Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

I thought it may be interesting to start a topic where people can share their main methods of navigation within FS2004....

Successfull Navigation can seem like a black art when you are first learning about Aviation Simulation so if anyone wants to share what works for them, it may help people.

- When I first started off, I completed all Navigating purely using "Direct" courses in the GPS.. It's a good way to get started and pretty easy to achieve, get the GPS up, hit the D-> button on the panel, enter the code you want and there you have it... a pretty pink line on the GPS telling you where to fly.. (and of course in the default planes you can set the NAV/GPS toggle switch to GPS, and hit the 'NAV' AutoPilot button and your plane will fly that pink line course.

- Next I switched to pure VOR to VOR as a primary way of navigating.. It was harder to get my head around as you aren't simply flying a single course towards the VOR, there are 360 'radials' (or directions) within each VOR location, and you need to set a course on the VOR Indicator towards the one you want to intercept... This is a really satisfying way of navigating as you have to stay on your feet and tune in each VOR frequency as you pass the last... it's also more interesting because your plane will steer a more realistic course to your destination - it's not very realistic for a route to form a straight line from point to point, as with GPS only navigation! You get a real sense of achievement when you reach your destination, having used only VORs, and having not looked at your GPS screen during the routing (until Approach).

- These days, 90% of my flying is IFR (except for the World Tour), so my Navigating works like this:-

1. File IFR Flight Plan.

2. Take off, Runway heading and follow ATC direction until out of the Airports Departure airspace.

3. Cancel IFR and assume 'VFR on Top' flight, which means more flexibility for altitudes (above the clouds) and also means you can pop out to the shops without missing ATC commands !!

4. Once out of IFR as above, use a mixture of VORs when over land or 'Direct to waypoint' GPS routing when over water. I'll use a mixture, or either of these methods to get me to 100nm from my destination.

5. When 100nm from my destination, I file IFR again for the destination and accept ATC guidance for descent, approach and landing.

The above refer mainly to flying large Jets, when flying GA, I mainly fly VFR only and use VOR to VOR Navigation.

BUT I'M NO ALL-ROUND EXPERT !! - I know very little about 'High and Low Altitude Airways' Navigation, so I'd love to hear someone talking about that... Embarassed ie.. how do you navigate through these 'Airways' ? Do you use VORs ? How does AutoPilot track the Airways ?

Ok, who's up next ? 😉

Answers 34 Answers

Jump to latest
Pro Member Trainee
Timothy (Moab) Trainee

So far as a noobie, I'm just on GPS now lol something I know abit .)
But learning new stuff from the site each day made it my home page .)

Peace Tim

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

Over the weekend I done a three and half hour flight from Teneriffe (GCTS) to Gatwick (EGKK) all via ATC instructed in the 737NG and it was a fantastic not only because of a fantastic aircraft to fly but also I use Ultimate traffic it a busy sky and ATC is not only guiding me but also other traffic, and also good to hear different airlines as you go through various airspace. The only thing I was dreading was the landing at Gatwick I was using real time and weather so landing at gatwick at 12 noon would be a busy time for landing. But once I'm 10nm out I always back my speed right down to 160 to give my self plenty of room so i wont get the go around and it worked like clock work.

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

In this order.

1-Map or memory
5-Land anywhere close


Pro Member First Officer
leadfoot First Officer

My method depends on what I fly. For short trips in small craft I use GPS, VORs or just ground reference. On occasion I will use pilotage---- determine wind speed and dir., true course, correction angle, magnetic variation, landmarks and a clock. There is no substitute for the good ol' E6B nav slide computer. No batteries needed. That's how I learned to fly in the real world when I got my license. It is wise to retain those pilotage skills though because if you don't, you'll be in deep "you know what" should the GPS or VORs fail, or if you have an elec. failure. God bless those TFRs. On long routes at high alt. in jets I use High Alt. enroute charts and the attendant VORs. I will use GPS for situational awareness, tracking short signal range VORs, as well as setting up for IFR or ILS approach, both go hand in hand. I have'nt gotten into the ATC aspect of the sim yet. I'll have to try it sometime.

