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Automatic Flight Tutorial for the Ramzzess Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional

Automatic Flight Tutorial


for
Ramzzess Aviation
Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional
X-Plane 10

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I recently purchased the Boeing 777 Worldliner Professional from Ramzzess Aviation and could hardly wait to
fly a real airliner. I had flown a number of other X-Plane 10 aircraft and was familiar with IFR flight and
programming the stock FMC that comes with a lot of planes. In particular, I enjoyed very much the
Bombardier Challenger 300. This plane came with a short tutorial in the form of a walk through of a flight from
takeoff to landing by a Challenger 300 pilot and gave simple instructions of flight characteristics, takeoff
speeds and climbing procedures, approach procedures and flap schedules. It made a huge difference and I
was able to fly the plane right from the beginning after reading that tutorial.
Unfortunately, I had a different experience with the 777. The Boeing documentation is certainly thorough but
you need some background and familiarity with the aircraft and the automatic flight systems in order to
understand it. The video tutorials were good but for me it's difficult to learn from a video for most topics.
Written instructions and illustrations work better for me with technical topics.
Consequently, I spent a rather frustrating period of several weeks off and on reading the Boeing manuals,
cruising user forums and searching the Internet until little by little I was able to compile a list of notes, tips, and
other information that enabled me to finally complete an automatic flight. While ultimately successful, the
process was anything but enjoyable and probably would not have been successful without Robert McDonald's
posting on Quick tips programming the Ramzzess B777 FMC which got me over the hump with setting up
the FMS.
This document is the result of that process. It is intended solely for the purposes of flight simulation and
entertainment. It is definitely NOT suitable for real world flight in the B777 nor is it intended to be. I wrote
this tutorial for new purchasers of this fine aircraft who want to get flying without the months of research and
preparation. This document reflects my preferred method of learning new, complex skills by starting with
basic tutorials that may be non-sensical or overly-simplified but develop basic skills that can then be built upon
by increasingly more complex and real world procedures.
This tutorial is designed to develop basic automatic flight skills in the B777 for pilots with little or no
experience with the B777 or ILS approaches. There is no attempt to demonstrate proper airline procedures or
pilot best practices. In fact, I am not qualified to offer any information on those topics. All the tutorial flights
begin at the runway with the engines running. No startup procedures, checklists, or fuel and passenger
loading are included or are necessary. As I said, this is a quick start introduction to automatic flight.

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X-Plane Setup
I have discovered that things go a little easier if you include the following in your X-Plane configuration:
1. Assign a button to activate the autopilot (Buttons: Adv = autopilot/servos_on or
autopilot/servos_toggle)
2. Assign a button to disconnect the autopilot (Buttons:Adv = 777/ap_disc)
3. Assign a button to thrust reversers (Buttons: Basic = Toggle thrust reversers)
4. Assign a button to set takeoff trim (Buttons: Basic = Pitch trim takeoff)
5. Assign an unused axis (propeller pitch or mixture control, for example) to speedbrakes. You may have
to check the Reverse checkbox because the speedbrake control in activated by pulling back to extend
the speedbrakes and pushing forward to retract the brakes.
6. Load the tutorial flight routes
6.1. Locate tutorial flight routes in downloaded source material
a. KSFOLOOP
b. EDDREDDS1
6.2. Copy flight routes into X-Plane 10/Aircraft/777 Worldliner
Professional/plugins/T7Avionics/routes
A note about the autopilot on and disconnect functions. The default X-Plane A/P uses autopilot/servos_toggle
to turn the A/P on and off. This will NOT work for the 777. When the 777 autopilot servos are turned off
(disconnected), the A/P will turn off and a truly dreadful alarm will sound. The alarm is cleared when the A/P
disconnect is pushed a second time. This function is not supported by the default X-Plane A/P controls. If you
assign a button to 777/ap_disc, then the A/P can be turned off by pushing this button twice. Of course, you
can always click on the A/P Disconnect button on the A/P panel if you want.
Assigning a button to 777/ap_disc is accomplished using the Joystick and Equipment selection under the
Settings menu. Go to the Button:Adv tab. The top of the screen will look like the following:

Click on the button you wish to assign to ap_disc and then click on the box to the left of the custom
commands area as shown above. The resulting screen will show a list of folders containing the custom and
aircraft-specific commands. Click on the 777 folder to display the custom commands for the Boeing 777.
Ap_disc should be listed as the first command. Click on it to assign it to the button.
I also recommend setting up some view selection shortcut buttons as well. I have a wide screen setup with 3
screens. When I select the 3D cockpit, it comes up such that I can't see the runway during the landing
approach. I have to move the point of view up and then tilt it down to see the PFD. I also need to zoom into
the PDF display and the FMS display periodically during the flight. This results in a lot of button pushing and
moving around of the point of view. Fortunately, X-Plane enables you to save these settings. First set up your
main 3D cockpit view appropriately positioned and zoomed to suit your display and flight style. Save this
configuration by clicking Command-0 on the number pad. This is obviously for the Mac but there is an
equivalent for Windows. Next zoom into the PDF and position the point of view. Save this configuration by
clicking Command-1 on the number pad. Continue setting up different views including external views such as
chase or circle. During flight, you can now quickly switch between these different views by pressing the preset
numbers on the number pad. For example, pressing 0 will switch to the main flight view.

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Overview of Tutorial Flights


The tutorial includes 4 flights as listed below:
1. San Francisco Loop flight LNAV
2. San Francisco Loop flight LNAV + VNAV
3. Saarbrucken to Stuttgart LNAV
4. Saarbrucken to Stuttgart LNAV + VNAV
The San Francisco flights are a simple loop. You will takeoff from runway 28R, fly out a short distance, and
then make a wide loop returning to intersect the ILS approach back to runway 28R. This is NOT something
that you would, or would be permitted, to do in real life but that's why we're sim pilots! The purpose of this
flight is to learn the very first steps in automatic flight and controlling the airplane. We will also go over the
basics of ILS landings for those who may not be familiar with IFR procedures.
The Saarbrucken to Stuttgart flights are more real world. The approach to Stuttgart is in accordance with a
published STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route). In this flight we will learn the basics of planning an
approach and flying a speed and altitude schedule. To reiterate these procedures will demonstrate the use
of aircraft controls to fly the approach only. The flight path flown in the tutorial probably does not represent
the actual flight path or speed and altitude schedule flown by real world pilots and is not intended to. I am
only trying to teach the basic aircraft operation so that you have the skills to learn about and implement real
world procedures should you decide to do that.
I will also include a section on how I plan for a simulated flight to a new airport or a new approach to a familiar
airport. This section should help you to get from cruise altitude and speed down to final approach speed and
altitude and ILS capture. Again this may not be exactly what real airline pilots do but it will work for us
simple sim pilots. The bottom line message is that you cannot fly a high performance turbine aircraft without
putting some thought into how to get it down and slow it down in time to make a controlled approach.
Document Notes
I will use some abbreviations for convenience in this document including the following:
A/P = Autopilot
A/T = Auto-throttle

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First flight SFO Loop, LNAV


This flight will demonstrate the very basics of automatic flight including A/T operation, FMS LNAV lateral
navigation, ILS precision approach procedures, and auto landing. Vertical control (altitude) will be managed
manually using A/P controls. FMS LNAV means that we will program the FMS to automatically fly the plane on
the route desired.
I will provide detailed instructions for all phases of the flight but before we takeoff, some overview of what
we're about to attempt is in order. The following diagram is taken from the B777 documentation and shows
the flight profile for takeoff:

During takeoff, the pilots are responsible for releasing the brakes, advancing the throttles, engaging the A/T,
steering the aircraft during the takeoff run, rotating the aircraft at the correct time, retracting the landing gear,
engaging the A/P, engaging the A/P climb mode, and retracting the flaps. Once all that is accomplished the
FMS and A/T handle getting the aircraft to cruise altitude and speed.
During the flight, the FMS will steer the aircraft along the programmed flight path. The pilots' job is to
monitor the A/P operation and control speed and altitude using the A/P controls.

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The following diagram from the B777 documentation shows the ILS intercept procedure:

The FMS will continue to steer the aircraft on the proper flight path but the pilots must manage the aircraft
speed and altitude during the approach. That also means the pilots are responsible for deploying the landing
gear and flaps and configuring the A/P for ILS intercept.
ILS Precision Approach
The Instrument Landing System (ILS) sends out radio signals to the navigation radios in the aircraft. One signal
called the localizer (LOC) tells the aircraft whether the runway is left or right of the current aircraft position.
The other signal called the glide slope (GS) tells the aircraft whether the ideal descent path to the runway is
above or below the current aircraft position. When active (the ILS frequency for the landing runway is entered
into the FMS and is activated), the Primary Flight Display (PFD) displays localizer information just below the
attitude indicator and glide slope information just to the right of the attitude indicator as shown below:

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The football shaped object on the localizer and glide slope bars represents the current position of the localizer
and glide slope relative to the aircraft. The following diagram shows how the localizer is displayed for various
aircraft positions. The localizer displays the position of the runway relative to the aircraft as if you were
standing at the aircraft location looking towards the airport. It is not dependent on the direction the aircraft is
flying.

It's probably more confusing to describe than to use in practice but it's useful to have a basic understanding of
what you are seeing. The glide slope indicator displays the vertical position of the descent path relative to the
aircraft is a similar fashion as shown below. Again, this information is not dependent on the direction the
aircraft is flying. (ok not necessarily totally true if you are flying an ILS back course, but there's no need to
worry about that at this point). As a point of reference, the ideal descent path is approximately 3 degrees
down.

One note about the ILS indicators. The football objects will be centered and filled in until the localizer or glide
slope receiver has detected the appropriate signal. The indicator will then switch to the outlined football
shape and move off the center usually to one of the extremes as the signal is detected and becomes active.
As the aircraft approaches the runway approach path, the indicators will move towards the center of the bars.
They will change to the filled in football when centered on the localizer or glide slope.
Autopilots differ between planes, but the usual technique for successfully capturing the ILS is to turn towards
the runway heading at an angle less than 90 degrees well short of the airport and then push the APP or APPR
button on the A/P. This puts the A/P into the approach mode and arms the vertical mode with GS and the
lateral mode with LOC. The A/P will continue to fly the current vertical and lateral modes until the localizer is
intercepted. This means that the aircraft will fly in the FMS LNAV or HDG lateral mode and the ALT hold mode
or FLCH, VS, or FPA vertical descent modes until ILS capture. The A/P will then turn the aircraft towards the
runway and switch to the LOC lateral mode. The A/P is expecting the aircraft to be well below the glide slope

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at this point. Do not try to intercept the glide slope from above. It will continue to fly the current vertical
mode until the glide slope is captured, at which time it will switch to the GS mode.
Vref and Flap Limits
Vref is the reference landing speed and is dependent on the flap setting and aircraft parameters such as
weight. This reference speed is therefore variable being dependent on the amount of fuel used and cargo
weight. The FMS calculates Vref for various flap settings and can be displayed by clicking on the INIT REF
page on the FMS. During descent, the Approach information should be displayed. If not, click on L6,
Approach to display the approach page. The page is shown below:

