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Comparisons to RL
188 replies to this topic
Posted 30 August 2011 - 03:30 PM
Hi all,I posted a response in another thread here before realising that there may already be a whole bunch of people here who actually fly these things for real, and the forum may not need some guy butting in with anecdotes of real world ops, which may or may not relate to the product. Whilst I don't own the NGX, I've been simming for years, and owned other PMDG products which have been consistently excellent. I happen to fly -800's IRL. Flying 101 (ZS-ZWP) in particular is one of my 'rides', which happens to be an available paintscheme (I sit in the labelled seat of 'Co-Captain', lol)! We operate short-haul, quick turnaround kind of ops. Typical LCC stuff I would imagine, although our destinations are fairly limited.In the past, I've always wished to be able to ask questions of a line pilot on type, not so much regarding technical questions (the manuals do a decent enough job of that), but regarding the nitty-gritty details of day-to-day operations, ie what gets done when in practice, and WHY.So.....if anybody wants to know something, or have me check how something works on the actual aircraft I'll have a go. I've got a sim ride coming up mid-September as well, so I can try the barrel-roll/aerobatic moves that you need me to do then :)I apologise if this is not needed, or if there are already plenty of sources for this info - I just remember wanting this kind of stuff when I was starting on the more complex products out there. Edit to add: A quick browse seems to show that you guys have this covered! Anyway, just though I'd ask :)
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Posted 30 August 2011 - 04:10 PM
Hi :) I started another thread requesting a blocks to blocks description of a typical B738 shorthaul flight. I was hoping to discover what state the a/c was in when you get it after a short haul, what you have to program in especially around SIDS and STARS and how real life flights actually are.. ie are you vectored in and out our airports, do you use the published proceedures or is it a mix of both ? As a short haul pilot what does your day look like ? In fact I have a million questions so I hope you are tolerant :-)) The PMDG 738 is briliiant but to me the knowledge from you 738 pilots is crucial to making my flights 'real'. I will keep asking questions as long as you offer answers :-) Kind Regards Mark Lindley Grantham, UK
Posted 31 August 2011 - 04:29 PM
Hi,I'll have a go. Pardon my often strange sense of humour, and the wall-o-text which follows (if bored, just read the 'For FS' bits):Short haul flights in South Africa for kulula.com (we also fly the British Airways franchise in South Africa) are usually as such - During sign on, we download weather/NOTAM/aircraft technical status to our company laptops, which we then check and discuss. Fuel planning is done using proprietry software. This incorporates upper winds, expected runways in use, expected arrivals, and optimises the flight level based on expected weights/winds/cost-index based cruise speeds etc. The bottom line is that it's basically all done for us by the despatchers, we just check it and modify things based on our experience - the aim being to minimise our sign on time for flight and duty purposes. We only get twenty minutes for all this before we get shuttled to the airport by bus from our operations department (a five minute ride). We then endure the traditional escapades of the travelling public, ie bag searches etc, just in case we want to hijack our own aircraft with the toothpick we accidentally left in our bags.Summary for FS purposes - For realistic ops, you'll need this to program the FMC: Waypoints and/or airways that you'll be flying along, a guesstimated SID/STAR and RWY in use for departure and arrival, cost index (normally about 20 for us), fuel to alternate, average cruise wind, temperature at cruise altitude, descent winds. If you don't know them, take a guess or leave blank :) The FMC will assume standard ISA conditions/zero wind if in doubt.When we get to the aircraft, it's almost always powered up. The engineer would have checked and tested systems such as the fire warnings, EGPWS, Circuit breakers in etc. 19 times out of twenty it's powered, normally by the APU, but if it's been left for longer than 45 minutes between flights it will often be powered by a ground power unit, with the APU shutdown for fuel saving. Fuel state will be as the previous crew left it. It does happen that occasionally you get to the aircraft and the engineer hasn't arrived (due to some cock-up) to power it up and do his checks, in which case it's a startup from cold and dark, which is supposedly done from the book.