The autopilot on propeller planes

The autopilot is a device that can automatically control the behavior of the device according to parameters entered by the pilot.

This is a 'Google automated Translation' from 'Human' translation in progres...

All the different autopilots fitted apparaeils work similarly but some are more limited than the other in terms of functionality.

To begin, we see the operation of the automatic pilot 'standard' powering propeller planes available in Flight Simulator X.

You can find this autopilot panel on following airplanes: :
  • Beechcraft Baron 58
  • Cessna Skyhawk SP modèle 172
  • Cessna Grand Caravan C208B
  • Mooney M20M « Bravo »
  • de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver
  • Grumman G-21A Goose

A - Autopilot activation button
This button allows you to turn on autopilot. When this is enabled, you no longer control the aircraft. If no other button is activated, the device will only maintain the aircraft attitude.

B - Followed by heading button
This button will activate / deactivate the locking direction. Once activated, the unit will move to the selected heading from the selection window of course.

To change the course steered by the autopilot, use the dial of course. It is usually placed in a corner of the HSI.

C - Followed by navigation button
This button allows you to enable or disable monitoring of a road navigation mode. The operation of the latter depends on the switch NAV / GPS.

Beechcraft Baron 58
Cessna Skyhawk SP modèle 172
Cessna Grand Caravan C208B
Mooney M20M « Bravo »
Grumman G-21A Goose

If the switch is on NAV, the autopilot will join the tag captured on NAV1. If the switch is on GPS, the autopilot will follow the predefined route in the GPS.

D - Mode selection approach knob
This button functions as the tracking mode button Navigation (C). This is primarily useful during approach on runway equipped with ILS. The autopilot will then rejoin the track automatically (see tutorial Performing an IFR flight : the landing).

E - Mode selection approach aligned behind knob
This button works like the button mode selection approach with the difference that the glideslope is off the autopilot and hand (left / right) the received signal.

F - Altitude locking knob
This button will toggle the mode locking of the altitude. Once engaged, the aircraft will reach the altitude afichée H to the vertical speed displayed I.

G - Altitude selection knob
These buttons (up / dn) can increase or decrease the altitude used by the autopilot when the altitude locking is activated.

H - Selected altitude
Altitude display followed by the autopilot when the altitude locking is engaged. This altitude can be changed using the buttons up / down (G) or using the mouse by placing the cursor on the altitude and using the scroll wheel to change it.

I - Vertical speed
Displaying the vertical velocity used by the autopilot to re join the altidue selected when locking the altitude is engaged. To change speed, position the mouse cursor on the value and use the wheel to change the value.

Flight Simulator X tutoriel - The autopilot on propeller planes - FSX, autopilot

Performing an IFR flight : the landing

Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage
Last part of IFR, this tutorial will explain the phase of descent and landing performed using the autopilot.

This is a 'Google automated Translation' from 'Human' translation in progres...

This tutorial does not aim to explain the complete procedures to stick as close to reality but to provide sufficient information for a successful IFR flight.

If you followed the previous tutorials devoted to IFR flight, you're in cruise flight at an altitude of 21,000 feet at the Nice airport.

The approach will start when you receive a message telling you the ATC track where you will land the plane.Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

Apart from the fact that you need to adjust the direction of your plane to Cape 190, you just know that you will land on runway 4L airport. We will now proceed to setting the ILS so that the autopilot can adjust myself on the line of descent.

We'll have to know the frequency corresponding to the ILS runway 4L. To do this, open the map. Verify that the airports are well displayed and click the Nice airport. All the frequency of the airport will be displayed. These tracks are displayed corresponding to the last.
For the runway 4L, the frequency is 109 050 and its direction is 045 (must follow the course 45 to be aligned with the runway).
Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

To enter the frequency displayed the communications board [3], then click the button Nav1.

Using the circular button, set the frequency 109,950.

The switch is composed of two parts. The inner part adjusts the frequency range after the '.', The outer part adjusts the frequency range before the '.'.

Then click the button (green double arrow) to make the frequency of the runway as active.
Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

Shortly after, you will receive your first indication of ATC descent.
Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

- Put your throttle at idle.
- On the autopilot, set the altitude to 9000, then disable the automatic throttle button (ATHR). Now it's up to you to manage the speed. For my part, I increase the speed of descent to 2500 which will have the effect of keeping the aircraft a speed of 250 knots.

Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

- Continue to follow the instructions from ATC.
- When you receive a statement authorizing you to land

Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

- Engage the approach procedure on autopilot
Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

- The autopilot will fly the approach for you (alignment with the axis of the track and down).

