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PMDG 737 NGX

From Cold and Dark to Shutdown Checklist


Revision History
5 September 2011 First version
11 September 2011 Table of contents added
Fuel figures corrected (contingency fuel calculation was incorrect)
Preflight procedure content added
16 September 2011 Minor corrections
Before start, pushback, engine start, before taxi, taxi, and before takeoff
procedures added
3 October 2011 Several minor corrections for spelling, grammar, clarification, etc.
Changes made to use VNAV for departure
Verified tutorial works with AIRAC 1110
Content added through shutdown checklist

Contents
Revision History ........................................................................................................................................................2
Introduction ..............................................................................................................................................................5
Airplane and Route ...............................................................................................................................................5
Payload and Zero Fuel Weight..............................................................................................................................6
Fuel Planning ........................................................................................................................................................6
Preflight Preparations...............................................................................................................................................8
Electrical Power Up ............................................................................................................................................... 15
Preliminary Preflight Procedure ............................................................................................................................ 25
Preliminary Preflight Procedures – Crew Change or Maintenance ................................................................... 28
CDU Preflight Procedure ....................................................................................................................................... 34
Preflight Procedure................................................................................................................................................ 54
Overhead Panel ................................................................................................................................................. 54
Lights Test .......................................................................................................................................................... 75
EFIS Control Panel.............................................................................................................................................. 76
Mode Control Panel........................................................................................................................................... 84
Oxygen and Flight Instruments ......................................................................................................................... 87
Preflight Checklist ............................................................................................................................................ 106
Before Start Procedure ........................................................................................................................................ 107
Before Start Checklist ...................................................................................................................................... 120

2 Revision History | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Pushback .............................................................................................................................................................. 121
Engine Start ......................................................................................................................................................... 124
Engine Start Procedure .................................................................................................................................... 125
Before Taxi Procedure ......................................................................................................................................... 131
Before Taxi Checklist ....................................................................................................................................... 137
Taxi....................................................................................................................................................................... 139
Before Takeoff Procedure ................................................................................................................................... 141
Before Takeoff Checklist .................................................................................................................................. 141
Takeoff and Climb ................................................................................................................................................ 143
Takeoff Roll and Rotation ................................................................................................................................ 145
Climb to 1,500’ AGL ......................................................................................................................................... 149
Acceleration and Flaps Retraction................................................................................................................... 151
Transition to Enroute Climb ............................................................................................................................ 152
After Takeoff Checklist .................................................................................................................................... 154
Climb .................................................................................................................................................................... 155
Turns and the Yaw Damper ............................................................................................................................. 155
Airspeed ........................................................................................................................................................... 156
The Effect of Wind ........................................................................................................................................... 158
Terrain and the Vertical Situation Display ....................................................................................................... 160
Going Direct ..................................................................................................................................................... 162
Climb Speed ..................................................................................................................................................... 164
Climb using Level Change or V/S ..................................................................................................................... 166
Crossing 10,000’ .............................................................................................................................................. 168
Climb to Cruise Level ....................................................................................................................................... 170
IAS/MACH Changeover .................................................................................................................................... 173
Leveling off ...................................................................................................................................................... 174
Cruise Flight ......................................................................................................................................................... 176
Progress pages ................................................................................................................................................. 176
Step Climb........................................................................................................................................................ 177
Wind ................................................................................................................................................................ 179

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Revision History 3


Failures ............................................................................................................................................................ 182
Failure Example – Engine Overheat................................................................................................................. 184
Descent Planning ................................................................................................................................................. 188
Descent Checklist............................................................................................................................................. 195
Descent ................................................................................................................................................................ 196
Approach Checklist .......................................................................................................................................... 198
Approach ............................................................................................................................................................. 199
Landing Checklist ............................................................................................................................................. 204
Landing ................................................................................................................................................................ 205
Shutdown............................................................................................................................................................. 207
Shutdown Checklist ......................................................................................................................................... 211

4 Revision History | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Introduction
This tutorial is intended for those who are new to the NGX and who are still learning how to correctly prepare
the aircraft for flight and how to fly the airplane. Almost all of the information on these pages can be found in
the documentation that PMDG has supplied with the NGX. The main difference is that this document is
organized such that it follows the sequence of events you would go through while doing your preflight
preparations, taking off, flying, and landing the airplane.

Much as I like the extensive documentation that comes with the NGX, if I sit down and try to read it cover to
cover, I find myself very quickly going cross-eyed and with a strong urge to get up and do something else. I
much prefer reading about each airplane system when I’m actually doing something with that system. That is
how this tutorial is structured, and I hope you find it useful.

I should point out that I’m not a real-world pilot. I have done the research and I hope I got it mostly right, but
there is bound to be some inaccuracies here and there. Feel free to contact me via the forum or via my email
address, 737@stickleback.dk, if you think something needs to be corrected.

The real Boeing 737-800 is always flown by at least two pilots, and the responsibilities of each pilot are clearly
defined in Boeing documents and airline-specific standard operating procedures. Since you will be flying the
NGX alone, I have modified the real-world procedures in some places to allow for a more logical single-pilot
flow.

This document has been tested with PMDG 737NGX build 1.00.2987 and with AIRAC versions 1108, 1109, and
1110.

Airplane and Route


Today’s flight takes us from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH) to Los Angeles International
Airport (KLAX). We will be flying the PMDG 737-800NGX with winglets in the PMDG House livery1.

The route that we have been given by the dispatch office is JCT7 JCT EWM BXK TNP SEAVU22. The JUNCTION
SEVEN SID takes us from Houston west to the Junction VOR (JCT). From there we continue west across Texas,
New Mexico, Arizona, and into California where we join the SEAVU2 STAR into KLAX at the Twentynine Palms
VOR (TNP). Dispatch has informed us that the most economical altitude for today’s flight is FL380.

The weather in Los Angeles is expected to be fine when we arrive. However, if we cannot land at KLAX for some
reason we should plan to divert to San Diego Intl, approximately 95 nm south-east of Los Angeles.

You can download a .kml file showing the route in Google Earth here.

1
You can of course use a different livery if you wish. However, the liveries that you download from the PMDG website
come with different equipment settings. If you use a different livery you may find that the instructions and screenshots in
this document differ slightly from what you will see in FSX.
2
This is a real-world route obtained from the flightware.com website.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Introduction 5


Payload and Zero Fuel Weight
We are carrying a total of 130 adult passengers, 11 children, and 4 infants. Eleven of twelve first class seats are
occupied; the remaining 130 passengers and the four infants are in coach.

We have 5,034 lbs of cargo, which includes baggage as well as a small amount of other cargo types. The cargo
is distributed with 2,411 lbs in the forward cargo hold, and 2,623 lbs in the aft cargo hold.

This gives us a zero fuel weight of 121,010 lbs for today’s flight. The load factor is 61.4%.

Fuel Planning
There are many different tools available for calculating how much fuel you should carry on your flight. I like the
fuel planner included in vroute premium since I use vroute a lot to find routes. Vroute takes real-world winds
into account, so the fuel consumption predicted is fairly accurate; however, vroute tends to exaggerate the
amount of diversion and reserve fuel that you need.

Another option is to use the freeware FUELPLAN2 website. It produces very realistic-looking load sheets and
fuel plans. Unfortunately it uses fixed payloads, and I’ve found that it significantly overestimates the amount of
fuel required, at least for the 737-800.

For today’s flight we will be using the following fuel figures (using output generated by FUELPLAN2 that has
been edited with fuel figures obtained from vroute):

=====================================================================
Houston to Los Angeles // B738 // 1195.3 NM
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Departing : George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH)
Arriving : Los Angeles International Airport (KLAX)
Equipment : Boeing 737-800
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Description Fuel (LBS) Fuel (LBS) Hours:Mins
--------------------- ---------- ---------- --------- -----------
Estimated Fuel Usage:.............. 17080 <- EFU -> 03:30
Reserves
Final reserve 2560
Diversion 2240
Contingency 854
Total reserves:................... 5654 <- RSV -> 01:28
---------- ----------
Fuel On Board:..................... 22734 <- FOB -> 04:46

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Rule: FAR Domestic | Basis: time | Load Factor: 61.4133
---------------------------------------------------------------------
FUELPLAN² Copyright 2008-2010 by Garen .AT. AeroTexas .DOT. com

We need a total of 22,734 lbs fuel for today’s flight. This figure includes

6 Introduction | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


 17,080 lbs that includes fuel for taxi at KIAH and the fuel required to get to KLAX and land there.
 2,560 lbs final reserve fuel, enough to hold at 1,500’ above destination airfield elevation for 30
minutes. This amount of fuel should always be remaining in the tanks when we land the airplane.
 2,240 lbs for the eventuality that we will have to divert to KSAN after flying a missed approach at KLAX
 5% of trip fuel to account for stronger than expected headwinds and other variations. For simplicity I’ve
used 854 lbs here, which is 5% of taxi + trip fuel.

Since no destination alternate airport is required for today’s flight we could actually load less fuel and still be
within legal limits. Instead of the 2,240 lbs diversion fuel we could add another 15 minutes of holding fuel,
which is 1,280 lbs. However, I like to have some extra margin to compensate for the inaccuracies of the tools
that we have available to us.

The above fuel estimate does not take into consideration any significant delays we might encounter when
arriving at KLAX. If you have to hold and then divert to KSAN after flying a missed approach, you could end up
using fuel from your final reserve, which in the real world is not a good thing. If you think that you might be
delayed – flying online for a VATSIM or IVAO event, for example – you should carry additional fuel.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Introduction 7


Preflight Preparations
In this section we will begin preparing for our flight by loading the NGX in FSX with the payload and fuel that we
discussed above. We will also load the cold and dark panel state that comes with the NGX. We will be using the
NGX’ Control Display Unit (CDU) for these tasks, but obviously functions such as loading passengers on the
plane are not present in the real-world CDU. PMDG implemented these functions in the CDU so you do not
have to access the FSX menu system during setup.

From the FREE FLIGHT screen in FSX, begin by making the following selections:

 Current Aircraft: Boeing 737-800NGX PMDG House Winglets


 Current Location: George Bush Intercontinental/KIAH, GATE E 16
 Current Weather: “Fair Weather” weather theme
 Current Time: I suggest you set the local time to 9am, this will ensure that we have daylight for the
duration of the flight.

Press the FLY NOW button and wait for the scenery and airplane to load. Don’t touch anything until the PMDG
initialization process (countdown in green bar at the top of your screen) has completed.

Let us begin the preflight preparations by loading the “cold and dark” panel state. Press Shift-3 to load a 2D
popup of the Control Display Unit (CDU):

The CDU has a screen and a keypad that can be used to display and enter information into the Flight
Management Computer (FMC)3. The last (bottom) line of the screen is known as the “scratchpad” where

3
The NGX has two flight management computers – FMCs – that are located in the avionics bay, somewhere beneath the
cockpit floor. The CDUs are the pilot interfaces to the FMCs.

8 Preflight Preparations | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


various information and error messages can be displayed, and where information that you enter using the CDU
keypad is shown.

During the preflight preparations you may see messages displayed in the scratchpad relating to single and dual
FMC operation. You can clear these messages by pressing the CLR key in the lower-right corner of the keypad.

On both sides of the CDU screen you will find a vertical row of buttons called Line Select Keys (LSKs). Push the
fourth LSK from the top on the right side of the CDU screen (referred to as “LSK4 RIGHT”), next to the PMDG
SETUP> menu item:

Now press LSK2 RIGHT next to the PANEL STATE LOAD> prompt. What you see on the next screen may differ
from what I have, depending on how your system is configured:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Preparations 9


Locate the <NGX CLDDRK item, then press the LSK next to the prompt. In my case that would be LSK1 LEFT. (If
you have more than one panel state page in the CDU, you may need to change pages to locate it. Use the PREV
PAGE and NEXT PAGE keys to move between CDU pages):

The <NGX CLDDRK item should be highlighted after you pressed the LSK. Complete the process of loading this
panel state by pressing the EXEC button on the CDU4.

The CDU will briefly display LOADING PANEL STATE …, and then the green initialization bar on top of the screen
will reappear. Wait for the initialization process to complete before pressing any keys.

At this point the CDU should display the top MENU page again. Press LSK5 RIGHT next to the FS ACTIONS>
prompt, followed by LSK1 LEFT at the <FUEL prompt. You should now have the following:

4
Normally when you have made a selection that needs to be confirmed by pressing EXEC the light about the button will
light up. This is not the case when loading the panel state, however.

10 Preflight Preparations | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


At the moment we have much more fuel in the NGX’ tanks than we need for today’s flight. This is easily
corrected – use the number keys on the CDU keypad to enter 22734 into the CDU scratchpad, and then press
LSK1 LEFT, next to where it currently says 42411. You should now have:

The fuel automatically gets distributed correctly when loaded through the CDU, with the wing tanks completely
filled and the remaining fuel in the center fuel tank, which is about 20% full. (The center tank is generally filled
last and fuel in this tank is used first to minimize wing bending in flight).

Now we need to enter the passenger and cargo loads that dispatch gave us. Press LSK6 LEFT next to the
<RETURN prompt, then press LSK2 LEFT next to the <PAYLOAD prompt. After entering passenger numbers and
cargo weights you should have the following (use the number keys on the CDU keypads to enter passenger and
cargo numbers, then press the LEFT LSK next to the number you want to change):

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Preparations 11


Make a note of the ZFW (zero fuel weight) and CG (center of gravity) figures in the right column on the CDU
display. We will need these numbers later as we complete the CDU preflight procedure5.

Before we can begin the process of powering up the plane there are a couple of additional preparation steps I
want you to complete. First let us ask the ground crew to connect external power to the airplane. Press LSK6
LEFT next to the <RETURN prompt, then press LSK3 LEFT next to <GROUND CONNECTIONS followed by LSK2 LEFT
next to the GROUND POWER item. At this point you should have:

Items in RED on this screen have to be dealt with before we can push back from our parking stand. As you can
see the wheel chocks are in place and ground power is connected. We do not need the air start unit – the APU

5
Your CG figure is most likely not the same as in the screenshot. When you load passengers they are distributed in a
random fashion among the available seats. Try entering 130 repeatedly at LSK2 LEFT to see how different distributions
influence the CG.

12 Preflight Preparations | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


will provide us with air pressure for engine for startup - and we are not using an external air conditioning unit.
The pitot covers have already been removed by the maintenance staff.

We are finished using the CDU for now, so press Shift-3 to close the popup (or press the gray X in the upper
right corner on the CDU). We now need to deal with two items on the forward overhead panel.

Begin by locating the fuel switches in the forward left corner of the overhead panel:

When you load fuel into the center tank from the CDU the NGX automatically switches the two center fuel
pumps ON. When we begin powering up the airplane, these two fuel pumps will begin to operate when AC
power becomes available. We do not want this to happen, so left-click on the two switches to move them to
the OFF position.

Still on the forward overhead panel, moving aft and to the right, you will find two PROBE HEAT switches
located just forward from a row of WINDOW HEAT switches:

With these two switches in the ON position the airplane’s pitot tubes and angle-of-attack sensors are
electrically heated. These probes can become very hot when on the ground, so they are usually turned off

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Preparations 13


during the after landing checks and not turned on again until the airplane is ready to taxi. Left-click on these
switches to move them to the OFF position6.

At this point we are ready to begin the process of powering up the airplane.

6
If you like you can save your own version of the cold and dark panel state at this point, with the selections that we have
made so far. From the PMDG SETUP menu select LSK 1 RIGHT next to the PANEL STATE SAVE> prompt and use the CDU
keypad to name your new panel state. Press LSK 1 LEFT to copy the name from the scratchpad to the line of dashes, and
then press the EXEC button to save.

14 Preflight Preparations | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Electrical Power Up
The airplane would normally be powered up when the flight crew arrives, but in our case we are starting from a
completely cold and dark flight deck. The procedure that you follow in this case can be found in the
“Supplementary Procedures” section of FCOMv1, starting on page SP.6.1.

BATTERY switch ................................................................................................ Guard closed

The BATTERY switch is located on the forward overhead panel, near the top (aft) of the panel and left of center:

The NGX comes with one or two 24-volt NiCd batteries7. Each battery is capable of providing DC and AC power
to important equipment for at least 30 minutes if all other power sources are lost8.

Position the mouse over the switch guard (the mouse cursor will turn into a gray hand when over the guard;
over the switch itself the hand will be white) and click on the guard to close it and turn the battery on.

STANDBY POWER switch .................................................................................. Guard closed

The STANDBY POWER switch is located forward overhead below and to the right of the BATTERY switch:

7
The default equipment list for the PMDG 737-800WL House livery has two batteries.
8
FCOMv2 has a list of the equipment that is working when the battery is the only source of electrical power, starting on
page 6.20.19.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Electrical Power Up 15


The electrical equipment in the 737 is connected to electrical buses that are in turn connected to the various
electrical sources (battery, engine generators, APU generator, and ground power). Connecting a power source
to a bus powers the electrical equipment that receives its power from that particular bus.

You began the process of connecting electrical buses to power sources by closing the guard over the battery
bus. This made DC power available to a few consumers, with the visible result that the overhead panel began
to light up.

Close the guard over the STANDBY POWER switch; doing this locks the switch below the guard in the AUTO
position. This in turn connects the DC and AC standby buses to the battery (the DC power supplied by the
battery is converted to AC by an inverter) and powers equipment connected to these buses.

At this point I suggest that you take a look at the AC and DC metering panel on the forward overhead panel:

The metering panel is divided into a left side that shows DC volts and amperes, and a right side that shows AC
volts, amps, and frequency. Below the metering panel there are two rotary knobs, a DC and an AC source
selector. Turning the DC rotary to its different positions in turn should confirm that the battery and standby
buses are the only ones powered at this point9.

On the AC side you can see that the AC standby bus is currently powered with 117v at 400Hz. By turning the AC
rotary to the other positions, you can see that ground power is available but that none of the generators are
providing power (since the engines and APU are not running).

9
For some reason the DC current draw reads “0” with ground power available (i.e. connected by ground crew to the
external power receptacle) but not yet connected to the buses. If you remove ground power at this point, the DC current
draw will read around negative 38 amps. Presumably this is because the battery charger operates independently of
ground power selections made on the overhead.

16 Electrical Power Up | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Next we perform a couple of safety checks to ensure that we get no unexpected movements of flaps or flight
controls when power is established (this could endanger ground personnel working around the airplane):

ALTERNATE FLAPS master switch .................................................................... Guard closed

This switch is located in the upper (aft) left corner of the forward overhead panel:

The alternate flaps system is an electrical backup to the main hydraulically powered flaps extend and retract
system. With the guard closed this switch will be in the OFF position. This should already be the case with the
cold and dark panel state that we loaded, but you should verify it nonetheless.

Windshield WIPER selector(s) ....................................................................................... PARK

These switches are located near the forward center of the forward overhead panel:

Verify that these switches are in the PARK position (should already be the case). Using the wipers on a dry
windshield will cause scratching, so we don’t want them to operate when power is established.

ELECTRIC HYDRAULIC PUMPS switches....................................................................... OFF

These switches are located near the middle and right of center on the forward overhead panel:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Electrical Power Up 17


The NGX has three hydraulic systems. The two main systems, A and B, have both engine-driven and electric
pumps that provide hydraulic pressure to operate systems such as flight controls and landing gear10. There is
also a standby hydraulic system powered by an electric pump that can provide hydraulic pressure to essential
systems in the event that system A and/or B is lost.

You should confirm that the switches labeled ELEC2 and ELEC1 are both in the off position, so the hydraulic
systems won’t begin to pressurize when we bring ground power or the APU on line. (The ENG1 and ENG2
pumps have been left in the ON position by the previous crew or maintenance staff, but that doesn’t matter
since the engines won’t be running at this point).

LANDING GEAR lever ........................................................................................................ DN

The LANDING GEAR lever is located on the center forward panel.

Confirm that the LANDING GEAR lever is in the DN position, that the three green landing gear indicator lights
are illuminated, and that the red indicator lights are extinguished.

At this point we are ready to put external power on the buses. Start by going back to the AC and DC metering
panel and turn the AC rotary to the GRD PWR position. Confirm that the external power supply is providing us
with 115 volts at 400Hz (small variations are acceptable):

10
FCOMv2 has a full list of systems that require hydraulic power to operate, starting on page 13.20.1

18 Electrical Power Up | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Move down (forward) on the panel and confirm that the GRD POWER AVAILABLE indicator is illuminated:

GRD PWR switch................................................................................................................ ON

This switch is located just below the GRD POWER AVAILABLE light.

Connect the ground power supply to the electrical buses by left-clicking the GRD PWR switch. Confirm that the
four TRANSFER BUS OFF and SOURCE OFF indicator lights located below (forward) of the GRD PWR switch on
the forward overhead panel are now extinguished:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Electrical Power Up 19


We won’t turn on the APU until we get closer to our departure time, but since we will eventually need it to
provide air pressure for engine start we will go ahead and do a few more safety checks at this time.

To begin with, confirm that the three red engine and APU fire switches on the aft electronic panel (just aft of
the engine start levers) are pushed in:

With the panel state that we loaded these switches will be in the correct position already, but you should check
anyway.

The following tests should only be performed after alerting the ground crew. The reason is that there is an APU
fire warning horn in the main wheel well that will sound, and we do not really need assistance from fire fighters
at this point.

OVERHEAT DETECTOR switches ........................................................................... NORMAL

There are two of these switches, located near the fire switches on the aft electronic panel:

20 Electrical Power Up | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Each engine has two overheat/fire detection loops, A and B, that must agree that an overheat or fire condition
exists before an alert is triggered. However, you can choose to operate with only one loop active by moving
either of these switches to the A (switch to the left) or B (switch to the right) position. For normal operation
these switches should be set to NORMAL (switch centered).

TEST switch............................................................................................ Hold to FAULT/INOP

This switch is located near the #1 engine fire switch, on the aft electronic panel:

You can hold the switch to the left by left-clicking it, then moving the mouse away before releasing the mouse
button. Now you need to look around the flight deck for a number of indications:

The left and right yellow MASTER CAUTION lights on the glareshield panel should be illuminated, and
OVHT/DET should be annunciated on the left system annunciator panel:

(You may have more annunciations visible on the annunciator panel at this point. This is not important – just
verify that the OVHT/DET annunciation is present).

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Electrical Power Up 21


On the aft electronic panel the FAULT and APU DET INOP lights should be illuminated:

Confirm these indications, and then cancel the test by clicking on the TEST switch again.

TEST switch.............................................................................................. Hold to OVHT/FIRE

Same switch as above, but this time right click the switch and move the mouse away before releasing the
mouse button to hold the switch in the OVHT/FIRE position. This time you should hear the fire bell, and you
should look around in the cockpit for various indications:

 The left and right FIRE WARN lights on the glareshield panel should be illuminated.
 The left and right yellow MASTER CAUTION lights on the glareshield panel should be illuminated
 OVHT/DET should be annunciated on the left system annunciator panel

Push the red master FIRE WARN light to silence the bell and verify that both master FIRE WARN lights are
extinguished. Next, go back to the aft electronic panel and verify that the engine no. 1, APU, and engine no. 2
fire switches stay illuminated, and that the ENG 1 OVERHEAT, WHEEL WELL11, and ENG 2 OVERHEAT lights are
also illuminated:

11
The WHEEL WELL light only illuminates during this test when AC power is available. If you perform the test on battery
power only, it will remain extinguished.

22 Electrical Power Up | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Cancel the test by clicking on the TEST switch again.

EXTINGUISHER TEST switch ...................................................................................... Check

This switch is located near the #2 engine fire switch, on the aft electronic panel:

The engine fire extinguishing system in the NGX comprises two extinguisher bottles that can be discharged into
either engine (both bottles could be fired into the right engine, for example, by pulling up the no. 2 engine fire
switch and rotating the handle first to one side and then to the other, after which the engine fire extinguishing
system would be depleted). The APU has its own fire extinguisher bottle.

Move the EXTINGUISHER TEST switch first to the 1 position, by left-clicking the switch and verify that the three
green extinguisher test lights – each corresponding to an extinguisher bottle - are illuminated:

Repeat the test for the 2 position, by right-clicking the switch.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Electrical Power Up 23


This completes the process of powering up the airplane from the cold and dark state. An aircrew would not
normally have to go through this procedure, but would instead follow the procedures beginning on the next
page of this tutorial.