(Supplementary procedures). As I said though, most times it's powered, and in fact you'll often be sitting in a still warm seat having hurriedly shaken the hand of your outgoing coworker as he bails out on the way home. The engineer will ask you for a fuel figure, and will disappear to go and fuel the aircraft.For FS purpose: Get a cockpit state with the battery on, aircraft powered by GPU or APU, IRS's off, panels dimmed, Galley/IFE switched off, emergency exit light switch off. Most times, as mentioned, it's the APU doing the powering. This is a realistic start state.The cabin crew check out the cabin, the Captain does the walk around and inspects techinical forms (company specific, thats how we do it), and the F/O sets up the cockpit, running in logical order through every switch and positions things as desired. The cockpit is divided into areas of responsibility for different phases of operations. Lets just say that it isn't unrealistic for the F/O to set up everything, including programming the FMC at this point. Naturally it is crosschecked by the other crewmember. Current ATIS is obtained, and ops it contacted by radio to get an updated (but not final Zero Fuel Weight (ZFW)) which is again checked on the computer to make sure we're not restricted in any way (ie by landing weight for short sectors). The -800 is excellent in this regard, almost never being limited. Air conditioning packs are run to warm/cool the cabin if needed prior to boarding. The -800 can run both packs at once, which is nice. African summer can be warmish. Set levels to frigid! The cabin crew will come and complain if you forget to turn on APU bleed air soon (no water pressure) and galley power (no hot water for coffee - Captains also get upset about this)FS: Run through the cockpit in a logical flow and setup up everything for flight/startup. Some points to note: IRS's aligned/aligning, yaw damper on, the fuel pumps will stay off except #1 tank left switch if running the APU, electrical hydraulic pumps remain off for the moment, but engine driven hydraulic pump switches stay on the whole time.Once the cockpit is setup, the Captain will do a few checks of his own, then discuss aircraft technical state and how it affects the day. The 'Preflight Checklist' is done once the IRS have aligned and valid instrument displays are up. A note on checklists: They are not 'read and do', they are merely for checking that you have already done the item in question. Departure clearance is obtained from ATC which will tell you which runway, departure frequency, squawk and SID (if applicable) is going to be used. Then the Captain will do the compulsory briefings (RTO and cabin alt. warning), and the nominated PF (pilot flying) will brief the engine inoperative flight path (we have preplanned routes for each airport, if in doubt just fly straight if you can!) and the actual SID, plus any abnormal threats (ie thunderstorms in the area, airshow nearby, technical state of the aircraft which affects normal ops for eg. no autothrottle etc and how we will plan/work around these issues)For FS: Most FS users have the equivalent of a shiny new, snag free plane, so you probably won't be hauling out the MEL to seek dispatch relief. Guess/brief what you'll do for departure, magic up a squawk and do the Preflight Checklist.Meanwhile, the floodgates will have opened, and the hordes will be descending on your patient team of cabin crew behind you. Short turnarounds are the order of the day, and getting a whole boatload of pax onboard through one or two doors (1L is always used, 2L may or may not be used, depending on circumstance) in a reasonable amount of time is critical. Once the flight is 'finalised' (ie closed for checking in), an updated flightplan with the exact weight is sent to the aircraft by a ground staff member from the trim office. The exact weights and passenger figures are meanwhile passed to our laptops via a 3G connection, or via radio to us. The laptop computes ZFW, TOW, LW, % Mac and generates a signature for the trim office for record keeping. Take off data is cross checked, and then each laptop (Captains and F/O's) spits out V speeds (from company specific tables built into our laptop database), engine inop accel height, and trim, and the values are cross checked on both laptops then entered into the FMC by the Captain, under the eye of the F/O. We normally use a reduced thrust take off with 'improved climb' speeds. I'll skip the technicalities, but the thrust reduction is entered by entering an assumed temperature into the FMC. In practice, the -800 is pretty good at getting a max reduction take off (even at FAJS, 5500' at 30*C), so guessing 60*C (max) won't be miles off.For FS: Load the aircraft using the loadplanner - get a ZFW, TOW, %mac. Input these final figures into the FMC. Use QRH V speeds for the take off if possible here if you don't have anything better, and as mentioned above, guessing a 60*C reduction shouldn't kill you.Once the passengers are all aboard, the final flightplan received, and the fuelling slip signed for, the doors can close. Off we go, herewith starts the fun stuff. Except it's midnight and I didn't realise how long this would take. And I'm supposed to be on standby from 0500 tomorrow so I'm going to sleep now. :) More later.....fire away with any questions for the above if needed though.