The landing

- Remove the spoilers [:] to slow the aircraft to 180 knots. Attention You control the speed, make small adjustments on the handle of gases. Enter the spoilers, when the speed decreased.
- Put the shutters 3 [F7]
- At 160 knots, pull the train [G]

The aircraft will join the track alone, but will not the landing itself. If you let the automatic pilot, arriving over the runway the plane will go up.
At the threshold of the runway, disengage the autopilot (AP button). If you leave the shifter in neutral position, the plane will pierce the nose as the aircraft is not in a horizontal position during the descent.

Personally, I resumed the controls of the plane a bit earlier to have more tends to adjust the handle to the position of aircraft descent.
Tutoriel FSX-Vol IFR-l'atterissage

- Make the round
- When the wheels touch the ground, brake [,] and then snap the thrust reversers [F2].
- At 60 knots, disengage the thrust reversers [F1].

- Leave the track as soon as possible.
- Contact the tower on the ground and let guide you to the parking area.

While the autopilot was much more than you on this flight and drive you would have preferred a bit more. The advantage of these tutorials is that by following this process you should be able to perform any service. Feel free to make the later stages manually (without autopilot).

FSX, Flight Simulator X, How to, IFR, Flight, Landing, Tutorial, Land

Performing an IFR flight : the takeoff and cruise flight

This article is the continuation of the tutorial Performing an IFR flight : Taxiing and will explain how to take off, use the autopilot and follow the ATC's informations to steer your plane to the destination airport.

This tutorial does not aim to explain the complete procedures to stick as close to reality but to provide sufficient information for a successful IFR flight.

The main steps for this part of flight are as follows:

  • Request permission to takeoff?
  • Take off?
  • Join your cruise altitude and follow the ATC's directives?

The approach and landing will be explain in the next tutorial. 

If you've followed the tutorial dedicated to the taxi, your plane is stopped in front of the runway.

Translation from in progress...

FSX, Flight Simulator X, How to, IFR, cruise, flight, Takeoff, Tutorial, Take off, Cruise flight

Performing an IFR flight : Taxiing

This article is the first part of a three part tutorial on the IFR flight. The whole tutorial will describe a full IFR flight with the use of ATC and autopilot on an Airbus A321.

This tutorial does not aim to explain the complete procedures to stick as close to reality but to provide sufficient information for a successful IFR flight.
The first part is devoted to taxiing, ie whet you need to know to reach the runway.

Although it is possible to get in an aircraft already located ont the runway, it is possible to start a flight from a parking area.

FSX tutorial-IFR Flight-Taxi
To illustrate this tutorial, create an IFR flight from Paris to Nice. The flight must begin on a parking area of the Charles de Gaule airport.

Taxiing is a simple step which can let us familiarizing with ATC.

You'll have to communicate with the ATC to :

  • request permission for your IFR flight
  • request the taxi clearance to leave the parking area to reach the runway
  • request permission to take off to enter the runway and take off
Let's begining the flight !

- Open the ATC menu
- Select  Tune Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle Ground on 118.100 
By choosing this option, your COM1 frequency is automatically set on 118.100.

- Select  Request IFR Clearance 
What you should know with ATC is that you'll need to confirm each communication you receive from ATC.

So when the ATC confirm your IFR clearance
- Select  Acknowledge IFR Clearance 

With the IFR Clearance, the ATC inficates you the first altitude to reach after takeoff. It's 13000 for my flight.
We can set now this altitude on the autopilot for later, so select the altitude 13,000 with the rotary knob the autopilot altitude.
FSX tutorial-IFR Flight-Taxi

We will join the runway. In the ATC menu, select Request Taxi...
Don't panic by reading the response, ATC indicates you the path to joint the runway Just confirm the message.

Sometimes, because of the poisition of your plane, you'll have to move back the plane. Release the brakes and ask for a pushback by pressing the [SHIFT+P] key. The plane will move back and use 1 or 2 to turn tail right or left. Press again the [ Shift + P ] to stop the pushback.

Now, the simplest way to find the path to the runway is to select  Turn on progressive Taxi 
Yellow arrows appears along the route. Just follow them by using the ruddler to turn the plane.
FSX tutorial-IFR Flight-Taxi

Don't exceed 30 knots in a straight line and around 10 knots (depending on the angle of the turn).

FSX tutorial-IFR Flight-Taxi

Stop before you entering the runway.

Next step: the takeoff !!

FSX, Flight Simulator X, How to, IFR, flight, Tutorial, IFR flight, perform, Taxi

How to complete the instrument lesson 2 : ILS Approach

If you practice in flight Simulator X the Rob Machado's lessons, you'll find a bug on the Instrument lesson 2: ILS approach.