Notice that the calculated Vref is displayed for 3 final approach flap settings (20, 25, and 30). Displayed below
that information is a blank line that needs to be filled in with the selected approach flap setting so that the
reference speed will be displayed on the right hand side of the speed strip on the PFD. This is accomplished
by clicking on the right hand button next to the desired flap setting to copy that data to the scratchpad. Then
click on the right hand button next to the blank line of data to set it to the scratchpad data. This Vref speed
will be used to set the final approach speed for landing. My research indicates that aircraft operators typically
have policies that limit the minimum allowable speed during approach. Most specify that landing speeds be
set to Vref + 5. This is the speed we will use in this tutorial.
The flaps are used to provide additional lift at low speeds during approach and landing and also help to slow
the plane down. There are absolute IAS limits for flap extension and there are minimum flap maneuvering
speeds. Flap maneuvering speeds are defined as follows:
Flap maneuver speeds allow full maneuvering capability. Full maneuver margin exists for all normal
landing procedures whenever speed is at or above the maneuver speed for that current flap setting
Flap
Setting

Maximum KIAS
(cockpit placard)

Minimum
Maneuver Speed KIAS

255

Vref30 + 60

235

Vref30 + 40

15

215

Vref30 + 20

20

200

Vref30 + 20

25

190

Vref25

30

180

Vref30

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Once the approach flap settings are entered into the Approach page of the FMS during the initial approach, all
this information is displayed on the PFD so no calculations need to be performed. Maximum IAS restrictions
are displayed on the PFD speed strip with prominent red dots. Make sure that the IAS is well below these
limits before deploying the flaps. The flap maneuvering speeds are shown on the PFD speed strip as green
bars with the landing flap setting and Vref shown at the bottom right of the speed strip as shown below in the
image on the left. Note the green 25/153 in the bottom right. This is our landing flap setting and speed.
The flap setting and landing gear status are displayed in the center right and bottom right sections of the MFD
as shown below in the image on the right.

For your reference, the following diagram shows the B777 A/P controls:

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Enough theory, it's time to go flying. Just follow the instructions in the script below:
1. Start X-Plane
1.1. Select 777 Worldliner Professional
1.2. Position aircraft at runway 28R at KSFO San Francisco
1.3. Set current view to 3D cockpit
1.4. Disable custom failures on the Ramzzess B777 menu. The menu is accessed by hitting shift-F11
on your keyboard. Uncheck the Custom Failures checkbox. It's really annoying that it defaults to
on. I had many initial flights screwed up with fuel leaks and A/P disconnects just before
touchdown.

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2. Program FMC
Ok this is where all the action is. At the risk of driving the reader nuts, I've included screen shots of
everything just to make sure there are minimum mistakes. All the data needs to be entered in order
for VNAV and A/T functions to work. The following flowchart is taken from the B777 documentation
and shows the basic steps that need to be followed:

Fill in the required pages in the FMS according to the following descriptions. Note for the sake of
making this document easier to print out, I have inverted the FMS screen colors to eliminate large
black areas. Unfortunately, some of the real FMS information is in color and the colors shown in this
document are not accurate because of the inversion. This is a minor issue and you should have no
problems entering data into the FMS correctly.
Entering FMS Data. The FMS has a display screen with a column of 6 buttons along each side. I will
refer to these buttons as L1 L6 (left hand side) and R1 R6 (right hand side) with buttons L1 and R1
being on the top. Data is typed in using the FMS keypad. The very bottom row of the screen is the
FMS scratchpad. All data typed on the keypad is displayed in this area. The data is then moved into
the appropriate area of the screen by clicking on one of the right hand or left hand buttons. This
scratchpad area is also used by the FMS to display information or warning messages. You cannot enter
new data unless the scratchpad area is empty. You must hit the CLR button on the keypad to clear any
old data or messages in the scratchpad area before typing in new data.

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First page that is displayed on the FMS. Click button


L1, FMS1, to proceed to the Ident page.

Ident page displays information about this FMS and


always has the Nav Data Out Of Date message at the
bottom. Click button R6, Pos Init, to set the nav data.

The Pos Init page comes up with the Nav Data Out Of
Date message still displayed in the scratchpad area.
Click on the CLR button on the FMS keypad to clear
the message. Click button R4 to copy the GPS Pos to
the scratchpad.

Click button R5 to set the position from the


scratchpad. Note that R5 has no label. The screen is
supposed to display a series of boxes for entering the
position. Clicking R5 will appear to have no effect, but
the nav position will have been entered as required.
Click button R6, Route, to go to the next page

For this flight we are going to be loading a pre-defined


route. This is done by clicking button L3, Request.

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Select the route KSFOLOOP from the list by clicking


the left hand button next to the name. Your list will
probably look different than the one shown here.

The route is now loaded. Click button R6, Activate, to


activate the route. A yellow light will now appear on
the Exec button on the FMS keypad. Click on the Exec
button. This step is required before proceeding.

The route is now loaded and activated. Before


proceeding to the Perf Init page, I usually review the
route to make sure it loaded correctly and appears ok.
Note that the top left corner of the screen indicates
that the route information contains 3 pages with page
1 currently displayed.

Click the Next Page button on the FMS keypad to call


up the second route page. This contains the first page
of the actual route definition. In this case, the route
consists of a simple set of direct legs to either GPS
Fixes or VORs.

Clicking Next Page again brings up the last page of the


route definition.
After reviewing the route info, click R6 to go to the first
Perf Init page.

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Start by clicking on the CLR button on the FMS keypad


to clear the Route Loaded message.
Click on the number 5 on the FMS keypad (5 will
show in the scratchpad area) and then click on L4 to
load 5 into the Reserves.

After entering 5 for Reserves, click on L5, Request, to


have the FMS fill in the data labeled ZFW.

Next enter 6000 for the Crz Alt, R1 and 9999 for Cost
Index, R2.
Note: the Cost Index is used by the FMS to manage
the fuel consumption. 0 is the most economical and
9999 is the best performance. Using 9999 helps to
reduce the number of circumstances where the FMS
will complain about the flight route with Unable Crz Alt
messages.
With all the data filled in, click on R6, Thrust Lim to call
up the next page.