Pro Member First Officer
Arkydave First Officer

Except when trying out a new plane, all my flying is IFR. I typically file a high altitude IFR flight plan, then follow ATC direction all the way. I feel that's more realistic, and I'm conforming to the airways. If I need to "pop out to the shops " I pause it. I use primarily VOR nav, with GPS as a cross check.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Alex (Fire_Emblem_Master) Chief Captain

My flights go like this usually

1. Pick Jet ( i have no life)

2. Go to the IFR Page and select a starting airport, (KGRR or O'haire)

3. Go to the map and zoom around till i find a airport to fly to

4. Memorize callsign for airport, type in to the IFR planner

5. Look at fuel estimate, calculate it myself, split the difference, add the difference to the estimate, add at least 5,000LBS on top of that cause i'm paranoid after i crashed my MD-11 300 feet away from the runway.

6. Start it up

7. Start engine

8. Radio, pushback, bla bla bla taxi bla bla bla

9. Take off

10. Set autopilot, go for a walk

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Some great views and methods coming through! You can really see people's preferences within the sim.... Radar Man the Taildragger fan seems to like a low-tec approach (makes sense when your throwing a DC-3 around!), whereas hard-core 'Heavy' fans like F_E_M are sticking to ATC and hardcore IFR....

Leadfoot - I admire your knowledge of Pilotage... Mine knowledge of it is Embarassed but I will have to read up on it and check it out !

Patw - Gatwick to Tenerife is one of my favourite jet flights ! Being an old favoutirte holiday route for me (in 737s and A320s)... I too have been flying it in the 737 NG and like you mainly ATC directed, except once I get out of the Departure Airspace, I usually enter a VOR name into the 'Direct to' screen on the FMC, so I can use the FMCs Navigation a bit.... Have you managed to plot an entire course into the FMC yet ? And also have you managed a Cat 3 AutoLAnd in the 737NG ? I'm still on Cat 2 ILS landings, where I have to manage speed, flare and touchdown myself.... still makes it fun needing to get these bits right.. (I don't always Twisted Evil

You should try the A340... it comes with Holiday Charter liveries - perfect for the Gatwick - Canaries routes !

Pro Member Trainee
tricky2070 Trainee

I find a piece of paper fold it carefully make some nice long wings draw some nice detailed windows on it then i throw it hard and it crashes into a wall nice landing............see avatar 🙄

Ahem...on a more serious note:

1.I choose my fav plane which is Airbus FT757-200 BA
2.Choose my departure Heathrow and arrival anywhere i fancy on the day mostly America kinda like flying there for some reason.
3.Find route
4.Do all the routines ie:pushback,radio,taxi,radio,take off.
5.climb around 19000k alt and then set AP.
6.Enjoy the views smoke like a trooper have a drink maybe go to the toilet when needed talk to friends on the phone and then look forward to the landing which i do all by myself 😀 i love landing and watch the replay of my landing with a big smile on my face...sad aint i..

Simple i know but don't forget i'm new so maybe with a few more reads on this forum i can pluck up the courage to dig a little deeper.

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Hey Tricky, theres nothing wrong at all in enjoying simple ways of flying... some of the most experianced people out there, fly without ATC, perhaps without IFR and some even without much use of AutoPilots!

It sounds like you like Jets and long-haul flights, so if you're performing 'by hand' landings in these planes it will really be helping you hone your flying skills.... (It's a long time since I brought a 'Heavy' down by hand, so I'd probably crash now which ain't good!)....

I do find it interesting learning some of the advanced stuff within the big add-on jets like the 737NG and the A340.... The Flight Management Computers are so clever and can can manage your entire flight (navigation, speed and Altitude) from take-off roll to Landing...

Of course, this can get boring after a while, which is why I have my WORLD TOUR in the good old Baron 58 to fall back on!

The places I fly to in the Baron rarely have ILS so most of my landings are by hand and it does bring a great sense of achievement!

Right, got a half-day from work, so I'm off home to:-

- Fly the 777 from Manchester to Paris CDG and land it by hand ! 😛
- Clock up 300nm in the Baron on the World Tour !
- See if my latest add-on (Bombardier CRJ) has arrived in the post !

Catch y'all later!

