Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: DC-3 radio stack/Nav. how to

  1. #1

    Post DC-3 radio stack/Nav. how to

    I'm having trouble mastering the radio stack in the dc-3 (the old radios). I understand how to tune them but I'm not sure how actually use it, to say fly a VOR approach or to an NDB. I'm assuming ILS is not an option here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK.


    Hi Ralph,

    Which particular DC-3 are you referring to ? FSX or FS2004 or the MAAM-Sim R4D/DC-3/C-47 ?


    AOPA #04634067

  3. #3

    Default DC-3 radio stack

    I'm using FSX.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wylie, Texas, USA.


    I don't know a huge amount about the DC-3 - but the folks who do are mostly with DC3 Airways. Great information on flying the DC-3 on their site and

    Also Charles Wood's navigation tutorials
    Hello Dave

    @ PawPaw's house - near KADS, Addison, Texas, USA

  5. #5


    yeah< i;ve been to those sites. Good stuff but it doesn't address my specific inquest. Im just no sure how to use the radio stack and teh one gauge (radio compass) that is controlled by them. I'm guessing it works like an ADF but I'm not sure. thanks for the help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK.



    If this is the default FSX DC-3:

    then, if its fitted with a VOR or NBS you would tune a specific station and fly towards it as with other aircraft so equipped. If not, the Sperry Autopilot (if as fully functional as in the MAAM-Sim version) will allow you to hold course, altitude and bank and you would navigate by holding specific headings.

    Are you familiar with the "normal" navigation methods using NDBs and VORs ?


    AOPA #04634067

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Ellwood City, PA


    Quote Originally Posted by ralphwiggum View Post
    yeah< i;ve been to those sites. Good stuff but it doesn't address my specific inquest. Im just no sure how to use the radio stack and teh one gauge (radio compass) that is controlled by them. I'm guessing it works like an ADF but I'm not sure. thanks for the help!
    ralphwiggum, I believe this will answer your question.

    The radio compass in the DC-3 has three functions.
    The NAV radio compass indicates direction with respect to the radio station to which it is tuned and uses a nondirectional antenna to provide a unidirectional bearing indication to a VOR. No matter what direction you are flying, the NAV arrow points in the direction parallel to the radial needed to fly to reach the VOR in which the NAV radio frequency is tuned in MHz. Since there are 360 radials, one per degree of azimuth, and radials are defined by the direction projected OUT away from the VOR. You will be flying a radial which is 180 degrees oppossite the defined radial when flying INBOUND to the VOR. No worries, the Radio Compass does the math for you and points in the direction needed to fly to reach the VOR. That may sound confusing, but more simply put, when flying 90 degrees toward a VOR, you're actually flying inbound on the 270 degree radial. The reason you must understand this is that when reporting your location to ATC, and you would state it that way, then ATC knows exactly where you are.

    On the other hand, the ADF arrow on the radio compass points in the direction of NDB at all times and is tuned in KHz. The ADF is also sometimes referred to as a 'homer'. You need only fly toward a NDB and is indicated when the arrow is pointing straight up.

    There is also a signal strength indicator used in conjunction with the ADF. The stronger the signal the closer you are to the NDB.

    The green and red arrows serve either function depending on what Radio the toggle switches are thrown to at the time.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by NikeHerk67; 05-16-2009 at 11:34 AM.
    Acer Predator AG3620-UR308, 3rd Gen. Intel Core i7-3770 processor 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology up to 3.9GHz (8MB Cache), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 SC (2GB), 2 TB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive, 12GB DDR3 SDRAM, Windows 8

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    I'm a little late coming in here, but I've been traveling the past month, no Internet most of the time.

    The default FS9/FSX Nav radio package for the DC-3 is an attempt to simulate a 1930's navigator's radio tools, within the framework of the MSFS radio environment, which is nothing like the 1930's environment (there were no VORs, radio beacons were mostly in the LF, MF and HF range, and many NDBs were longer range than now). The default DC-3 radio stack tunes modern VORs because in MSFS they are the only long range signals the package provides for nav radios to tune, but it doesn't use them as VORs.

    In the continental U.S., 1930's, a pilot would not use this DC-3 radio stack for navigation. A pilot would use the radio range: left of course, right of course, on course, from beacon to beacon, to stay on the airways defined by the CAA. MSFS does not have the radio range environment, but you can find the environment as an add-on for FS9. I've not seen it for FSX, but I've not searched for it.

    Outside the continental U.S., a navigator would triangulate bearings to radio stations (or more realistically, ground station reports of bearings to the aircraft) to regularly plot (recent) aircraft position on a chart. Tracking position, the navigator would direct the pilot what course to fly. There was more to it than triangulation, of course, as a navigator also used dead reckoning, drift measurements, celestial tools, early ground radar systems, and time-based GPS tools like LORAN, as these tools developed.

    Most of the world outside the U.S. used this system, a navigator on the crew to direct the pilot, well into the 1950's, and in many places, well into the early part of the jet age. Getting the rest of the world to use the U.S. way of pilots staying on airways defined by directional radio beacons, and dispensing with navigators, took quite some time and diplomacy,

    How to? The default DC-3 stack provides a way for you to get bearings to at least two VOR stations, or a VOR and a nearby NDB. With this, you can play navigator, triangulate a position, if you have charts with the VOR stations on them. Sectionals or enroute charts will work. Also, by using the VOR stations, MSFS made plotting a little easier, as you can use the omni roses on the chart as protractors, rather than working with a separate protractor and parallel rules, as a 1930's navigator might. In this respect, sectionals work better, because of the larger scale and larger roses.

    Alternatively, you could use the DC-3 radio compass tuned to a VOR, to get a bearing to fly to that VOR, although that is not realistic for the 1930's era in the continental U.S., as scheduled commercial traffic was supposed to stay on the airways, as defined by the directional radio range, not fly willy-nilly from point to point like those crazy Europeans.

    For a post-WWII navigation environment for the default DC-3, you might check the alternative panels at DC-3 airways. Some of these have sufficient 1950's (or later) avionics to use the VOR system.

  9. #9

    Default How to use the old DC-3 radio panel

    In particular, how does one set the frequency on the Vor 1 radio, for example. Are there instructions somewhere for how to do this, that is, specific instructions on which knobs to use, etc.


Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-27-2015, 02:25 PM
  2. Radio stack nav buttons wrong way around
    By CptCaveman in forum FSX
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-19-2015, 12:32 PM
  3. FSX Missing Radio Stack for SGA DC-9-30
    By CAPT_CRASH in forum Newcomer Services
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-03-2013, 08:33 PM
  4. Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-18-2005, 08:12 AM
  5. Comms and Nav Stack Failure....
    By MikePotten in forum FS2002
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-30-2002, 02:38 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts