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Thread: How to use the DC-3 autopilot??

  1. #1

    Default How to use the DC-3 autopilot??

    I would like a good description of how to use the DC-3 autopilot in FS2004 or FSX?? Does anyone have experience using it?

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    There is a pretty good explanation in the FS9 Learning Center, so I won't regurgitate it all here, hehehe.

    Seriously, take a look there, and if you still have questions feel free to ask.

    It's pretty simple, really.

    peace,
    the Bean

    [edit]
    Sorry, look under DC-3 Flight notes.
    [/edit]
    Last edited by StringBean; 03-19-2010 at 08:36 PM.
    WWOD---What Would Opa Do?
    Farewell, my freind (sp)

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    Default my 20 hours in the DC 3

    The DC 3 is the coolest/easiest aircraft to fly in FS. The AP makes it easy once you get the hang of it. The trick is to use keyboard shortcuts. Z turns on the AP which in turn heads the aircraft to the heading that the heading bug is set to. To change the heading, turn the knob on the top right of the AP. the AP will not have a NAV/GPS setting which is ok because it forces you to use the heading knob for easy flying to point the aircraft where you want it to go or you just have to fly the plane yourself towards the navaid of your choosing. Once you figure out how to tune in the navaids and use the right switches on the plane, navigating is easy. For ILS app, just tune in the freq on nav 1 and hit ctrl-A. All you have to do is to adjust the speed of the aircraft for a smooth landing.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by plainsman View Post
    I would like a good description of how to use the DC-3 autopilot in FS2004 or FSX?? Does anyone have experience using it?
    As Bean so wisely suggested, the Learning Center within the sim (either version) has a good explanation.

    What you may not realize is that the Learning Center in both FS2004 and FSX can be accessed at anytime from your Desktop - the sim does not have to be running.

    I have posted this info several times before but will do it again for the benefit of those who may have missed it.

    For FS2004:

    Create a new Shortcut on your Desktop. Carefully Copy and Paste the following line into the "target" box of the new shortcut;

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Flight Simulator 9\FSweb\frameset_ingame_help.htm

    That assumes a FS2004 installation in the default location - edit the path if necessary.

    Give the shortcut a name such as shortcut to FS2004 Learning Center.

    For FSX - the same basic procedure except the line to Copy and Paste is this:

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\Uires\lc01.htm

    Edit the path if your installtion is elsewhere.

    Now you can access all the features of the Learning Ceneter and even review the Lessons at anytime without having to fire up the sim.

    Hope you find the above useful.
    David "Opa" Marshall

  5. #5

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    I understood how to set a heading and that it would hold a pitch if you establish it flying by the stick, but I still don't quite understand how to establish a rate of climb after you are flying level for a bit. For example, you are cruising at 8,500 feet and want to climb to 10,500 feet at 400 feet per minute. Do you have to just keep hitting the pitch knob with the mouse to establish the climb, or do you have to turn off the AP and reestablish a climb by hand?

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    I'm in the middle of a long flight and won't be able to check what's below till late this evening. Nevertheless, here's an educated guess...

    I believe that in the autopilots of the late 40s the pitch knob was simply an attitude control applying a trim tab bias to whatever deck angle was being commanded by the yoke/wheel. (The turn knob was also an attitude control, I believe, in this case bank angle.) Whether applying nose up pitch through the pitch knob would result in a climb would therefore depend on the power setting.

    The other mode available was altitude hold and I believe that engaging it would cause the pitch knob to be ignored. I further believe there was no vertical speed hold option and no airspeed hold option. I believe vertical speed didn't come in till the Sperry SP-50 autopilot of the mid (late?) 50s, and I believe that autothrottle wasn't available till the early 60s, and then only as an independent control having nothing to do with the autopilot.

    I check all this out after my flight is finished.
    Last edited by xxmikexx; 03-20-2010 at 07:41 PM.
    Digital abstract art copyright 2010 Mike McCarthy, all rights reserved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plainsman View Post
    ...that it would hold a pitch if you establish it flying by the stick... Do you have to just keep hitting the pitch knob with the mouse to establish the climb, or do you have to turn off the AP and reestablish a climb by hand?
    Plainsman,
    You kind of answered your own question.

    How you do it in practice is up to you, but you have a couple options.

    In your climb scenario, if you increase power without touching the AP airspeed will increase, so will lift and you will climb.

    If the rate is not what you want, then adjust the AP, but keep an eye on your airspeed.

    The DC-3 AP does 2 things, points the nose in a specific heading, and holds the plane at a specific attitude.

    If you change the attitude by bringing the nose up, without changing power settings, you run the risk of a stall. In that case, the AP will guide you all the way to the scene of the crash. And you will beat the ambulance by at least half an hour.

    Or you can disconnect the AP, hand fly to the climb rate you want and reset the AP.

    Really the best advice I can give you is to fly the darn thing as much as possible and try different approaches to the AP's use.

    Hope this helps.

    peace,
    the Bean
    WWOD---What Would Opa Do?
    Farewell, my freind (sp)

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    Quote Originally Posted by StringBean View Post
    Really the best advice I can give you is to fly the darn thing as much as possible and try different approaches to the AP's use.
    To summarize the likely answer about how the DC-3's autopilot works ... Deck angle adjust/hold, bank angle adjust/hold, altitude hold.

    It's primitive, but just as useful in the sim as in real life, if it works the way I suspect it does. It's really intended for use during cruise, not for other phases of flight. For that limited purpose it's very useful indeed as anyone who's flown vintage aircraft over long distances will confirm.
    Last edited by xxmikexx; 03-20-2010 at 10:28 PM.
    Digital abstract art copyright 2010 Mike McCarthy, all rights reserved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xxmikexx View Post
    To summarize the likely answer about how the DC-3's autopilot works ... Deck angle adjust/hold, bank angle adjust/hold, altitude hold.

    It's primitive, but just as useful in the sim as in real life, if it works the way I suspect it does. It's really intended for use during cruise, not for other phases of flight. For that limited purpose it's very useful indeed as anyone who's flown vintage aircraft over long distances will confirm.
    Nope,no altitude hold and no bank angle hold.

    Only heading and attitude.

    And it works fine in cruise, climb and descent.

    It does require the pilot to manage power.

    peace,
    the Bean
    WWOD---What Would Opa Do?
    Farewell, my freind (sp)

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    Quote Originally Posted by StringBean View Post
    Nope,no altitude hold and no bank angle hold.

    Only heading and attitude.

    And it works fine in cruise, climb and descent.

    It does require the pilot to manage power.

    peace,
    the Bean
    OMG, you're right, really primitive. Do you suppose that it's the original Sperry two-axis deal, patented in 1912 I think it was? (I think it used one gyro mounted 45 degrees away from vertical to provide yaw and pitch guidance signals.)
    Last edited by xxmikexx; 03-20-2010 at 11:03 PM.
    Digital abstract art copyright 2010 Mike McCarthy, all rights reserved.

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