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer


All my flights are done as ILS high altitude ATC instructed, I prefer the 737NG as this aircraft has a fantastic sound which makes the flight experience very good, also I do all my landings my self and I have only had 1 crash landing due to me coming too high and too fast. But I learn from that one and have had no problems since. I only use the FMC to plot my departure and destination so I can keep an eye on fuel and distance to destination. All bearing and alt comes from ATC and they have not let me down as yet. since I got the 737NG I have not used any other aircraft as even short runways I am able to slow down and not run out of runway. I use saround speakers which makes the interior sound mind blowing. I am doing the Gatwick to Malaga route tonight, its a two and a half hour flight so I should be touching down around 9pm. Each time I do a fight I always save it as default, that way when I start FS the next time I am at the gate with aircraft cold ready to start up and it does take a while to start up the 737NG.

Pro Member Trainee
Seideric Trainee

Hmm... well I look out the window see a big long paved road think that it must be I-5 follow it north until I see a bit water tower that has a big MARYSVILLE on it, head East a bit and get lined up for a landing at KAWO.

I fly by Visual, Magnetic, and GPS and am learning now about how to set the GPS, for the longer flights and deverting to another airport. Still learning what all the symbles mean and what numbers are what. But in the P-12 I like to fly the GPS is too small and you can't read the tags. Flew it from KAWO to OK. when I did the math to figure out how far from KAWO I was the GPS said about 12 miles yet I was over the moutains of WA. Now I live close to the Moutains but not that close! And I burned about 57 lbs of fuel!! 8.7 Gal. One gal. weighs 6.7 lbs. Just started to learn about VOR... yeah....

I am into fuel burn, weight and efficiency I have yet to match the manufactures claim in the P-12 of a Max Cruise Speed of 270 KTAS or Max Range of 2,261 nm / 4,190 km (30,000 ft., VFR reserves). Question about that last statment, does it mean that you can travel 2261nm and still have VFR reserves, which would be about another hour of burn 😀 or does it mean that including VFR reserves you have 2261nm of travel 😞

Pro Member Chief Captain
Alex (Fire_Emblem_Master) Chief Captain

Tricky2070, I read your reply, if I may comment, you would get MUCH better fuel burn if you climed to a higher altitude, and you would be able to fly much faster, now, I may be wrong about the speed, because I dont know much about the plane you're flying, but in the run of the mill MD-90, 747, 757 and such, at around FL320 (32,000), you can fly at Mach .81-.82 with N1 set to around 85%. I know it may sound like you are going to burn a huge amount of fuel with N1 at 85%, but, the higher you go, the cooler the engine's gonna run, and the less fuel its gonna take to keep the plane flying in the thin air, so you can expect a lower fuel burn that you would in lower altitudes and thicker air.

Again, not sure about all aircraft 😛

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

I'm doining the Gatwick to Iceland route tonight, anyone been to Iceland?

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Pat W,

Do you know if it is possible to 'Import' a FS flight plan into the 737 NGs FMC ?

You can do this on the A340 and it saves LOADS of time, as you don't have to enter every individual waypoint .... (I flew GATWICK - GRAN CANARIA last night and there were about 20 waypoints in that flight).

I can't find an 'Import' button within the 737NG's FMC though ........

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

GPS Kid,

I have FS navigator and sometime I use it if I am doing my own flight route, you can get a patch from the 737NG site which will allow you to export a flight to the FMC. If you have not get FS Navigator, send my details of a route you want to fly and I will create a flight plan for you to see how easy it is to open a flight plan in your FMC with all the way points inserted for you. Its an easy step to open a flight plan.

1) place file in 737NG flight plan folder
2) Open flight from FMC
3) Set dep rny and Alt
4) fly the flight plan

I have done route that way and it is fun but I prefer ATC because of the constant ATC chat with yourself and other aircraft rather than me just getting flight following from airspace to airspace.

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Thanks Patw....

Unfortunately, I don't have FS Navigator - my biggest constraint is that I don't have the Intenet at home at the moment (only here at work!), so I'm generally unable to download anything (frustrating!), I live in a rural area (1 mile from Shotton Airfield, County Durham), and broadband is not out there (and I can't be chuffed with dial-up when I have Intenet here in the office).

Anyhoo.. you asked me to send you a typical route, to plan... here we go:-

Newcastle - Copenhagen (EasyJet, in the 737-700 of course)...

Let me know if you need anything else - and thanks!

PS... How was Reykjavic ? It's on my list for a flight there (and in the real world).... But top of my list (as well as 737NG routes) is to do a cargo run from Gatwick - Greenland, in the 727 (TNT)... there are a few airports in Greenland, should be a scenic run up there !