Posted 31 August 2011 - 04:49 PM
Just a quick note on the programming of SIDS/STARS (as requested)We have 'company routes' programmed into the FMC database, which greatly simplifies route entry. Basically if routing from Jo'burg to Cape Town (FAJS-FACT), using RWY03L for departure and RWY19 for arrival, we would enter 'JNBCPT0319' into the 'company route' line under the RTE (route) page. This would then assume RWY 03L (the standard departure RWY in FAJS), the RAGUL3A depature (pretty much the only one you can do on that route), and the WY4D arrival(again, pretty much the only arrival you can do for that route) for RWY19 in FACT.So....if you don't know what SID or STAR to use, you're going to need an airway chart - look up an appropriate route between your take off and landing fields, and see where and how you would join this route. Find out which SIDS/STARS begin/end closest to points on that route and just use those. It may not be utterly realistic in terms of what real aircraft do on those routes, but the net workload/effect for you as a simmer is the same. It's nice to have the airway for simplifying route entry - just program a start waypoint position on the route, enter the airway designator under the 'via' section of the rte page, and the termination waypoint, which must then of course be on that route, otherwise it won't be accepted. Failing that, enter the individual waypoints along the route you'll be flying.
Posted 31 August 2011 - 04:57 PM
Sir... Fantastic reply, thank you for taking the time )). You will excuse me if I hold back on more questions until I absorb all the information you have given.. I think this kind of info is crucial to anyone wanting to simulate short-haul ops and I am immensly grateful for your input. Kind Regards Mark LindleyGrantham, UK
Posted 31 August 2011 - 05:54 PM
+1000, Mr Holderness! The most enjoyable read I've had on this forum in quite some time - it is so refreshing to NOT read folks' peeing and moaning about something they think this "73 Sim should be doing, or is doing a little too much, etc. etc.. My computer is far from state of the art, and the plane flies just fine. Anyway - Thanks so much for sharing a bit of insight into your life's work with us.......I for one would love to read more! BTW - I enjoy this latest PMDG creation more than any of my other planes (even my MD-11, which I thought PMDG could never surpass). The new "73 is truly a masterpiece! All best, Ray Landolt (Blackbird)
Posted 31 August 2011 - 07:43 PM
Welcome Simon!I have a request actually - could you load our rendition of Flying 101, set all the options the way they actually are in the real airplane and then send the ZS-ZWP.ini file from PMDG\PMDG 737 NGX\Aircraft to me at firstname.lastname@example.org? I set all the liveries the best I could based on photos and stuff but on many there are no photos and you can never tell what some of the systems related options are really set to in photos. If you can do that we'll update the livery and note it with an * to indicate it has a fully realistic options set.
Posted 31 August 2011 - 08:16 PM
Ryan, he said in his first post he doesnt have the NGX yet.
Welcome Simon! I have a request actually - could you load our rendition of Flying 101, set all the options the way they actually are in the real airplane and then send the ZS-ZWP.ini file from PMDG\PMDG 737 NGX\Aircraft to me at email@example.com? I set all the liveries the best I could based on photos and stuff but on many there are no photos and you can never tell what some of the systems related options are really set to in photos. If you can do that we'll update the livery and note it with an * to indicate it has a fully realistic options set.
