 onto a longhaul aircraft like the B747/-8 will have to undergo several weeks or months studying the aircraft and its systems, followed by more weeks and months of simulator training and route flying under supervision before becoming fully qualified to fly their new aircraft type. 

It is worth bearing this in mind the next time something happens to our simulator that isn't understood and try and find out why.  Fortunately, that's where these forums come into their own because we can seek the advice of the expert developers and other users and so we need never give up on our own learning experience. 

Edited by berts

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Always learning... ain't that the truth.  Every new student pilot gets a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience.  The goal is to fill the bag of experience before emptying the bag of luck..... never push your luck.

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1 hour ago, downscc said:

Always learning... ain't that the truth.  Every new student pilot gets a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience.  The goal is to fill the bag of experience before emptying the bag of luck..... never push your luck.

Well said!

 

7 hours ago, AndyWhite said:

I love that the complexity of these aircraft allow me to still get ‘caught out’ in the relatively sterile world of flight sim. 

I think that is the very best First Post I've ever read in my 36 years in this community!  Well done!

 

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1 hour ago, downscc said:

full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience

Ain't that the truth 👍

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56 minutes ago, DaveCT2003 said:

I think that is the very best First Post I've ever read in my 36 years in this community!  Well done!

Ditto

2 hours ago, downscc said:

Always learning... ain't that the truth.  Every new student pilot gets a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience.  The goal is to fill the bag of experience before emptying the bag of luck..... never push your luck

Dan's wisdom shows again.

Edited by vc10man
spelling mistake

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Also nice to hear that although something was wrong u didn’t come to the site instantly moaning and blaming pmdg for a broken plane and you realised that it was pilot error and saw the good side about an issue arising 

Edited by donkey20048

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On 1/19/2019 at 6:21 AM, AndyWhite said:

Up to 80 knots everything was fine. Approaching V1 the acceleration started to stagnate. The approach of the end of the runway was such that it was going to be reached before Vr on the speed tape. I firewalled the throttles and got off the ground, red boxes now appearing around the N1 values. What happened there?

This happened because - as many simmers do, based on their own experience before they got into study sims - the hit TO/GA after bringing the throttles up about half way, and then leave them there (or at IDLE, in some cases). Around 80 knots, the A/T drops to HOLD mode, which allows the crew to manually adjust the throttle (or, more importantly in this phase, close it to reject the takeoff, and RTO will automatically engage). Because of this drop to HOLD mode, if your throttle sends any information to the sim in this period in the takeoff roll, the throttle will "stagnate" back to wherever the physical position is.

The correct procedure is to stand the throttles up (bring them up to check they're okay at around 40ish %), and then hit TO/GA - manually bring your physical hardware forward as the A/T brings the throttle forward and leave it at 100% of your physical hardware axis. In the real plane, this is done by servos, which most at-home sim hardware does not have, so you must do this. If you do this, you won't run into any issues in this regard.

Alternatively, you can change the throttle settings in CDU MENU > PMDG SETUP to ignore your physical hardware at all times A/T is on (there's another setting for the AP as well, if you want that). All described in the Intro.

 

As a final note, I'll second what Stewart says, above, but I would caution against the approach of considering bug or pilot error on the same level (not saying that you specifically think this, but since you mention it a few times, it seems to indicate that "bug" is a common go-to thought as you work through things). The post makes a few references to different issues potentially being bugs, which isn't necessarily wrong, but the idea that multiple issues are caused by bugs, instead of the common factor in this case (the operator), is statistically far less likely. When learning new things, it's always best to assume you're the one causing it, and start from that concept and eliminate that possibility from there. The first place to look in those cases is usually the Intro, because we've put all of the common issues that people will run into in there.

When I'm writing code, for example, if the code fails to compile, or give me what I want, it's incredibly more likely that I didn't write something properly than it is that my compiler screwed something up, or the libraries I'm using are somehow flawed. Slightly different scenario, yes, but I do think simmers are a bit over-confident in their own skills and knowledge sometimes.

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I've made just about every mistake imaginable over the years (well with regards to simulations and girlfriends mostly).

Reminds me off a line Tom Hanks had in Apollo 13 as he came out of the simulator:  "If I had a dollar for every time they killed me in this thing, I wouldn't have to work for you, Deke."

Mark Trainer

 

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22 hours ago, scandinavian13 said:

When I'm writing code, for example, if the code fails to compile, or give me what I want, it's incredibly more likely that I didn't write something properly than it is that my compiler screwed something up, or the libraries I'm using are somehow flawed. Slightly different scenario, yes, but I do think simmers are a bit over-confident in their own skills and knowledge sometimes.

Maybe this helps to explains why civilian pilots need to be wary about placing too much reliance on computers to fly their aircraft safely at all times? 

Mention of Apollo 13 also reminds me of Apollo 11, because didn't Neil Armstrong have to take manual control of the 'Eagle' Lunar Lander when they got a 1201 alarm on 'short finals' to the moon when the programmers and others at Houston apparently couldn't tell him exactly what it meant?   We are after all human beings and therefore we all make mistakes, but I certainly hope that qualified pilots will be on board the flight deck of the airliners we all fly in as a passenger for many years to come.   

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19 minutes ago, berts said:

Maybe this helps to explains why civilian pilots need to be wary about placing too much reliance on computers to fly their aircraft safely at all times? 

Mention of Apollo 13 also reminds me of Apollo 11, because didn't Neil Armstrong have to take manual control of the 'Eagle' Lunar Lander when they got a 1201 alarm on 'short finals' to the moon when the programmers and others at Houston apparently couldn't tell him exactly what it meant?   We are after all human beings and therefore we all make mistakes, but I certainly hope that qualified pilots will be on board the flight deck of the airliners we all fly in as a passenger for many years to come.   

I smell a Boeing vs Airbus debate coming... and that's okay, we haven't had one in quite a while.

 

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