24 Electrical Power Up | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Preliminary Preflight Procedure
This procedure can be found in the Normal Procedures section of FCOMv1, starting on page NP.21.1

IRS mode selectors.......................................................................................... OFF, then NAV

The IRS mode selectors are located on the aft overhead panel:

The NGX has two independent inertial reference systems (IRSs) that provide attitude, heading, acceleration,
vertical speed, ground speed, track, position and wind data information to various other airplane systems. Each
of these IRSs comprises three sets of laser gyros and accelerometers. The IRSs provides the NGX with a
navigation capability that is completely independent of radio navigation aids on the ground or on satellites
(although GPS and various forms of VOR/DME updating increases the accuracy of navigation considerably).

Before the IRSs can be used for navigation they must be initialized with the airplane’s present position and go
through an alignment phase. By default the IRS alignment time in the NGX is set to 30 seconds, however in the
real 737 NG this time will vary between five and seventeen minutes, depending on the latitude of the airplane
location12.

Starting from a cold and dark state, the IRS mode selectors will be in the OFF position. Use the mouse wheel or
right-click on the selectors to move them to the NAV position (don’t stop in the ALIGN position)

The ON DC lights above the IRS mode selectors should illuminate briefly after you place the selectors in NAV:

The ON DC lights will then be replaced with ALIGN lights:


12
You can simulate realistic IRS alignment times by pressing the MENU key on the CDU, then selecting PMDG SETUP (LSK4
RIGHT), OPTIONS (LSK2 LEFT), SIMULATION (LSK1 LEFT), IRS OPTIONS (LSK5 LEFT), and REALISTIC (LSK1 LEFT)

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preliminary Preflight Procedure 25


It is important that the airplane not be moved while the IRSs are aligning. If this occurs, you will have to redo
the alignment by switching the IRS to OFF, wait until the ALIGN lights extinguish, then switch them to NAV once
more.

(If by accident you move either selector to the ATT position, move it back to OFF and wait approximately 30
seconds until the light extinguishes. Then move it to NAV).

While the IRSs are aligning you should enter the airplane’s current position into the control display unit (CDU).
If the alignment period expires without a current position entered into the CDU, the ALIGN lights will begin to
flash to alert you of the problem (the same happens if there is a problem with the position entry – for example
if the origin airport in your flight plan does not agree with the position that you have entered).

If the position entered in the CDU is acceptable, the IRSs will automatically switch to NAV mode once alignment
completes. The ALIGN lights will then extinguish.

We will perform the position entry in a moment. First we will complete a few other actions on the aft overhead
panel:

VOICE RECORDER switch .................................................................................... As needed

This switch is not installed in the NGX.

OXYGEN PRESSURE ................................................................................................. Verified

The crew oxygen pressure indicator and the passenger oxygen switch are located on the aft overhead panel, a
little right of center:

26 Preliminary Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Crew oxygen is supplied from an oxygen cylinder. The CREW OXYGEN indicator on the aft overhead shows the
current pressure in this oxygen cylinder.

Passenger oxygen is supplied by chemical generators. The passenger oxygen masks can be deployed manually
by opening the guarded PASS OXYGEN switch on the aft overhead, or automatically when the cabin altitude
reaches 14,000’. Passenger oxygen begins flowing when an oxygen mask is being pulled down, and continues
to flow for approximately 12 minutes.

HYDRAULIC QUANTITY ............................................................................................. Verified

Begin by pressing the SYS MFD switch on the center forward panel:

The hydraulic fluid quantity in % of capacity can now be found on the lower display unit (DU):

A RF (refill) indication will be shown to the right of the numbers if the hydraulic quantity for either system
drops below 76%.

ENGINE OIL QUANTITY ............................................................................................. Verified

Press the ENG MFD switch on the center forward panel:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preliminary Preflight Procedure 27


The engine oil in % of capacity can now be found on the lower DU:

If the oil quantity is low, the digits will be displayed black on a white background.

Preliminary Preflight Procedures – Crew Change or Maintenance


The rest of the items in the Preliminary Preflight Procedure are normally only carried out after a crew change
of after maintenance has been performed on the airplane.

Maintenance documents ................................................................................................ Check

Not applicable.

FLIGHT DECK ACCESS SYSTEM switch .......................................................... Guard closed

This switch is not installed in the NGX.

Emergency equipment ................................................................................................... Check

Not applicable.

PSEU light ................................................................................................. Verify extinguished

28 Preliminary Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The Proximity Switch Electronic Unit (PSEU) light is located on the aft overhead, near the IRS mode selectors:

The PSEU monitors the warning systems for takeoff configuration, landing configuration, landing gear, and
air/ground sensing. The PSEU light will come on if a fault is detected in one of these systems or if there is a
fault with the PSEU itself. The PSEU light is inhibited in flight.

GPS light ................................................................................................... Verify extinguished

The GPS light is located on the aft overhead, above the IRS mode selectors:

This light will illuminate if both GPS sensor units have failed. It will also illuminate when one of the system
annunciator panels are pushed if a single GPS sensor has failed.

ILS light ...................................................................................................... Verify extinguished

This light is not installed in the NGX.

GLS light .................................................................................................... Verify extinguished

This light is not installed in the NGX.

SERVICE INTERPHONE switch ....................................................................................... OFF

This switch is located on the aft overhead panel, above and to the right of the IRS mode selectors.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preliminary Preflight Procedure 29


The service interphone system lets flight crew and cabin crew talk to each other. If this switch is placed in the
ON position, jacks externally on the aircraft are added to the system, so ground staff connected to any of these
jacks can use the service interphone. In the OFF position these external jacks are disabled.

Flight crew can still talk to cabin crew over the service interphone with this switch set to OFF.

(The pilots can communicate privately over a different system, the flight interphone system. The ground crew
can also use the flight interphone by plugging into a jack near the external power receptacle.)

ENGINE PANEL ................................................................................................................. Set

The engine panel is located on the aft overhead panel.

The REVERSER lights must be extinguished. If illuminated, these lights indicate that one or more problems have
occurred with the reversers.

30 Preliminary Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The ENGINE CONTROL lights next to the EEC switches must be extinguished. If lit, these lights indicate a fault in
the engine control system.

The two EEC switches below the plastic covers must be in the ON position. The electronic engine control (EEC)
system receives inputs from various sensors on the airplane and engines, and it computes and sets the desired
N1 accordingly, simplifying the process of setting thrust. The EEC system also collects data for maintenance
use.

The plastic covers over each of these switches can be lifted by a right mouse click. Left-clicking after lifting the
cover toggles the EEC switches off.

Oxygen panel...................................................................................................................... Set

We already covered this item above when we checked the oxygen quantity, so there is nothing further to do
here.

Landing gear indicator lights ......................................................................... Verify illuminated

These lights are located on the aft overhead panel, below the oxygen panel.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preliminary Preflight Procedure 31


Flight recorder switch .......................................................................................... Guard closed

This switch is located on the right-hand side of the aft overhead.

Our only action here is to verify that the guard is closed, holding the switch below in the NORMAL position. This
will ensure that the flight recorder is operating in flight. (On the ground the flight recorder is only operating
when the engines are running, so the OFF light next to the switch will be illuminated when you perform your
preflight procedures).

Circuit breakers (P6 panel) ............................................................................................ Check

The individual circuit breakers are not functional in the NGX; however the P6 panel behind the FOs seat is very
nicely rendered, so turn around and take a look at it at this point.

Manual gear extension access door .............................................................................. Closed

The manual gear extension access door is located on the floor, aft and to the left of the FO’s seat. It cannot
actually be opened in the NGX, so you can skip this item.

Circuit breakers (control stand, P18 panel) .................................................................... Check

The P18 panel is behind the Captain’s seat, also very nicely modeled but non-functional.

I have been unable to locate any circuit breakers on the control stand.

32 Preliminary Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Parking brake.......................................................................................................... As needed

The parking brake lever and warning light are located on the control stand.

On the real airplane, the parking brakes are set by depressing the Captain’s or the FO’s brake pedals fully, then
pulling the lever. In the NGX you can simply pull the lever.

Since the wheels are chocked, setting the parking brake at this point is only required if you want to check the
brake wear indicators during the external inspection. The brake wear indicators are pins that extend through
the brake housing. As the brakes are worn down, these pins extend less and less - when the pins are flush with
the brake housing, the brakes need replacement.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preliminary Preflight Procedure 33


CDU Preflight Procedure

Initial Data ........................................................................................................................... Set

At this point we can begin programming the flight management computer. Open the CDU again by pressing
Shift-3, press the MENU key on the CDU keypad to open the top menu, and then display the IDENT page by
selecting <FMC using LSK1 LEFT:

(You can clear the ENTER IRS POSITION message in the CDU scratchpad at any time by pressing the CLR key in
the bottom-right corner of the CDU keypad).

On this page we should verify that the MODEL and ENG RATING is correct. You should also verify that today’s
date falls within the ACTIVE range – in the screenshot between AUG25 and SEP21, 2011.

Real-world aeronautical information is published on a 28-day schedule. Each 28-day period is known as an
AIRAC13 cycle, and each cycle is given a name constructed from the last two digits of the year followed by a
two-digit sequence number. So the first cycle of year 2011 is AIRAC-1101, the second AIRAC-1102, and so on.

In the real world, updating to the next AIRAC cycle would be performed by maintenance staff. The pilots just
have to verify that the current cycle has indeed been installed, using the information on the CDU IDENT page.

The NGX comes with AIRAC 1108, which was current at the time the NGX was first released. If you like to stay
current, you can purchase individual AIRAC updates from Navigraph. It is up to you if you want to do this or not

13
Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control

34 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


– this tutorial will work fine with AIRAC 1108. If you use real-world charts for your flights, you may want to
purchase an upgrade once in a while; upgrading every 28 days usually isn’t necessary14.

After verifying the information on the IDENT page, press LSK6 right at the POS INIT> prompt to continue to the
next page in the setup sequence:

Begin by verifying the time and date displayed toward the bottom-left on the CDU display (in this case 1521z
on August 28, which is 9:21am local time in Houston). In the real 737-800 the time information is supplied by
the GPS receiver, in the NGX you will see the time and date set in FSX.

(If the aircraft is not receiving a valid GPS time, the time will be 0000.0z when the FMC is powered up, and the
time must be set manually. You can see this in action if you fail both GPS receivers before establishing electrical
power to the airplane).

Use the CDU keypad to enter KIAH in the scratchpad, and then press LSK2 LEFT to move the content of the
scratchpad to the REF AIRPORT line. You should now have:

14
If you use an out-of-date AIRAC, you will get the same error message that is shown on the real 737. In the real world this
is a no-go situation. With the NGX you can simply clear the error and continue.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 35


We now have two position entries in the top half of the CDU display: The last position that was computed by
the FMC before the airplane was shut down, and a reference position of the KIAH airport. Normally we would
also enter the gate number to get a third line showing the gate position, but the data for KIAH that we have
available does not include our current gate, E16.

To enter the airplane’s actual position press the NEXT PAGE key on the CDU keypad to display the POS REF
page:

36 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The FMC uses position input from the IRSs, the GPS sensors, and radio navigation receivers to calculate the
airplane’s position at any given time. This calculated value will be shown on the first line of the CDU, below the
FMC POS label, once we complete the initialization procedure15.

At the moment the POS REF page only shows position data from the two GPS sensors on the airplane. Copy one
of them to the scratchpad using LSK4 LEFT or LSK5 LEFT.

Now press PREV PAGE on the CDU keypad to go back to the POS INIT page, and use LSK4 RIGHT to move the GPS
position from the scratchpad to the row of small squares below the SET IRS POS label.

If you do not get any errors at this point the position entry has been accepted. The SET IRS POS line will
disappear from the POS REF screen once the IRSs complete their alignment

Navigation Data .................................................................................................................. Set

Press LSK6 right next to the ROUTE> prompt to display the first RTE page:

15
It takes a little time before GPS updates appear on this page. If you find a blank page, just wait a bit until the position
information appears.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 37


On this screen you should fill in the ORIGIN and DEST fields (note that KIAH is already in the scratchpad, ready
to be copied to ORIGIN using LSK1 LEFT). You can also fill in the number of your flight in the FLT NO. field. Don’t
put anything in the RUNWAY field that appears after you fill in the ORIGIN field.

The CO ROUTE field can be used by the pilots to load a pre-defined company specific route that has been
previously stored in the FMC’s navigation database. In FSX you can use this field to load routes that you have
previously exported from flight planning software or from a route database16.

You should now have:

16
In this tutorial we will be entering the route manually. However, if you want to use routes exported from flight planning
software in PMDG’s .rte format, you should first save your flight plan to the PMDG\FLIGHTPLANS\NGX folder or the
PMDG\FLIGHTPLANS folder located below your main FSX folder. You can now load the route by typing its name (without
the .rte extension) into the scratchpad and transferring it to the CO ROUTE field. You can also browse flight plans stored in
these folders by pressing LSK2 LEFT without anything in the scratchpad. Note that the NGX cannot use routes created in
FSX’ own flight planner.

38 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


In the top-right corner of the CDU screen there is a “1/2” indicating that we are currently viewing the first of
two RTE pages that are in the FMC. Press the NEXT PAGE key to display the second RTE page:

This is where we can enter our flight plan which, as you may recall, was JCT7 JCT EWM BXK TNP SEAVU2. If we
strip away our SID and STAR (JCT7 and SEAVU2) we are left with a string of route waypoints JCT EWM BXK TNP
that we will enter on this screen.

Begin by entering JCT in the scratchpad, then transfer to the line below TO using LSK1 RIGHT:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 39


Now enter the remaining waypoints – EWM, BXK, and TNP - in the same fashion, below JCT. You should now
have:

Next we should enter our SID (JCT7) and STAR (SEAVU2). We should also enter our departure runway at this
time. Today’s flight will be departing from runway 09.

Begin by pressing the DEP/ARR key:

40 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Next press LSK1 LEFT next to the <DEP prompt on the KIAH line:

There are a total of four CDU pages of KIAH DEPARTURES that we can choose from. Begin by pressing LSK3
RIGHT to select the departure runway, then press the NEXT PAGE key and press LSK3 LEFT to select the JCT7
departure. At this point you should have:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 41


Now press the DEP/ARR key again, and then select LSK2 RIGHT to display the first of seven KLAX ARRIVALS
pages:

Press the NEXT PAGE key twice and select the SEAVU2 arrival from the list using LSK3 LEFT. At this point you
should have:

42 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


In the left column, below the SEAVU2 arrival, we have the option of selecting the TNP transition. Since that is
the last enroute waypoint in our flight plan, select TNP using LSK2 LEFT.

We will not be selecting an approach into KLAX until we get closer to our destination. Press the RTE key on the
CDU keypad to return to the RTE pages, followed by NEXT PAGE to display the second of three RTE pages
currently in the FMC:

At this point we are done programming the FMC with our SID, route, and STAR17. Activate the route in the FMC
by pressing LSK6 RIGHT next to the ACTIVATE> prompt followed by the EXEC button:

17
In this example the choice of SID and STAR to fly was easy since it was given in the real-world flight plan that we used.
This will not always be the case, particularly when flying outside North America. If you are interested in worked examples

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 43


The ACTIVATE> prompt in the lower right corner of the CDU display has now been replaced by a PERF INIT>
prompt. Press LSK6 RIGHT to proceed to the PERF INIT page:

There are several fields on this page that we need to complete:

using real-world charts I suggest you take a look at one of the following: EKCH-ENGM, YSCH-YPAD, KSEA-KLAX, or LOWI-
UUDD. The first two are fairly basic, KSEA-KLAX is a more advanced example, and LOWI-UUDD deals with issues that arise
when flying into Russia or other parts of the world that use metric flight levels and QFE.

44 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Starting on the left side, we should enter the zero fuel weight that we got from dispatch - 121,010 lbs - in the
ZFW field. Round to the nearest hundred lbs, and then enter the rounded value as 121.0 using the CDU keypad
and press LSK3 LEFT to transfer from the scratchpad to the ZFW field.18 19

The “23.0” figure on the PLAN/FUEL line is the total amount of fuel in the tanks according to the FMC20. If
fueling was still ongoing we would enter the planned amount of fuel on board on this line. In our case we can
leave this field as is.

On the RESERVES line we should enter the final reserve fuel from our fuel plan, 2,560 lbs. Use the CDU keypad
to enter the rounded value 2.6 into the scratchpad, then press LSK4 LEFT to transfer this value to the small
squares. The FMC calculates our expected landing fuel continuously during the flight, and it will display a USING
RSV FUEL warning message in the CDU scratchpad if it determines at any point during our flight that our
expected landing fuel will drop below the value in the RESERVES field.

The COST INDEX is a figure that represents the relative weighting between fuel costs on one hand and the
hourly costs associated with keeping the airplane running (crew wages, maintenance costs, etc). It can take any
value between 0 (maximum fuel savings) and 500 (disregard fuel costs and get to the destination as quickly as
possible). The pilots will be using whatever cost index the airline tells them to use – in our case we will use the
value “20”.

Moving to the right column of the CDU display and enter FL380 as our cruise flight level (type 380 into the CDU
scratchpad, then press LSK1 RIGHT to update the TRIP/CRZ ALT field).

At this point you should have the following:

18
The NGX CDU has a convenient feature that you will not find in the real airplane: Instead of entering the ZFW using the
CDU keypad, you can press LSK3 LEFT to transfer the actual zero fuel weight to the scratchpad, then press LSK3 LEFT again to
update the ZFW field.
19
Be careful not to enter the zero fuel weight into the gross weight (GW) field. Normally this type of error would be
caught before causing problems, but there have been real-world accidents because the pilots made this mistake.
20
You may have a slightly different value. We actually loaded 22,734 lbs so we would expect to see “22,7” here, but I have
noticed that the fuel figure reported on this page sometimes differs from the amount of fuel actually loaded by a few
hundred pounds. I’m not sure how to account for this difference – but you should be aware of it when planning how much
fuel to load for your flight.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 45


If you are using weather software with FSX that gives you average cruise wind direction and speed, you can
enter that information on the CRZ WIND line. If your forecast shows average winds at FL360 from 320° at 37
knots, for example, you would enter 320/37 in the scratchpad then use LSK2 RIGHT to update the CRZ WIND
field.

The FMC calculations of fuel use, arrival time, etc. are based on the assumption that the outside air
temperature (OAT) drops at a standard rate as altitude increases (ISA = International Standard Atmosphere). At
FL380 the OAT is expected to be -56°C. If your weather forecast shows a different value, you can improve the
accuracy of the FMC calculations by entering one of two values:

1. The expected deviation from ISA temperature at top of climb. E.g. if you expect the OAT to be 2°C
below the ISA temperature you should press the +/- key on the CDU followed by the number 2 to enter
“-2” in the CDU scratchpad, then press LSK RIGHT 3 to transfer to the ISA DEV line.
2. If your weather forecast gives an expected temperature at top of climb instead of a deviation from ISA,
you can enter the temperature on the T/C OAT line. E.g. if you expect an OAT of -58°C at top of climb,
press the+/- key on the CDU keypad followed by 58 to enter “-58” in the CDU scratchpad, the press LSK
RIGHT 4 to transfer to the T/C OAT line.

These wind and temperature entries are optional. In our case we will leave them at the default values.

The transition altitude is 18,000’ in the United States. If you have changed the default transition altitude in the
PMDG options, be sure to enter the correct value here.

At this point we are done with the PERF INIT page. Double check with the dispatch documents that the ZFW
and GW are correct, and verify that you have the correct amount of fuel on board. Then press the EXEC button

46 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


to update the FMC with the information you have entered, and press LSK6 RIGHT to proceed to the N1 LIMIT
page.

The airplane is equipped with two CFM56-7 engines which under normal circumstances can produce up to
26,300 pounds of thrust. This is frequently more than is required for takeoff (e.g. with a long runway, a light
aircraft, and some headwind), and since engine wear increases at higher thrust settings, airlines typically
require pilots to use reduced thrust settings for takeoffs whenever possible. There are two different ways of
accomplishing that:

1. Using a fixed takeoff derate. This is done by selecting either TO-1 (LSK3 LEFT - 24K pounds of thrust) or
TO-2 (LSK4 LEFT – 22K pounds of thrust).
2. Using an assumed temperature. The electronic engine controller limits the maximum thrust depending
on the outside air temperature to avoid exceeding engine limitations. As OAT increases the maximum
allowable thrust decreases. This can be exploited to reduce thrust during takeoff by telling the EEC to
use a higher OAT than the temperature that is actually measured by the sensors.

You can experiment with these two methods of reducing thrust by changing the values in the left CDU column
and observe the effect on the N1 value in the upper right corner. For example, typing 40 in the scratchpad and
pressing LSK1 LEFT tells the EEC to limit thrust during takeoff as if the outside temperature was 40°C instead of
the 15°C that is measured by the OAT sensor:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 47


As you can see, entering an assumed temperature of 40°C limits the amount of thrust the EEC will set during
takeoff to 94.8% N1, down from the 98.9% N1 thrust setting that would normally be used at 15°C21.

Using a fixed 22K derate instead of an assumed temperature yields a thrust reduction to 92.5% N1:

Although the two methods of reducing thrust achieve basically the same thing, there is a difference in the
event of an engine failure during takeoff. With only a single engine running the thrust will be asymmetrical,
which will cause a tendency for the plane to roll and yaw into the dead engine. The plane has to be travelling
fast enough during takeoff that this roll and yaw can be countered using rudder and ailerons, or the plane
could roll inverted.

21
You may see small variations from the figures in this document.

48 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


If an engine failure occurs during a reduced thrust takeoff based on an assumed temperature, the takeoff
speed calculations guarantee that we will have sufficient rudder authority to counter the asymmetric thrust
with maximum power on the remaining engine. If the engine failure occurs during a reduced thrust takeoff
using a fixed derate, however, the power on the remaining engine must not be advanced beyond the maximum
derated thrust

It is possible to combine the two thrust reduction methods, by applying an assumed temperature on top of a
fixed takeoff derate. Also note that it is possible to bump takeoff power up to 27,300 pounds of thrust. This
setting might be appropriate when taking off from a high-altitude airport on a hot day at high gross weight.

A number of factors are used in the calculation of reduced thrust settings, including aircraft weight, outside
temperature, airport altitude, runway length, humidity, air pressure, runway dry/wet/contaminated, etc. An
airline will provide its pilots with the necessary tables to determine the correct thrust settings to use when
taking off from a given runway, but unfortunately most of us do not have access to this type of information.
Instead you can try guessing what settings to use – FCOMv1 has some tables that can help you determine the
maximum assumed temperature for a given set of conditions – or you can just use full thrust settings for
takeoff.

Runway 09 at KIAH is long, so for our flight we will be using the TO-2 derate in combination with an assumed
temperature of 34°C:22

If you want to use a fixed derate, you must select TO-1 or TO-2 before entering an assumed temperature.

22
I calculated these values using a payware tool called TOPCAT (Take-off and Landing Performance Calculation Tool).
There is also a freeware tool out there called UTOPIA that may be useful (check the AVSIM file library). I have no personal
experience using it, though.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 49


Note that with the thrust reduction selections made as above, the FMC automatically selected a reduced climb
thrust setting, CLB-1. This is to avoid a situation where a thrust increase would otherwise occur when the
airplane transitions from takeoff thrust to climb thrust. Selecting CLB-1 gives around 10% reduction of climb
thrust, CLB-2 would reduce climb thrust by approximately 20%. Reduced climb thrust settings are gradually
removed as the airplane gains altitude.

Now press LSK6 RIGHT next to the TAKEOFF> prompt to display the first of two TAKEOFF REF pages:

There are two values we need to enter on this page: The flaps setting we will be using for takeoff, and the
center of gravity from the load sheet.

Takeoff flaps setting can be flaps 1, 5, 10, 15, or 25 depending on aircraft weight and other performance-
related considerations, with higher flap settings typically reserved for shorter runways or high outside
temperatures. We will be using flaps 5 for this takeoff.

Just as with the zero fuel weight, instead of entering the center of gravity manually at LSK3 LEFT you can use a
shortcut: Press LSK3 left twice, once to place the CG value in the scratchpad, and again to transfer it to the CG
line. At this point you should have:

50 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Note that the FMC has calculated a pitch trim setting of 5.19 to be used for takeoff.

