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Thread: Using FSX's ATC or the MCDU?

  1. Default Using FSX's ATC or the MCDU?

    Hi all, I am planning to try and learn how to use a mcdu in flight planning. I was wondering how do you do a work around of ATC that gives directions that don't correspond with the mcdu/fmc? I have tried one flight and it got pretty messed up because of ATC's directions that didn't match what the flight management computer was trying to do: like SIDS; departure altitudes, etc. IMHO, FSX wasn't designed to account flight management systems even though it's default aircraft in reality uses them!
    Those of you that have mastered this aspect of flight simming I will take all the help I can get.
    I am using Aerosoft's Airbus X and Wilco's Ejets Embraer 175 and 195 aircraft.

  2. #2


    I use vroute with the ISG gauges and fsx flight planner to plan out my routes. Vroute also allows you to specify a crz altitude (among other information), which will transfer over to fsx atc.

    For example, if I plan a flight from PHNL to PHOG using vroute, I will choose the PALAY2 LNY CAMPS2 route (for this route I choose FL150) and save it as an fsx flt pln. Vroute allows you to save flight plans in many different formats. ISG will read the fsx flight plan format, which is convenient. I then save the PHNL to PHOG flight plan in both the fsx flt pln folder as well as my ISG flight plan folder. The flight plan and crz altitude is now potentially linked.

    Below is an example of setting up the flight plan to be used with ISG mcdu and fmc:

    First, you select the origination airport (in this example PHNL). I use real weather and place myself at a parking spot. Once I'm in FSX I use the pull down menu and go to flight planner. I browse available flight plans and select the PHNL to PHOG flight plan that I've saved. I then ok the selection without changing ANYTHING. Keep all of the default selections as they are shown - don't worry if they don't look correct. When asked to have fsx place me at the airport I say no. Now I'm back at the airport at the same parking spot as I had selected and FSX ATC is now active with my loaded flight plan.

    The next steps are to start up your plane and set all of the parameters and contact FSX ATC for clearance. You'll notice that FSX ATC has accepted your flight plan. The initial climb altitude is specified as well. Go through the clearance and pushback procedures and begin to taxi to the assigned runway (or choose your own runway).

    At this point I begin to set up my flight plan using the mcdu and fmc. Set your initial climb out in the fmc according to the DP of your choice and crz altitude. Here you have a few choices. The easiest for me is to load the saved flight plan into the fmc. Now both fsx and your fmc are linked (at least for the flight plan including the crz altitude).

    For the DP, the easiest (although not perfect) is to allow FSX ATC to vector you to your first waypoint. Study the DP and follow the altitude restrictions. If there's a procedural turn I typically begin the turn before contacting departure. This way I ensure that fsx atc vectors me to turn correctly (i.e., turn left heading as opposed to turn right heading). In the example above, the DP for 8L is fairly straight forward and fsx atc vectors me to turn right and eventually intercept PALAY. Once fsx vectors me to intercept PALAY at the specified intercept altitude, I can engage the fmc.

    The climb altitude usually works itself out. I'm typically not climbing out fast enough for fsx atc and once and a while I will get a message asking me to expedite the climb. In this example there are only three or four wayponts in total so you won't have a problem. You can either choose to ignore the message or rework a leg in the fmc such that you climb to the atc specified altitude for a given waypoint. This will obviously depend on many factors.

    Somewhere near to LNY, fsx atc begins the initial descent vectors. The fmc should have provided you with some guidance and LNY is likely already set at a lower altitude than PALAY. If not, you can rework the fmc to follow the atc directed altitude at LNY. When you reach LNY atc now provides you with a runway and vector to final. I suggest that you ask atc to standby and choose an alternative. I never select the initial vector to final. Look at the list, e.g., ILS 2 CAMPS transition, and make a selection that is both in fsx and your fmc. If the airport you're using and your fmc are both up-to-date in terms of DPs and STARs then most of the transitions/STARs should agree.

    From here you can ask fsx atc for the camps transiton to the ILS at runway 2. Since you have not changed the runway you will only need to request the new transition. If you changed the runway you would also need to request the new runway once atc approved your new transition. At this point I set up my fmc for the star arrival at camps. I set the waypoint altitudes according to the plate. My plan is to intercept the ILS at camps so I need to set the intercept altitude accoring to the ILS plate. FSX ATC is also calling out altitudes and in this case they correspond to those on the plate since my PHOG is updated.

    Long-winded, but hopefully it's given you a sense as to how you might set up your flight according to your specific planes. The more complicated the DP/STAR the more you may need to make adjustments in flight if you prefer to limit the number of reminder messages coming from fsx atc. Some reminders are inevitable.

  3. Default

    Ok, so make my climb out to the atc's specified altitude, make the turn to atc's dp THEN engage the FMC for the flight. Ok, I will try the VRoute software. I just finished a flight from KDTW to KDAY a rather rountine flight, all went well till the approach. Didn't capture the glideslope missed the landing had to use the slew command to get the darn aircraft to close to the runway and then visually landed the aircraft. Thanks again.

  4. #4


    You don't need to climb out to the specified altitude prior to engaging the fmc. You can engage the fmc at any time. I was speaking more regarding complicated DPs with procedural turns. I would climb out and follow the turn then follow ATC vectors until I was close to the first waypoint of the flight plan. If the DP is simple or a straight shot to the first flight plan waypoint you can engage the fmc sooner.

    The trick is to Pick a DP that makes sense for your flight plan, if possible. This will limit the climb out messages correcting your heading. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Do whatever you want and just don't mind ATC's ramblings. Lol!

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