• How To... Fly The 747 With FS5


    Nels Anderson

    Download this How To file in straight text format.
    Enjoy these techniques for flying the 747-400 (NW, that came with FS Patched version...patch available from BAO). I fly this 747 often, and have realistic procedures for you to follow so you can fly as I do with the utmost realism. The operations come from my real world flying, as well as manuals, books, videos and talks with real 747 pilots...and use the following to fly my NW 747-400 as close to real life as I possibly can.


    Once clearance has been received, I start my taxi roll with flaps up. Different airlines use different procedures for taxi, so follow whatever checklist you like, some may lower flaps before taxi. While taxiing I roll at between 10-20kts depending on the "openness" of the area. Sometimes even 25kts is allowed on a taxi. On the taxi I test freedom of flight controls, check trim in the proper spot (for me I like neutral on the panel, as I trim only with my CH Virtual Pilot Pros trim wheel..it's much smoother), and set all NAV and Comm Radios ahead of time at least for the departure routing and first or 2nd VOR. I also give the spoilers a test on the taxi. Taxiing the NW 747 requires good coordination with a lot of F11 and F12 differental braking with rudder deflection only half way or so on the controls indicator.


    After double checking trim, flaps and alignment of nose, and selecting full exterior lights (a fantasy item as of yet on FS5)... I run the throttles 1/2 of the way up, check for positive flows, and RPM and then go to the following general settings and rotations as follows...
    FLAPS 20 NORMAL                                 FLAPS 20 NORMAL 
    FULL POWER                                      FULL POWER
    Vr 165-170kts                                   Vr 155-160kts
    FLAPS 20 NORMAL                                 FLAPS 20 NORMAL
    FULL POWER                                      POWER - Slightly less than full
    Vr 145-155kts                                   Vr 140-150kts
    FLAPS 15 NORMAL                                 FLAPS 15 NORMAL
    POWER - 80% OF FULL                             POWER - 80% OF FULL
    Vr 135kts                                       Vr 130kts
    FLAPS 20 NORMAL (Short field Ops)               FLAPS 20 NORMAL (Short field Ops)
    POWER - 80% OF FULL (100% if takeoff is on      POWER - 80% OF FULL (100% if takeoff is on
                       runway of 6000' or shorter)  runway of 6000' or shorter)
    Vr 125-130kts                                   Vr 120-125kts    
    Continuing takeoff...

    Once airborne, raise pitch to at least 10 degrees, watch for positive rate, and once up 150 feet or so, select GEAR UP... then WATCH AIRSPEED... if it's accelerating slowly, leave pitch alone and accelerate to about 180-190 kts and then take up one flap setting. If airspeed is accelerating rapidly after liftoff, then pitch up to 20 degrees or so. Select up one flap right away.

    At 210kts or so, all but the last flap ought to be up. Above 210kts, clean up wing. Watch speed and climb at 250kts...by reducing power to not exceed. Also, at 1500 AGL reduce some power for noise abatement, but only if airspeed and climb rate are high.

    Sometimes a lot of power reduction is necessary to keep 250 kts in a light 747. Climb rates as long as speed is at 250kts...can be very high, go ahead and let climb rates be at 4000 - 6000 fpm until 10,000' is reached. Airlines like to hustle up to smoother air rapidly, so if she's climing rapidly, let her.


    Above 10,000 lock (CTL-T) attitude to shallow angle of climb, or VSI for a climb if using an adventure file with VSI function, or altitude hold. Climbing the -400 is at 300-350kias until 20,000 feet or so, and then M.72-M.77 or so further up. Power may need to be increased to full if heavy weight to keep the forward speed. The climb rate varies.... JUST TRIM CLIMB RATE OR ATTITUDE FOR THE AIRSPEED YOU WANT. THAT'S IT... LET CLIMB RATE BE WHAT RESULTS...unless directed by ATC for a specific Climb rate. Usually a M.70 or higher climb will be about 2000fpm or so..depending on weight, temp etc...


    The 747-400 is the fastest airliner cruising at subsonic speed. I see real 747's Cruise at M.85 on occasion, and even heard of M.86 if the pilot wishes to push it way up. Normal Cruise I use is M.84. About 490 ktas. Ground speed in no wind would be 490 kts roughly. FL 310, 330, 350, 370, 390 and 410 are all useable, depending on weight. Occasionaly at light weight, flight to 430 may be possible, but 410 is a good realistic max cruise altitude... especially on long hauls.


    It's normal to start a heavy weight long haul at 310 and then step climb every hour or so to higher altitude. Don't try 410 right away unless you're light...'cause you'll slow down too much in the attempt!

    Keep all turns 30' maximum... and remember THE FS5 747-400 WILL SPIN IF STALLED AT A STEEP TURN...STALL SPEED WILL BE NEAR 210 KTS IF HEAVY IN A TURN!... you'll find yourself like the real JAL crew did years ago... spinning a 747 from FL430 over the Pacific ocean enroute to SFO. They pulled out at 10,000 with broken doors and a cabin ripped and G-forced apart... don't let that happen to you at home!


    Power as necessary to hold cruise M # to 10,000', and a rate of decent 2000 fpm util ATC wants a more rapid descent rate. If a quick descent is needed... Power to idle please!


    Flaps go to first notch at about 230 kts or so... especially if maneuvering is needed. 210kts if straight ahead only flying. Fly clean if you need 250 kts.

    Once on ILS.. localizer, select 1st notch if previously clean. Speed 210 kts or so.


