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Thread: Autopilot in GA planes setting the heading.

  1. #1
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    Default Autopilot in GA planes setting the heading.

    I have now got to the point of being reasonably able to fly on the light planes in the standard edition of MSFS, from the Cessna 152 up to the Bonanza. My next challenge is using the autopilot. Many of these planes have the G1000 dashboard so I can use that as an example. I understand pretty well how to set the altitude hold. Use the Alt knob to 'turn' the knob (with the mouse) to an altitude then engage the autopilot and use the VS and set the climb or descend rate using the up or dn buttons.
    Setting a heading is another issue. If I want to just follow the line from takeoff to the destination airport using the GPS mode it is easy. Just use the Nav mode and it goes to the heading. However if I have flown somewhere without the auto pilot, to look at a city or go around a mountain or something, then want to use autopilot to go to the destination, I have trouble. IF I engage the AP, it wants to set course back to the line from the departure to the arrival airport. I want to be able to do a direct line from where I am to the destination. I have tried a couple of things and it seems to go in unexpected directions when I engaged the AP.
    Any insight on this?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patinthedesert View Post
    I have now got to the point of being reasonably able to fly on the light planes in the standard edition of MSFS, from the Cessna 152 up to the Bonanza. My next challenge is using the autopilot. Many of these planes have the G1000 dashboard so I can use that as an example. I understand pretty well how to set the altitude hold. Use the Alt knob to 'turn' the knob (with the mouse) to an altitude then engage the autopilot and use the VS and set the climb or descend rate using the up or dn buttons.
    Setting a heading is another issue. If I want to just follow the line from takeoff to the destination airport using the GPS mode it is easy. Just use the Nav mode and it goes to the heading. However if I have flown somewhere without the auto pilot, to look at a city or go around a mountain or something, then want to use autopilot to go to the destination, I have trouble. IF I engage the AP, it wants to set course back to the line from the departure to the arrival airport. I want to be able to do a direct line from where I am to the destination. I have tried a couple of things and it seems to go in unexpected directions when I engaged the AP.
    Any insight on this?
    The AP shouldn’t operate like you describe. If you press NAV and then engage the AP it should take you to the magenta line with an approximate intercept of 30 degrees. If you’ve flown in the opposite direction of your destination and then engage the AP it may appear that it’s going back to the original departure. You’ll be able to see what waypoint it’s navigating to in the PFD window.

  3. #3
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    The AP shouldn’t operate like you describe.
    Actually, if he's not changed the GPS setting, it's doing almost what you describe, trying to get back to the original course, ("it wants to set course back to the line from the departure to the arrival airport.") but because of his course deviation it's a more aggressive correction.

    So the OP will need to set a Direct TO course in the GPS at the point where he is, then it will go where he wants. There should actually be a Direct To selection where you select the airport you want. Since I don't have this specific sim I can't give exact directions, though.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  4. #4

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    If I am understanding the question correctly you should be able to use the AP using the heading hold switch instead of the Nav button. Once engaged you can use your mouse to manually adjust the heading to fly around whatever using the AP. Just make sure you center the heading to your current course by pushing in the heading button to synchronize it to your current heading otherwise it will lock onto whatever heading was default when you loaded in.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnuss View Post
    Actually, if he's not changed the GPS setting, it's doing almost what you describe, trying to get back to the original course, ("it wants to set course back to the line from the departure to the arrival airport.") but because of his course deviation it's a more aggressive correction.

    So the OP will need to set a Direct TO course in the GPS at the point where he is, then it will go where he wants. There should actually be a Direct To selection where you select the airport you want. Since I don't have this specific sim I can't give exact directions, though.
    Doh! Of course you are correct. I mis-read the original post and thought the AP was sending him back to the departure airport. The Direct-To button will get him from where he is to the arrival airport, with a lot of knob fiddling to type in the ID unfortunately.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the responses. I have tried some of the advice that I could understand. I can set the heading to be followed by using the Heading knob to dial in a left or right turn and set a course. Which will show on the compass dial displayed as the heading 'bug'. This works fine but turning it one way or the other with the mouse is kind of touchy. Or I can fly off of autopilot to where I want to head, then engage the AP and do a push-down on the heading knob to set the current heading. I didn't know the push down to take the current heading. That will work.
    The reference to setting a direct-to heading. Not sure about that one. I don't see a direct-to control. Is that a choice on the soft-tabs on the Garmin screen?