The FMC has also calculated takeoff V speeds, based on the selected runway, assumed temperature, current
gross weight, and flap setting:

If you have addon tools that calculate takeoff V speeds, you should compare with the FMC-calculated speeds
and make sure they agree (or that you understand any differences). You can then enter the V speeds you want
to use at LSK1 right, LSK2 right, and LSK3 right. In our case we will simply use the speeds calculated by the FMC,
so just press each LSK in turn to update with the calculated V speeds. You should now have:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 51


Press the NEXT PAGE key to display the TAKEOFF REF 2/2 page:

The most important task on this page is to verify that the ACCELL HT, EO ACCELL HT, and REDUCTION entries
are what we need:

 The ACCEL HT is the height at which the airplane will begin to accelerate to climb speed from the V2+20
knots used right after takeoff. Flap retraction occurs above this height.
 EO ACCEL height is the same as above, except this is the height where acceleration should begin in the
case of an engine failure (EO = engine out).
 REDUCTION is the height at which the autothrottles will reduce from takeoff power to the climb power
setting.

52 CDU Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The default values are fine for our takeoff from KIAH. At some airports you may be required to use a higher
ACCEL HT – typically 3,000’ – for noise abatement reasons.

You can also enter runway wind direction and speed and runway slope on this page. Note that if you change
any of these values, you will get a TAKEOFF SPEEDS DELETED message in the CDU scratchpad, alerting you that
the CDU has recalculated the V speeds, and that you will need to go back and confirm them on the previous
TAKEOFF REF page.

At this point we are done with the CDU preflight procedure, and we are ready to proceed to the remaining
preflight setup tasks.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | CDU Preflight Procedure 53


Preflight Procedure
The tasks in this section are divided between the captain and the first officer, and each pilot’s duties differ
depending on which of the two is the pilot flying on this leg. Exactly who does what also depends on company
procedures, but you can see how Boeing splits the two pilot’s duties in FCOMv1, on pages NP.11.5-7. These
setup tasks are carried out from memory by each crew member, and the crew then verifies that everything has
been done correctly by reading from a checklist.

In our case this split of duties isn’t relevant, so we’ll simply start in the top (aft) left corner of the overhead and
work our way down and across the front panel, until we complete the process at the aft electronics panel.

In a lot of cases we are verifying that a certain light is extinguished. This can make some lights hard to identify;
if you would like to see what a light looks like when illuminated, you can use the LIGHTS test switch located on
the forward panel:

Right-click on the switch to turn all lights on. When you are done with this switch, click it again to return all
lights to their normal states.

Overhead Panel
We begin with the flight control panel on the overhead:

Flight control panel......................................................................................................... Check

Verify that the guards are closed over the two FLT CONTROL “A” and “B” switches, and that the LOW PRESSURE
lights are illuminated:

54 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


With these switches in the guarded A ON / B ON position, hydraulic power is used to move ailerons, elevators,
and rudder according to pilot or autopilot inputs. The LOW PRESSURE lights should be illuminated at this point
since the engine and electric hydraulic A and B pumps are not currently running.

If one of the main A or B hydraulic systems should fail, the associated FLT CONTROL switch can by moved to the
OFF position after opening the guard, thereby isolating the flight control surfaces from the failed hydraulic
system. Ailerons, elevators, and rudder can still be controlled through the remaining hydraulic system.

In the event of a complete failure of both the A and B hydraulic systems, the ailerons and elevators can be
operated through a mechanical backup system. The rudder requires hydraulic power, which is provided by the
standby hydraulic system. The FLT CONTROL switches can be used to manually switch the rudder to standby
hydraulic power, by moving the switches to the STBY RUD position.

Next, verify that the guards over the SPOILER switches are closed:

In the guarded ON position hydraulic pressure from the A and B systems is used to raise the four flight spoiler
panels on each wing to increase drag and reduce lift, and to assist the ailerons in providing roll control. The A
and B hydraulic systems are each connected to spoiler panels on both wings, so spoiler operation does not
become asymmetrical if one of the hydraulic systems should fail.

The OFF position is only used for maintenance purposes.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 55


Move the YAW DAMPER switch to ON and verify that the YAW DAMPER light extinguishes:

The yaw damper uses rudder inputs to prevent Dutch rolls – a very unpleasant, repetitive yawing and rolling
motion of the airplane – and to ensure that turns are coordinated without the pilot having to provide manual
rudder input during turns.

The yaw damper requires inputs from the inertial reference system, so if you move the yaw damper to the ON
position before the IRSs are aligned, the YAW DAMPER light will remain illuminated until alignment has
completed.

Verify that the three STANDBY HYD lights are extinguished:

If any of these are illuminated there is a fault:

 The LOW QUANTITY light indicates low hydraulic fluid quantity in the standby hydraulic system.
 An illuminated LOW PRESSURE light indicates that the standby hydraulic system has been activated
(automatically or manually), but that the output pressure of the standby hydraulic pump is low.
 The STBY RUD ON light comes on when the standby system is powering the rudder.

Verify that the guard is closed over the ALTERNATE FLAPS master switch, and that the ALTERNATE FLAPS
position switch is set to OFF:

56 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The leading edge flaps and slats and the trailing edge flaps are normally extended and retracted using hydraulic
power provided by the B system. If the B hydraulic system fails, flaps and slats can still be extended through a
combination of standby hydraulic and electric power, by opening the guard and moving the master switch to
the ARM position, and then holding the position switch to DOWN.

(The trailing edge flaps can be retracted again by holding the position switch UP, however the leading edge
flaps and slats will remain extended).

Complete the setup procedures on the Flight Control panel by verifying that the following lights are
extinguished:

 FEEL DIFF PRESS


 SPEED TRIM FAIL
 MACH TRIM FAIL
 AUTO SLAT FAIL

Because the flight controls are hydraulically powered during normal operation, there is no inherent feedback to
the pilot that lets him or her know how much force is required to overcome the aerodynamic forces on the
flight control surfaces. Instead there is an artificial “feel” system on the pitch axis that works by providing
resistance on the control column proportional to the amount of hydraulic power required to move the

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 57


elevators – similar in concept to a “force feedback” joystick. If the FEEL DIFF PRESS light is illuminated it
indicates a failure in this system.23

The speed trim system is an automatic trim that attempts to maintain neutral control column forces during
takeoff when the airplane is flying at the speed corresponding to the takeoff trim setting. The idea is that there
should be significant resistance to pitch inputs made by the pilot (lowering or raising the nose) that would
cause the speed to deviate from the calculated takeoff speed. An illuminated SPEED TRIM FAIL light indicates a
failure in this system.

As airspeed increases the lifting force on the airplane will begin to move aft due to a phenomenon called Mach
tuck, with the result that the nose of the airplane will tend to pitch downward. Mach trim automatically begins
to operate when the speed exceeds M .615 to counteract this tendency. An illuminated MACH TRIM FAIL light
indicates a failure in this system.

The autoslat system operates to protect against stalls during takeoffs and landings. If flaps 1, 2, or 5 are
selected and the airplane approaches a stall condition, the leading edge slats are automatically driven to the
fully extended position to prevent the stall. If the AUTO SLAT FAIL light is illuminated it indicates a fault in this
system.

Navigation Panel ................................................................................................................. Set

Now we move forward on the overhead to check the navigation sub-panel. Begin by verifying that the VHF NAV
transfer switch is in the NORMAL position:

There are two VHF NAV receivers in the airplane. Normally information from NAV 1 (e.g. a tuned ILS or VOR) is
displayed on the Captain’s instruments, while NAV 2 is used on the first officer’s side. If one of these NAV
receivers fails, the remaining receiver can drive instruments on both sides of the flight deck by moving this
switch left or right as appropriate.

23
Unfortunately you do not get artificial feel in FSX – not even with a force feedback joystick.

58 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Next verify that the IRS transfer switch is in the NORMAL position:

In the NORMAL position the flight instruments on the left and right sides of the cockpit receive attitude and
heading information from the left and right IRS respectively. In case of a single IRS failure this switch can be
used to connect instruments on the failed side to the remaining IRS.

Finally verify that the FMC transfer switch is in the NORMAL position:

With two flight management computers installed and the FMC transfer switch in the NORMAL position, the left
FMC is in control while the right FMC is in a backup mode. In this backup mode, the right FMC remains
synchronized with the left FMC, but it is otherwise inactive - both CDUs are under control of the left FMC.
Moving the FMC transfer switch left or right causes the system to revert to a mode where only the left or right
FMC is being used.

DISPLAYS panel................................................................................................................. Set

Moving further down on the overhead panel, verify that the SOURCE selector is in the AUTO position, and that
the CONTROL PANEL switch is in the NORMAL position.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 59


The NGX has two display electronic units (DEUs) that are responsible for collecting information from the
airplane’s systems and sensors, and for presenting that information in a format that humans can understand
on the six display units (DUs) in the flight deck. During normal operation, with the display SOURCE selector in
the AUTO position, DEU1 supplies information to the captain’s inboard and outboard DUs and the upper DU in
the middle, while DEU2 supplies information to the lower DU and the FO’s inboard and outboard DUs. Moving
the display SOURCE selector to ALL ON 1 or ALL ON 2 allows all six DUs to be driven from the selected DEU.

Each pilot can control what information is displayed on “their” display units by making selections on the EFIS
control panel:

With the CONTROL PANEL switch on the displays panel in the NORMAL position, selections on the left EFIS
control panel controls what is being displayed on the captain’s DUs, and selections on the right EFIS control
panel controls the FO’s DUs. In the BOTH ON 1 / BOTH ON 2 positions, DUs on both sides are controlled by the
selected EFIS control panel.

Fuel panel ........................................................................................................................... Set

Begin by verifying that the ENG VALVE CLOSED and SPAR VALVE CLOSED lights are all illuminated dim:

60 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Each engine has two fuel shutoff valves, a spar valve located at the point where the engine is attached to the
wing, and an engine valve located on the engine itself. These valves are closed with the engine start lever in the
CUTOFF position (or if the engine fire handle has been pulled).

If the valves are in transit, opening or closing, the lights will be brightly illuminated:

The screenshot above shows the ENG VALVE and SPAR VALVE lights immediately after moving the left engine
start lever to the idle detent. A few seconds later the valves complete opening and the lights extinguish.

At this point the lights for both engines should be illuminated dim to indicate that all four fuel cutoff valves are
closed.

Next verify that the FILTER BYPASS lights are extinguished:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 61


Fuel passes through fuel filters in each engine before entering the combustion chambers. If a filter should
become blocked by contaminants, fuel automatically bypasses the filter and the FILTER BYPASS light illuminates
to indicate this condition.

Verify that the fuel CROSS FEED selector is in the closed (vertical) position, and that the associated VALVE OPEN
light is extinguished:

During normal operation, with no fuel in the center tank, the left and right engines are pressure fed with fuel
from the left and right wing tanks respectively, and the left and right sides of the fuel system are isolated from
each other. Opening the CROSS FEED selector allows an engine to receive fuel from the opposite wing tank.

For example, to have engine no. 1 feed from the right wing tank you would open the CROSS FEED valve and
turn off the no. 1 forward and aft fuel pumps, keeping the no.2 forward and aft fuel pumps on. In the
configuration the fuel pumps on the right side of the aircraft would pressure feed both engines.

Next verify that all the FUEL PUMP switches are in the OFF position.

 The amber left and right center tank pump LOW PRESSURE lights should be extinguished
 The amber no. 1 and 2 forward and aft wing tank pump LOW PRESSURE lights should be illuminated

The LOW PRESSURE lights indicate that the sensors that monitor fuel pump output read an abnormally low
pressure. In our case this is expected because the pumps are OFF; in flight and with the fuel pumps ON, an
illuminated LOW PRESSURE light could indicate a fuel pump failure or fuel exhaustion.

62 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The center fuel pump LOW PRESSURE warning lights only come on if the pumps are ON and low pressure is
sensed. We frequently fly with these pumps in the OFF position, and we don’t want amber warning lights on
the overhead in this situation.

Electrical panel ................................................................................................................... Set

Moving aft and to the right on the overhead we come back to the electrical subpanel. Begin by verifying that
the BAT DISCHARGE, TR UNIT, and ELEC lights are extinguished:

At this point we are running on external power, and the battery should not be discharging. If that was the case,
the BAT DISCHARGE light would be illuminated.

The airplane has three transformer rectifier units, TR1, TR2, and TR3 that convert 115v AC to 28v DC power. A
failure in any of these would cause the TR UNIT light to illuminate.

The ELEC light is illuminated if there is a fault detected in the DC system or in the standby power system.

Moving forward on the overhead panel, verify that the CAB/UTIL and IFE/PASS switches are in the ON position:

With the CAB/UTIL switch in the ON position, power is provided to the galley as well as various cabin systems,
such as recirculation fans, lavatory water heaters, etch. With the IFE/PASS SEAT switch in the ON position,
power is provided to in-flight entertainment systems, electronic equipment and power outlets in the passenger
seats, etc.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 63


Verify that the STANDBY POWER OFF light is extinguished:

If illuminated, this light would indicate that either the AC standby, DC standby, or battery buses were
unpowered. That should not be the case at this point, so we expect this light to be extinguished.

Next we should verify that the generator drive DISCONNECT are guarded and that the associated DRIVE lights
are illuminated:

Electrical power is produced by AC generators connected to each engine via a drive mechanism. Generator and
drive is an integrated unit (and IDG) with its own oil system for cooling and lubrication. The DRIVE amber light
is illuminated when a low oil pressure is sensed in an IDG. With the engines not running we expect these lights
to be on.

It is possible to disconnect the generator drive from the engine in the event of a generator drive malfunction,
by opening the guard and moving the DISCONNECT switch below. Note that once disconnected, the IDG can
only be reconnected on the ground, by maintenance. At this point the guards should be closed.

Now move further forward and verify that the guard over the BUS TRANSFER switch is closed:

64 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


External AC power and AC power from engine and APU generators connect to two AC transfer buses, which in
turn distribute AC power to the other AC buses in the electrical system. In flight, engine no. 1 would normally
power AC transfer bus 1, and engine no. 2 would power transfer bus no 2. In the event of an engine or
generator failure, if the BUS TRANSFER switch is in the guarded AUTO position, tie breakers in the bus transfer
system automatically close to allow all AC consumers to be powered from the remaining engine generator.

Verify that the TRANSFER BUS OFF and SOURCE OFF lights are extinguished, and that the GEN OFF BUS lights
are illuminated:

An illuminated TRANFER BUS OFF light would indicate that the associated AC transfer bus was unpowered,
which we do not expect at this point. An illuminated SOURCE OFF light would indicate that no power source is
available to power the AC transfer bus on that side. This could happen, for example, if the engines are the sole
source of electrical power, and one of the engine generators had failed or was disconnected.

GEN OFF BUS indicates that the integrated drive and generator units (IDG) are not providing power to the AC
buses. This is what we would expect at this point, since the engines are not running and we are operating on
ground power.

Overheat and fire protection panel ................................................................................. Check

We have already accomplished this item when we did the electrical power up procedure, so you can skip this
item.

APU switch (as needed)................................................................................................START

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 65


We will postpone starting the APU until later, when we are getting closer to our departure time.

Lavatory SMOKE light ................................................................................ Verify extinguished

This light is not installed in the NGX.

EQUIPMENT COOLING switches ................................................................................. NORM

The EQUIPMENT COOLING switches are located more or less in the center of the overhead panel, aft and to the
right of the electrical panel:

Electronic equipment in the flight deck and in the electrics and electronics (E & E) bay is cooled using air drawn
from the cabin by an electric fan into a cooling air SUPPLY duct. After being used for cooling, the heated air is
then pulled by another electric fan into an EXHAUST duct, from where it is either vented overboard (while the
airplane is on the ground), or used to heat the forward cargo compartment (while in the air).

For normal operation these switches should be in the NORM position. In the ALTN position an alternate
(backup) fan is used instead.

The two lights below the switches should be extinguished at this point. If illuminated this would indicate that
there was no airflow from the selected fan.

EMERGENCY EXIT LIGHTS switch ................................................................... Guard closed

This switch is located immediately forward from the EQUIP COOLING switches:

66 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Arm the emergency exit lights by closing the guard over the switch and verify that the NOT ARMED light
extinguishes. With the switch in the armed position the emergency lights will automatically come on if power
to normal cabin lighting systems is lost. (Emergency lighting can also be turned on manually from the flight
deck, by moving this switch to the ON position, or by cabin crew).

Passenger signs ................................................................................................................. Set

These switches are located forward from the EMER EXIT LIGHTS switch:

With the FASTEN BELTS switch in the AUTO position, the seatbelt signs in the cabin come on when flaps or
landing gear are extended. In our case we do not want our passengers to get up and move about the cabin
before we are above 10,000’ and clear of any weather that might cause turbulence, so move the switch to the
ON position to control the seatbelt signs manually.

Local and/or airline rules may require that seatbelts are unfastened if you are refueling while passengers are on
board. If so, leave the FASTEN BELTS switch in the OFF position until refueling is complete.

Since smoking is never permitted while on board the NGX, the no smoking signs in the cabin are permanently
on. The associated switch has been repurposed to simply give a cabin chime. Toggle the CHIME switch to use.

Windshield WIPER selectors ............................................................................................ Park

We already completed this task during the electrical power up procedure.

WINDOW HEAT switches ................................................................................................... ON

These are located aft on the overhead panel, to the right of center:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 67


Windows on the flight deck are electrically heated to remove fog and prevent ice from building up on the
windows. This heating system should be turned on at least 10 minutes prior to departure. Move all four
switches to the ON position by left-clicking each switch, then verify that the green ON lights illuminate and that
the amber OVERHEAT lights (above the ON lights) remain extinguished:

PROBE HEAT switches .................................................................................................... OFF

Move a bit forward to the PROBE HEAT switches:

To recap, these switches control heating of the airplane’s pitot tubes and angle-of-attach sensors. They should
be in the OFF position until we are ready to taxi to avoid overheating.

Verify that the eight probe heat lights are illuminated, indicating that the associated probes are not heated.

WING ANTI-ICE switch ..................................................................................................... OFF

Moving further forward on the overhead panel:

68 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The wing anti-ice system uses hot bleed air from the engines to keep the two inboard leading edge slats on
each wing free from ice (there is no anti-ice for the outboard slats). The WING ANTI-ICE switch that controls
this system should be in the OFF position at this point. The two L VALVE OPEN and R VALVE OPEN lights above
the switch should be extinguished to indicate that the bleed air control valves are closed (a dimly illuminated
light would indicate that the associated valve was open; the lights illuminate brightly while the control valves
are in transit, or if the position of the control valves does not agree with the switch position).

ENGINE ANTI-ICE switches ............................................................................................. OFF

The engine anti-ice system uses bleed air to heat the cowl lips around the engine intakes, to prevent ice from
forming there and subsequently breaking off and entering the engines. Engine anti-ice should be OFF at this
point. Also verify that the amber COWL ANTI-ICE lights and the blue COWL VALVE OPEN lights above the
switches are extinguished.

If the amber COWL ANTI-ICE illuminates, this indicates that there is excessive pressure in the bleed air duct
between the cowl anti-ice valve and the engine cowl lip.

The blue COWL VALVE OPEN lights use the same logic as the wing anti-ice L and R VALVE OPEN lights: dim
illumination indicates valve open, bright means that the valve is in transit, or that valve and switch position
disagree.

Hydraulic panel ................................................................................................................... Set

We already set the hydraulic panel during the electrical power up procedure.

Air conditioning panel .......................................................................................................... Set

The air conditioning panel takes up the right-most side of the overhead. Starting at the aft we have the AIR
TEMPERATURE source selector:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 69


Rotate the selector on the right to show the following temperatures:

 The temperature in each of the air supply ducts leading air into the flight deck (CONT CAB) and forward
and aft passenger cabins.
 The air temperature in the forward and aft passenger cabins
 The temperature in each of the two air conditioning packs.

At the moment none of the air conditioning packs are running, so all positions will show more or less the same
temperature.

Forward from the air temperature selector we have the TRIM AIR switch:

During normal operation, hot bleed air taken from the engine compressors is routed into each air conditioning
pack. Some of that air is routed through a heat exchanger that is being cooled using outside air, and then
through a refrigeration unit. This refrigerated air is cooled to a temperature that satisfies the zone that requires
the most cooling (flight deck, forward or aft cabin).

In the other two zones the refrigerated air is mixed with bleed air that has not been cooled. The end result is
that the air temperature is regulated independently in the three zones. The system that handles this mixing
process is called the TRIM AIR system. We want this to system to operate, so you should verify that the TRIM
AIR switch is in the ON position.

Moving forward we come to the temperature selectors:

70 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The normal position for these selectors is AUTO, but if you wish to control the temperature manually in any of
the three zones, you can turn the selectors toward C for colder or W for warmer. Turning a selector so it points
to OFF closes the trim air valve for that zone.

Verify that the amber ZONE TEMP lights above each selector are extinguished. If illuminated, this indicates an
overheat condition in the air supply duct for that zone.

Below the temperature selectors we have the RAM DOOR lights:

As discussed above, some of the bleed air entering a pack is first cooled in a heat exchanger before entering
the air refrigeration unit. The ram air system provides cooling air for these heat exchangers.

On the ground and during slow flight, the doors in front of the ram air inlets are fully open to allow the
maximum airflow through these heat exchangers. This is indicated by the RAM DOR FULL OPEN lights being
illuminated, which we expect at this point. During flight the ram air inlet doors modulate between open and
closed, depending on cooling requirements24.

Moving forward again we come to the left and right recirculation fans:

24
If you look at the NGX in an external view you will find the ram air inlets on the belly of the airplane just in front of the
wing roots, immediately inboard of a warning sign. To best see the open ram air doors, move your view to the nose of the
aircraft so you look along the belly toward the rear.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 71


During flight the aircraft pressurization system keeps the cabin pressurized to a maximum altitude of 8,000’. In
principle this is a very simple system – bleed air under pressure is led into the cabin, and an outflow valve
opens and closes to let some amount of air escape from the cabin, thereby controlling the cabin pressure.25

Conditioned air enters the passenger cabin along the ceiling and sidewalls, and exits at foot level down through
the aft cargo compartment from where it is vented overboard through the outflow valve. If the left or right
recirculation fans are running, some of the “used” air is pulled from passenger cabin into the forward cargo
hold, through a filter and back into the cabin. This air recirculation system reduces the amount of bleed air
taken from the engines, which in turn reduces fuel consumption.

We want the recirculation fans on at this point, so move the L RECIRC FAN and R RECIRC FAN switches to the
AUTO position.

Moving forward on the overhead we will leave the pack and bleed air switches in the OFF positions for now.
We will return to this part of the panel when we have started the APU.

Cabin pressurization panel .................................................................................................. Set

Begin by verifying that the AUTO FAIL and OFF SCHED DESCENT lights are extinguished:

The airplane has two independent pressurization controllers, a primary controller capable of maintaining
correct cabin pressurization through all phases of flight, and a backup controller26. If illuminated, an amber
AUTO FAIL light indicates a single or dual pressurization controller failure27.

If the airplane begins descending before reaching the cruising altitude set in the pressurization panel, then the
pressurization controller will assume that the airplane is returning to the departure airport rather than
continuing to the destination, and it will ensure that the cabin is pressurized to the departure airport altitude
when landing. This mode would be indicated by an amber OFF SCHED DESCENT light. We do not expect to see
this light to be illuminated at this point.

25
I.e. if the outflow valve is opened to let more air escape, the pressure in the cabin is reduced. On the other hand, closing
the outflow valve to let less air escape while keeping the inflow of bleed air constant increases the cabin pressure.
26
The system automatically alternates between the controllers to distribute wear evenly, making one controller primary
on one flight and the other controller primary on the following flight.
27
In the case of a single controller failure a green ALTN light illuminates to indicate that the backup controller is operating.
If both controllers have failed, only the amber AUTO FAIL is illuminated.

72 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Now set the cruise and landing altitude in the pressurization panel:

KLAX airport elevation is 126’. LAND ALT can be set in increments of 50’, so set it to the closest altitude. Also
set the pressurization mode selector to AUTO to let the controllers work in automatic mode and verify that the
MANUAL light is extinguished:

Before leaving this panel, take a look at the outflow VALVE position indicator and the outflow valve switch:

As indicated by the small needle on the VALVE gauge, the outflow valve is currently in the fully open position
(needle to the far right). This is what we would expect to see on the ground, when the aircraft is not
pressurized.

Below the VALVE position indicator you have a switch that can be used to open and close the outflow valve
with the pressurization mode selector in the MANUAL position. In this mode you can control aircraft

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 73


pressurization by moving this switch to OPEN or CLOSE to change the outflow valve position, letting more or
less air out through the valve28.