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

ok GPS Kid, will have a flight plan for you tomorrow (1/09/04), I will make it high Alt where you will get more air speed and use less fuel.


Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Thanks Patw - looking forward to that....

Incidentally, I did set up a full Flight Plan into the NG's FMC yesterday, by simply writing down the names of all of the waypoints from the standard FS Planner and entering them into the FMC... This was a really short flight though (EGNT - Teeside), with only 2 waypoints (in addition to the airports), so I'd like to try out the Flight Plan you suggest !

I can't leave this jet alone - it sucks up all of my flight time 😂
... but it is just so goooood ! What liveries do you tend to fly on the 737NG - all of my flights are EasyJet, BMI Baby, or Air Europa (Spanish).

Thanks again Patw

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

I fly a British Airways (BA5172), it so cool to land at an airport in Europe and some how the BA colour livery seem to make a statement, I also think the aircraft is cool and it sounds so good and its easy to fly. I use crash detect on and have always had a perfect landing.


Pro Member First Officer
leadfoot First Officer

You guys are getting me really interested in this 737 NG plane. Where did you get it?

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Hey Leadfoot.....

I believe you like your Airliners.... so you GOT to have it !

You can buy the download from:-

..... I prefer boxed CD-ROMS.... you can get that from:-

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

Believe us Leadfoot, it is a fantastic aircraft to fly I can't get over the sound of it. I use 4.1 sound system with it, i have 2 speakers on each side of the monitor another 2 on the desk facing inwards and a sub under the desk. take off is very noisy until I lift off but once up in the air the interior sound is like being in a real aircraft. It does have a fantastic FMC but I fly most of my flights as ATC instructed, and have not used any other aircraft since I got this.
But don't take our word for it try it and you will see.


Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

Ok GPS Kid, here is your VOR to VOR flight plan from Newcastle to Copenhagen, you are gonna have to use ATC when you get close so you will know what runwy to land on also with the 737NG can also plot you runway entry point (I always use 15nm). The whole flight should take around 90 min, after take off head east bearing 082 to a Flight level of FL330
for 335nm, Once you enter all these VOR points into your FMC, it should auto pilot to all these VOR points

EGNT - Newcastle
VES - 116.60
SKR - 110.40
ODN - 115.50
TNO - 117.40
EKCH - Kastrup (Copenhagen)

4L 110.50
4R 109.30
12 109.90
22L 109.50
22R 110.90
30 108.90

Have a good flight.


Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain


You even gave me the VOR Frequencies too - thanks so much for this. Will fly this tonight using your suggested route, as have now mastered route entry into the FMC in the 737NG, waypoint by waypoint.

(I was previously entering each waypoint into the wrong field until we got talking and I took a closer look - thanks)...

I love setting the 'range' on the Navigation Display right down to 5 nm, so the waypoints come up on the display moving really quickly, and the plane smoothly turns to intercept and move on to the next one !

I also always enter ILS at 15 nm.... it seems to be just before the plane captures the localizer.

Your Sound set-up sounds great !! I'll have to get some surround speakers...

My last NG question for you Patw is:- Have you managed to use the "Dual Channel" landing (ie.. 2 x AutoPilots), and is this how an AutoLand is performed in this plane ?

I only ever land this using ILS (AutoPilot on LOC and G/S), then disconnecting AutoPilot at 500 feet and manually landing.... I'd love to see the full Autoland which this plane (apparantly) has, but whenever I try to select a second AutoPilot, it disconnects the first !

Thanks again for the help with the NG - it's much appreciated.

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

No, I always prefer to take over at the 500 ft call out and land it myself, I have wooden floors and the sound of the gears can be felt fron the bass speakers to the floor. I have never felt that from the defaulf aircraft so am not going back to them. If you have any more route you want to try just give us a shout.


Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

... I know what you mean - perhaps it is sad but I don't think I will ever fly the default 737, 747 or 777 any more.... how could you go back to them after the NG...! I loaded up the 777 the other night but the Virtual Cockpit looked so itty and bitty and low resolution... and with no FMC things get dull a little too quickly..... Part of what I enjoy with the NG is spending a good 20 mins preflight setting up the FMC, APU, etc and enjoying the gorgous views with the 'Stairs' down (EasyJet).... then closing up the doors, and doing the engine start routine... and that's all before the fun starts (ie.. the flight).... the default Boeings are all too "the same" compared to add-ons like this.... (although I do love the default GA crafts, and some historic planes like the DC-3)...