You just land on the runway and you think you have completed this lesson, when the instructor asks you to increase the throttle then interrupts the lesson. Although the objective of the lesson has been made to find land using the ILS, it is always frustrating to fail the lesson. Damned bug !!

This can be corrected by modifying a file used by this lesson.

- Find the folder Lessons\instr in the FSX installation folder

For example, C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\Lessons\instr

- with notepad (or any other text editor ...) open the file Lesson 2.abl
- Find the line containing the text if (cpOffice.Marker <> 0) then

Be careful, there are other references to the text cpOffice.Marker <> 0. The right one is in the block
case CaseFinal2:
Writeln ("CaseFinal2");
Writeln (fn1Str1Num("Marker = ",cpOffice.Marker));
if (cpOffice.Marker <> 0) then
fnSQ_Play("I2-33"); // There's the middle marker captian

- Replace this line by if ((VHFNAV1.DMEDistance <2.5) or (cpOffice.Marker <> 0)) then
- Save the file

You can now finish this lesson with all the compliments of the instructor.

Performing an ILS approach

This article will explain how to move toward a runway and align it to a landing using the ILS in Flight Simulator X. This is a very usefull tool, especially when the weather offers no visibility.

Above all, a quick explanation on the ILS.

ILS (Instrument Landing System) is a instrument approach system located at the end of a runway. It emits two radiosignals : one to align the plane with the runway (left/right) and one to determine the correct descent path.
When you use the autopilot for an approach, it use the ILS to join the runway.

How to use it for a manual approach

In the instrument panel of your plane, you'll find an indicator which displey these ILS signals by a cross (a horizontal line and a vertical line). You have to keep the cross centered to follow the correct path.

If the horizontal line is above the center, your plane is too high and vice versa if it is below the center, your plane is too low.
The principle is the same for the vertical line. If this is right, your plane is too far left of the axis of the runway.

In the vast majority of cases, you will find the information in the ILS informations in the horizontal situation indicator ndicateur (HSI).

Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILSTutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

Putting into practice on a flight 

We're going to implement this type of approach with th mission named "Flying Blind Across the Channel".
This is a good mission for training to land with the ILS because the weather prevents visual on the runway.
At last, we will pilot a plane using the Glass Cockpit G1000, the 'all in one' instrument panel.

Load the mission and follow the ATR indication. We will begin the approach process when you will have to contact 'Le Touquet' tower.

In this mission, NAV2 is already configured to pick up the ILS signal of the runway but we will use NAV1 to explain what you have to do.

First, you must know the frequency of runway 14 and its heading. You can get information from the map or the GPS. For our runway, the frequency is 110.15 and its heading is 136 °

Tune NAV1 on the 110.15 frequency.
Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

Put it in primary position by usig tuhe <-> button.
Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

Use the CDI button to display the the HSI NAV1 (indicating loc1). This button lets you toggle among GPS/NAV1/NAV2. The Nav1 frequency appear in green.
Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

Set 136 ° (the heading of the runway) with the course selector button (beware, this is the inside triangle button).
Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

Voila, you have now all the informations you need to join the runway.
Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

On the right side of the screen, just left of the altitude scale, the little blue diamond shows your altitude position. If your altitude is correct, the diamond is centered on the small horizontal bar. Currently, ILS tells me I'm too low. ATC having authorized me to descend to 2000 feet, I'll stay in level until the diamond starts to descend. When it will have joined the center, I begin to descend in order to keep the diamond center.

To know the direction we should look at HSI. The green arrow indicates the heading of the runway. The small green line indicates the direction needed to align with the runway. It's on the right so I'm too left to join the correct heading of the runway.
To align the runway I must follow a direction which is right of the axis 136 °. Currently, 165° agrees. Gradually the course deviation bar will move closer to the green arrow.
Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

When the bar is near the center, point your aircraft at 136 °. You will be aligned with the runway. Now you just have to adjust the position of the aircraft to keep the bar and the diamond centered.
Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

The runway appears. It remains only to land!!!

Tutoriel FSX - Approche ILS

FSX, Flight Simulator X, How to, ILS, approach,  Land, Landing, Tutorial, ILS approach

TOP GUN in FSX : the F14 Tomcat

"Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby."
"That's a negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full."

You heard this dialogue hundreds of times and you want to "buzz the tower" yourself in FSX.

Jump to the site of Dino Cattaneo to download the F14 he has done.
This addon is currently at version 1.07 and the author plan to make further improvements. So take a look on his site ...
This plane is compatible with DX10 and requires FSX Acceleration.

The URL on the author's website:

To add the aircraft to FSX:

Finally to end with TOP GUN, another free addon is available to add the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and USS Eisenhower on
This Addon also requires FSX Acceleration.