Lighting panel ..................................................................................................................... Set

Move left and forward to the left lighting panel:

Verify that the L and R RETRACTABLE light switches are in the RETRACT (up) position, and that the L an R FIXED
landing lights, the L and R RUNWAY TURNOFF lights and the TAXI light switches are in the OFF (up) position.

Ignition select switch ............................................................................................... IGN L or R

Move right to the APU, engine start, and ignition switches:

The APU switch should be in the OFF position at this point.

The NGX has two independent ignition systems, IGN L and IGN R, corresponding to two igniter plugs in each
engine. Combustion in a jet engine is a self-sustaining process that does not require a separate ignition source,
so the igniters are normally only used during engine start, and to provide protection against engine flameout
during takeoff and landing and when flying in heavy precipitation.

28
This switch is spring-loaded to the center position. You can experiment with it on the ground, by turning the
pressurization mode selector to MANUAL and using the switch. Just don’t forget to move the selector back to AUTO when
you are done experimenting, or you may find yourself wondering why there is a horn blaring at you during climb.

74 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Typically the ignition select switch would be set to IGN L or IGN R on the first flight of the day, and would then
be moved to the opposite position on each subsequent flight.

ENGINE START switches ................................................................................................. OFF

Verify that the no. 1 and no. 2 engine start switches to each side of the ignition select switch are in the OFF
position.

Lighting panel ..................................................................................................................... Set

Move right again to the right lighting panel:

Set the external lights as required for your flight. Suggested settings:

 Leave the LOGO light OFF for daytime flights. Consider turning them on at night for increased visibility,
or to have the airline logo illuminated for advertising purposes.
 POSITION light to STEADY to indicate that the airplane is powered. Keep the STROBE lights off at this
point.
 ANTI COLLISION lights OFF to indicate that the engines are not running.
 WING leading edge illumination light OFF. They can be used at nighttime if the wing leading edges need
to be inspected for ice accumulation during the external walk-around.
 WHEEL WELL light OFF. Turn them on at night for the walk-around.

Lights Test
We are done with the overhead panel for now. Let us complete the remaining preflight setup tasks so we can
get ourselves ready for engine start.

Lights ................................................................................................................................ Test

Begin by locating the master lights test and dim switch on the left forward panel, above the navigation display:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 75


Right-click on the switch to move it to the TEST position, and then scan the overhead and the panels in front of
and between the pilots to verify that all lights are working. You should make the scan from memory, scanning
the panels in the direction shown in FCOMv1, on page NP.11.5.

Once you complete the scan, place the switch in the BRT or DIM position as desired.

EFIS Control Panel

EFIS control panel .............................................................................................................. Set

There are two EFIS control panels, one for each pilot:

Selections made on the left EFIS control panel determines what information is shown on the captain’s inboard
and outboard display units, while the right EFIS panel controls the FO’s DUs. Let us begin with the selector
labeled MINS in the upper left corner of the EFIS panel:

When looking at this knob from the side, you can see that there is an outer and an inner selector. The outer
and inner selectors can be turned, and the inner selector can also be pushed. In the real world you can

76 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


distinguish between the outer and inner selector by touch alone, but this is obviously not possible in the NGX
(unless you invest in dedicated hardware). Instead, when you move the mouse cursor over the knob, it will
turn into a hand with color and shape indicating which selector you are pointing at:

 A gray, open hand when over the outer selector. Use the mouse wheel or left/right click to turn.
 A white, open hand when over the inner selector. Mouse wheel or left/right click to turn.
 A white hand with a pointing index finger when a mouse click will push on the selector. Use the left or
right mouse button to push.

These selectors are used to set minimum altitudes/heights for approaches. At this time we do not know which
approach we will be flying into KLAX, so we do not know at this point what our procedure minimums will be29.

Moving right, the EFIS panel button marked FPV can be used to toggle the flight path vector on the PFD on and
off:

If you press this button, you can see that a small airplane symbol has appeared on top of the center dot on the
PFD (if you find it hard to see, move the mouse toward the center of the PDF until you get a magnifying glass
with a + in the middle, then click to open a popup. Click the popup again to remove it).

While the dot in the center of the PDF indicates where the nose of the airplane is pointed, the FPV symbol tells
you in what direction the airplane is actually travelling. On the ground these indications sit on top of each
other, but in the air there is usually some crosswind which means that the plane doesn’t go exactly where the
nose is pointing. Cruising with a crosswind from the right, for example, means that the airplane will be
travelling in a direction left of where the nose is pointing, and the FPV will show this.

It is up to you whether you want to display the FPV or not. I like it, so I usually toggle it on.

29
The weather at KIAH is fine and winds are light, so if we should need to return after departure we will just fly a visual
approach. In poor weather you might want to configure your radios and EFIS panel for the most likely ILS approach back to
KIAH, however we will skip this step in this tutorial.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 77


The next button to the right, labeled MTRS, toggles display of altitudes in meters on the PFD. This is very useful
when flying in airspace that uses meters instead of feet for altitudes and flight levels – in Russia or China, for
example – but this is not the case today.

Moving further right we come to the BARO knob, which is divided into an outer and an inner selector just like
the MINS knob:

The outer selector is used to switch between pressure settings in inches of mercury (IN) used in the United
States and Canada, and hectopascals (HPA) used elsewhere. Today’s flight is a US domestic flight so make sure
this selector is set to IN.

The inner selector is used to set the barometric pressure that you receive via ATIS or from ATC. For today’s
flight the pressure at KIAH is 29.92 InHg, so this is the value you should set. You can see the value that has been
set on the lower right corner of the PFD:

Pushing the center of the BARO knob sets the altimeter to standard pressure (29.92 InHg, which happens to be
the same as the current pressure at KIAH).

Below the MINS and BARO selectors you find two VOR/ADF switches:

78 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


These switches let you display pointers on the navigation display that show bearings to navigation beacons that
have been tuned on the VOR1, ADF1, and VOR2 radios (the second ADF radio in the NGX has been replaced
with a third VHF radio for voice communications, so the ADF 2 switch position is INOP).

If you look at the chart for the Junction Seven departure from KIAH (available here: http://aeronav.faa.gov/d-
tpp/1110/05461JUNCTION.PDF)30, you can see that the entire procedure is defined in terms of VOR radials. For
example, after departure ATC will vector us (give us headings to fly) to CUZZZ, which is defined as the
intersection of radial 276° from the Humble VOR (IAH, 116.6 MHz) and radial 142° from the College Station
VOR (CLL, 113.3 MHz).

We will not actually fly the departure using the VORs as our primary means of navigation; we will use the LNAV
capabilities of the NGX instead. However, we will tune the VORs on our navigation radios so we can crosscheck
what LNAV is doing, and we will set the radials from the VORs using the COURSE selectors on the mode control
panel.

With the default display settings, VOR course lines will be shown on the navigation display, so I find the bearing
pointers somewhat redundant. But if you would like to see the bearing pointers, right-click on each switch to
move them to the VOR 1 / VOR 2 position31.

Left of center on the EFIS control panel we have the mode selector:

30
Chart links in this document are valid at the time of writing. If you are reading this and a link is no longer working, go to
the FAA aeronav website and use the search function to find the charts you need.
31
In most cases the VOR bearing pointers will not be displayed until after takeoff since we will not be able to receive the
VOR radio signals until we gain some altitude.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 79


Turning the knob lets you select between the following navigation display modes:

 APP mode can be used to display localizer and glideslope information on precision approaches32.
 VOR mode can be used to display VOR navigation information.
 MAP mode is used to display the FMC-generated route as well as optional information about the route
and waypoints. This is the mode you will be using most of the time.
 PLN mode lets you step through your route, one waypoint at a time, for verification purposes.

To see the PLN mode in action, turn the mode selector to PLN. You should see something similar to the
following (you can adjust the map scale using the range selector to the right of the mode selector):

The Junction Seven departure that is programmed into the FMC has us climbing on runway heading to an
altitude of 497’ (400’ above ground level) before we make a sharp left turn and proceed toward the first
waypoint on the SID, CUZZZ33.

To see the rest of our flight plan displayed in this fashion, open the CDU and press the LEGS button to display
the LEGS page:

32
You do not normally have to use this mode on a precision approach, since you have localizer and glideslope information
available on the primary flight display. However, with a two-pilot crew, the pilot monitoring might use this mode on his
side.
33
In the real world this is probably not what would happen, and we are not going to fly the departure in this way. Instead
we will be given a heading to fly after takeoff, and ATC will then vector us toward CUZZZ in a way that avoids conflict with
traffic arriving at and departing from KIAH and the other airports in that area.

80 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


If you now press LSK6 RIGHT next to the STEP> prompt, the navigation display should change to this (I’ve
increased the range a bit):

The navigation display is now centered on CUZZZ, with the airplane’s present position just visible on the right
and the next waypoint, ZUUUU, about 10 nm further west. On the CDU you should now have:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 81


Notice the <CTR> marker on the LEGS page that shows the waypoint currently at the center of the navigation
display. Each time you press LSK6 RIGHT next to STEP>, this marker moves one waypoint down on the legs page
and that waypoint is shown in the center of the navigation display.

You can use this method to get a visual confirmation that the route has been correctly entered (an incorrect
waypoint will typically cause the magenta line to shoot off in an unexpected direction).

If your flight plan route came from a route database or a flight planning tool, you may have a printed version of
the route at hand. In this case you should compare the print with the LEGS page. Notice that the line between
waypoint in the CDU shows the ground track and distance that the FMC has calculated between these two
waypoints. Between CUZZZ and CUUUU, for example, the track is 276° and the distance is 9.3 nm according to
the FMC34.

Once you are done with the PLN mode, move the mode selector back to MAP.

Depending on which mode you are in, you can also push the mode selector by clicking on CTR to get a centered
view on the navigation display. In MAP mode pushing the mode selector once gives you a full 360° view with
the airplane in the center:

34
Typically there is not 100% agreement between the FMC and a route printout with the tools we have available. Small
track differences on the order of a couple of degrees and minor distance variations are acceptable, but if you get large
variations you should try to figure out why.

82 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


A second push on CTR enables the vertical situation display (VSD):

The VSD gives you a graphical indication of the airplane’s vertical and horizontal path for increased situational
awareness, something which is especially useful during climb, descent, and approach. In this tutorial we will be
using it during departure, so you should leave it enabled35.

To the right of the mode selector we have the range selector:

35
Push CTR again if you want to return to the lateral MAP mode. The VSD is covered in more detail in FCOMv2, starting on
page 10.10.36.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 83


¨

The use of the outer selector is fairly obvious – turn the selector to change the range of the navigation display.
During departure you should set this to 10 or 20. Push the inner selector marked TFC to display TCAS
information on the navigation display.

Wrapping up the EFIS control panel, the row of buttons along the bottom lets you toggle various types of
additional information on the navigation display:

 WXR: Weather radar. Not implemented in the NGX.


 STA: Shows navigation aids from the FMC database.
 WPT: Shows waypoints on the map that are not part of the flight plan route.
 ARPT: Shows airports from the FMC database.
 DATA: Displays altitude constraints and estimated time of arrival for route waypoints.
 POS: Shows IRS and GPS positions and VOR bearing vectors extending from the nose of the airplane
symbol.
 TERR: Displays terrain data generated by the ground proximity warning system (GPWS).

The only one of these I normally use is the terrain display (TERR). You can experiment with these to find the
ones that you think are most useful. Note that in some cases the information displayed changes with the map
scale36.

Once you complete setting up the captain’s EFIS control panel, you should do the same on the FO side. You can
set the two sides up differently if you like.

Mode Control Panel

Mode control panel ............................................................................................................. Set

The NGX lets you choose between two different mode control panels, the older Honeywell MCP and the
Rockwell Collins MCP that was introduced in 2003. We will be using the Collins MCP in this tutorial:

36
See FCOMv2 page 10.16.4 for additional information about these buttons.

84 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The controls on the MCP can be divided into four categories:

1. Speed controls, located on the left side of the MCP


2. Vertical navigation controls, such as the VNAV switch and the altitude selector, located in the middle of
the MCP
3. Lateral navigation controls, such as the heading selector and LNAV switch
4. Autopilot and flight director controls, most of which are on the right side of the MCP

We will cover the different controls on the MCP as we need to use them during this tutorial37. At this point we
should complete the following:

Set the course selectors:

During the first part of our flight our two navigation radios will be tuned to the Humble VOR (IAH, 116.6 MHz)
on NAV1 and the College Station VOR (CLL, 113.3 MHz) on NAV2. Looking at the Junction Seven SID chart, our
first waypoint, CUZZZ, is defined as the intersection of radial 276 from IAH and radial 142 from CLL, so you
should set 276 using the left COURSE knob and 142 on the right side.

Next we should turn on the two flight director switches:

There are two independent flight control computers (FCCs) in the NGX that drive the flight directors and
autopilots. Moving the flight director switches to the ON position displays the flight director command bars on
the captain’s (left F/D switch) and the FO’s (right F/D switch) primary flight displays.

37
See FCOMv2, pages 4.10.1 – 4.10.19 for a complete discussion of the MCP

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 85


The order in which you move these switches to ON determines which FCC becomes the master. When the
captain is pilot flying, the A (left) system should be the master, and when the FO is pilot flying the B (right)
system should be master. I assume that you are flying from the left seat, so click on the left F/D switch first and
then on the right. At this point the green MA light should be illuminated above the left F/D switch:

Note that the flight director command bars do not become visible until you press TO/GA and begin the takeoff
roll.

Next set the bank angle selector as desired:

As you can see in the side view, this is the outer selector on the knob located below the HEADING display. This
selector controls the maximum bank angle that the automatic flight system will allow when flying in HDG SEL or
VOR mode (it has no effect when flying in LNAV).

During takeoff we can safely bank the airplane up to 30° once we are flying at V2+15 knots or more above 400’
above ground level (AGL). We do not anticipate any turns before we reach that speed and altitude, so you can
leave this selector at 30. (Below V2+15 knots you should limit your bank angle to 15°).

Finally you should verify that the autopilot DISENGAGE bar is in the up position:

In the down position the autopilots cannot be engaged.

86 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Oxygen and Flight Instruments

Oxygen ................................................................................................................ Test and Set

We have already checked the crew oxygen supply pressure and the passenger oxygen switches on the aft
overhead. Now we should verify that each crewmember’s oxygen mask is ready for use. The oxygen masks are
located on the panel outboard from each crewmember’s seat (there is also an oxygen mask on the wall, next to
the jump seat):

Hold down the switch labeled PRESS TO TEST AND RESET. You should hear oxygen flowing and a yellow cross
should appear momentarily in the round window above the switch38.

ELECTRONIC FLIGHT BAG ............................................................................................... Set

Not implemented in the NGX, but if you have other flight bag software this would be a good time to prepare it
for use.

Clock................................................................................................................................... Set

There are two clocks, located on the left and right forward panels:

38
There is also a N (normal) / 100% switch on the oxygen regulator that you would normally move to 100% at this point,
but this is not implemented. The round test switch on the regulator can be depressed, but does not appear to have any
function in the NGX.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 87


You don’t have to do anything to the clock – by default it gets the time from the FMC, which in turns get it from
the GPS39. It is worth spending a little time on its various functions, though, since it is a faithful reproduction of
the real thing – in manual mode you can actually set the time (which in turn sets the FSX time). There is also a
pushbutton to the far left/right of the glareshield panel that starts, stops, and resets the clock timer. The clock
is covered in more detail in FCOMv2, pages 10.16.19 to 10.16.21.

NOSE WHEEL STEERING switch ...................................................................... Guard closed

This switch is located just below the captain’s clock:

In the guarded NORM position nose wheel steering is powered by hydraulic system A. In the event of a failure
of hydraulic system A you can open the guard and move this switch to the ALT position, to let nose wheel
steering be powered from hydraulic system B instead.

Display Select Panel ........................................................................................................... Set

The Captain’s and FO’s display select panels are located on the left and right forward panels:

39
The GPS time is equal to the FSX time.

88 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


These two selectors allow you to change what is shown on each display unit in the event of a DU failure (try
turning them to the other position to see the effect). During normal operation these selectors should both be
in the “NORM” position.

TAKEOFF CONFIG light ............................................................................ Verify Extinguished

Not installed in the NGX.

CABIN ALTITUDE light

Not installed in the NGX.

Disengage light TEST switch ..................................................................................... Hold to 1

The autopilot / autothrottle indicator lights are found on the left and right forward panels. They come on to
signal various warnings and errors related to the autoflight system. To test these lights, right-click on the TEST
switch to move it up to the “1” position:

Proper operation is indicated by the A/P disengage, A/T disengage, and FMC lights being illuminated steady
amber.

Now left-click on the TEST switch to move it down to the “2” position:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 89


This time the A/P and A/T lights should be illuminated steady red, and the FMC light should again be
illuminated steady amber.

STAB OUT OF TRIM light .......................................................................... Verify extinguished

This light is located on the left forward panel, below and to the right from the autopilot / autothrottle indicator
lights:

This light can only be illuminated with the autopilot engaged. It indicates that the autopilot is unable to set the
stabilizer trim properly. It should be extinguished at this point.

Flight instruments........................................................................................................... Check

At this point we should check our flight instruments for expected indications. In the lower-left corner of the
navigation display we expect to see a TCAS OFF message, since our transponder is currently in standby:

90 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Since we have already selected V-speeds for takeoff during the CDU preflight, we do not expect to see the NO
VSPD message on the CDU. But for reference, this is what it looks like:

If you see this message, you should go back to the CDU TAKEOFF REF page and enter the V-speeds.

You should also verify that the flight mode annunciators are correct. The autothrottle, roll, and pitch modes
should all be blank:

And finally, the autopilot flight director system (AFDS) status should be FD, indicating that the flight director is
on and that the autopilot is off:

BRAKE TEMP light .................................................................................... Verify Extinguished

This light is not installed in the NGX.

Standby instruments ...................................................................................................... Check

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 91


The NGX comes with different standby instrument options. In our case we are using the integrated standby
flight display (ISFD) option. This is an advanced instrument that has its own inertial source and is capable of
displaying attitude, airspeed, altitude, ILS, and magnetic heading in the event that other flight instruments fail.
It is located to the right of the captain’s outboard display unit:

Begin by verifying that the approach mode display is blank:

You can use the APP button to toggle between blank, APP (ILS approach indications), and BCRS (back course
localizer approach). Right now this area should be blank.

Set the standby altimeter to current KIAH pressure, 29.92 IN, by turning the white selector in the lower-right
corner of the instrument (you can toggle display between InHg and hPa using the HP/IN button).

Finally you should verify that no flags or error messages are displayed on the ISFD, and that the indications are
correct (cross-reference with your primary instruments).

Below the ISFD is the standby radio magnetic indicator (RMI):

92 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The two indicator arrows can point to either VOR or ADF beacons. You can leave these in the VOR setting.

Engine display control panel ............................................................................................... Set

Begin by verifying that the N1 SET selector is in the AUTO position:

With the outer part of the selector in the AUTO position, the N1 reference bugs for both engines are set
automatically by the FMC. In our case, with a combined TO-2 fixed derate and an assumed temperature of
34°C, the N1 limit for both engines is set to 89.8% as you can see on the primary engine display40:

40
Again, you may have slightly different values here

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 93


You can set the N1 limit manually if you like, by rotating the outer selector to “1” (for engine no. 1), “2”, or
BOTH and using the inner selector to set the green bug to the desired value. Normally this selector would be
left in AUTO.

Verify that the SPD REF selector is in the AUTO position:

By moving the outer selector to one of the other positions (V1, VR, etc.) you can manually set the speed bugs
on the airspeed indicator (see FCOMv2 page 10.15.7 for an explanation of each setting). In our case we just
want to verify that this selector is in the AUTO position.

Right-click on the FUEL FLOW switch to move it to the RESET position:

This resets the fuel used indication to zero. To show the fuel used at any time, left-click on the switch to move
it to the USED position. This will cause the fuel used for each engine to be displayed on the primary engine
display for 10 seconds instead of the fuel flow. The switch is spring-loaded and will automatically return to the
center position after use.

AUTO BRAKE select switch ..............................................................................................RTO

The AUTO BRAKE select switch is located on the forward panel, towards the center:

94 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The auto brake system uses hydraulic pressure to provide maximum braking in the event of a rejected takeoff,
and braking at a preselected rate during landings. Use the mouse wheel or left-click on the selector to move it
to the RTO position. The AUTO BRAKE DISARM light above the selector should come on momentarily, then
extinguish.

ANTISKID INOP light ................................................................................. Verify extinguished

This light illuminates in the event of a failure in the antiskid system. It should be extinguished at this point.

Landing Gear Panel ............................................................................................................ Set

Already completed during the electrical power up.

GROUND PROXIMITY panel ......................................................................................... Check

The ground proximity warning system (GPWS) uses an internal terrain database to monitor and warn against
potential terrain conflicts. At this point you should verify that the GPWS switches on the right forward panel
(the FO’s side) are all in their normal, guarded position:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 95


You can selectively inhibit portions of the GPWS system if you know that a certain flight path is likely to trigger
false warnings. To do this you would open the guard and move the switch below to the INHIBIT position. At
this point, however, they should all be in the guarded NORM position.

Also verify that the GPWS INOP light is extinguished:

SPEED BRAKE lever ......................................................................................... DOWN detent

Begin by verifying that the SPEED BRAKE ARMED and SPEED BRAKE DO NOT ARM lights (located on the front
panel above the captain’s outboard display unit) are extinguished:

96 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Move further to the right and verify that the SPEEDBRAKES EXTENDED light above the FO’s outboard DU is also
extinguished:

Then move down to the control stand and make sure that the speed brake lever is fully forward and locked into
the DOWN detent:

The speed brake lever can be used both on the ground and in flight. In flight it is used to raise the four flight
spoiler panels on each wing, to increase drag and reduce lift. On the ground it also causes two ground spoiler
panels on each wing to raise in addition to the flight spoilers.

It is worth noting that the NGX’ speed brakes should not be armed for takeoff. The speed brakes will
automatically deploy in the event of a rejected takeoff if speed is above 60 knots, thrust is retarded to idle, and
reversers are engaged.

Reverse thrust levers ...................................................................................................... Down

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 97


The reverse thrust levers are the two small levers on the control stand, located in front of the two large
forward thrust levers. With the forward thrust levers in the IDLE position, the reversers on each engine can be
deployed by lifting and pulling back on these levers. At this point they should be down, as shown above.

Forward thrust levers .................................................................................................... Closed

The forward thrust levers are the big ones located aft of the reverse thrust levers. They should be pulled fully
back to the closed position.

FLAP lever .......................................................................................................................... Set

The flap lever is located on the right side of the control stand:

At this point you should verify that the flap lever position matches the actual position of the flaps and slats on
the airplane. In most cases the previous crew would have left the airplane with the flaps and slats retracted, so
the action here is to verify that the flap lever is securely locked in the 0 detent. (If the position of this lever is

98 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


different from the actual slats/flaps position, they will begin to move when hydraulic pressure is established,
something that could endanger crew working around the airplane).

Parking brake...................................................................................................................... Set

Pull the parking brake lever on the control stand and verify that the red parking brake light is illuminated:

Engine start levers ..................................................................................................... CUTOFF

The engine start levers are located on the aft side of the control stand. In the CUTOFF (down) position, the spar
and engine fuel shutoff valves are closed and the ignition system is turned off. They should be in CUTOFF at this
time.

STABILIZER TRIM cutout switches........................................................................... NORMAL

These switches are located to the right of the engine start levers:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 99


Pitch trim on the NGX works by adjusting the angle of the horizontal stabilizer up or down. This can be done in
three different ways:

 manually, by rotating the trim wheels


 electrically, by using trim switches on the control wheel,
 by letting the autopilot operate the electric stabilizer trim

The MAIN ELECT cutout (left) and the AUTOPILOT cutout (right) switches can be used to disable electric and/or
autopilot stabilizer trim if these are not working correctly. This is done by clicking on the guard below the
switch first to pull it back, then clicking on the switch itself to move the switch to the CUTOUT position. During
normal operation both switches should be in the guarded NORMAL position.

CARGO FIRE panel ....................................................................................................... Check

The cargo fire panel is located on the aft electronic panel:

Begin by ensuring that the DET SELECT switches are in the NORM position. The smoke detectors in the forward
and aft cargo holds are normally operated in a dual loop configuration where both detection loops must
register smoke before an alert is generated in the cockpit. Moving either of these switches allows you to use
the system in a single loop configuration if desired.