    Once on ILS, slow to 170 kts. If light weight, then 1st notch of flaps is fine. Once crossing the OM, select GEAR DOWN, AND 2ND NOTCH and reduce power to 150-160kts or so depending on weight. KEEP VSI TO HOLD GS ...do this by adjusting power. Leave pitch shallow... basically level on the ATI. Approaching the MM or even when just passing the OM, FULL FLAPS. Let speed slow by small reduction in power, and possible increase in pitch if necessary. BUT WATCH AIRSPEED. ADDING THE LAST FLAP WILL PITCH YOU UP AND REALLY SLOW THE AIRCRAFT...SO KEEP IT AT YOUR VREF, AND RETRIM NOSE DOWN SLIGHTLY...AND YOU'LL THEN NEED MORE POWER IF ALREADY AT YOUR VREF. You can feel those huge flaps shaking and vibrating in the wind...as you'll need to spool up the engines more to keep her flyin'. The 747 is now ready for touchdown with full flaps, descent rate set at 500-1000 fpm and Vref set.

    It's a game of throttle power, pitch (keeping it about 0-3 degrees pitch up), and airspeed to hold the GS and keep the 747 on a good final approach. If not all 3 items are in check the landing will be bad or worse. At any one time you loose pitch, airspeed or VSI control, and you're not an experience flightsimmer...you will crash. It takes years of practice to learn the techniques of recovering a bad approach, and often a Go around is the only hope.

    NEVER TRY MANEUVERING THE 747-400 INSIDE A 10 MILE FINAL! NEVER BANK MORE THAN 30'. WATCH YOUR COORDINATION...but really, you won't spin uless you stall, so I don't coordinate the turns hardly ever...it really isn't necessary unless near stall speed.

    TIPS: KEEP BASE TURNS AT 20' FLAPS AND AT LEAST 190-220KTS until on final! Then hold 170kts till on the final until the OM.

    Over the runway fence.. or pavement... at about 75 feet, start to flare slightly, at 30 feet hold landing pitch, VSI about 500 fpm (1000 fpm is too hard and will cause a crash) and cut power to idle. If you do a good job, you'll only hear the rumbling of the flaps and cabin as you grease it in!

    IN CASE YOU BOUNCE... a hard landing 500-999 fpm may result in a bounce! If so, quickly get your mind to the same procedure as you were in the flare, but add a little power because you've lost a good 15 kts or so during the bounce and unexpected liftoff. IF YOU DON'T ADD A LITTLE POWER YOU'LL HIT THE GROUND TOO HARD AND GET A CRASH ON THE 2ND LANDING! HOLD PITCH FOR TOUCHDOWN (3 - 5 degrees up). ADDING TOO MUCH POWER WILL MAKE THE PLANE FLOAT OR FLY AGAIN, SO WATCH YOUR VSI!! Keep VSI at 500 fpm down and another good landing can be made!

    ON THE 747-400 PANEL, the 500 fpm mark is near 1/2 the first tick line.

    VREF (at the MM) speeds to follow. AT MAX WEIGHT... 150 - 155kts, AT MINIMUM WEIGHT (almost empty) 120 - 130kts.

    Most landings are medium weights (50% fuel) for me, so 135-140 kts is good.

    HERE'S MY GUARANTEED WAY TO LAND WITHOUT EVEN AN AIRSPEED GUAGE...and this will tell you the right speed for the weight at hand...if you don't know.

    (once you get your GS descent rate set, and your pitch for landing set...a little pitch up won't hurt too...look at the airspeed! VOILA...that's the speed you should use!!!! See, if the GS descent rate wasn't right, or your pitch not set...the speed you see obviously isn't working right...get it?)


    Once the mains are firmly planted, your nose is still in the air. Slowly lower it to the runway, and once it hits, make sure steering is straight ahead.

    Select spoilers up, select full reverse, steer and wait. Let the reverse do the work down to 80 kts, then hold the manual brakes in and between 80 and 60kts kill the reversers. Use braking as necessary. Often real 747 pilots hit the gradual high speed turnoffs at 60 kts. Don't take 90 degree taxiways at more than 10 or 15 kts.


    Do to ATC demand for a minimum roll out, long float down a long runway that's now short (he he) or an arrival to a runway of 6000' in length or less use the following...

    Upon touchdown, let nose stay in air. Select spoilers up, then go full reverse with nose still in the air. Let the reverse power lower the nose for you, in fact hold it "up" to prevent rapid slam down of the nose wheel and 1st class cabin! Brakes can be held steady now even before nose is down. This will naturally help the screaming reversers slow you down, and drop the nose. So again watch the nose. Having the nose in the air during this helps slow the aircraft also.

    You'll be amazed at the rapid stopping power of the 747. Pavement roll distances will only be 3000 feet or so with this tecnique - barring a max weight landing!


    The 747 at empty weight has a stall speed of ONLY 86 KTS!!! So takeoffs and landings can be done at well under 120kts... with a VREF of only 115 kts shown in my real perfomance manual!

    The 747 can and often departs a runway with a ground roll of 3500 feet or so at minimum weights (this, non pilots never believe.. but it's true!)

    Flaps up landings add almost 60 kts to your VREF speed! So try it at a final of 220kts someday...wow! You'll land but catch the tires on fire!

    In heavy crosswinds, or windshear a 20 degree landing may be necessary! With flaps 20, use a VREF + 20-25 kts on final!

    A GO AROUND is like a takeoff...full power, pitch up, flaps up to 20, then positive rate and gear up and the rest as usual...

    Have fun flying the biggest, and most challenging jetliner on FS5. I fly with a 486-66 and a CH Virtual Pilot Yoke and Pedals. It took me 8 years to be a precise flightsimmer, and even with real life flying I love this hobby more than you can imagine. I boast no one loves flightsim more than me!!!

    Look forward to more procedures for the other airliners soon!

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