How To...Program The FMC
By Hans Fog (20 June 2006)
I have bought add-on aircraft first from Level-D, later on from Wilco and lastly from PMDG hoping to find an easy to understand manual or tutorial and have spent endless hours trying to master flights planned with the FMC.
It has almost made me consider to give up flight simming for ever - but gradually I was able to pick enough bits from each of them so that I finally one day succeeded to plan and execute a flight from A to B. You are talking about manuals of several hundred pages and not always in agreement with each other.
I came to think that there might be a few others out there gnashing their teeth in frustration over how difficult it is. So I have put my hard won experience into writing, hoping that it might help a fellow beginner. This should re-establish your self-confidence enough to make you go on experimenting - having seen that it can be done.
This will not be a guide to flying the Boeing 737 - only to flying with FMC. But there is a lot more to flying by FMC than I have included. You will only find the most basic functions here.
As English is not my first language you might find some incorrect phrases and wrong spelling - but I assume you will understand most of it anyway.
The add-on aircraft I have found the easiest to handle is the PMDG's B737 NG (review available here) - so that's the one I will use. But I have made parallel successful flights with one of the others too. I will only refer to this aircraft - so in case you fly another - please use alternative adequate inputs. The PMDG B737 FMC is very similar to FMC's in the other aircraft.
I live in Denmark so it was natural for me to pick two Danish airports. I strongly suggest that you use these for my tutorial. It is much easier if we talk about the same airports, SID, STAR, waypoints etc. When you are able to make this flight perfectly you may carry your expertise to your own turf.
Be patient - you will probably need several tries - but the flight is short. I have followed my own tutorial enough times to dare claiming that it works.
I am starting the flight from the runway with all functions running. I am not so fascinated by all the turning of and pushing buttons on the overhead panel and elsewhere. Besides, it does hardly belong in a tutorial about the use of FMC anyway.
Please regard many of the values entered as approximate since they might differ on your computer.
Programs I Would Recommend Especially For People Flying With FMC:fsnav470.zip Size: 10,248,171 Date: 08-15-2005
FS98/FS2000/FS2002/FS2004 FSNavigator flight planner, flight
management system and moving map. FSNav offers world-wide current
airway and intersection database also. SID/STAR direct up-/download
from dedicated Internet server and Flight Simulator compatible
multiplayer client for Internet and Intranet with display of all
involved airplanes. FSNavigator v4.70 is a plug-in for
FS2004/FS2002/FS2000/FS98. All important navigation objects are
derived from the actual Flight Simulator scenery that you have
installed.Shareware (registration is EUR35.00 or about $30.00
U.S.). Of each 30 installations FSNavigator registers itself for
free, good luck! By Helge Schroeder.
Supplies SID and STAR charts which are very useful when planning
departures and arrivals. Shareware.
A website where you can download and print charts from airports in the USA. It is free of charge.
Load ManagerIs your load manager on your desk top? If not - go to c:\programs\microsoft games\fs9 and double click on PMDG. Find LoadManager_FS2004.exe - make a short cut and move it to your desk top. Start the load manager.
Choose 800 single - only coach - no 1. class
Change to kg instead of lb if you prefer the metric system - I do.
About 2000 kg in forward luggage compartment and about 2000 kg in the aft compartment
This should give you a ZFW (Zero Fuel Weight, empty plane + passengers + freight) of around 54 tons.
Max. Gross Weight is 78 tons so you have about 24 tons left for fuel.
Press SAVE - OK - EXIT
The manual claims that the ZFW is now tranfered to FS9.
PreparationOpen up FS2004, select PMDG B737, go to airport DENMARK - KASTRUP - RWY 4L
If you get a dead panel when you load the B737 do this:
Go to AIRCRAFT - SELECT AIRCRAFT - select a Cessna - OK
When it appears on your monitor - with all functions running -
Go to AIRCRAFT - SELECT AIRCRAFT - select a PMDG's Boeing 737 800 and you are ready to proceed.
If you changed lb to kg in the load manager, remember to change
it here too.
In the grey line in the top of your screen press PMDG - GENERAL - OPTIONS - VARIOUS and change to kg.
Check in PMDG - GENERAL - OPTIONS - AIRLINE TYPE (737NG) that you have the EFIS display type set to PFD/ND (Primary Flight Display and Nav Display)
If you want to get rid of the engine noise while you are working press Q on your keybord.
Programming The FMCOn the left side of the glass you will find a horizontal row of function keys. Press F and the FMC pops up. Drag it down on your screen to where it is convenient to work with.
Line select 1L abeam <FMC and the IDENT (identification) page opens up. Here you find information on type of aircraft, when your nav data were last updated. AIRAC is the organization that updates the nav data every four weeks. (0605 means the 5th 28-day period of 2006) followed by the period in which the data are valid.
If you have trouble with the necessary nav data I would recommend that you go to this address which also gives answers to other questions:
Line select 6R: POS INIT> (position initiation) and you get to the POS INIT page. Here you are supposed to tell the FMC where exactly it is located right now, information it needs to adjust its positioning systems geographically.