There are two fire extinguishing bottles that can be used to fight cargo fires. To use a bottle to fight a fire in
either of the cargo holds, first push the FWD or AFT ARM buttons, then open the plastic guard over the DISCH

100 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


button and depress the button to fire a bottle into the selected cargo hold. Repeat the process to fire the
second bottle if required.

Push the TEST button to test the system:

You should hear the fire bell, and the master FIRE WARN lights in both sides of the cockpit should be
illuminated:

Push the FIRE WARN light to silence the bell and verify the following:

 Both the master FIRE WARN lights on the glareshield panel extinguish
 The red FWD and AFT cargo fire warning lights on the cargo fire panel stay illuminated
 The DETECTOR FAULT light in the upper right corner of the cargo fire panel stays extinguished
 The two green EXTINGUISHER test lights stay illuminated
 The DISCH light below the plastic guard stays illuminated

Terminate the test by pressing TEST a second time.

VHF communications radios ............................................................................................... Set

The NGX has three VHF radios and two HF radios for voice communications. All radios can be tuned from any of
the three radio tuning panels on the aft electronic panel, by pressing the appropriate radio tuning switch:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 101


In the image above VHF radio 1 is selected for tuning. To select a new frequency, use the frequency selector
knob in the bottom right of the panel to set the frequency in the STANDBY window, then use the frequency
transfer switch in the middle to swap the ACTIVE and STANDBY frequencies:

When tuning a VHF radio, the outer part of the frequency selector changes the frequency in 1MHz increments,
and rotating the inner part of the selector changes the digits after the decimal point 25 KHz increments41.

To tune a HF radio, select either HF 1 or HF 2 on the radio tuning panel:

The process of tuning a HF radio is similar to VHF frequency setting, except that the outer part of the selector
adjusts the frequency in 100 KHz increments and the inner part in 1 KHz increments42.

VHF NAVIGATION radios ..............................................................................Set for departure

The NGX has two VHF navigation radios, located on the left and right side of the aft communication panel:

41
FSX communication radios do not show the last digit, so frequencies 118.000 – 118.025 – 118.050 – 118.075 are shown
as 118.00 – 118.02 – 118.05 – 118.07 etc. The third digit is shown in the real airplane. Also note that the frequency
selectors in the real 737NG lets the pilots tune the communication radios in 8.33 KHz increments to meet requirements
for operation in European RVSM airspace.
42
HF radios have no practical use in FSX.

102 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The NAV radios are tuned in exactly the same way as the VHF COM radios.

As discussed above, during departure we would like to use the VORs from the Junction Seven SID chart to
double-check that LNAV is taking us along the correct route. I suggest you set the radios up as follows:

 The Humble VOR (IAH, 116.6 MHz) as the active frequency on NAV1
 The College Station VOR (CLL, 113.3 MHz) active on NAV2

The first two waypoints on our departure route, CUZZZ and ZUUUU are defined as intersections of radials from
these two VORs.

 The San Antonio VOR (SAT, 116.8 MHz) as the standby frequency on NAV2

Once past ZUUU we don’t need to track the CLL VOR anymore, so at this point we can swap the frequencies on
NAV2 to make SAT VOR active. This will allow us to check when we pass PUFER.

 The Junction VOR (JCT, 116.0 MHz) as the standby frequency on NAV1

After PUFER, the next waypoint SPURS is defined using radials from SAT and JCT VORs. The final waypoint on
the SID is the JCT VOR itself.

Audio control panel ............................................................................................................ Set

There are two audio control panels (ACPs) on each side of the aft electronic panel, one for each pilot:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 103


The top row of MIC SELECTOR buttons lets you select which system (VHF or HF radio, flight or service
interphone system, or PA system) is used for transmission. Only one of these can be active at any time.

The two rows of pushbuttons in the middle of the panel let you select which system to receive audio from:

More than one of these can be depressed at any time to let you hear audio from multiple sources. In addition
to voice communications from ATC you may want to listen to an ADF Morse code, for example. You should
make sure that the VHF 1 button is depressed43.

The remaining switches and selectors on the ACP have no function in FSX, but if you would like to know what
they do, you can find a description in FCOMv2 pages 5.10.6-5.10.7.

ADF radio ........................................................................................................................... Set

There is one ADF radio receiver in the NGX. It can be tuned from the ADF panel, located just aft of the audio
control panel:

We will not need the ADF receiver on this flight. Tuning works in the same way as with the COM and NAV
radios.

Weather radar panel ........................................................................................................... Set

The weather radar is not implemented in the NGX. The panel is there, however, just aft of the cargo fire panel:

43
This is not actually necessary in the NGX, you will hear voice on COM1 regardless of the position of this switch –
probably because of FSX limitations. Also, in the real airplane these buttons can be turned to adjust volumes for each
system individually, but this is not implemented in the NGX.

104 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Transponder panel .............................................................................................................. Set

The NGX has two transponders; you can select which one to use with the XPNDR selector in the upper left
portion of the panel. You can also choose which air data computer supplies altitude information when the
transponder is queried by ATC radar, by selecting “1” or “2” with the ALT SOURCE selector.

Use the two knobs at the bottom of the panel to set the transponder code. Each knob has an inner and outer
selector, so watch the color of the hand icon as you mouse over the selectors.

Leave the transponder in STBY for now.

STABILIZER TRIM override switch ..................................................................... Guard closed

The STAB TRIM switch is found on the aft right-hand side of the aft electronic panel:

As discussed above, pitch trim on the NGX works by adjusting the angle of the horizontal stabilizer up or down.
The pilot can do this directly using electric trim from buttons on the yoke or by manually turning one of the
trim wheels. The autopilot can also operate the electric stabilizer trim.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Preflight Procedure 105


With the STAB TRIM switch in the guarded NORM position, if the electric stabilizer trim is operating and the
control column is moved in the opposite direction, the electric trim will stop so as not to fight against pilot
input.

If the guard is opened and the STAB TRIM switch is moved to OVRD, the electric trim will continue to work
regardless of inputs on the control column. One possible use of this is using the trim to retain some pitch
control in the event of a jammed elevator.

At this point this switch should be in the guarded NORM position.

Seat ............................................................................................................................... Adjust

Rudder pedals ............................................................................................................... Adjust

Seat belt and shoulder harness...................................................................................... Adjust

No real use for these items in FSX.

Preflight Checklist
Complete the preflight preparations by running through the preflight checklist, found in the QRH on page NC.1:

106 Preflight Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Before Start Procedure
Once passenger boarding and cargo loading has completed and all the necessary papers have been signed off,
we can begin preparing for engine start.

APU ..................................................................................................................................Start

We have postponed starting the APU until now because many airports place restrictions on APU use due to
noise considerations.44 But since we will need air pressure for engine start shortly, now is a good time to get
the APU ready.

The auxiliary power unit (APU) is basically a third jet engine designed to provide electricity and bleed air. It is a
self-contained unit mounted in the tail of the airplane. It uses fuel from the left main tank for operation, so
begin by turning on one of the AC fuel pumps on the left side to provide fuel pressure to the APU:

(Since we have more than 1,000 lbs fuel in the center tank, we could have turned on the left center tank pump
instead. This will prevent a fuel imbalance to develop if the APU is run for an extended period while on the
ground. In our case it doesn’t matter since the APU will only be running for a few minutes).

Now left-click twice on the APU START switch to move it to the START position:

The APU START switch will move back to the ON position by itself after a few moments.

44
As far as I can tell there are no such restrictions in place at KIAH, so you could have started the APU sooner on this flight
– to keep the passengers cool during boarding, for example. APU usage restrictions seem to be more common in Europe
than in the US.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Start Procedure 107


The APU start procedure is completely automatic, and it will abort the start if an abnormal situation is
encountered. There is no need to monitor this process, so you can continue with the other steps of the before
start procedure while the APU gets itself ready45.

Flight deck door .......................................................................................... Closed and locked

Turn around in your seat and verify that the door to the flight deck is closed. Then look down to the FLT DK
DOOR controls located at the aft right end of the aft electronic panel:

Verify that the selector is in the AUTO position. Also ensure that the LOCK FAIL light is extinguished.

CDU display ........................................................................................................................ Set

In most cases the pilot flying should select the TAKEOFF REF page (to have N1 and trim settings and V-speeds at
hand for easy reference), while the pilot monitoring should display the LEGS page (for easy access to altitude
restrictions and if ATC issues “direct” instructions or other route changes during departure):

In the NGX we will be using the left CDU to remove ground power and chocks, and to handle pushback. After
those actions are complete you should set the left CDU display back to the TAKEOFF REF page.

N1 bugs ......................................................................................................................... Check

The N1 bugs are located on the primary engine display:


45
If you decide to watch the overhead as the APU comes on line, you will see a LOW OIL PRESSURE light illuminate
momentarily above the APU EGT gauge, and the EGT gauge will increase to around 800°C, and then drop to around 400°C.

108 Before Start Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Verify that the position of the green bugs and the green N1 limit figures for each engine correspond to the N1
setting on the CDU TAKEOFF REF page (89.8% in this example).

MCP.................................................................................................................................... Set

At this point we are ready to complete setup of the mode control panel. Begin by arming the autothrottle
system by clicking on the A/T ARM switch.

With the A/T switch in the ARM position, the autothrottles will automatically engage and set the correct N1
thrust for takeoff when TO/GA mode is engaged.

Next set the IAS selector to the V2 speed from the CDU TAKEOFF REF page:

After takeoff the flight director pitch bar (the horizontal bar) will command 15 degrees nose up until a positive
climb rate is established. The flight director will then automatically adjust pitch such that an airspeed of V2 + 20
knots is achieved – 166 knots in our case46.

46
The IAS/MACH window will continue to show the V2 speed in this phase of the climb, but the actual speed that the pitch
bars command is 20 knots on top of that value.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Start Procedure 109


Clearance delivery has given us an initial climb altitude of 4,000’ and instructed us to fly runway heading after
takeoff. Once airborne we can then expect ATC to give us vectors until we reach CUZZZ (or some other position
from where ATC tells us to resume own navigation).

Looking at the KIAH airport diagram we can see that the runway 09 heading is 87°. Set this value in the
HEADING window and 4,000’ in the ALTITUDE window:

Note that we cannot use LNAV on this departure, since this would have us turning toward CUZZZ at 400’ AGL,
which most likely isn’t what ATC wants us to do.

With the U10.8A FMC software version that PMDG has modeled, Boeing recommends that we arm VNAV on
the ground and let the FMC handle the vertical profile and speed during departure. Press VNAV on the MCP
and verify that the green light on the button illuminates:

The selections we made on the MCP are reflected on the primary flight display:

110 Before Start Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Taxi and Takeoff briefings ......................................................................................... Complete

With a two-person crew the pilot performing the takeoff would be responsible for briefing the other pilot on
the procedures to follow during taxi and takeoff, including what actions to take in the event of a failure or
emergency.

Since you are flying alone you probably will not bother with a formal briefing. However, if you are flying online
you may want to at least think through the following:

 How will I get from my parking position to the active runway? Especially when using default scenery
there may well be differences between taxiway names on charts and what you will actually see while
taxiing.
 What is the tower frequency? You will want to have this in the standby window in your COM radio.
 What exactly am I supposed to do after takeoff? Make sure you understand your clearance – in our
case we should fly runway heading and climb to 4,000’ initially.
 What frequency should I use to contact departure after takeoff? Once you are switched from ground to
the tower frequency during taxi, you should set the departure frequency in the standby window so you
don’t have to fiddle with it right after takeoff.

Exterior doors ...................................................................................................... Verify closed

Verify that all the door lights on the overhead panel are extinguished. These lights are located right of center
on the overhead, immediately forward from the hydraulic panel:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Start Procedure 111


We did not actually open the doors at any time, so if you have been following this guide to the letter, this area
should be dark. But for reference the doors can be opened and closed from the CDU by pressing the MENU key
on the CDU keypad, then selecting FS ACTIONS> (LSK5 RIGHT) and <DOORS (LSK4 LEFT):

Press the LSK next to the door you want to open/close.

Flight deck windows .................................................................................... Closed and locked

No action required, as the flight deck windows in the NGX cannot be opened.

APU GENERATOR bus switches ........................................................................................ ON

Go back to the overhead panel and verify that the APU GEN OFF BUS lights are illuminated:

112 Before Start Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


With this light illuminated the APU is fully ready to support both electric and bleed air loads. Left-click on the
two APU GEN switches to move them to the ON position:

The APU GEN switches will automatically move back to the center position. Verify that the APU GEN OFF BUS
light has extinguished, and that the two SOURCE OFF lights are also extinguished:

At this point we are done with the external power. Use the CDU to instruct the ground crew to disconnect the
external power source by pressing MENU on the CDU keypad, followed by FS ACTIONS> (LSK5 RIGHT), <GROUND
CONNECTIONS (LSK 3 LEFT), and press LSK2 LEFT to remove ground power:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Start Procedure 113


While you are talking to the ground crew get their permission to pressurize the hydraulic system (the ground
crew will want to ensure that all hydraulically powered control surfaces etc. are clear of equipment and people,
just in case something moves when pressure is established). Then move the ELECTRIC HYDRAULIC pump A and
B switches to the ON position and verify that the LOW PRESSURE lights extinguish:

Press the SYS MFD switch on the center forward panel:

Next look down to the lower DU and verify that the hydraulic system A and B pressure is at least 2,800 psi:

114 Before Start Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Now move down to the front panel, in front of the FO, and verify that brake pressure is at least 2,800 psi:

With the brakes set you can tell the ground crew to remove the wheel chocks. Open the CDU to the page
where we connected / disconnected external power and press LSK1 LEFT:

Don’t attempt to remove the wheel chocks until you have the APU generators on line, or you will have to get
on the PA and explain to your passengers why the airplane suddenly lost all electrical power.

Air conditioning panel .......................................................................................................... Set

Left-click twice on the ISOLATION VALVE switch to move it to the OPEN position:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Start Procedure 115


The left and right sides of the bleed air system are normally isolated from each other. APU bleed air feeds into
the left bleed air duct, so to make APU air pressure available to start the right engine we need the isolation
valve open.

Next left-click to open the APU bleed valve:

If you look at the DUCT PRESS gauge (above the isolation valve), you should see the duct pressure increase to
around 24 psi, then drop back down below 10 psi. This is because the APU will adjust the bleed air pressure to
match the actual demand on the system, and at the moment there are no bleed air consumers47.

Now turn switch on the engine bleeds by left-clicking on the switches to each side of the APU BLEED switch:

Finally verify that the DUAL BLEED light is illuminated:

47
To see this in action, try moving both the L and R PACK switches (located on each side of the isolation valve) to the
AUTO position. You should see an increase in bleed air pressure to match the demand from the air conditioning packs.
Now try to turn one of the packs off, by right-clicking its switch; you should see a large increase in duct pressure in this
configuration. More bleed pressure is required when a single pack is used to cool and pressurize the airplane on its own
than when both packs are operating. Switch both packs off again before engine start.

116 Before Start Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


With the current configuration of the bleed air system it is possible that bleed air from the engines could
backpressure the APU, which could cause an APU failure. As long as this light remains on (which it will in our
case until we turn the APU bleed off), the engine thrust levers should never be advanced above the IDLE
position.

Once the first engine is running it is possible to start the second engine without the APU, using bleed air from
the running engine. However, to provide sufficient bleed air pressure for a cross-bleed start the running engine
must be advanced significantly above idle thrust. You will want to make sure that there is nothing behind the
airplane that could be damaged by the resulting jet blast if you do this. The procedure is described in FCOMv1,
page SP.7.5.

Start clearance............................................................................................................... Obtain

Call the ground controller and obtain clearance to start the engines. In the following we will assume that you
have been cleared to push back from the parking stand and start engines, with an instruction to call the ground
controller again when you are ready to taxi.

Fuel Panel........................................................................................................................... Set

At this point we should turn on the remaining main tank fuel pumps to provide fuel pressure to the engines. As
long as we have more than 1,000 lbs of fuel in the center tank, we should also turn on the two center tank fuel
pumps (we have approximately 5,500 lbs fuel in the center tank):

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Start Procedure 117


After turning on the AC fuel pumps you should verify that all the associated LOW PRESSURE lights have
extinguished.

The fuel pumps are cooled and lubricated by the fuel passing through the pumps. The concern with the center
tank pumps is that if they are allowed to run for an extended period with insufficient fuel in the tank, they may
overheat or cause friction sparks that could serve as an ignition source for fuel vapors in the center tank.

ANTI COLLISION light switch ............................................................................................. ON

Left click the ANTI COLLISION light switch to move it to the ON position:

This serves as a visual warning to anyone near the aircraft that we are getting ready to start our engines.

Trim .................................................................................................................................... Set

Open the CDU TAKEOFF REF page and find the stabilizer trim to use for takeoff:

Now use your trim controls (or turn the trim wheel) to set the stabilizer trim to this value:

118 Before Start Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


You can set the stabilizer trim very close to the CDU value if you enable cockpit tooltips. I normally leave
tooltips off, though, and just eyeball the trim according to the numbers on the STAB TRIM scale. Whatever
method you use, you should always end up with a setting somewhere in the green TAKE-OFF range.

Now move to the aft end of the aft electronic panel and verify that the rudder trim shows 0 units:

In the same area, make sure that the two spring loaded aileron trim switches are centered:

Finally, move your viewpoint to a position from where you can look down on the control column and verify that
the aileron trim gauge shows 0 units:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Start Procedure 119


Before Start Checklist
Complete the before start procedure by going through the before start checklist:

120 Before Start Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Pushback
In the real world the flight crew will often be starting the engines while the airplane is being pushed back,
however in this tutorial we are going to perform the pushback first, then start the engines once the pushback
has completed. This is simply to avoid having too many things going on at the same time - feel free to combine
the two procedures if you think that works better for you.

Press the MENU key on the CDU keypad:

Press LSK5 RIGHT next to the FS ACTIONS> prompt, then LSK5 LEFT next to the <PUSHBACK prompt:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Pushback 121


From gate E16 we would like to be pushed back so the aircraft’s nose is turned 90° to the right and far enough
that we end up with our nose wheel on the yellow line. Use the CDU keypad to enter “90” in the scratchpad,
and then use LSK4 LEFT to insert this value below DEGREES:

Deciding how far to push straight back before the pushback truck begins turning the aircraft can be difficult.
The pushback procedure makes very wide turns, so if you are not careful you will end up with your tail inside
the terminal building. Usually you need less than the default 131’. In our case 10 feet will work well, so enter
“10” in the scratchpad and press LSK1 LEFT:

Now press LSK5 LEFT to start the pushback. You will hear a dialogue between the captain and the ground crew,
all you have to do is release the parking brake when instructed to do so and monitor the pushback. I suggest
that you shift to an outside view for the pushback, so you can see where you are going. If you have misjudged

122 Pushback | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


the distance or angle, you can press LSK5 left NEXT to the <STOP prompt to interrupt the pushback at any
time48:

Set the parking brake again when the ground crew instructs you to do so and verify brake pressure is at least
2,800 psi:

We can now proceed with starting our engines.

48
Behind the scenes the NGX uses the default FSX pushback mechanism (Shift-P to push back, “1” to turn tail to the left
“2” to make tail go right). So don’t press the “1” or “2” keys on your keyboard while the airplane is being pushed back,
unless you want to change direction.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Pushback 123


Engine Start
At a very basic level, a jet engine works by compressing air that enters in the front of the engine, mixing the
compressed air with fuel and igniting the fuel/air mixture somewhere in the middle of the engine, and then
letting the hot exhaust gases exit through the rear at high pressure to provide thrust.

(Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Once a jet engine is running this process is continuous and self-sustaining, but to get things going we need air
flowing through the engine, and we need to add fuel and a spark at the right moment to start the combustion
process. We get the air flow going by opening a start valve that lets bleed air from the APU into a starter motor
on the engine which turns the high-pressure turbine and compressor (the purple part of the diagram). The rate
of rotation of these parts of the engine is indicated on our secondary engine instruments (on the lower DU) as
an N2 value.

When the high-pressure parts of the engine are rotating fast enough (usually 25% N2) we can add fuel and
spark by moving the engine start lever (on the aft side of the control stand) to the IDLE position. If we succeed
in getting the combustion process going, we will see an increase in exhaust gas temperature (EGT) on the
primary engine instruments and an increase in fuel flow on the secondary engine instruments.

124 Engine Start | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The hot and expanding exhaust gases pass through and turn the high-pressure turbine, which in turn drives the
high-pressure compressor. When the rotation rate reaches approximately 56% N2 the starter motor is no
longer necessary to keep the engine running and the start valve will automatically close.

The exhaust gases also pass through a low-pressure turbine, which is connected by a shaft to the big fan and
the low-pressure compressor in the front of the engine (green parts of the diagram). The rotation rate of these
parts of the engine is shown on our primary engine instruments as an N1 value. Before you add fuel and spark
you will see a slight increase in N1 – around 2% - simply because the starter motor causes air to flow through
the engine. When combustion starts you should see a steady increase in N1. After the starter motor cuts out
and the engine stabilizes you should see around 20% N1 at idle thrust.

Note that there is no mechanical linkage between the high-pressure (N2) and the low-pressure (N1) parts of the
engine. The low-pressure and high-pressure shafts are coaxial, but do not interact mechanically.

So to summarize the start process:

1. Open the start valve by moving the engine start switch on the overhead to the GND position. Wait for
N2 to reach 25%49
2. Lift the engine start lever to the IDLE position. Verify that you get an increase in EGT and fuel flow, and
that N1 rotation begins to increase.
3. Keep monitoring the start process until the engine start motor cuts out at around 56% N2 and the
engine stabilizes at around 20% N1. Also verify that you have a positive oil pressure indication on the
secondary engine instruments by the time the engine stabilizes.

Before we proceed with starting our engines, take another look at the diagram above. As you can see, a large
portion of the air passing through the fan in front of the engine never enters the engine core, but passes
around it and exits at the back. A significant part of the thrust generated by the NGX’ CFM56-7 engines derives
from this bypass air. Over the range of speeds at which an airliner operates, high-bypass turbofan engines such
as these are more economical and less noisy than engines with lower bypass ratios. (The bypass ratio of the
CMF56-7 is around 5:1; older turbofan engines such as the JT8D used on 727s, 737-100s and -200s, DC-9s and
MD-80s have a bypass ratio of approximately 1:1).

Engine Start Procedure


Begin by making sure that you have the secondary engine instruments displayed on the lower DU. If the lower
DU is blank, press the ENG MFD button:

49
In some cases you will not be able to achieve 25% N2. You can proceed with the engine start once N 2 reaches 20% or
above, at the point where N2 acceleration decreases to less than 1% in 5 seconds (called “max motoring”).

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Engine Start 125


Alternatively, you can display the secondary engine instruments on the captain’s inboard DU by rotating the
MAIN PANEL DUs selector to the MFD position:

Regardless of how you arrange the DUs, you should position your view such that you have easy access to both
primary and secondary engine instruments:

Air conditioning PACK switches ........................................................................................ OFF

The packs should be off during engine start to ensure we have sufficient APU bleed air pressure for the start
motors. This should already be the case since we didn’t turn them on, but you should verify nonetheless:

126 Engine Start | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Start sequence......................................................................................................... Announce

With a two-person flight crew, the captain will tell the FO which engine to start first. We will follow common
practice and start engine no. 2 first (the engine on the right wing), followed by engine no. 1.

ENGINE START switch.................................................................................................... GRD

The ENGINE START switches are located on the forward overhead:

Left-click or use the mouse wheel to turn the no. 2 ENGINE START switch on the right to the GRD position. Now
look for the following indications:

On the primary engine display, verify that the engine 2 start valve has opened:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Engine Start 127


On the secondary engine display, verify that N2 is increasing:

On the primary engine display you should also see a slight increase in N1 from the air that is beginning to flow
through the engine, and on the secondary engine display you will begin to see an increase in oil pressure.

Keep monitoring the engine until N2 is above 25%:

Engine start lever ............................................................................................................. IDLE

At this point we are ready to add fuel and spark to get combustion going. Click on the engine no. 2 start lever to
move it from CUTOFF to the IDLE detent:

128 Engine Start | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


This opens the fuel shutoff valves on the wing spar and on the engine. It also causes the electronic engine
controller (EEC) to begin injecting the correct amount of fuel into the combustion chamber, and the EEC will
turn on the engine igniter to provide the spark.