Posted 01 September 2011 - 01:27 AM
Yeah, sorry, I don't actually have it :) The only fly in the ointment! I was wondering about that though. In the meantime, can anybody list all the company specific options that PMDG has (ie TRK/HDG up, placement of radio alt display, speed/alt tape config, pump config/mod status etc etc etc - there are a lot!) I can then note the specifics for ZWP and put them here. Failing that, I'll probably buy the plane (fine, twist my rubber arm!) when I'm at home again with my FS setup (posting with work laptop - I live in FACT, but am based in FAJS, a real pain)I'm on standby today, but scheduled to fly an -800 for the following three days, hopefully ZWP, but otherwise one of the other four we have (they're all specced slightly differently, originally being from other carriers, our brand new ones only start arriving from Boeing next year and they're of course specced identically), so I'll try to take note of the specifics for ZWP if possible, and try to get a photo of the landing attitude (depends on the situation whether that may be possible).IRS's: A full align takes seven minutes at this lat (may vary, but always the same here), whereas a short align takes about three (seems faster in the -800 with it's GPS input, not sure about this atm - I never do a short align). On shutdown, once the shutdown checklist is completed, one of the first things I do is start a full align - there is easily enough time for the more precise full align before we need the instruments aligned for the next preflight checklist.I must add a slight apology for my lack of proof reading - format, grammar and spelling are not up to my normally impeccable standards (lol) since I'm just banging this out 'cause there's so much to type. :)
Posted 01 September 2011 - 02:18 AM
...meanwhile, we catch our intrepid crew as the doors are being closed by our beautiful and patient cabin crew. All paperwork is aboard, including our finalised flightplan based on actual weights etc. The armoured cockpit door (thanks Osama) is locked by the CC (cabin controller) with a 'See you guys later!', sealing us into what is actually a fairly small cockpit by airliner standards. The CB panels are right behind us, and there is a narrow space between them for 1.5 jumpseats. I add the .5, since apart from the fold-out jumpseat in the small alleyway, there is often another one behind the Captain, but you would need legs of approximately 2cm diameter to fit there. Boeings little joke I guess? South Africans tend to be tall (that Dutch descent thing I suppose, although I am English), so a lot of us have the seat on it's extreme rearwards position. The Captain would be just about done with his little welcome aboard speech, and the CC will be about to begin his/hers. We do not have automated safety briefings, so the cabin crew have to stand in front of the passengers and demo it all. This continues into the taxi. Now we get our game faces on, and things happen quite quickly.FS: Make sure all doors are closed, seat/eye position is correct, and if you have a cockpit door control it would now be locked. Everything should be at hand and ready to go.The Captain calls the engineer over the intercom (each yoke and audio selector panel has a two position push to talk (PTT) switch - pushing one position talks over the selected device, pushing the other talks over the intercom) and establishes comms. The engineer has just finished a final walk-around (checking all doors and panels closed, not forgetting the E&E bay doors under the aircraft!), pulling all the chocks out from under the wheels, and all safety cones have been removed from around the aircraft. The Captain asks 'Are we clear to pressurise hydraulics, is the nosewheel steering bypass pin installed?' The Engineer replies 'Affirm, nosewheel bypass pin is in, you're clear for hydraulics'. This is to ensure that the towing bar is not whipped around by a sudden application of nosewheel steering input from system A hydraulic pressure. Once clear for hydraulic pressure, the F/O has a certain 'flow' (a series of actions) to perform - fuel pumps get turned on (more on this soon), electrical hydraulic pumps are switched on, packs (aircon) are switched off, and the rotating beacon (anti-col) gets turned on. The Captin sets the precomputed trim on the pitch trim wheel. Regarding fuel pumps, this is dependant on the mod status of the fuel system - ZWP for example does not have all the mods done, so has certain restrictions on operating the centre tank pumps. It's quite long winded, so I'll just mention that the normal Boeing policy is to turn on the centre tank pumps if the centre tank has more than 453 kg of fuel (why 453kg? Becuase that's 1000lbs! Metric vs imperial, we use metric) Once these actions are completed, the Captain calls for the 'Before start checklist' and once this is done, asks the Engineer if he can release the park brake. With this done, the aircraft is now free to move under tug power, and it's time for ATC pushback clearance.For FS: Assuming no comms with an engineer, turn on on the fuel tank