The Thrust Lim page enables you to select derated


maximum thrust settings for takeoff and landing in
order to conserve fuel and engine wear. I always leave
this settings unchanged with no derating.
Enter 25 on the scratchpad and click on L1 to load 25
into the SEL data field. I have no idea what this is
other than it's a temperature.

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Next click on R6, Takeoff to call up the takeoff settings


page.

The first step is to set the takeoff flaps to 5. Enter 5


into the scratchpad and click on L1 to load the Flaps
setting.

Click L5, Request, to have the FMS load the rest of the
required data.

At this point it looks like we're done by we're definitely


not! Notice that the three speeds listed on the right
hand side of the screen (V1, VR, V2) are displayed in a
normal sized font. It is required that you accept
these speeds by clicking on the R1, R2, and R3
buttons. This will cause the speeds to now be
displayed in a larger font.

The Takeoff Ref page should now look like this. We're
done with Perf Init now we must set the navigation
radio to the ILS frequency for SFO runway 28R.

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Click on the NAV RAD button on the FMS keypad. The


current ILS setting is PARK. For some routes, there
may be a frequency automatically entered but in this
case, we need to enter the proper frequency.
Enter 111.70 in the scratchpad and click on L4 to load
the ILS frequency. You must enter 2 decimal digits
entering 111.7 will generate an error message.

This is how the completed NAV Radio page should


look.

All data entry is now complete. The last thing I do


before takeoff is call up the Route Legs data which I
refer to during the flight. Click on the LEGS button on
the FMS keypad.
The first entry should be shown in magenta and is the
active leg. For our route it should be the STINS leg.

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3. Setup A/P
3.1. Turn on Flight Director
3.2. Arm A/T
3.3. Select LNAV
3.4. Set cruise altitude = 6000 feet
3.5. Set speed to 250 knots
4. Takeoff
4.1. Select the Legs page on the FMS and verify that STINS is the active leg. If possible, leave the
Legs page up on the display. You will refer to it often during the flight and especially during the
approach. If you don't have the display space available, the next waypoint information is also
displayed in the top right corner of the ND (Navigation Display) just to the right of the PFD.
4.2. Set flaps to 5
4.3. Set takeoff pitch trim
4.4. Release brakes
4.5. Advance throttles to at least 55% N1. If you don't advance the throttles far enough, the A/T will
NOT engage. Don't worry about advancing the throttles too far.
4.6. Click on the A/P TOGA button when rolling but before reaching 50 knots verify that the A/T is
activated.
4.7. Rotate at Vr
4.8. Retract landing gear once positive climb established. This will take a few seconds. If you try to
retract the landing gear too soon they won't retract.
4.9. At 400 feet above runway (actual for SFO = 440)
a. Activate A/P
b. Engage FLCH
4.10. Retract flaps. There is a schedule for this but the plane gains speed so fast that you must do this
soon after passing 400 feet in order to avoid overspeed warnings.
4.11. Ignore Pull Up warning during climb
5. Cruise
5.1. After reaching cruise altitude of 6000 feet, set A/P altitude selector to 4100 feet. I find that it
makes things go smoother if I set the altitude selector to the next altitude once the aircraft settles
out on the current settings. The A/P will continue to hold the current altitude (6000 in this case)
while you change the setting. It will not try to descend to 4100 until you enter a descent mode on
the A/P. 4100 feet is the ILS intercept altitude that we will be descending to on approach.
5.2. Move throttles to idle. This appears to be a quirk of the simulation. In the real aircraft the A/T
function actually moves the throttles. Alas, it doesn't work that way in the simulation world. You
can see the throttles moving in the 3D cockpit display but your throttle quadrant will not be
moving, of course. A number of issues have been reported in the user forums and the consensus
appears to be that you should move the throttles to idle once the A/T kicks in.
6. Approach and landing
6.1. Hit Pause to stop the simulation momentarily. Things will happen somewhat quickly at this point
until you get used to the procedure. Read through the rest of the procedure to get familiar with
what is coming up. The following events happen at particular waypoints. Refer often to the Legs
screen on the FMS or the next waypoint information on the ND. That screen will tell you how far
you are from the next waypoint and the following waypoints. Restart the simulation when ready.
6.2. OSI
a. Set Vref on the FMS Approach page by clicking on INIT REF. Select the flap=25 data and
enter it into the blank line. Note the Vref speed. Our landing speed will be equal to Vref + 5.
6.3. 7 miles from PUDBY
a. Set flaps = 1 (make sure that speed is less than 255)
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b. Set A/P speed = 220 AFTER FLAPS ARE DOWN. This is important because minimum
maneuver speed with flaps up is higher than 220.
6.4. PUDBY during turn to MEHTA
a. Descend to 4100 at -1000 feet per second. This is accomplished by clicking on the A/P V/SFPA Switch and then turning the V/S-FPA Selector until the display reads -1000. Aren't you
glad that you set up the 4100 altitude ahead of time?
6.5. 4 miles from MEHTA
a. Set flaps = 5. This is one more click down.
6.6. On turn to DUMBA
a. Set APP on A/P
b. Gear down
c. Speed = 175
d. Set flaps = 20 in increments according to flap schedule. Watch the indicated airspeed. One
click down will set flaps to 15 (IAS must be less than 215 knots). One more click will set the
flaps to 20 (IAS must be less than 200 knots). Airspeed should be above the flap maneuvering
speed but check it by looking at the appropriate green bar on the PDF speed strip.

6.7. Once the aircraft is settled on the LOC, watch the glide slope indicator. Once it starts to move
down, set the following:
a. Speed = 170
b. Flaps = 25

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6.8. Radar altitude is displayed when actual height above ground (water) is less than 2500 feet.