At this point you should look first for an increase in exhaust gas temperature, shortly after followed by an
increase in fuel flow to indicate that the engine is now burning fuel:

The EGT limit during engine start is 725°C (the first red mark on the EGT gauge). If you see the EGT rapidly
approaching this value, move the engine start lever back down to the CUTOFF position.

You should also look for a steady increase in N1:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Engine Start 129


The next event we are looking for is for the no. 2 ENGINE START switch on the overhead to jump back to the
OFF position. This will occur around 56% N2, and there will be an audible click sound from the switch when this
happens.

Keep monitoring the engine until it stabilizes at around 20% N1 and 60% N2. Verify that both the START VALVE
OPEN and the LOW OIL PRESSURE lights on the primary engine display have extinguished:

Now repeat the process for the no. 1 engine.

There is a post in the NGX forum titled RW NG techniques if you are interested. Among the many memory aids
and useful tips listed in that post is a “2-4-6-6” rule for a successful engine start. After starting an engine on the
NGX you should have the following indications (approximately):

2 – 20% N1
4 – 400°C EGT
6 – 60% N2
6 – 600 pounds per hour fuel flow per engine

130 Engine Start | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Before Taxi Procedure
With both engines running we are almost ready for the short taxi to KIAHs runway 09, but we have a couple
more tasks to accomplish first. First we can bring the engine generators on line, which will allow us to shut
down the APU. We should also configure the air system for flight, and set flaps for takeoff.

GENERATOR 1 and 2 switches .......................................................................................... On

Left-click on the GEN 1 and GEN 2 switches on the overhead and verify that the GEN OFF BUS lights extinguish:

Also verify that the APU GEN OFF BUS light illuminates to indicate that the APU generator is no longer
connected to the NGX’ electrical system.

PROBE HEAT switches ...................................................................................................... ON

Move the two PROBE HEAT switches on the overhead panel to the ON position and verify that the four probe
heat lights on each side of the switches extinguish:

The pitot tubes, the total air temperature sensor, and the angle of attack sensors are now electrically heated to
prevent them from icing up in flight.

WING ANTI-ICE switch ........................................................................................... As needed

The wing and engine anti-ice switches are located on the overhead forward of the PROBE HEAT switches:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Taxi Procedure 131


We will not be using wing anti-ice on this flight. In general, wing anti-ice should be used on the ground if
operating in icing conditions50. In the air it can be used to remove ice that has already accumulated on the
inboard leading edge slats. Wing anti-ice should be off for takeoff (the switch automatically trips off after liftoff
if left in the ON position).

ENGINE ANTI-ICE switches ................................................................................... As needed

As with wing anti-ice we do not need engine anti-ice on this departure. Engine anti-ice should always be on
during operation in icing conditions, however, to prevent ice from forming on the engine cowl lips and breaking
off and damaging the engine. This includes using engine anti-ice during takeoff. If you want more detail on how
to operate the NGX in icing conditions this topic is covered in detail in FCOMv1, pages SP.16.1 – 18.

PACK switches ................................................................................................................. Auto

Left-click on the L PACK and R PACK switches to move them to the AUTO (middle) position:

The two air conditioning packs in the NGX normally operate in a low airflow setting, but if a pack should fail the
other is capable of maintaining pressurization and adequate temperature control by switching to a high-flow
mode. With the pack switches in AUTO, in the event of a pack failure the remaining air conditioning pack will
automatically switch to high airflow mode.

ISOLATION VALVE switch ............................................................................................ AUTO

Right-click on the ISOLATION VALVE switch to move it from OPEN to the AUTO (middle) position:

50
For our purposes we can define ”icing conditions” as total air temperature (outside air temperature on the ground)
below 10°C and visible moisture such as rain, snow, clouds or fog present.

132 Before Taxi Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


During normal operation, with both engines supplying bleed air and both packs running, when the isolation
valve switch is in the AUTO position the isolation valve will close to isolate the left and right sides of the bleed
air system. It will automatically open

 If an engine bleed is turned off, to let bleed air from the other engine reach both air conditioning packs
 If a pack is turned off, to let bleed air from both engines reach the remaining pack (which will now
operate in high-flow mode, thus needing more bleed air).

APU BLEED air switch ...................................................................................................... OFF

Right-click on the APU BLEED switch to move it to the OFF position:

APU switch ....................................................................................................................... OFF

Right-click on the APU switch to turn off the APU:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Taxi Procedure 133


When you move the APU switch to OFF, the APU continues to run for one minute to ensure that it has time to
cool down a bit after having supplied bleed air. Shutdown occurs automatically after one minute, and you do
not need to monitor this process.

(If for some reason you need to shut the APU down immediately, without going through the one-minute cool
down period, you can do this by pulling the red APU fire handle just aft of the control stand.)

ENGINE START switches .............................................................................................. CONT

Rotate the two ENGINE START switches on the overhead to the CONT position:

As previously discussed there are two ignition systems in each engine, IGN L and IGN R. Once the engines are
running there is no need for an external ignition source, but letting the igniters operate during takeoff provides
some extra protection against engine flameout in this critical phase of flight.

With the engine start switches in CONT the selected igniter in each engine (IGN R in the picture above) is
operating continuously. If the electronic engine controller detects a flameout after takeoff (i.e. if N2 drops
below the expected idle thrust value), both igniters in the affected engine will be energized to maximize the
chance of engine restart.

When flying in heavy turbulence or precipitation, or if you need to restart an engine in flight, both ignition
systems can be turned on by moving the engine start switches to FLT.

Engine start levers ................................................................................................ IDLE detent

Verify that both engine start levers are securely locked in the IDLE detent:

134 Before Taxi Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


In the real airplane you can confirm this by rocking the levers a bit; in the NGX you will have to confirm this
visually.

Flap lever ........................................................................................................ Set takeoff flaps

Verify that the ground equipment is clear of the airplane, and then set takeoff flaps (flaps 5 in our case):

In the real airplane you would lift the flap lever and move it into the “5” detent, then move it a bit back and
forth to make sure it was correctly settled into the detent. In the NGX you will have to confirm this visually.

Verify that the flap position indicator agrees with the flap lever, and that the green LE FLAPS EXT light is
illuminated:

Flight controls ................................................................................................................ Check

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Taxi Procedure 135


Press the SYS MDF button to display the position of the flight control surfaces on the lower DU51:

Begin by turning your control wheel all the way to the left and verify that the ailerons on the left side move up
and the ailerons on the right side move down. You should also see the flight spoilers on the left side move up a
bit to assist with roll control. Repeat the check by rolling the control wheel all the way to the right.

Move the control column fully forward and verify that the elevators deflect fully down, then move the rudder
fully left and right and verify full deflection.

When you complete the flight controls check, press the ENG MFD button twice to blank the lower DU and
display the secondary engine indications in a compact format below the primary indications:

Transponder ........................................................................................................... As needed

Some airports (KIAH among them, I believe) use surface movement radar to track aircraft moving on the
ground. Set your transponder (on the aft electronic panel) to XPNDR when operating from an airport with
surface movement radar:

51
Or do something you cannot do in the real plane- change to an outside view to observe the position of the flight control
surfaces directly.

136 Before Taxi Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


In this setting the transponder responds to queries from ATC radar so the ground controller can see who you
are, but the TCAS system is disabled so you will not get traffic advisories (TAs) or resolution advisories (RAs)
when operating the transponder in this mode.

If you are flying online with VATSIM or IVAO it is worth noting that the ground controllers can see the position
of your airplane regardless of transponder setting. On these networks you should keep your transponder in
STBY until entering the departure runway.

Recall............................................................................................................................. Check

Left-click the left or right system annunciator panel to push it in:

Pushing on the amber MASTER CAUTION light will cause any illuminated system annunciator lights to
extinguish. At this point we want to verify that there are no “hidden” master cautions; pushing the system
annunciator panel recalls any faults that still exist.

Note that the left and right system annunciator panels do not show the same faults. After pressing recall you
should check the annunciator panels in both sides of the cockpit (usually you will get an amber MASTER
CAUTION light if any faults persist when you press recall).

There should be no faults at this time, but if there are you should resolve them before continuing.

Before Taxi Checklist


Do the Before Taxi Checklist:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Taxi Procedure 137


138 Before Taxi Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager
Taxi
The Boeing Flight Crew Training Manual (FCTM) has a chapter that discusses how to taxi the real-world
airplane. I’m not going to repeat all that information here; instead I will just highlight a few things I think are
important in FSX.

If you are flying online you would call the controller at this point to let him or her know that you are ready to
taxi. Assuming that no other airplanes are in the way you will then be given instructions on how to get to the
departure runway. Don’t go anywhere until you understand those instructions – ask the controller for
clarification if something doesn’t make sense.

In our case the taxi clearance is simple: “Taxi to holding point runway 9 via SC”. We will follow the yellow line
straight ahead, and then make a right turn followed shortly after by a left turn to join taxiway SC.

Assuming that you have received the all clear from the ground crew, turn on the nose gear taxi light to let
others around you know that you are getting ready to move under your own power:

A good practice is to turn the taxi light off if you are stopping to give way to another airplane, but remember to
turn it back on when you start moving again.

Start taxiing by releasing the parking brake and adding thrust. Use the minimum thrust setting that will get you
going – remember that the engines are quite slow to spool up from idle, so expect a delay of a few seconds
from setting thrust until the airplane begins to move. Once the airplane is moving you can reduce thrust – with
the current aircraft weight you will need to set thrust a bit above idle to keep moving.

You can monitor your ground speed on the primary flight display:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Taxi 139


Try to enter turns at around 10 knots or less. If necessary you can add a little thrust to get you through the
turn; avoid stopping in the turn as you will need a high thrust setting to get going again. While making the first
couple of turns, glance down briefly at your flight instruments and verify that they behave as you would expect
them to during a turn.

20 knots is a good speed for taxiing straight, you can go a bit faster (up to 30 knots) if you have a long, straight
distance to taxi.

Stop at the runway 09 holding point, set the parking brake, turn off the taxi light, and complete the before
takeoff procedure.

140 Taxi | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Before Takeoff Procedure
The before takeoff procedure is very short. Begin by checking how much fuel you have left in the center fuel
tank (center display unit):

In this case we have more than 5,000 lbs fuel in the center tank, so we can leave the center tank fuel pumps off
for takeoff. If you have less than 5,000 lbs, turn of the pumps and turn them back on when you do the after
takeoff checklist.

Notify the cabin crew that takeoff is imminent. One way of doing this is by toggling the CHIME switch on the
overhead a couple of times:

You can also make a PA if you prefer - different airlines follow different procedures. (In a real airplane you
would also verify that the cabin is secure for takeoff. We will assume that we have already received the “cabin
secure” call).

Now call for the before takeoff checklist:

Before Takeoff Checklist

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Before Takeoff Procedure 141


There should be nothing to set at this point, these are verification items only:

 Verify that the flaps handle and the flaps indicator agree that flaps 5 is set
 Verify that the stabilizer trim is set to the value on the CDU TAKEOFF REF page (my value was 5.19,
yours may be slightly different).

142 Before Takeoff Procedure | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Takeoff and Climb
While the main concern during takeoff is getting the airplane safely away from the ground, another important
consideration is limiting the noise impact on the surroundings – after all, airports are typically located close to
where a large number of people work and live. Other than designing airplane engines to be as quiet as
possible, there are two ways of accomplishing this goal:

1. Fly along a ground track that avoids noise-sensitive areas, and


2. Manage the vertical flight path to minimize noise while the airplane is close to the ground

Standard departure routes are designed keep climbing airplanes away from sensitive areas as much as
possible, and noise abatement procedures have been designed to manage noise during the initial climb. There
are two basic strategies, called NADP (noise abatement departure procedure) 1 and NADP 2.

NADP 1 and NADP 2 both have you climbing at V2 + 20 knots until 800’ AGL. If you are flying NADP 1 you will
then pitch down to maintain V2 + 20 knots, reduce thrust to the climb setting, and continue climbing with
takeoff flaps set until above 3,000’ AGL. At this point you lower the nose to accelerate and begin flaps
retraction. The resulting vertical profile looks something like this:

(Source: Captain Pat Boone, www.b737mrg.net)

Flying NADP 2 you should climb at V2 + 20 knots with takeoff thrust until at least 800’ AGL, then reduce to climb
thrust and accelerate to flaps up speed (211 knots in our case, depends on airplane gross weight). Above
3,000’ you can then accelerate to normal climb speed. This profile looks like this:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Takeoff and Climb 143


(Source: Captain Pat Boone, www.b737mrg.net)

The actual noise abatement procedures to follow may differ from airport to airport, but generally speaking
NADP 1 seems to be more common in Europe, with NADP 2 more common in the United States.

We will use NADP 2 on our departure with 1,500’ used for thrust reduction / acceleration altitude, so we can
divide the takeoff procedure into four distinct phases:

1. Takeoff roll and rotation


2. Climb with takeoff thrust to 1,500’ AGL
3. Acceleration and flaps retraction with climb thrust
4. Transition to enroute climb

With the U10.8A FMC software version that PMDG has modeled, Boeing recommends that takeoffs be done
with VNAV armed. Once we climb above 400’ AGL VNAV will become active, and the FMC will manage our
climb speed for us in accordance with the NADP 2 profile.

For this to work, the FMC must be programmed with the correct thrust reduction and acceleration altitudes.
We already did this during the CDU preflight procedure, if you recall, on the CDU TAKEOFF REF 2/2 page:

144 Takeoff and Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The default CDU values for acceleration and thrust reduction height happen to be 1,500’, but these can be
easily changed to accommodate different noise abatement profiles. (More complicated noise abatement
procedures typical of city airports can be programmed by enabling the CUTBACK option using LSK 6 RIGHT on
this CDU page).

We will hand-fly the takeoff and initial climb until flaps and slats have been retracted, and then we will engage
the autopilot to fly the airplane for us while we complete the after takeoff checklist. To simplify matters a bit,
ATC has agreed to let us fly runway heading until the aircraft has been cleaned up.

You will probably want to try the takeoff procedure a couple of times, so I suggest you save your flight at this
point so you can easily come back and try again.

Takeoff Roll and Rotation


When you are cleared to enter the runway, right-click twice on the POSITION light switch on the overhead to
move it up to the STROBE & STEADY position:

This turns on the high-intensity strobe lights which should always be on from the time you enter the departure
runway until you leave the arrival runway.

In our case we are cleared for takeoff (not just to line up and wait), so you should also turn on the landing lights
by left-clicking on the gang bar:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Takeoff and Climb 145


This turns on the two fixed landing lights installed in each wing root, and extends and turns on the two
retractable landing lights inboard of the wings, on the belly of the airplane.

I suggest you take a moment to play with the landing lights. The two switches to the left are three-position
switches; in the middle position the retractable landing lights are extended but not turned on, while the up
(aft) position retracts the lights. If you switch to an outside view and look at the airplane from the front the
difference should be very easy to spot.

Turn on the taxi light; it is mounted on the nose gear, and it will automatically turn off when the nose gear is
retracted. You can also turn on the runway turnoff lights:

The runway turnoff lights are mounted in the wing root next to the fixed landing lights. Their main purpose is
to provide side and forward lighting when turning off the runway (hence the name) and when taxiing, but they
also help increase visibility during takeoff.

Set the transponder to TA/RA:

146 Takeoff and Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


This will enable TCAS traffic advisories (TAs).52 Resolution advisories (RAs) will not become enabled until the
airplane climbs above 1,000’ radio altitude.

Start the elapsed time display on the clock by pressing the ET button:

Release the brakes, and then advance the throttles and taxi into position on the runway. Once you are lined up
with the runway, advance the throttles to approximately 40% N1 and verify that both engines spool up in about
the same time. When both engines have stabilized around 40% N1, click on the TO/GA click spot53 below the
left CRS selector:

The autothrottles will engage and move the thrust levers forward to set the computed takeoff thrust. Verify
that the correct takeoff N1 is set before you reach 60 knots:

52
But note that all TCAS voice alerts are inhibited below 500’ radio altitude.
53
You can also use the default CTRL-SHIFT-G key combination to select TO/GA thrust. (The TO/GA buttons on the thrust
levers also work, but they are not very convenient.)

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Takeoff and Climb 147


The flight director pitch and roll bars will become visible on the PFD once you press TO/GA. Until you reach 60
knots the pitch bar will command 10° nose down, above 60 knots it will command 15° nose up. At this point the
autothrottle should be in N1 mode, roll mode should be blank54, and the pitch mode should be TO/GA, with
VNAV armed:

As your speed increases above 84 knots, the autothrottle mode will change to THR HLD:

In this mode further autothrottle thrust adjustments are inhibited. If a different thrust setting is needed you
can move the throttles manually to the desired position55.

With the default settings you should get an automatic “V1” call. There is no automatic “rotate” call, however –
in the real world this would be made by the pilot monitoring – but on this takeoff VR and V1 happen to be the
same, 140 knots. Once you reach that speed, pull back on the yoke and aim for 15° nose up:

54
The roll mode defaults to blank = wings level. It is possible to change this behavior in the options so the flight director
will command HDG SEL instead on takeoff.
55
Depending on what option you have chosen for ”A/T Manual Override” in the PMDG aircraft equipment options.

148 Takeoff and Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Rotating the airplane at the correct rate with visual clues alone is challenging. It is easy to rotate too fast, with
a tailstrike as the likely outcome. It should take 6-8 seconds from you begin rotating until you hit 15° nose up.

Climb to 1,500’ AGL


Press G on your keyboard to retract the landing gear once the vertical speed indicator on the right side of the
PFD indicates a positive rate of climb:

The flight director pitch bar will command 15° until a sufficient climb rate is acquired, and then it will command
the V2 speed set on the MCP + 20 knots. On this takeoff V2 is 146 knots, so the target speed during this initial
part of the climb will be 166 knots.

Getting away from the ground is our main concern at this point, and V2 + 20 knots is the speed that gives you
the best angle of climb with takeoff flaps – you gain the most altitude in the shortest distance at this speed. Try
to keep your airspeed within ± 5 knots of V2 + 20.

At 400’ AGL the autothrottle mode changes to N1 and the pitch mode changes to VNAV SPD:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Takeoff and Climb 149


In the N1 mode the autothrottles are again free to make thrust adjustments. The autothrottle system will
continue to provide the FMC-calculated takeoff thrust until we reach the thrust reduction altitude.

In the VNAV SPD pitch mode the flight director pitch bar will move up or down to maintain the airspeed that
the FMC considers appropriate. The FMC speed is displayed in magenta above the speed tape; in this phase of
the takeoff it is 166 knots, which is the same climb speed as before, V2 + 20 knots.

Above 400’ you can also engage HDG SEL mode on the MCP:

On the PDF you will now see HDG SEL annunciated as the flight director roll mode:

150 Takeoff and Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


We have already set the runway heading of 87° on the MCP. Follow the flight director cues to fly runway
heading at 166 knots until 1,500’ AGL.

Acceleration and Flaps Retraction


Since we programmed the FMC with 1,500’ for acceleration and thrust reduction height, we are looking for two
events at this altitude. First, we should confirm that the FMC has reduced engine thrust to the climb setting:

Recall that after we selected our takeoff derate and assumed temperature during the CDU preflight, the FMC
automatically selected the derated CLB-1 rating.

The second thing we need to confirm is that the FMC has set a higher target speed on the PFD:

Above acceleration height the FMC will command 230 knots until the leading edge flaps have been retracted,
and then it will increase the climb speed to 250 knots until passing 10,000’. The screenshot above was taken
shortly after climbing above 1,500 AGL; I am pushing the control column forward to follow the flight director
pitch bar, and the airplane is accelerating as indicated by the green speed trend vector shown on the airspeed
tape56.

The green “1” and “UP” next to the 191 knots and 211 knots on the airspeed tape are flaps 1 and flaps up
maneuvering speeds. These are the recommended operating speeds for each flap setting during takeoff and

56
The tip of the speed trend vector shows you the predicted airspeed 10 seconds from now, assuming we continue with
the current acceleration rate.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Takeoff and Climb 151


approach; as long as you stay at or above the flap maneuvering speed for a particular flap setting, you will have
a healthy margin in turns and climbs before the stick shaker activates.

We can go from our current flaps 5 to flaps 1 as soon as the airplane is accelerating – it will take some time for
the flaps to retract, so the speed should be close to flaps 1 maneuvering speed once you read that flap setting.
Select flaps up when you accelerate above flaps 1 maneuvering speed.

Transition to Enroute Climb


When flaps and slats are completely retracted the FMC increases the speed target to 250 knots:

We are getting close to our initial climb altitude of 4,000’. Continue following the flight director (remember to
trim) until you level off at 4,000’ and 250 knots. Then engage the autopilot by pressing the autopilot A CMD
button:

At this point your PFD should look similar to this:

152 Takeoff and Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


On the top line, the autothrottle mode has changed from N1 to FMC SPD. Until this point the autothrottle
system has been giving maximum thrust, up to the limit allowed by the FMC. Now that we are flying level, the
throttles move back so the airplane will not accelerate beyond 250 knots.

The roll mode is still HDG SEL, but the pitch mode has changed to VNAV PTH. This means that the autopilot /
flight director system is maintaining the current altitude in accordance with an altitude constraint programmed
into the FMC. If you look on the LEGS page you can see that this is because of the 4,000’ constraint at CUZZZ:

(If this constraint was not there, the airplane would still level off at 4,000’ because we set that altitude on the
MCP. However, in that case you would see VNAV ALT instead of VNAV PTH.)

At this point you should complete the following actions:

 On the overhead, verify that the engine bleeds are set to ON, the packs are set to AUTO, and that there
is pressure in the bleed air duct

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Takeoff and Climb 153


 If you turned off the center fuel tank pumps for takeoff, turn them back on
 Turn the engine start switches on the overhead back to the OFF position (unless you are flying in heavy
precipitation or turbulence, in which case you may want the igniters to stay on)
 Set the AUTO BRAKE switch to OFF
 Set the landing gear lever to the middle OFF position, by left-clicking on the lever and verify that the
landing gear lights are extinguished

Placing the landing gear lever in OFF removes hydraulic pressure from the landing gear system (the landing
gear is held in place by mechanical locks).

Retract and turn off the L and R RETRACTABLE landing lights by right-clicking twice on each switch. Also turn off
the RUNWAY TURNOFF and TAXI lights, but leave the L and R FIXED landing lights on:

Now do the after takeoff checklist.

After Takeoff Checklist

154 Takeoff and Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Climb
At this point we are flying away from KLAX. Fortunately ATC calls us with instructions to turn right on heading
180°. Dial “180” on the MCP to turn the airplane on the new heading:

When you are established in the turn, take a look at the PFD:

The triangular bank pointer in the top of the blue area is indicating 30° bank angle (the scale marks are at 0, 10,
20, 30, 45, and 60°). You may recall that we set the bank angle selector to 30° during the preflight procedure.

Turns and the Yaw Damper


Look again at the bank pointer in the screenshot above. There is a small rectangular slip/skid indicator below
the triangle, similar to the ball that you find in a turn indicator on a general aviation airplane.

At the moment the slip/skid indicator is aligned with the base of the triangle, indicating that our turn is nicely
coordinated, courtesy of the yaw damper. Looking at the front panel you can see that the yaw damper is
adding right rudder in the turn:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 155


Without the yaw damper, unless you add right rudder yourself, you would see something like this on entering
the turn:

The slip/skid indicator is displaced to the right, indicating that we need to add some right rudder to
compensate for the adverse yaw that is pulling the airplane to the left. (To play with this, turn off the yaw
damper on the aft left side of the overhead – just remember to turn it back on again when you are done).

Airspeed
ATC calls again with instructions to turn right on heading 275° and proceed direct to CUZZZ, and then resume
own navigation. Set the heading to 275 on the MCP. When you roll out of the turn take a look at the navigation
display (click on the display to make it pop up if you find it too cluttered to read; click again to close the
popup):

156 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


In the top left corner you have the current ground speed (264 knots) and true airspeed (265 knots).

The speed of an airplane is measured as a pressure differential between a forward-facing pitot tube and a
static port on the side of the airplane. This is what the pitot-static system might look like on a general aviation
airplane:

Source: Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

The system is more complex in the NGX, but the basic idea is the same: Higher speed causes an increased
compression of the air in the pitot tube, while the pressure at the static port remains unchanged as long as
altitude remains the same. The airspeed measured in this fashion is called the indicated airspeed or IAS.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 157


The airspeed shown on the NGX’ primary flight display is the calibrated airspeed or CAS. This is the same as the
indicated airspeed, except that it has been corrected for errors that are caused by variations in the airflow over
the pitot tube and static port as a result of changes in airplane attitude. (To keep things simple, I will be
referring to indicated airspeed or IAS in this tutorial instead of calibrated airspeed or CAS. Just keep the
difference in mind).