    Pat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patinthedesert View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I have tried some of the advice that I could understand. I can set the heading to be followed by using the Heading knob to dial in a left or right turn and set a course. Which will show on the compass dial displayed as the heading 'bug'. This works fine but turning it one way or the other with the mouse is kind of touchy. Or I can fly off of autopilot to where I want to head, then engage the AP and do a push-down on the heading knob to set the current heading. I didn't know the push down to take the current heading. That will work.
    The reference to setting a direct-to heading. Not sure about that one. I don't see a direct-to control. Is that a choice on the soft-tabs on the Garmin screen?

    Pat
    Not sure if this will help, but for changing the heading, I use the scroll wheel on the mouse, set the cursor on the outside of the heading dial and experiment turning the "bug"

    Also, if your flying in the direction you want, and you want to use the AP and heading, just click on the heading know, select AP, then Heading and you should be okay. I also preset my altitude before I take off. You can also use the altitude hold feature.
    Windows 10 Pro, 32 gigs DDR4 RAM, Nvidia GForce GTX 1660, Intel I7 10700 running at 3.8, with Noctua NH-L9x65, Premium Low-Profile CPU Cooler

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patinthedesert View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I have tried some of the advice that I could understand. I can set the heading to be followed by using the Heading knob to dial in a left or right turn and set a course. Which will show on the compass dial displayed as the heading 'bug'. This works fine but turning it one way or the other with the mouse is kind of touchy. Or I can fly off of autopilot to where I want to head, then engage the AP and do a push-down on the heading knob to set the current heading. I didn't know the push down to take the current heading. That will work.
    The reference to setting a direct-to heading. Not sure about that one. I don't see a direct-to control. Is that a choice on the soft-tabs on the Garmin screen?

    Pat
    Pat,

    The Direct To is the button on the Garmin that looks like a "D" with an arrow through it:
    Name:  Bonanza Direct To.JPG
Views: 430
Size:  22.1 KB

    Then you enter the airport ID with the knobs and select Activate:
    Name:  DirectTo Activate.JPG
Views: 446
Size:  28.0 KB

    After activation you'll see that the VFR map shows a new magenta line from your current position to the airport. In this case my original plan started at KWVI:
    Name:  DirectTo Map.JPG
Views: 442
Size:  22.4 KB

    I hope that helps.

  9. #9
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    Ah, that button! I had no idea what it did. I will definitely try it in the next session. It looks like just what I was talking about to set the course directly to the destination in the flight plan.
    Thanks so much!
    The only other question is how to switch airports. I decide to change where I am landing, for one reason or another. Like if it is taking longer for a flight than I have time for. I can fly it on manual, and call in with ATC to the airport when close enough. It will display the landing pattern in the air (still using the helper on this). But I don't know what the process would be to enter a new airport on the auto-pilot.

    Pat

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patinthedesert View Post
    Ah, that button! I had no idea what it did. I will definitely try it in the next session. It looks like just what I was talking about to set the course directly to the destination in the flight plan.
    Thanks so much!
    The only other question is how to switch airports. I decide to change where I am landing, for one reason or another. Like if it is taking longer for a flight than I have time for. I can fly it on manual, and call in with ATC to the airport when close enough. It will display the landing pattern in the air (still using the helper on this). But I don't know what the process would be to enter a new airport on the auto-pilot.

    Pat
    As soon as you hit the Direct To button you’ll have to enter an ID to navigate to (VOR, airport, intersection) even if you just want to go to your original destination. You just use the small and large knobs at the bottom to enter it. The small knob selects the letter and then turn the large knob to the right to move to the next letter. It’s not a quick process unfortunately.

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