6.9. When altitude = 2000


a. Set speed = landing speed = Vref + 5
6.10. Final approach
a. A/P goes to Land3 at 1500 feet radar altitude
b. Rollout and flare armed
c. Prepare to steer with pedals

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6.11. Touch down


a. Wait for nose wheel to settle on runway
b. Apply gentle steering as necessary
c. Activate thrust reversers and apply power
d. De-activate thrust reversers when speed drops below 50 knots
e. Apply brakes and celebrate appropriately!

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Second flight SFO Loop, LNAV + VNAV


This second tutorial flight will be the same as the first except that we will let the FMS handle the altitude and
speed changes automatically. When the route KSFOLOOP is loaded into the FMS and the Legs page is
displayed you will see speed and altitude information associated with each leg. The FMS uses that information
to control aircraft altitude and speed during the flight. Note that speed information is not displayed on the
A/P in this mode (speed display is blank). The altitude and speed control terminates when the A/P intersects
the glide slope and goes into the GS vertical mode. At that point, the speed is displayed on the A/P and the
pilot must set the correct speed. The big advantage to using VNAV is the reduction in pilot workload during
the busy phase of the flight when approaching the ILS.
1. Start X-Plane
1.1. Select 777 Worldliner Professional
1.2. Position aircraft at runway 28R at KSFO
1.3. Set current view to 3D cockpit
1.4. Disable custom failures on the Ramzzess B777 menu. The menu is accessed by hitting shift-F11
on your keyboard. Uncheck the Custom Failures checkbox.
2. Program the FMC and request the route KSFOLOOP
3. Setup A/P
3.1. Turn on Flight Director
3.2. Arm A/T
3.3. Select LNAV
3.4. Select VNAV
3.5. Set cruise altitude = 6000 feet. Yes, we still have to set the cruise altitude on the A/P. If we
don't, the A/P setting will override the VNAV information.
3.6. Set speed to 250 knots
4. Takeoff
4.1. Select the Legs page on the FMS and verify that STINS is the active leg. Leave the Legs page
up on the display.
4.2. Set flaps to 5
4.3. Set takeoff pitch trim
4.4. Release brakes
4.5. Advance throttles to at least 55% N1. If you don't advance the throttles far enough, the A/T will
NOT engage. Don't worry about advancing the throttles too far.
4.6. Click on the A/P TOGA button when rolling but before reaching 50 knots verify that the A/T is
activated.
4.7. Rotate at Vr
4.8. Retract landing gear once positive climb established.
4.9. Activate A/P at 400 feet above runway (actual for SFO = 440)
4.10. Retract flaps. There is a schedule for this but the plane gains speed so fast that you must do this
soon after passing 400 feet in order to avoid overspeed warnings.
5. Cruise
5.1. After reaching cruise altitude of 6000 feet, set the A/P altitude selector to 4100 feet. Why is this
necessary? If you don't set the A/P altitude to the final descent altitude before the start of the
descent, the FMS will not follow the VNAV information and will not descend the aircraft.
5.2. Move throttles to idle.
6. Approach and landing
6.1. OSI
a. Set flaps to 1.
b. Set Vref on the FMS Approach page by clicking on INIT REF. Select the flap=25 data and
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enter it into the blank line. Note the Vref speed. Our landing speed will be equal to Vref + 5.
c. Approximately half way to PUDBY, notice that the FMS has automatically set the speed to
220 knots in accordance with the route information. Pretty cool.
6.2. 4 miles from MEHTA
a. Set flaps = 5. This is one more click down.
6.3. On turn to DUMBA
a. Set APP on A/P
b. Gear down
c. Set flaps = 20 in increments according to flap schedule. Watch the indicated airspeed. One
click down will set flaps to 15 (IAS must be less than 215 knots). One more click will set the
flaps to 20 (IAS must be less than 200 knots). Airspeed should be above the flap maneuvering
speed but check it by looking at the appropriate green bar on the PDF speed strip.
6.4. Once the aircraft is settled on the LOC, watch the glide slope indicator. When the glide slope is
captured, the A/P will terminate the VNAV vertical mode and enter the GS vertical mode. At that
point, set the following:
a. Speed = 170
b. Flaps = 25
6.5. When altitude = 2000
a. Set speed = landing speed = Vref + 5
6.6. Final approach
a. A/P goes to Land3 at 1500 feet radar altitude
b. Rollout and flare armed
c. Prepare to steer with pedals
6.7. Touch down
a. Wait for nose wheel to settle on runway
b. Apply gentle steering as necessary
c. Activate thrust reversers and apply power
d. De-activate thrust reversers when speed drops below 50 knots
e. Apply brakes and celebrate appropriately!

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Third flight Saarbrucken to Stuttgart, LNAV


This third tutorial flight will be much more realistic and requires that you fly a published STAR (Standard
Terminal Arrival Route) into ILS runway 07 at Stuttgart (EDDS). The STAR chart and ILS approach plate are
included in the supplemental data.
The STAR chart is shown below complete with my markings in red:

The VOR KRH is the approach transition point. We will enter this point at FL210 (21,000 feet) going 250 knots.
Our initial descent will take us down to FL080 (8000 feet) and 220 knots by the time we're on the downwind
leg to ILS runway 07. While flying the downwind and base legs to DS414, we will maintain 8000 feet and 220
knots and configure the aircraft to intercept the ILS localizer. During final approach, we will be slowing down
the aircraft and descending on a schedule that will intercept the glide slope at fix VATER.
It's clear we have a lot to do while flying the approach and some planning is definitely required in order to not
have the aircraft get ahead of us. I personally find it easier to start at the point where we intercept the glide
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slope and work backwards. I mark the altitude, aircraft configuration changes, and speed on the STAR chart as
I go. The process works as follows:

On glide slope at 2000 feet above runway elevation (3300 feet in this case) set final landing speed
(Vref + 5 knots).
VATER intercept glide slope and set initial landing configuration (175 knots, flaps 25).
After ILS receiver becomes active, engage APP (approach mode) on the A/P.
4 5 nm from glide slope intercept (DS411), set speed to 175 knots, gear down, flaps = 20.
Start descent to 4000 at FPA = -2.7 on turn to final
Set flaps = 5 on turn to intercept localizer. In this case, it's during the turn to the base leg.
Set speed = 220 after flaps set to 1.
On downwind leg, set flaps to 1 after reaching 8000 feet and 245 knots
Set Vref on the FMS after turning onto downwind leg
Descend to 8000 at 245 knots

How did we come up with all this information? There are four sources of information that enable us to plot out
the aircraft speed and configuration settings on the STAR chart:

Standard ILS intercept procedure from the Boeing 777 documentation (see page 5 of this document)
Flap, speed schedule (see page 7 of this document)
STAR chart
EDDS ILS 07 approach plate

You will find that the approach profile chart in the ILS approach plate is very useful and defines the point
(usually a GPS fix) where glide slope intercept occurs and the appropriate intercept altitude. The profile for
EDDS ILS 07 is shown below:

From this profile chart we can clearly see that glide slope intercepts occurs at VATER and should be done at
4000 feet altitude.
The above are the key events that are now tied to our particular STAR. For another airport and different STAR
the events are placed differently of course. This STAR is nice because there are numerous intermediate fixes
(all the DSxxx points) that make for convenient points to change speed or flap settings. On most other
approaches you would have perhaps only a couple of fixes and then these events would have to be specified
as X nm from fix ABCDE.
At this point, we are ready to plan for our descents. There may be one or more descent phases depending on
the particular STAR but in this case, there are basically two: the initial descent from cruise altitude to 8000 feet
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from KRH to DS419 and the final approach descent from 8000 feet to 4000 feet from DS414 to VATER. There
are three A/P and A/T descent modes that can be used:

FLCH flight level change


V/S vertical speed
FPA flight path angle

FLCH mode climbs and descends at the set speed on the A/P. The descent rate is therefore controlled by the
A/T and I find it to be somewhat unpredictable for precise descents. I generally only use this mode during
takeoff or mid-course altitude changes.
V/S mode climbs or descends according to the vertical feet per second setting on the A/P while maintaining
the speed setting on the A/P. This mode will arrive at a desired altitude in a predictable amount of time. How
far the aircraft will travel before arriving at the desired altitude is variable because indicated air speed does not
represent the actual speed over the ground.
FPA mode climbs or descends according to a flight path angle setting on the A/P while maintaining the speed
setting on the A/P. In this mode, the A/P will fly an 'exact' path by controlling pitch and throttle settings. This
will cause the aircraft to arrive at the desired altitude in a predictable distance.
All three modes are very useful in the appropriate circumstances but I use the following guidelines when
making my decisions about descent planning:

FLCH used during takeoff and mid-course flight level changes and possibly initial descents in a
stepped descent scenario.
V/S used during approach and arrival descents where the time and distance of the descent are not
critical but it is desirable to control the rate of descent.
FPA used during approach descents that have strict altitude and distance profiles. Note: I have
noticed that this descent mode is not generally available especially in general or business aviation
aircraft.

For this tutorial flight, we will use V/S for the initial descent from KRH to DS419 and FPA for the final approach
descent from DS414 to VATER.
The first step is to calculate the initial descent parameters. We know the desired altitude change is 13,000 feet
(21,000 cruise altitude 8000 final altitude). Now we need to estimate the time. Looking at our marked up
STAR chart we see that approximately 30 nm will be flown at 250 knots IAS. Dividing the distance by the
speed will yield the flight time in hours which we must then multiply by 60 to get the number of minutes. This
results in a flight time of 7.2 min. 13,000 feet divided by 7.2 min = 1806 feet per min. This all seems very
scientific and exact, but it's not. At 21,000 feet flying at 250 knots, the actual ground speed will be well over
300 knots because the air pressure is much less at that altitude than at sea level. There are probably special
purpose calculators that could perform this correction automatically but we need to guess. I'll start out at
-2100 feet per minute for the descent rate and then change the rate during the descent if it looks like I need to
go down slower or faster.
The approach descent planning is a little more straight forward since the calculation of the flight path angle is
a simple exercise in trig. We need to calculate the descent ratio as the altitude change in feet divided by the
distance in nautical miles. Our altitude change is 4000 feet (8000 4000). The distance between DS414 and
VATER is 16 nm, but I like to plan this descent to make sure that I'm at the proper altitude well before glide
slope intercept, so I will use 14 nm for the distance. The resulting ratio is 4000 / 14 = 285 ft per nm. Rather
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than perform some ugly trig at this point, I have provided the following table that can be used to find the
closest FPA setting.
FPA