Thinking about it, the only thing that I would love to see added to the NG to make it 100% perfect, would be a 'Voice Panel', with some Captain, F/O and Flight Attendent announcements (ie.. like the 727).... as my family get worried when they hear a 32 year old making these strange announcements from the spare room !! 😂 🙄 😀

(Only joking - honest!)

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

Its a pitty you don't have internet access at home as I could email you a flight plan that you can open directley from the 737NG FMC, its won't be a fully AP flightplan as I prefer to set speed and Alt myself and not have the AP doing everything cos it gives me nothing to do after take off until its time for landing.

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

That would have been good ....

Never mind, I'm enjoying the manual side of the Flight Plan entry... waypoint by waypoint.... I'm planning on running a flight with the strangest sounding waypoints... something like :-

EGNT, to
BIGED (Big 'Ed)
.... EGKK

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

GPS Kid, there is a panel you can download which have all the anouncement at a click of a buton which include: boarding, gate departure, no smoking, seatbelt, safety video, meal serving, prepare for decending and final. I have not yet tried it with the 737NB but may give it a try tonight

Alex87 Guest

I also have the NG and love it. I live in South East UK. One question-when auto landing, how do you get the autopilot to intercept the altitude part of the ILS as well as the heading part. I tune the Nav1 to the ILS, press the approach button and it intercepts the heading but not the altitude. So I end up flying over the runway at 2500ft.


Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Hey Alex,


Well firstly, let me assure you, I usd to have EXACTLY the same problem, and indeed I posted a message on this site for some help.

As you know the 737NG is very realistic, and what is happening is that you are losing the lock on the G/S (Glideslope) because you are Approaching too fast....

If I'm right, you'll be hitting APPROACH, and it will capture the Localizer and perhaps capture the G/S but then lose it 5 seconds later.... It does this when you hit the Glideslope too fast...

Try this :-

- When ATC give you your final instructions for ILS landing and you're getting ready for Approach, use AutoPilot to manage your speed down to 160 kts..... Setting each FLAP setting just as you reach it's speed limit will help you to slow down to this speed.... if you reach the start of the Glideslope at 160kts, with Flaps set at at least 25 (or 30)... I guarantee, your plane should stick to the Glideslope like glue.....

As you procedd down the glideslope, when you get to 1500 feet, get your gear down, and set the AutoPilot / Throttle to 150kts.... this will slow you down more, making landing easier and smoother..... when you reach 500 feet, select 140kts...... then at 400 feet disengage the AutoPilot, level the plane out a little so your landing angle isn't too sharp, and at 100 feet, press SHIFT+R, to disengage the AutoThrottle... (or you can click on the AutoThrottle button if you prefer).... then you'll smoothly descend to the runway - don't forgot to FLARE as you land.....

With a lot of practice, I can land this Aircraft sooooo smoothly now!

Good luck !

Pro Member First Officer
patw First Officer

Right on the nose GPS Kid, I have the same 737 amd had the same problem, I use to pick up the G/S at 190kts and always loose it. Now with 160kts its locks on and I never loose it, at 1000ft its 150kts and gears down, disengage auto pilot at 500ft and land the 737 myself. The 737NG is such a good model to fly, I have 'detect crash' set as on and have not crash the 737NG, not that I would want to fly for 90 min only to spoil the whole thing be crashing a landing, but I like the challange that if I make a mistake its all over.

Alex87 Guest

Thanks a lot GPS Kid. I'll give it a try!

Alex87 Guest

Thats brilliant, thanks! It worked. Happy Landings from now on!

Still does not answer your question? Ask a new question!

If the question and answers provided above do not answer your specific question - why not ask a new question of your own? Our community and flight simulator experts will provided a dedicated and unique answer to your flight sim question. And, you don't even need to register to post your question!

Ask New Question...


Search our questions and answers...

Be sure to search for your question from existing posted questions before asking a new question as your question may already exist from another user. If you're sure your question is unique and hasn't been asked before, consider asking a new question.

Related Questions

Flight Sim Questions that are closely related to this...