pumps, elec hydraulic pumps (the engine pump switches are already in the on position), and the anti-col beacon. Release the park brake.The F/O asks/humbly begs ATC for a pushback clearance. FAJS can be pretty busy, so getting a word in edgeways can be tricky at times. Once pushback clearance is obtained, the Captain tells the Engineer which direction to face once the push is completed, confirms the engines are clear, and tells him the starting order. We still try to start the engine that will be on the downwind side first, so the exhaust gases don't blow back over the fuselage. Opinions may vary on this one, but that's what we do. The F/O then reaches up for the start switches, and positions the nominated engine to 'GND' (going from memory again here) - bleed air rushes through the starter motor, and the engine begins to spool up. The 'START VALVE OPEN' annunciation is displayed, and called out by the F/O. Obviously, the centre display should have already been set to display the secondary engine instruments, which new F/O's from the -300/400 fleet sometimes forget to do (guilty as charged). At 25% N2, the Captain moves the engine start lever (note difference in terminology between start SWITCHES on the overhead panel, and start LEVERS on the throttle quadrant) to on, which allows fuel into the engine. The EGT begins it's climb, and the N2 and N1 indications continue to rise. Oil pressure will also be seen to rise. Max EGT for start is 725*C, and it is incredibly rare to get to the limit (never happened to me). The -800's CFM56-7's start a lot more quickly than the older CFM56-3's of the -300/400's. Once N2 passed 56%, the starter should automatically cut out (the F/O calls 'Starter Cutout'), and the start switch snaps back to the off position with a pronounced 'click'. Once that engine is stabilised, the other one can be spun up. Our company policy is to avoid starting the second engine whilst still connected to the tug, to try and avoid too much residual thrust pushing the towbar and tug. Once the aircraft is stopped, the engineer calls for the parking brake to be set and the Captain responds with confirmation, asking for the towbar and bypass pin to be removed as well. The second start is accomplished. Once that engine is stable, the Captain says cheers to the Engineer, who unplugs and wanders off for a drink (of what we hope is coffee), but not before waving the steering bypass pin at us so we can see that we'll actually be able to steer once underway. We have to wait for the towbar to be disconnnected before we can put the engine driven generators on the bus (as per the manual, which states no change of electrical power while the towbar is still connected).For FS: Depending on what facilities you have, start the pushback, and start either engine. Once stationery, apply the park brake and start the other engine.
Posted 01 September 2011 - 02:56 AM
Hey ARM505, RogueRunner here, welcome!! I was not aware you upgraded from fluffies!! Lekker man!!! I'm doing JS-CT in Dec, will give you a PM on flyafrica. Regarding this aircraft, I know you are not difficult to convince to get something but I know you will love this baby. Just do not know how much 'relaxed' simming you are doing vs blowing sh!t up in your free time. And as always, great insightful info once again!!
Posted 01 September 2011 - 03:01 AM
I'll send you a PM in a bit...
Yeah, sorry, I don't actually have it :) The only fly in the ointment! I was wondering about that though. In the meantime, can anybody list all the company specific options that PMDG has (ie TRK/HDG up, placement of radio alt display, speed/alt tape config, pump config/mod status etc etc etc - there are a lot!) I can then note the specifics for ZWP and put them here. Failing that, I'll probably buy the plane (fine, twist my rubber arm!) when I'm at home again with my FS setup (posting with work laptop - I live in FACT, but am based in FAJS, a real pain) I'm on standby today, but scheduled to fly an -800 for the following three days, hopefully ZWP, but otherwise one of the other four we have (they're all specced slightly differently, originally being from other carriers, our brand new ones only start arriving from Boeing next year and they're of course specced identically), so I'll try to take note of the specifics for ZWP if possible, and try to get a photo of the landing attitude (depends on the situation whether that may be possible). IRS's: A full align takes seven minutes at this lat (may vary, but always the same here), whereas a short align takes about three (seems faster in the -800 with it's GPS input, not sure about this atm - I never do a short align). On shutdown, once the shutdown checklist is completed, one of the first things I do is start a full align - there is easily enough time for the more precise full align before we need the instruments aligned for the next preflight checklist. I must add a slight apology for my lack of proof reading - format, grammar and spelling are not up to my normally impeccable standards (lol) since I'm just banging this out 'cause there's so much to type. :)