Ft/NM

FPA

Ft/NM

FPA

Ft/NM

FPA

Ft/NM

FPA

Ft/NM

0.00

1.00

106

2.00

212

3.00

318

4.00

425

0.05

1.05

111

2.05

217

3.05

324

4.05

430

0.10

11

1.10

117

2.10

223

3.10

329

4.10

436

0.15

16

1.15

122

2.15

228

3.15

334

4.15

441

0.20

21

1.20

127

2.20

233

3.20

340

4.20

446

0.25

27

1.25

133

2.25

239

3.25

345

4.25

452

0.30

32

1.30

138

2.30

244

3.30

350

4.30

457

0.35

37

1.35

143

2.35

249

3.35

356

4.35

462

0.40

42

1.40

148

2.40

255

3.40

361

4.40

468

0.45

48

1.45

154

2.45

260

3.45

366

4.45

473

0.50

53

1.50

159

2.50

265

3.50

372

4.50

478

0.55

58

1.55

164

2.55

271

3.55

377

4.55

484

0.60

64

1.60

170

2.60

276

3.60

382

4.60

489

0.65

69

1.65

175

2.65

281

3.65

388

4.65

494

0.70

74

1.70

180

2.70

287

3.70

393

4.70

500

0.75

80

1.75

186

2.75

292

3.75

398

4.75

505

0.80

85

1.80

191

2.80

297

3.80

404

4.80

510

0.85

90

1.85

196

2.85

302

3.85

409

4.85

516

0.90

95

1.90

202

2.90

308

3.90

414

4.90

521

0.95

101

1.95

207

2.95

313

3.95

420

4.95

526

The closest descent ratio to 285 is 287 in the above table which corresponds to 2.70 FPA.
The descent mode is set by clicking on the V/S-FPA Reference Switch. This causes the display above the V/SFPA Selector wheel to display either V/S 0 or FPA 0. Click on the small VS-FPA Reference Switch if necessary
to select the descent mode and then use the wheel to enter the appropriate setting. This seems like a lot of
button pushing but it's not that bad. When you click on the V/S-FPA Switch, the descent rate will be at zero
and the A/P will continue holding the current altitude. The actual descent will start only when the V/S-FPA
Selector wheel is set to something other than 0. I find that it's very easy to hit the V/S-FPA Switch early, select
the descent mode (V/S or FPA) and then set the rV/S-FPA Selector wheel at the time I actually want the
descent to start.
At this point all our planning is complete and the STAR chart is marked up with the appropriate notes. I would
make one other point about managing the descents. Leaving the A/P and FMS on their own will limit the rate
at which the aircraft can descend. Once you specify the speed and the descent method and rate, the only
control the A/P has over the aircraft is pitch and throttle setting. Particularly in the V/S and FPA modes, the
A/P could be limited by the minimum throttle setting. For example, in the initial descent from cruise altitude,
we are planning on descending 13,000 feet in 30 nm. This is a fairly steep descent phase (-2100 fpm) and the

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throttle will be set to near minimum to try maintain this descent rate and the set speed of 250 knots. In
practice, it will descend at a much faster speed because it can't slow down while maintaining the descent rate.
You can help the aircraft out in this situation by extending the speedbrakes or flight spoilers. I extend the
brakes during the descent to help maintain the proper airspeed. I don't know the proper airline and pilot
procedures and best practices concerning the use of speedbrakes, but they are there to help slow the aircraft
down during arrival and approach.
Now we're ready to go flying!
1. Start X-Plane
1.1. Select 777 Worldliner Professional
1.2. Position aircraft at runway 09 at EDDR
1.3. Set current view to 3D cockpit
1.4. Disable custom failures on the Ramzzess B777 menu. The menu is accessed by hitting shift-F11
on your keyboard. Uncheck the Custom Failures checkbox.
1.5. You may need to select Environment and change the time of day to mid day.
2. Program the FMC and request the route EDDREDDS1, set cruise altitude to FL210. When checking
the NAV RAD page to enter the ILS frequency for runway 07 at EDDS, you will find that the frequency
has already been entered as <110.90/073PARK. This will automatically activate just before glide
slope intercept in this route because an ILS approach has been selected. If a different approach was
selected, this would NOT become active until you click on the button L4. I would normally do this
during the downwind leg of the approach if required. If not done, the aircraft would not intercept the
ILS and would continue on to fly the Go Around procedure.
3. Setup A/P
3.1. Turn on Flight Director
3.2. Arm A/T
3.3. Select LNAV
3.4. Set cruise altitude = 21000 feet.
3.5. Set speed to 250 knots
4. Takeoff
4.1. Select the Legs page on the FMS and verify that RW09 is the active leg. Leave the Legs page
up on the display.
4.2. Set flaps to 5
4.3. Set takeoff pitch trim
4.4. Release brakes
4.5. Advance throttles to at least 55% N1.
4.6. Click on the A/P TOGA button when rolling but before reaching 50 knots verify that the A/T is
activated.
4.7. Rotate at Vr
4.8. Retract landing gear once positive climb established.
4.9. Activate A/P at 400 feet above runway (actual for EDDR = 1500)
4.10. Click on FLCH on the A/P
4.11. Retract flaps.
5. Cruise
5.1. After reaching cruise altitude of 21000 feet (occurs approximately 35 nm from KRH), set the A/P
altitude selector to 8000 feet.
5.2. Move throttles to idle.

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6. Approach and landing


6.1. KRH
a. Initiate descent at V/S = -2100 fpm
b. Set speed = 245
6.2. During descent use speedbrakes to slow aircraft down to 250 knots after passing DS416.
6.3. After turn onto downwind leg at DS419
a. Set Vref on the FMS Approach page by clicking on INIT REF. Select the flap=25 data and
enter it into the blank line. Note the Vref speed. Our landing speed will be equal to Vref + 5.
b. Go back to the Legs page on the FMS
6.4. After reaching 8000 feet and 245 knots
a. Set flaps = 1
b. Set speed = 220 after flaps are down
c. Set A/P altitude = 4000
6.5. On turn to DS414
a. Set flaps = 5
6.6. At start of turn to DS413
a. Initiate descent at -2.70 FPA
6.7. DS412
a. Set speed = 200
6.8. At some point once the aircraft is settled on the LOC, the ILS receiver will become active
(displays localizer and glide slope information on the PFD). At that point, do the following:
a. Set APP on A/P
6.9. DS411
a. Set flaps = 20
b. Gear down
c. Set speed = 175 after flaps are down
6.10. Watch the glide slope indicator. When the glide slope is captured, the A/P will terminate the
VNAV vertical mode and enter the GS vertical mode. This should occur near the VATER waypoint.
At that point, set the following:
a. Set speed = 170
b. Flaps = 25
6.11. When altitude = 3300
a. Set speed = landing speed = Vref + 5
6.12. Final approach
a. A/P goes to Land3 at 1500 feet radar altitude
b. Rollout and flare armed
c. Prepare to steer with pedals
6.13. Touch down
a. Wait for nose wheel to settle on runway
b. Apply gentle steering as necessary
c. Activate thrust reversers and apply power
d. De-activate thrust reversers when speed drops below 50 knots
e. Apply brakes