As the airplane climbs, the decreasing air density means that the indicated airspeed drops below the actual
speed of the airplane through the air (true airspeed, or TAS). At 4,000’ and 250 knots indicated airspeed the
TAS is already 15 knots higher (265 knots), and this difference will continue to increase as we climb. In cruise
flight TAS will be around 200 knots higher than IAS.

When flying, we are usually much more interested in IAS than in TAS. The reason is that stall speed and
structural limit speeds - such as flap and gear extension speeds, and maximum structural speed - are directly
related to IAS, regardless of what the TAS might be.

At high altitudes and speeds, the airflow over parts of the wing will begin to exceed the speed of sound57. This
will increase drag, and as speed increases further the aircraft becomes more difficult to control because shock
waves begin to interfere with control surfaces. This places an upper limit on how close to the speed of sound
you can safely fly an airplane designed for subsonic flight.

This upper limit is not reached at a fixed airspeed since the speed of sound through air varies with
temperature. Instead it is expressed as a fraction of the speed of sound called the Mach number, with Mach 1
being the speed of sound at a given temperature (M0.80 is 80% of the speed of sound at a particular
temperature for example).

The bottom line here is that there are two kinds of limiting speeds for a passenger jet like the 737NG: A
structural maximum indicated airspeed, Vmo, and an aerodynamic maximum Mach speed, Mmo. For the
737 NGs, Vmo is 340 knots and Mmo is M0.82.

The IAS, TAS, and Mach numbers that are displayed on the primary flight and navigation displays are calculated
by two air data inertial reference units (ADIRUs)58, while the ground speed is supplied by the inertial reference
system.

The Effect of Wind


There is not much wind at 4,000’ with our current weather settings. To make things a bit more interesting, this
is what the navigation display might look like after adding a 25 knot wind from the south:

57
The speed at which some part of the airflow over the airplane – usually over the wing – exceeds the speed of sound is
called the critical Mach number. For the 737 MCRIT is somewhere around M.70
58
See FCOMv2, page 10.20.12

158 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


If you compare to the situation above, the TAS is unchanged, but the ground speed is now 273 knots (was 264
knots before). To see why, press the PROG key on the CDU followed by NEXT PAGE to display PROGRESS page
2/4:

With the new wind settings we have an 8 knot tailwind, which accounts for the increased groundspeed (there
is still a 1 knot difference that we can attribute to round-off)59.

Another thing to notice on the ND is that there is now a 5° difference between the heading that we are flying
(275°) and our ground track – the path over the ground that the airplane is following (280°). The ground track is
shown as the white line extending from the apex of the triangle that marks the airplane’s position on the ND,
to the white “280”. The airplane’s current heading is indicated by the triangle below the “2” in “280”. (The
dashed magenta line and the magenta cursor around the white heading triangle shows the 275° entered in the
HEADING window on the MCP.)

59
The eagle-eyed reader will have noticed that the wind direction on the ND is 170°, while the CDU has the wind coming
from 173°. Wind direction on the ND is relative to magnetic north, but on the CDU it is relative to true (geographic) north.
The 3° difference is about right for Houston where the magnetic declination is around 3.5° E.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 159


This difference between ground track and heading is caused by the 24 knot left crosswind component (also
shown on the CDU PROGRESS 2/4 page). Since we are flying a fixed heading the airplane’s nose will keep
pointing to 275°, but the wind is pushing us to the right so we end up following a more westerly ground track.

If you enabled the flight path vector on the primary flight display (by pressing FPV on the EFIS control panel),
you can also observe the effect of a crosswind on the PFD:

As you can see, the flight path vector – the small airplane symbol – that shows the direction of travel is
displaced to the right of the small square that indicates where the nose is pointing. (The FPV is also on the
horizon line, showing that we are flying level, even though the airplane’s current attitude is around 3° nose up).
The heading and ground track on the bottom of the display are similar to what we saw on the ND, except that
this display is heading up instead of track up.

Terrain and the Vertical Situation Display


Before we return to flying the airplane, let us take a look at the vertical path and terrain information on the ND
(remember that you can show the vertical situation display by pressing CTR on the EFIS control panel):

160 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The area bordered by the blue dashed lines on both sides of the ground track lines is called the enroute swath.
Terrain peaks within this area will be shown on the vertical situation display, color coded green, amber, or red
depending on terrain height relative to the airplane’s altitude. The terrain on our current track is not very
exciting, but in more hilly terrain you might see something like this:

As you can see, we would do well to either climb or turn toward lower terrain – preferably both.

Next time you make a turn, notice how the enroute swath behaves:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 161


As you can tell from the position trend vector – the dashed line curving to the right from the tip of the triangle
– the airplane is turning to the right. In this situation the enroute swath expands to include terrain ahead and
to the right of the airplane, showing us the profile of the terrain that we will be flying over as we continue the
turn.

Going Direct
We have turned the airplane to heading 275° as instructed by ATC. We still need to comply with the rest of the
instruction – we should go direct to CUZZZ from our present position, and then continue navigating on our own
according to the flight plan we programmed into the FMC.

We are not following the magenta line on the navigation display at the moment. The FMC assumed that we
would climb to 400’ AGL after takeoff, and then turn left and fly north of the airport toward CUZZZ. But instead
ATC has vectored us through two right turns, and we are now somewhere south of the airfield.

To go direct to CUZZZ we should first update the magenta line so it extends from our present position to
CUZZZ. To do this, open the LEGS page and press LSK1 LEFT to transfer CUZZZ to the scratchpad:

Now press LSK1 LEFT again to move CUZZZ back to the top of the LEGS page:

162 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Press EXEC to accept the modification. On the navigation display you can now see the magenta line extending
from our present position to CUZZZ:

Press the LNAV button on the MCP to have the autopilot follow the magenta line:

On the PFD you can see that the roll mode has now changed to LNAV:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 163


Climb Speed
At this point ATC instructs us to climb and maintain 15,000’. The Junction Seven SID has a climb restriction of
4,000’ at CUZZZ, but ATC instructions always take precedence over instructions on a chart. Set the new altitude
on the MCP, and then press the ALT INTV button on the MCP to instruct the FMC to disregard the altitude
restriction at CUZZZ:

The 4,000’ restriction at CUZZZ is the only altitude constraint on the Junction Seven departure. Had there been
more, you could clear them in the sequence they appear on the LEGS page by pressing ALT INTV again. Each
press removes the next altitude constraint from the LEGS page.

The autothrottles will advance the thrust levers to the climb thrust limit, and after a few moments the airplane
will pitch up and begin to climb. On the PFD the autothrottle mode has changed to N1, and the pitch mode is
once again VNAV SPD, so the autopilot will adjust the airplane’s pitch to achieve the speed that FMC
commands. To see what our climb speed will be, open the CDU CLB page by pressing CLB on the keypad:

164 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Next to LSK2 LEFT you can see that the FMC will have us climbing at 294 knots IAS. Somewhere around FL300 it
will then change to using Mach speeds and set a speed target of M0.781 until we reach our cruise altitude.

The FMC calculates the climb speed target based on the cost index you entered during the CDU preflight. You
can change the TGT SPD if you would like to climb at a different speed. To climb at 300 knots IAS, for example,
enter 300 in the CDU scratchpad, and then press LSK2 LEFT:

Press EXEC to accept your modification. (If you change your mind and would like to revert to the FMC
calculated climb speed, press LSK4 left next to the <ECON prompt and EXEC).

To climb at the maximum rate of climb (most altitude gained in the shortest period of time), press LSK5 LEFT
and EXEC. To climb at the maximum angle (most altitude gained in the shortest distance), press LSK6 LEFT and
EXEC.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 165


So why is the airplane currently climbing at a much lower speed of 250 knots? The answer is the 250/10000
speed restriction entered at LSK3 LEFT. This is such a common speed restriction that it is there by default on the
CLB page. However, ATC may allow you to climb at a faster speed below 10,000’; to remove the restriction,
press the DEL key on the CDU keypad, followed by LSK3 LEFT next to the speed restriction:

Press the EXEC button to make the modification. The nose of the airplane will lower to achieve the 294 knot
climb speed, and then the autopilot will adjust pitch to maintain this speed in the climb.

Climb using Level Change or V/S


Making modifications on the CDU CLB page while staying in VNAV is one way of managing the climb speed. A
more direct method is to press LVL CHG on the MCP and then set the desired climb speed in the IAS/MACH
window:

166 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


In this mode the PFD will show MCP SPD as the pitch mode, and the autopilot / flight director will adjust pitch
to maintain the selected speed:

Adjusting speeds on the CLB page while in VNAV vs. using LVL CHG and setting the speed on the MCP is largely
a matter of personal preference. Both modes have basic protections so you won’t stall the aircraft or cause an
overspeed if you select a very low or very high climb speed.

Yet another way of climbing is to press the V/S button on the MCP, and then set the desired rate of climb in
feet per minute in the VERT SPEED window and the climb speed in the IAS/MACH window:

The IAS/MACH and VERT SPEED windows open to the current airspeed and vertical speed at the time you press
V/S. Use the speed selector and the V/S thumbwheel to adjust to the desired setting.

In this mode the autopilot / flight director system will pitch the airplane to maintain the selected vertical
speed, and the autothrottles will adjust thrust to (attempt to) maintain the selected airspeed:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 167


You have to be careful when you use the V/S pitch mode. You can easily ask the airplane to do something that
isn’t possible, such as climbing at a very high vertical speed and maintaining a high airspeed at the same time.
You cannot actually stall the airplane by selecting a too high vertical speed – the pitch mode will revert to LVL
CHG before this happens – but you can get uncomfortably close.

There are a couple of situations where V/S can be useful during climb:

 If you get a TCAS resolution advisory such as “Maintain vertical speed” or “Adjust vertical speed”, press
V/S and maintain or adjust your vertical speed to keep the vertical speed indicator out of the red area
 If you are flying level and ATC instructs you to make a short climb of 1,000’-2,000’ you can make the
climb and level off more comfortable for your passengers by setting the new altitude on the MCP, then
using V/S to climb at a rate of around 700 – 1,000 feet per minute. Short VNAV or LVL CHG climbs tend
to be more abrupt, especially with a light airplane.

Crossing 10,000’
When crossing 10,000’ do the following:

 Turn off the L and R FIXED landing lights (the retractable landing lights and other exterior lights were
turned off when we did the after takeoff checklist).
 If you are above the weather and don’t anticipate any turbulence, right-click the FASTEN BELTS sign on
the overhead to turn off the seatbelt signs and let the passengers move around the cabin.

You should also check the cabin pressurization on the overhead:

168 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The top instrument on the screenshot shows the cabin altitude (inner dial) and differential pressure (outer
dial). At the moment the airplane is climbing through 10,500’, but the cabin is pressurized so the passengers
and crew experience an air pressure that you would find at 2,000’. The difference between the air pressure
inside and outside of the aircraft is currently around 3.8 psi.

For structural reasons the pressure differential must not exceed 9.1 psi (marked with a red line on the
instrument). If this limit is exceeded a pressure relief valve opens to let the excess pressure escape before
causing damage to the airplane.

The lower instrument shows the rate at which the pressure inside the airplane is decreasing or increasing. At
the moment the cabin altitude is increasing – the cabin is climbing – at a rate of 500 feet per minute. The
pressurization controller will keep the cabin rate of climb and descent as low as possible to minimize the
discomfort of pressure changes.

Take a note of the relationship between indicated airspeed, Mach number, and true airspeed at this altitude:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 169


The airplane is currently climbing through 11,760’. On the top left of the primary flight display you can see that
the FMC is commanding the 294 knot climb speed that we saw earlier on the CLB page. The true airspeed at
this altitude is 53 knots higher, 347 knots, as shown on the navigation display. Our current Mach number
(shown below the PFD speed tape) is M0.548 or 54.8% of the speed of sound at this altitude.

As we climb higher, the autopilot will adjust pitch to maintain 294 knots IAS, but in reality the plane will be
travelling faster and faster through the air, getting closer and closer to the speed of sound. When the Mach
number reaches the M0.781 value from the FMC CLB page, you will see the magenta “294” speed target on top
of the airspeed tape replaced by a magenta “.78”. On today’s flight this will happen around FL300. Above this
altitude the autopilot will adjust pitch to maintain the target Mach number instead of the airspeed.

Climb to Cruise Level


As we climb toward 15,000’ ATC calls us again and tells us to climb and maintain flight level 380 (our cruise
level). Set 38,000 in the ALTITUDE window on the MCP.

At this point we are well above the terrain, and the vertical situation display is no longer helpful. Press CTR on
the EFIS control panel to remove the VSD and put the navigation display in expanded mode:

170 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Notice the two dashed green lines. The one that is running in the same direction as the magenta line (more or
less) is the 276 radial from the Humble VOR (IAH, 116.6 MHz), and the other is the 142 radial from College
Station VOR (CLL, 113.3MHz). Our next waypoint on the Junction Seven SID is defined as the intersection of
those two radials60. (If you do not see the CLL radial, wait until you get a bit closer to CUZZZ. The dashed green
line will not show up until you are receiving the VOR signal).

At the moment our altimeters are set to the local pressure at KIAH. When you climb through 18,000’ you
should set your altimeter to the standard pressure, 29.92 InHg, by pressing STD on the EFIS control panel (the
local KIAH pressure happens to be the same as standard today, but you should make the change anyway).

Verify that the pressure setting shown below the altitude tape on the primary flight display has changed to
STD:

60
So why is CUZZZ shown almost 5 nautical miles away from the point where the radials intersect? Obviously something is
not right here, but whether the problem is with the navigation data that supplies latitude and longitude for CUZZZ, the FSX
VORs, or the NGX representation I cannot say. Maybe you have something different on your system – but at least we can
see that we are in the right ballpark.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 171


Do the same on the ISFD by clicking on the BARO knob to push it (mouse cursor will turn into a grey hand with
a pointing finger):

Verify that the FO has set his altimeter to STD – do it for him, in case he forgot.

You should also crosscheck the three altimeters when passing the transition level. You should repeat this check
periodically – once you reach cruise level, the altitudes shown on the captain’s and the FO’s primary flight
displays must be within 200’ of each other to meet the accuracy requirements for flight in RVSM airspace61.

If you forget to switch to standard pressure above the transition altitude, the NGX will politely remind you by
displaying the local pressure in amber on the primary flight display:

When you climb through FL200, repeat pressurization checks that we performed at 10,000’. On the overhead
you should see that the cabin altitude and the differential pressure have gone up a bit, and the cabin should
still be climbing at around 500 fpm.

As we continue to climb, keep an eye on the amount of fuel in the center tank:

61
Reduced Vertical Separation Minima. Google it, or see the Wikipedia article for an explanation.

172 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


When there is 1,000 lbs fuel left in the center tank, turn off both center tank fuel pumps on the overhead. We
will not operate the center tank fuel pumps with less than this amount of fuel in the tank, to ensure adequate
cooling of the fuel pumps62.

Crossing CUZZZ you should verify that LNAV is taking us to the next waypoint on the Junction Seven SID,
ZUUUU:

ZUUUU is the intersection of IAH radial 276 and CLL radial 155. We have already tuned these VORs on nav1 and
nav2, and the left COURSE is set to 276 on the MCP, so our only action is to set the right COURSE on the MCP to
155°.

After crossing ZUUUU our next waypoint is PUFER. Verify again that the correct waypoint is shown on the top-
right corner of the navigation display. PUFER is defined as the intersection of IAH radial 276 (which we have
already set up on Nav1) and the radial 56° from San Antonio VOR (SAT, 116.8 MHz) which is currently the
standby frequency on Nav2. Press the TFR button on the NAV2 radio and set the right COURSE on the MCP to
56°.

IAS/MACH Changeover
Around FL300 we will be reaching our cruise Mach number. This screenshot shows the PFD and a bit of the
navigation display immediately after IAS/MACH changeover has occurred:

62
The 1,000 lbs fuel in the center tank counts toward our 2,560 lbs of final reserve fuel, so it is not a problem that we have
to leave fuel in the center tank – we should always land with at least this much fuel. In the case of a fuel emergency we
can simply disregard normal procedure and turn the center tank fuel pumps on again to use this fuel. There is also a (slow)
scavenge pump that begins to transfer fuel from the center tank to the left main tank when the fuel level in that tank
drops below one-half.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 173


The autopilot is now adjusting pitch to maintain M0.78. At the current altitude this corresponds to around 284
knots indicated airspeed, as you can see on the speed tape, and 458 knots true airspeed. From this point in the
climb and up to cruise level you will see the indicated airspeed decreasing as the airplane maintains M0.78.
(The true airspeed will drop a bit as well, since the speed of sound through air decreases with temperature).

Leveling off
As we get closer to FL380, you can see two different estimates of where we will reach cruise level on the
navigation display:

174 Climb | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The green arc shows where we will reach the altitude that is set on the MCP if we continue at our current rate
of climb. The small green circle next to T/C indicates where the FMC calculates that we will reach FL380, taking
into consideration that the rate of climb will decrease as we climb into the less and less dense air.

As we climb through FL371 – 900 feet below the MCP altitude – you will get an audible altitude alert, and on
the PFD you will see a white box around the target altitude and a bold white box around the current altitude:

The white boxes will be removed again 300 feet below our cruise altitude. As the airplane levels off at FL380
you will see the autothrottle mode change to FMC SPD and the pitch mode change to VNAV PTH:

The autopilot will now adjust pitch to maintain FL380, and the autothrottles will adjust thrust to maintain the
FMC cruise speed target, M0.78.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Climb 175


Cruise Flight
After the airplane levels off and settles into cruise flight, the workload on the flight crew is much reduced. Your
main task at this point is to monitor the airplane’s system and progress according to the flight plan. We will
take this opportunity to explore some of the various systems and features of the NGX.

First take a look at the primary flight display. As you can see, the NGX cruises with some nose-up attitude,
around 3° at this weight and altitude:

If you switch to an outside view and look at the airplane from the side you should be able to confirm this. This
nose-up attitude in cruise is typical of a passenger jet like the 737.

Progress pages
Press the PROG page on the CDU:

176 Cruise Flight | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


This is the most important page for monitoring the progress of your flight. It gives you the following
information:

 Actual time and fuel remaining when we passed our last waypoint, PUFER.
 Distance to go, expected time of arrival, and expected fuel at our next waypoint, SPURS
 The same information for the next waypoint after that, JCT
 Distance to go, expected time of arrival, and expected fuel at our destination, KLAX
 Distance to go and expected time of arrival at the top of descent point

If you have a printed flight plan with time and fuel information, you should compare the progress information
from the CDU with the plan at regular intervals.

Step Climb
Open the CDU and press the CRZ button:

We are currently cruising at FL380. To the right of the cruise level you can see the optimum and maximum
flight levels at our current gross weight. ATC will not let us cruise at FL388, though, so we have to settle for the
closest available flight level, which is FL380 at the moment. The FMC has calculated that we should arrive at
KLAX with 6,500 lbs fuel left in the tanks if we continue flying our current route and the winds don’t change.

As we burn more fuel and the aircraft becomes lighter, we will eventually reach a point where it will be more
economical to cruise at FL400. To have the FMC estimate if we can save fuel by performing a step climb from
FL380 to FL400, enter “400” in the scratchpad and press LSK1 right next to the dashes below STEP. After few
seconds you should see something like this:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Cruise Flight 177


The FMC has calculated that if we climb to FL400 at 17:03z, 77 nm from our present position, we should land at
KLAX with 6,900 lbs fuel – 400 lbs more than if we continue at FL380. The FMC does not know what kind of
winds we will have at FL400, though. You may end up saving less if you have a stronger headwind at the higher
altitude.

Let us go ahead and ask ATC for FL400. Assuming the request is approved, set the ALTITUDE window on the
MCP to “40000”. This automatically enters “40000” in the CDU scratchpad:

Now press LSK1 LEFT followed by EXEC to update the cruise altitude with the value from the scratchpad. VNAV
will now cause the plane to climb to the new cruise altitude. On the PFD you should see N1 as the autothrottle
mode and VNAV SPD as the pitch mode.

On the overhead you should set the new cruise level in the pressurization controller:

178 Cruise Flight | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Wind
If you have a utility that provides you with forecast winds for the waypoints in your flight plan, you can improve
the accuracy of FMC predictions of crossing times, fuel, etc. by entering the wind information into the FMC. Let
us say we have the following winds forecast at FL400 (from our weather program or some other source):

Waypoint Wind Direction Wind Speed


JCT 274 29
EWB 272 27
BXK 32 14
TNP 77 8

Press the LEGS button on the CDU:

If you look in the right column you can see that we can expect to cross JCT, EWM, and BXK at FL400, but when
we cross TNP we will already have begun our descent. We will look at how we can enter winds for waypoints
after our top of descent in a moment, but first we will take care of our cruise waypoints. Press LSK6 RIGHT next
to the RTE DATA> prompt:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Cruise Flight 179


As you can see there is no wind information for our cruise waypoints at the moment (if you recall, we did not
enter any cruise wind information on the PERF INIT page during the CDU preflight). Enter “274/29” in the CDU
scratchpad, and then press LSK1 RIGHT to update the forecast wind at JCT:

As you can see, the wind entry for JCT automatically propagates to the other cruise waypoints, EWM and BXK.
This is very convenient if you have many enroute waypoints, where several waypoints have the same (or
almost the same) forecast winds.

In our case we can leave the EWM wind entry as it is, but the forecast at BXK is sufficiently different that we
want to update that entry. Enter “32/14” in the scratchpad and press LSK3 RIGHT:

180 Cruise Flight | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Press EXEC to update the FMC with your changes.

This takes care of cruise winds. To enter forecast winds during descent, press the DES key on the CDU keypad:

Now press LSK6 LEFT to display the ACT DES FORECASTS page:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Cruise Flight 181


On this page you can enter forecast winds at up to three different altitudes during descent (you can make the
entries in any order). VNAV will adjust your descent path to take these wind entries into consideration. In this
example I have entered the expected winds at FL240 and 12,000’:

You can enter the winds on the ground if you prefer, once you have completed the CDU preflight and the IRSs
have finished aligning. You can always update the wind entries later, if you receive an updated forecast (in the
real world the pilots may be able request wind forecasts via a company data link, but we do not have this
option in the NGX).

Failures
One way of making cruise flight more exciting is to enable random failures. This makes it much interesting to
scan the various instruments, because there is now a possibility of system malfunctions. To enable failures,

182 Cruise Flight | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


press MENU on the CDU keypad, and then select PMDG SETUP> (LSK4 RIGHT), <AIRCRAFT (LSK1 LEFT), <FAILURES
(LSK3 LEFT), <ALL SYSTEMS (LSK2 LEFT), and <RANDOM (LSK2 LEFT). You should now have the following:

Press LSK1 LEFT to activate random failures:

Set the number of failure events per 10 hours using the keypad and LSK2 LEFT. For example, if you would like to
have a random failure occur every hour on average63, set this value to “10”. A high value will increase the
frequency of failures, up to a maximum of 59 failures per 10 hours (10 minutes between failures on average).

63
Setting a failure frequency of 10 failures per 10 hours does not guarantee that you get a failure every hour. You may get
10 failures in a very short span of time, or you may get no failures at all on a particular flight.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Cruise Flight 183


Use LSK3 left to decide if you want the failures to be limited to a certain number at a time. With “Limited
events” set to NO you may get several failures at once. By setting it to YES you can configure the maximum
number of simultaneous failures using LSK4 LEFT.

Press the EXEC button once you have failures configured to your liking.

Failure Example – Engine Overheat


This is what your first indication of a random failure might look like:

Looking down on the aft electronics panel, you can see that the ENG 1 OVERHEAT light has come on:

This indicates a serious problem with the No. 1 (left) engine. We need to take action immediately, or the next
thing to happen could be an engine fire. To determine what to do, grab the Quick Reference Handbook
(included with the NGX as a pdf file named PMDG-NGX-QRP.pdf).

