Contents of the LANDTIPS.TXT file
HOW TO MAKE A GOOD LANDING WITH FLIGHT SIMULATOR
(Written using Microsoft Flight Simulator Version 4.0b for IBMs)
By Rick Lee, FS Section Leader, CompuServe Gamers' Forum (GO GAMERS)
The first challenge in Flight Simulator is making good landings. Here
are some tips. Read carefully and try everything I suggest.
While you are in your early learning phases, turn on the "4-dots"
alignment indicator. (keypress combo 2,5,5) This lets you know if you
are pointed at the runway and it also lets you know if your nose is up
or down in relation to the horizon. You want to have the nose up when
you touch down so that your rear wheels will touch first.
Do me a favor.. you might think this is crazy, but please give it a try.
As soon as you start trying to get lined up on a particular runway,
adjust your Zoom to a factor of 2X. You may temporarily lose sight of
the runway when you do this but that will changes later. This has
several positive effects.. first, it makes it much easier to SEE the
runway from farther out. Second, the 1X view is VERY wide-angle which
provides the necessary peripheral vision for regular flying but it
distorts your view of the runway making it more likely for you to come
in too high and gives you a false feeling of distance to the runway.
The 2X view is much more realistic looking. There is no need to go back
to 1X until after you have touched down. 1X is better for taxiing.
A very common problem for computer pilots is that they do not line up
on the runway soon enough. You should start trying hard to get lined
up as soon as you can make out the runway. When you are lined up, the
runway centerline will appear as a perfectly vertical line on the
screen whether you are pointed at it or not! Even if you are looking out
the side window, if you are lined up perfectly with the runway the
centerline will appear as a vertical line on the screen. Another way
of saying this is: The runway centerline must me PERPENDICULAR to the
horizon. If it is, then your aircraft is over an imaginary line
extending out from the centerline of the runway. If the far end
of the runway is a little to the right of the near end, then you are off
to the right and need to point the plane a little to the left of the
runway until you get lined up. Vice-versa... if the far end of the
runway is a little to the left of the near end, then you are off to the
left and you need to point the plane a little to the right until you are
lined up. Again, when the runway centerline becomes perfectly vertical
on the screen (or perpendicular to the horizon if the horizon is not
level) then you can point the alignment dots directly over the
centerline (provided there is no wind). This process of examining the
runway and correcting will continue until you touch down.
Use a runway with VASI lights to practice your landings. These will
help you to judge your glideslope. If both lights are white, you are
too high. If both lights are red, you are too low. The top light
should be red and the bottom light should be white. Meigs in Chicago
is not a good field to practice landings at for two reasons: 1) the
VASI lights do not work until you are already very close. 2) the
scenery is so dense that the frame rate gets really slow unless you
have a high powered 386 computer. I recommend Runway 27R at Oakland
International to practice on. It has a unique built-in scenery switch
which turns off the surrounding scenery when you get down to
short-final. This makes the scenery frame rate very smooth when you
need it most.
Here is another way to judge a glide. This is very realistic, it works
in the real-world as well as in FS. Watch the near-end of the runway.
If it seems to be moving up toward the horizon, you are undershooting
and need to be descending slower. If the near-end of the ruway seems to
be moving down or away from the horizon, you are overshooting and need
to be descending faster.
* * * * * * * * *
Here is a runthrough of a traffic pattern at Oakland. (It's not a
perfect pattern but it's devised to help you learn to land visually)
Use the enclosed MODE (Oak27R-TakeOff) to set yourself at Oakland 27R.
This mode is set for keyboard yoke. If you want to use a joystick, you
can activate the joystick with the keypad combo 4,E,1,3.
Throttle up all the way and allow the plane to take off by itself.
Leave the landing gear down for the entire flight. When you reach
500 feet altitude begin a nice gentle turn to the left. Fly a heading
of 105 degrees. You should be pointed at the right hand base of the
mountain directly ahead. Hayward airport will appear a little to the
right. Level off at 1500 feet by pulling the throttle back to about
1275-1330 rpm. Watch the VSI gauge to determine if you are flying
When you see Hayward airport disappear under the windscreen, make a
nice gentle left turn to a heading of 295 degrees. Now put your flaps
down all the way. Set your Zoom to 2X now. You will see that you are
probably off to the left of the runway, so you need to fly to the right
of it until the runway centerline becomes a perfectly vertical line.
Keep an eye on the VASI lights to the left of the runway. The top one
should be red and the bottom one should be white. If they are both
red, bring the throttle up a little. If they are both white, lower the
throttle a little. You should not attempt to adjust your glide with
the elevator... use the throttle. If the lights are red over white,
adjust your rate of descent to about 400 fpm. This will put you more
or less on the glideslope, but you have to keep watching the lights.
When your plane passes over the threshold of the runway, it is time to
execute the "flare". Pull the elevator back just a little until the
nose comes up just above the horizon. The 4-dots alignment indicator
should be about a half inch above the horizon. Allow the plane to settle
down on the runway, rear wheels touching first and then the nose wheel.
Throttle back to idle and apply the brakes.
Due to popular demand I have now enclosed a demo of this little trip
around Oakland that shows how *I* fly it. This clears up a lot of
misunderstandings in the text. To view LANDTIPS.DEM place it in your
FS directory and choose it from the Demo menu. (keypress combo 1,H)
I also recommend that you view the excellent demo by Charles Gulick in
LVKOAK.DEM available in Lib 10.
Rick Lee [71361,667]