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Fourth flight Saarbrucken to Stuttgart, LNAV + VNAV


This fourth tutorial flight will be a repeat of the previous flight except that we will enable FMS VNAV vertical
navigation. The arrival route is a standard, published route for runway 07 at Stuttgart and the speed and
altitude information comes directly from the X-Plane STAR database. When I first flew this arrival in the VNAV
mode, I noticed that it flew high and fast according to my interpretation of the STAR chart. In fact, the aircraft
doesn't arrive at 8000 feet until nearly reaching the base leg. Obviously, there are many things that I have yet
to discover and learn.
The one problem with letting the aircraft fly the VNAV mode without any intervention from the pilot is the
management of speed during the ILS intercept phase. The VNAV speed information specifies 220 knots
during this phase up until glide slope intercept at VATER at which time the speed drops to 190 knots. There
are two problems with this situation:

The FMS will manage the speed until glide slope intercept at which time, VNAV mode will terminate
and speed must then be set manually by the pilot.
The programmed speed settings during the ILS intercept phase may be too fast for the Boeingspecified flap extension schedule.

The net result of the above is that the pilot must manually manage the speed settings during the ILS intercept
phase and be able to override the FMS VNAV settings. Fortunately, this is easily accomplished. During normal
VNAV operation the speed display on the A/P is blank and the FMS is automatically setting the speed. You
can see the current speed setting on the PFD displayed above the left hand airspeed strip. To override this
setting, push (click on) the center of the speed setting knob on the A/P. This will cause the speed setting to
now be displayed. Turn the knob to the desired speed and the A/P will fly to the new speed.
As before, the pilot is responsible for deploying flaps and gear on the approach.
1. Start X-Plane
1.1. Select 777 Worldliner Professional
1.2. Position aircraft at runway 09 at EDDR
1.3. Set current view to 3D cockpit
1.4. Disable custom failures on the Ramzzess B777 menu. The menu is accessed by hitting shift-F11
on your keyboard. Uncheck the Custom Failures checkbox.
1.5. You may need to select Environment and change the time of day to mid day.
2. Program the FMC and request the route EDDREDDS1, set cruise altitude to FL210. When checking
the NAV RAD page to enter the ILS frequency for runway 07 at EDDS, you will find that the frequency
has already been entered as <110.90/073PARK. This will automatically activate just before glide
slope intercept in this route because an ILS approach has been selected. If a different approach was
selected, this would NOT become active until you click on the button L4. I would normally do this
during the downwind leg of the approach if required. If not done, the aircraft would not intercept the
ILS and would continue on to fly the Go Around procedure.
3. Setup A/P
3.1. Turn on Flight Director
3.2. Arm A/T
3.3. Select LNAV
3.4. Select VNAV
3.5. Set cruise altitude = 21000 feet.
4. Takeoff
4.1. Select the Legs page on the FMS and verify that RW09 is the active leg. Leave the Legs page
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up on the display.
4.2. Set flaps to 5
4.3. Set takeoff pitch trim
4.4. Release brakes
4.5. Advance throttles to at least 55% N1.
4.6. Click on the A/P TOGA button when rolling but before reaching 50 knots verify that the A/T is
activated.
4.7. Rotate at Vr
4.8. Retract landing gear once positive climb established.
4.9. Activate A/P at 400 feet above runway (actual for EDDR = 1500)
4.10. Retract flaps.
5. Cruise
5.1. After reaching cruise altitude of 21000 feet (occurs approximately 25 nm from KRH), set the A/P
altitude selector to 4000 feet.
5.2. Move throttles to idle.
6. Approach and landing
6.1. After turn onto downwind leg at DS419
a. Set Vref on the FMS Approach page by clicking on INIT REF. Select the flap=25 data and
enter it into the blank line. Note the Vref speed. Our landing speed will be equal to Vref + 5.
b. Go back to the Legs page on the FMS
6.2. After aircraft slows to less than 250 knots but BEFORE it slows to the Flaps UP minimum
maneuvering speed.
a. Set flaps = 1
6.3. On turn to DS414
a. Set flaps = 5
6.4. DS412
a. Set speed = 200. This will require you to override the VNAV speed setting.
6.5. At some point once the aircraft is settled on the LOC, the ILS receiver will become active
(displays localizer and glide slope information on the PFD). At that point, do the following:
a. Set APP on A/P
6.6. DS411
a. Set flaps = 20
b. Gear down
c. Set speed = 175 after flaps are down.
6.7. Watch the glide slope indicator. When the glide slope is captured, the A/P will terminate the
VNAV vertical mode and enter the GS vertical mode. This should occur near the VATER waypoint.
At that point, set the following:
a. Set speed = 170
b. Flaps = 25
6.8. When altitude = 3300
a. Set speed = landing speed = Vref + 5
6.9. Final approach
a. A/P goes to Land3 at 1500 feet radar altitude
b. Rollout and flare armed
c. Prepare to steer with pedals
6.10. Touch down
a. Wait for nose wheel to settle on runway
b. Apply gentle steering as necessary
c. Activate thrust reversers and apply power
d. De-activate thrust reversers when speed drops below 50 knots
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e. Apply brakes

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