At the very front of this file is a “Quick Action Index”, a short list of procedures that are especially time critical.
ENGINE OVERHEAT is among them, so turn to page 8.5 (page 177 in the pdf) to learn what to do:

184 Cruise Flight | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Our first step is to disengage the autothrottles, and then close the left thrust lever. If the ENG OVERHEAT light
extinguishes, we can continue to run the engine at a reduced thrust. With reduced thrust on one engine we will
most likely not be able to maintain FL400, so you should ask ATC for a lower cruise level. This will increase your
fuel consumption, so you may no longer have enough to reach KLAX with the required reserves.

In our case the ENG OVERHEAT did not extinguish after reducing thrust, so we should assume we have an
engine fire and continue with the procedure on pages 8.2 – 8.4. This is a procedure for shutting down the
engine and configuring the airplane for single-engine flight. At the end of this procedure we would declare an
emergency and coordinate a diversion to the nearest suitable airport with ATC.

In the NGX you have another option: Clear the failure and continue. To do this, open the CDU and press MENU
on the keypad, then select PMDG SETUP> (LSK4 RIGHT), <AIRCRAFT (LSK1 LEFT), and <FAILURES (LSK3 LEFT). You
should see something like this:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Cruise Flight 185


Press LSK1 LEFT to see a list of the active failures (if there is more than one):

Press LSK1 LEFT again to select the ENG 1 OVERHEAT failure:

186 Cruise Flight | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Now press LSK1 LEFT to select NO and press EXEC to clear the failure.

Flying with random failures enabled is a great way of learning about the NGX’s systems, since it shows you the
consequences of a failure in a very direct manner. It can also be highly entertaining, especially if you do not
automatically clear failures the moment they occur.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Cruise Flight 187


Descent Planning
You should begin preparing for descent and landing when you get within 30 minutes or so from the top of
descent point. Winds at KLAX are calm so we can expect to land towards the west, on runway 25L or 24R.
Visibility is good so we can expect a visual approach, which we will back up by loading the ILS approach in the
FMC and tuning the navaids accordingly.

Verify that the LAND ALT in the pressurization controller on the overhead is set to the airport elevation (we did
this during the preflight procedure).

Click on the system annunciator panel to recall any hidden cautions:

The panel should stay black when you press it.

Take a look at the chart for the SEAVU TWO arrival. At the time of writing you can download it from here:
http://aeronav.faa.gov/d-tpp/1110/00237SEAVU.PDF. This STAR takes us from the Twentynine Palms VOR
(TNP, 114.2MHz) via PAUMA, ARRVD, KONZL, ENGLI, PECOX, CATAW, and SEAVU. There are several altitude
and speed restrictions on this STAR:

KONZL At 17,000’ and at 280 knots IAS


ENGLI At or above 16,000
PECOX At or above 14,000’
SEAVU Between 14,000’ and 12,000’

Now compare with the CDU LEGS page:

188 Descent Planning | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


As you can see, there are some differences between the chart and the procedure loaded into the FMC. The
speed restriction at KONZL is missing; the altitude restriction at ENGLI is currently “at 16,000” instead of “at or
above 16,000”, and the altitude constraint at SEAVU is completely missing64.

Let us begin by adding the 280 knots speed constraint at KONZL. Enter “280/” in the CDU scratchpad, then
press the right LSK next to KONZL to add the constraint to that waypoint and press EXEC:

Notice that the speed and altitude restriction at KONZL is in magenta - this is the waypoint that the FMC is
using to calculate the top of descent point. Assuming that the forecast winds we entered earlier are reasonably
accurate, the descent from T/D to KONZL will be done with throttles idle and the autopilot maintaining the

64
AIRAC 1110 is in use. This is a problem with the navigation data supplied by Navigraph, not with the NGX itself.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Descent Planning 189


programmed vertical descent path by adjusting pitch. An idle descent is the most economical, so this is the goal
that the FMC is trying to achieve.

Now the speed constraint is in place, but there is a problem as you can see on the CDU scratchpad. Something
is amiss with our descent programming – to see why press CLR to remove the error message, and then press
DES on the CDU keypad to display the ECON DES page:

Looking at the numbers on the line next to LSK2 LEFT you can see that the FMC has been programmed for an
initial descent speed of M0.784; at the Mach/IAS crossover altitude the descent will then continue at 261 knots
until we reach 10,000’. These are the descent speeds that give the most economical descent, based on the cost
index we entered during the CDU preflight. We are going to have to descend at a higher speed to meet ATC
requirements, though, so enter “280” in the scratchpad and press LSK2 LEFT and EXEC to update the target
descent IAS:

190 Descent Planning | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Note that the title on top of the screen has changed to reflect that we are no longer planning to descend at the
most cost efficient speed. (If you change your mind and would like to descend at the ECON speed, press LSK5
LEFT next to the <ECON prompt).

That takes care of KONZL. Now we must change the altitude constraint at ENGLI to “at or above 16,000’”. Go
back to the LEGS page, enter “16000A” in the scratchpad, and press the right LSK at the ENGLI line:

We should cross SEAVU at an altitude not above 14,000’ and not below 12,000’. Press NEXT PAGE on the CDU
keypad to go to the next LEGS page and enter “14000B12000A” in the scratchpad, then press the right LSK next
to the SEAVU line:

Press the EXEC button to update the FMC with your edits.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Descent Planning 191


No let us program the approach. Given our direction of arrival it seems most likely that we will be landing on
runway 25L. The ILS approach chart is available here: http://aeronav.faa.gov/d-tpp/1110/00237IL25L.PDF

Press the DEP/ARR key on the CDU and press LSK2 RIGHT to see the list of KLAX approaches. Select ILS 25L from
the second page of the list:

On the right side of the CDU, below the selected approach, is a list of approach transition points. We are flying
the SEAVU TWO arrival which ends at SEAVU intersection, so use LSK4 RIGHT to select SEAVU and press EXEC to
load the approach.

After a few moments you should see a message in the CDU scratchpad:

192 Descent Planning | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The FMC is alerting us that there may be a problem following the programmed descent path after TAROC. If
you take a look at the approach chart and compare with the approach waypoints on the LEGS page, it is pretty
clear why: Between TAROC and LIMMA we have to lose about 7,100’ altitude over a distance of 25.7 nm, while
at the same time reducing our speed from 240 knots at TAROC to 152 knots at LIMMA.

So what to do? Our best bet would be to plan to cross TAROC at a lower speed; around 210 knots should do it,
assuming that ATC will let us slow this much. We can also plan to intercept the glide slope at a higher speed
than the FMC is currently using, at around 170 knots or so. Most likely you will need to use the speed brakes
during the approach.

I will leave it to you to compare the altitude restrictions for the approach with the chart. There is a problem at
HUNDA that you may wish to correct.

Now let us select the approach flaps setting; press the INIT REF button on the CDU to open the APPROACH REF
page:

The most common flap setting for landing is 30°. Press LSK2 RIGHT twice to select this flap setting. At our current
gross weight of 129,500 lbs (shown next to LSK1 LEFT on the APPROACH REF page) VREF with flaps 30 set is 140
knots. This is the speed we want to be at when we cross the runway threshold

Flaps 40 can be used when landing on a short runway – the VREF is lower – but as you can see on the
APPROACH REF page, runway 25L is 11,095’ long, so runway length is not a concern. Flaps 15 is not normally
used for landings.

Until we get close to the ground we should fly a bit faster than VREF to account for wind changes. This wind
correction is entered at LSK5 right on the APPROACH REF page, and you calculate it as follows:

1. Minimum correction is +5 knots.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Descent Planning 193


2. Take the ½ of the headwind component and add the gust factor.
3. Maximum correction is +20 knots.

For example, say that wind is reported as 26015G28KT (wind from 260° at 15 knots gusting to 28 knots). This is
almost head-on, so we can use the full 15 knots as the headwind component. The gust factor is 28 – 15 knots =
13 knots, so we should add ½ x 15 + 13 ≈ 21 knots. The maximum is 20 knots, however, so we should use that
value for the wind correction with the above winds.

In our case the winds are calm, so we can leave the minimum +5 knot correction at LSK5 RIGHT.

The APPROACH REF page also gives us the ILS frequency and front course; however you should always cross-
check with the charts before tuning the NAV radios65. Tune your NAV1 radio to the ILS frequency, 109.90 MHz,
and set CRS 1 on the MCP to 249°. We will be performing a manual landing, but if you want to cheat a little and
do an autoland you should set NAV2 and CRS2 the same as NAV1/CRS1.

If you are flying online you should also prepare yourself in the event that ATC gives you 24R instead of 25L. The
chart is available here: http://aeronav.faa.gov/d-tpp/1110/00237IL24R.PDF. I suggest you tune the ILS 24R
frequency, 108.50MHz, as the standby NAV1 frequency to be able to switch quickly.

The minimum descent altitude for ILS25L is 298’ (200’ AGL). Make sure the MINS selector on the EFIS control
panel is set to BARO, then use the inner selector to set 298’ on the PFD:

You should also pre-select the local pressure at KLAX (29.92 InHg) using the inner selector of the BARO knob on
the EFIS control panel. The pre-selected pressure will be shown below STD on the PFD, ready to be activated as
we descend below transition level:

65
In FSX it is more important to check the ILS frequency and course with the scenery you are using. The information on the
APPROACH REF page is taken from the navigation database, which is more recent than the FSX world. One way of verifying
that you have the correct information is to open the FSX map and zoom in on the destination airport. Make sure that the
ILS feathers are displayed, then hold your mouse over the ILS you want. After a moment the ILS frequency and course will
be displayed at the tooltip.

194 Descent Planning | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


You can pre-select the current local pressure on the standby altimeter by rotating the white knob on the ISFD.
The pre-select (29.92) value will be displayed briefly, and then it will return to STD.

Since we have a long runway at KLAX we can go easy on the brakes, so I suggest that you use autobrake setting
1 or 2:

Now run the descent checklist.

Descent Checklist

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Descent Planning 195


Descent
When we are around 15 nautical miles from our calculated top of descent point, ATC calls us with instructions
to “descend and maintain FL220”. This interferes a bit with our plan to perform an idle descent to KONZL, since
our vertical path to KONZL will now be less steep – if we simply descend straight to KONZL from our current
position, we will need to add some thrust in the descent to keep our speed up.

We can make the best of this situation by initiating a relatively shallow descent at 1,000 feet per minute that
will satisfy ATC. At some point during descent we will intersect the vertical descent path we had originally
planned to follow, and from where we can complete the descent to KONZL at idle thrust.

Set “22000” in the altitude window on the MCP, then press DES to open the CDU to the ECON DES page:

Press LSK6 RIGHT followed by EXEC to start the descent early. The airplane will now reduce thrust a bit and start
a 1,000 feet per minute descent. This would be a good time to get any passengers moving about the cabin back
in their seats, so move the FASTEN BELTS switch on the overhead to ON.

The primary flight display now shows us descending – the nose is still above the horizon line, but the flight path
vector has moved down into the brown area. Notice the magenta triangle to the right of the display:

196 Descent | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


The triangle is moving up to indicate that we are descending below the FMC-programmed path. Keep an eye on
it as we continue our descent; at some point it will start moving down again and become centered as we
intercept the descent path we had originally planned to follow.

Note that the autothrottle mode on the MCP is FMC SPD – the autothrottle system is adding thrust to maintain
our descent speed. As you intercept the descent profile (this should occur around FL356), the throttles will
retard to idle; the autothrottle mode on the PFD will change first to RETARD and then to ARM for the rest of
the idle descent phase. In this mode the autothrottles are disengaged; you can adjust throttle manually in case
the speed drops below the planned descent speed (due to a stronger than expected headwind, for example).

You may wish to use the vertical situation display during descent, to increase situational awareness with
regards to terrain. Press the CTR button on the EFIS control panel twice to select this mode.

At some point during the descent, ATC would normally start giving you headings to fly. However, for the
purposes of this tutorial, we will let LNAV take care of lateral navigation until we have the airport in sight and
are cleared for the visual approach.

As we get within a couple of thousand feet of FL220, ATC calls us again with instructions to descend and
maintain 12,000’. This is different from the vertical path programmed into the FMC, so we can no longer use
VNAV. Set the altitude target on the MCP to 12000, and then press the LVL CHG button:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Descent 197


This opens the IAS/MACH speed window on the MCP. You can now control your speed using the speed
selector. Leave it at 280 knots for now.

The pitch mode on the PFD has now changed to MCP SPD and the autothrottle mode is ARM:

A LVL CHG descent is done with idle thrust, with the autopilot adjusting pitch to maintain the speed set on the
MCP. If you were to increase the MCP speed, the airplane would pitch further down and the rate of descent
would increase. And as you will see in a moment, reducing MCP speed will cause the autopilot to reduce pitch
until the new target airspeed is achieved, and the rate of descent will decrease while the airplane is
decelerating.

But what if you want to increase airspeed without increasing the decent rate? Add some thrust manually –
remember that the autothrottles are disconnected when ARM is annunciated on the PFD. Conversely, if you
want to decrease airspeed but maintain the current rate of descent, you will have to use the speedbrakes.

As you descend through FL180 set the main and standby altimeters to local pressure. Press STD on the BARO
knob on the EFIS control panel to set the main altimeter to the pre-set local pressure; press the white knob on
the ISFD to do the same for the standby altimeter.

Crosscheck the three altimeters, and then run the approach checklist.

Approach Checklist

198 Descent | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Approach
As we descend through 14,000’, ATC calls us with instructions to reduce speed to 220 knots, then descend and
maintain 6,000’. Set the new altitude and speed on the MCP:

Since we are still in LVL CHG, the airplane will level off until the airspeed has reduced to 220 knots, and then it
will adjust pitch to maintain 220 knots in the descent.

As you descend below 10,000’ turn on the L and R FIXED landing lights:

We will turn on the remaining exterior lights when we are cleared to land.

Descending through 8,000’ ATC calls us with instructions to descend to 2,000’ and maintain 170 knots or more.
Set 170 knots and 2,000’ on the MCP; again the airplane will level off until speed has reduced to 170 knots, and
then it will pitch down to maintain that speed in the descent.

We also have to start extending our flaps as our speed drops below the flaps maneuvering speeds (marked
with green on the PFD speed tape):

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Approach 199


When your speed has dropped to flaps up maneuvering speed (202 knots), extend flaps 1. Now the flaps 1
maneuvering speed (182 knots) is shown:

As your speed reduces below 182 knots extend flaps 5 (skipping over the flaps 2 position).

While you are looking at the PFD, note that the ILS has now been identified – its identifier is being displayed:

You should compare with the chart and verify that “ILAX” is indeed the correct identifier for ILS 25L.

As you descend below 3,000’ you should be able to see the landing runway straight ahead. Inform ATC that you
have the runway in sight; ATC will then clear you for the visual approach to runway 25L.

200 Approach | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Take a look at the vertical and lateral deviation markers on the PFD:

On the right you have a filled magenta diamond that shows the position of the ILS 25L glideslope relative to our
current altitude (we are below the glideslope at the moment). On the bottom you have a magenta triangle that
shows our lateral position relative to the path programmed in the FMC. As you can see, LNAV is keeping us
right on that path. The unfilled white diamond right above the magenta triangle shows us the position of the
ILS 25L localizer; it tells us that, although we are still in LNAV, the airplane is receiving a valid localizer signal.

Since we are cleared for a visual approach, we are free to fly the approach as we see fit. In this tutorial I’m
going to hand-fly the ILS approach, so we have some instrument guidance.66 Press the APP button on the MCP
to arm the approach mode:

Now take a look at the PFD:

66
It is perfectly fine to follow the ILS localizer and glideslope when cleared for a visual approach, but we are not required
to do so. If you like you can turn off the flight director to remove the localizer/glideslope indications, and fly the approach
using with only outside queues for guidance.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Approach 201


 The flight director roll mode has changed to VOR/LOC - when we pressed APP the localizer beam was
captured immediately. Localizer capture occurs when the magenta diamond on the lateral deviation
scale is within ½ of the distance between the white center bar and the left or right dot, the range that
I’ve marked with the double arrow along the bottom.
 SINGLE CH is annunciated after localizer capture, indicating single autopilot operation.
 The flight director pitch mode is still MCP SPD, with G/S (glideslope) armed. G/S will remain armed until
glideslope capture. This happens when the magenta diamond comes within 2/5 of the distance
between the center bar and the white dot above it on the vertical deviation scale – marked with the
red arrow on the right.

At this point I suggest that you deviate slightly from real-world procedure and disconnect the autothrottle
while you are still descending at idle thrust in LVL CHG. Make sure your hardware throttles are in the idle
position, and then disconnect the autothrottles by clicking on the A/T ARM on the MCP67:

Press the red A/T indicator light on the front panel to stop it from flashing:

67
In the real airplane you would disconnect the autothrottles by pressing on the disconnect switches located on the
throttles themselves; however these are very difficult to use in the simulation.

202 Approach | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Don’t forget to add some thrust manually as the plane levels off at 2,000’ to maintain 170 knots. Leave the
autopilot engaged for now, we will disconnect it once we are descending on the glide slope.

Keep an eye on the magenta diamond on the vertical deviation scale – when it reaches one dot above the
center we will begin to configure the airplane for landing:

Now do the following (use the “p” key on your keyboard to pause the simulation if events are moving too fast
for you):

 Set 160 knots on the MCP and reduce thrust to slow the airplane to 160 knots
 Extend the landing gear (press “g” or click the lever) and verify that the three green landing gear lights
illuminate
 Extend flaps 15 (skip over the flaps 10 position)
 On the overhead set the two engine ignition switches to continuous (CONT)

Arm the speed brakes by shift-clicking on the text “ARMED” on the throttle quadrant:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Approach 203


Adjust thrust as required to maintain 160 knots. With the gear extended and flaps 15 set you will have a lot of
extra drag, but most of that will be offset by the airplane pitching down as you intercept the glide slope.

ATC has cleared us to land by now. Reduce your speed to the flaps 15 maneuvering speed – 152 knots – and
then extend flaps to 30°. On the overhead click on the landing light gang bar to turn on the two retractable
landing lights. You can also turn on the runway turnoff lights and the taxi light for extra visibility.

After the flaps are fully extended reduce your speed to our wind-corrected final approach speed, 145 knots
(VREF + 5 knots).

Landing Checklist

204 Approach | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Landing
When you are around 1,000’ above the landing runway you should begin reducing your speed so that you cross
the threshold at our VREF of 140 knots68. I also suggest that you disconnect the autopilot at this point and hand-
fly the rest of the approach.

You can use the flight director pitch and roll bars for guidance if you like, or you can turn off the flight directors
on the MCP and fly using outside visual clues only. The default FSX version of KLAX does not include any
approach lighting, so if you do not use the flight director you will not have any guidance other than the position
of the runway itself.

Use a combination of pitch and thrust adjustments to manage speed and vertical path during the approach.
You can use this table as a rough guideline:

Vertical
Speed Too fast OK Too slow
path
Pitch down and reduce Pitch down, reduce thrust
Too high Pitch down
thrust slightly
OK Reduce thrust - Increase thrust
Pitch up, increase
Too low Pitch up Pitch up, increase thrust slightly
thrust

The basic idea is to use small changes in pitch to stay on the glide path and then adjust the thrust to maintain
the desired airspeed. Don’t forget to trim so you don’t have to apply pressure on the control column to
maintain pitch.

When you are around 20’ above the runway, lift the nose slightly and move the throttles back to idle. This will
reduce your rate of descent a bit so soften the touchdown; don’t lift the nose too high, though, or you may
float a considerable distance above the runway before the wheels touch down. This part of the final approach
is called the flare. Look down on the throttle quadrant to confirm that the speed brakes have deployed:

68
If you corrected your approach speed for both steady headwind and gust, only reduce to V REF + gust correction. Earlier I
gave an example of calculating the wind correction for a landing on 25L with wind from 260° at 15 knots gusting to 28
knots. We used 8 knots to correct VREF for the steady headwind, and an additional 13 knots to account for the gust factor
(up to a maximum of 20 knots). With these winds we would fly the initial approach at V REF + 20 knots, and the final
approach until the flare at VREF + 13 knots.

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Landing 205


The speed brakes should have moved past the FLIGHT DETENT to the UP position, deploying both the flight and
ground spoiler panels on the wings.

Lower the nose to let the nose wheel touch down, then press the F2 key a couple of times to deploy the
reversers. Use your rudder controls to keep the airplane on the runway centerline.

When your speed drops below 60 knots press the F1 key to stow the reversers. Tap the brakes a couple of
times to disarm the autobrakes, then use manual braking until you reach taxi speed. Turn off the runway, then
stop the airplane69 and perform the after landing procedure:

 Confirm that the speed brake lever is down (if it isn’t, move it down manually)
 Start the APU by moving the APU switch on the overhead to the START position and releasing
 Turn off the two PROBE HEAT switches (on the overhead immediately forward from the window heat
switches)
 Turn OFF the landing lights (right-click on the gang bar) and runway turnoff lights
 Turn OFF the engine start switches
 Click twice on the POSITION light switch to move it to STEADY
 Turn the AUTO BRAKE selector to OFF
 Retract the flaps to the UP position
 Turn the transponder selector to XPNDR (since KLAX uses radar to track ground movements)

Once everything has been taken care of, turn on the taxi light and continue. Since 25R is an active runway, in
use for takeoffs, you should turn on your strobes while you cross it (POSITION switch to STROBE & STEADY),
then turn them back off on the other side.

As you turn in to your parking stand, turn off the taxi light so you don’t blind the ground crew.

69
Typically the captain will ensure that the speed brakes are down, and then continue to taxi the airplane while the FO
performs the remaining actions. Flying on your own, however, it’s best to stop the airplane while you handle the FO’s
duties for him.

206 Landing | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Shutdown

Parking brake...................................................................................................................... Set

Set the parking brake and verify that the warning light is illuminated:

Electrical power .................................................................................................................. Set

Connect the APU to the buses on the overhead by clicking on the two APU GEN switches. Verify that the APU
GEN OFF BUS light extinguishes and that the two engine GEN OFF BUS illuminate:

Engine start levers .......................................................................................................... Cutoff

Click on the two engine start levers (below the thrust levers) to move them to the CUTOFF position:

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Shutdown 207


You will hear the engines spooling down after you perform this action.

FASTEN BELTS switch..................................................................................................... OFF

Turn off the seatbelt sign. Open the exterior doors as required (press the MENU key on the CDU keypad
followed by “FS ACTIONS>” and “<DOORS”.

ANTI COLLISION light ...................................................................................................... OFF

Move the ANTI COLLISION switch to OFF:

FUEL PUMP switches ....................................................................................................... OFF

Turn off the fuel pumps (but leave a left fuel pump on as long as you are using the APU:

CAB/UTIL power switch .......................................................................................... As needed

IFE/PASS SEAT power switch ................................................................................ As needed

You can leave these switches on to provide power to galley, lavatories, and other cabin utilities.

WING ANTI-ICE switch ..................................................................................................... OFF

ENGINE ANTI-ICE switch ................................................................................................. OFF

Verify that the wing and engine anti-ice switches are OFF:

208 Shutdown | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Hydraulic panel ................................................................................................................... Set

Turn off the two electric hydraulic pumps – leave the engine-driven pumps on:

RECIRCULATION FAN switches ............................................................................ As needed

Turn off the two recirculation fans:

Air conditioning PACK switches ..................................................................................... AUTO

ISOLATION VALVE switch ............................................................................................ OPEN

Leave the two pack switches in AUTO. Left-click on the ISOLATION VALVE switch to move it to OPEN:

Engine BLEED air switches ................................................................................................ ON

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Shutdown 209


APU BLEED air switch ........................................................................................................ ON

Leave the engine bleeds open. Click on the APU BLEED switch to open the bleed:

Exterior lights switches............................................................................................ As needed

FLIGHT DIRECTOR switches ........................................................................................... OFF

If you left the flight directors on during the final approach and landing turn them off now on the MCP.

Transponder mode selector ............................................................................................ STBY

Move the transponder mode selector to STBY:

Parking brake.............................................................................................................. Release

Release the parking brake when the ground crew informs you that the chocks are in place.

APU switch ............................................................................................................. As needed

Leave the APU running to provide electrical power and air conditioning. Or, if you prefer, use the CDU to
connect ground power and connect it to the buses (see the Electrical Power Up procedure at the beginning of
this document), then shut down the APU.

210 Shutdown | October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager


Shutdown Checklist

Now go back to the top and do it all again! (You can skip the “Electrical Power Up” section).

October 3, 2011 – Tom Risager | Shutdown 211