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Help with step-by-step FMC programming.

Pro Member First Officer
Mohit (Mc_GaNgStA) First Officer

I have read the manuals from PMDG, read some online FAQs and manuals to program the FMC but I still don't seem to understand very clearly how to program it. I really need help from someone to explain me how to program the FMC using the following data, as an example:

Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-600 [Zero Fuel Weight: 48644 kgs]
At: Malaga (LEMG), taking off runway 32
Destination: Bilbao (LEBB), landing runway 30
Cruising altitude: FL270
Cruising speed: 320 knots
Flaps before take-off: 5

The above is the information I sometimes get confused where to put them into the FMC but the routes are another problem I have.

Thanks.

Pro Member First Officer
Tartanaviation First Officer

Whilst the FMC is a complicated piece of equipment, once you have used it fully a couple of times it becomes easy to use, with regards to normal procedures.

Hopefully you will find this link useful as it has fully labelled images to go with the guide.

http://www.fsstation.com/tutorials/boeing-pmdg-737ng.html

Pro Member First Officer
Mohit (Mc_GaNgStA) First Officer

Thanks for the link. This was the first time I had used the FMC that programmed. However I need help with the Descent. When I get instructions from ATC to turn left so and so, turn right so and so, how do I put them into the FMC? Also how do I increase the descent rate? I don't know why but usually I always get this problem and it's that the FMC and ATC never agree; when ATC says turn left heading 345 climb and maintain 15'000 but on the FMC I'm turning to the course heading and so they always seem to go against each other. Also how do I configure the FMC during landing and the altitudes with flaps being set?

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

I don't have the PMDG installed but let me answer some of your general questions.

1. When you receive instructions to turn(Radar vector) you don't put it into the FMS. You select HDG on your Autopilot control panel. If you're receiving instructions from ATC, the FMC does not matter. When ATC tells you to go direct to a fix or intercept your course, then you're back on the FMC. You can only do one at a time.

2. Your rate of descent is not controlled by the FMC. Often the FMC will display a TOD point based on a descent angle of 1-6 degrees, normally set for 3 degrees. The distance that this point is displayed depends on cruise altitude or more accurately the difference between cruise alt. and airport elevation. You can start you descent whenever you want, it's just a guide. IFR, ATC will tell you when to descend. The descent rate is set by you via the AP control panel.

3. The FMC's job is to get you to the vicinity of the airport, not to land. Once you get within approximately 20-30 miles of the airport, you should be on a heading so that you can intercept the ILS LOC. There are some exceptions but I don't want to confuse you. The altitudes in the FMC or just a guide, you control your altitude via the AP control panel.

Many people give the FMC more credit than it deserves. On a real flight in a busy airport like New York, you may fly for 15 or 20 miles before you even use the FMC. At the destination, you go to a heading 20-30 miles before the airport. Of course there are exceptions but more times than not, that's what happens.
Smile

Pro Member First Officer
Mohit (Mc_GaNgStA) First Officer

Ok, let me get this right. The FMC doesn't do everything for you. It does:
1. Control the speed throughout the flight,
2. Control your routes and courses,
3. Control climb/descent rates,
4. Controls landing routes and runways
[Please extend list]

But the FMC doesn't:
1. Control headings when given by ATC,
2. Control flaps, gear and landing speeds,
[Please extend list]

Am I right?

Guest

I'm also fairly new to FMC programming, I'm flying 737PIC, and the tutorial mentioned above has been an excellent help to me. There's one thing i'm not sure of though, which maybe someone can advise on.

If I program my route, complete with SID and STARs as appropriate, the route is invariably somewhat different to that which FS9 sends me as as the default IFR routing for that flight. So, when I engage ATC on the flight, it is determined to send me a different way from the 'realistic' route. Of course i can fly without ATC guidance, however things get a bit messy upon arrival somewhere busy, with regards to getting in the queue for landing, and so on.

I'm sure i must be missing something obvious here?! Or maybe i'm expecting too much? I'm really enjoying the 737PIC much more than the default FS9 aircraft (although i've got a *long* way to go with it still...), but i'd love to add in ATC that knows about my routing to put the icing on the cake. Maybe Radar Contact would be a better bet than the in-built ATC for what i'm looking at?!

Any ideas?!

Also, unrelated, i'm struggling a bit with connecting Discontinuities in the FMC route it seems...

Cheers, Graeme

(ps - i've paid up for my Flyaway membership so hopefully my next post will not be as a guest Very Happy )

Pro Member First Officer
Mohit (Mc_GaNgStA) First Officer

First of all, as in the post of CRJ Captain, he indicated that ATC guides you to the route whereas FMC is just a direct course. You must follow ATC and when told to follow route, the FMC route must be activate (I think that's LNAV). Also discontinuities can be cleared by just selecting the waypoint before and clicking it on the discontinuity (i reckon).

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Mc_GaNgStA wrote:

Ok, let me get this right. The FMC doesn't do everything for you. It does:
1a. Control the speed throughout the flight,
2a. Control your routes and courses,
3a. Control climb/descent rates,
4a. Controls landing routes and runways
[Please extend list]
But the FMC doesn't:
1b. Control headings when given by ATC,
2b. Control flaps, gear and landing speeds,
[Please extend list]
Am I right?

I can only speak in general terms because I don't have your program.

Does
1a. With auto throttles(AT) some aircraft will obey speed set into the FMC.
but you can also control it from the AP control panel.
2a. Yes that's it's primary purpose.
3a. Normally, no. FMC normally only controls angle not rate.
4a. Normally, no. You can choose a landing runway but it's only for situational awareness. You will land using the VOR/ILS indicator not the FMC, unless your doing a GPS approach.

FMC is used to enter:
weight and balance figures
V speeds
fuel load
departure runway and arrival runway
cruise alt.
enroute speed
climb and descent speeds
Unless automatically done, temperature for takeoff power computation.

Does not
1b. You are correct
2b. You are correct except it may hold landing Vref with AT.

FMC is not used for:
ILS approach
LOC approach
BC approach
Radar vectors
controlling altitude via ATC instructions

Each FMC is a little different. Some have capabilities that others don't. The type of aircraft also causes differences in the multitude of FMC brands.

Pro Member First Officer
Mohit (Mc_GaNgStA) First Officer

Thanks CRJCapt, clearly explained.

Pro Member Trainee
GraemeNCL Trainee

Hi

Thanks for the explanations so far. I don't know if i really explained what i meant well re: "routing" so i'll rephrase a little.

I've got the hang now of programming the FMC, and have been picking up-to-date routes from http://rfinder.asalink.net/free/ and successfully flying many flights, and have been keeping my FMC database up-to-date also. My problem is that if i program the FMC to follow this realistic route, i cannot file (or at least cant work out how to file) a matching IFR flight plan within FS9 as invariably the standard route that FS9 plots for the routing is different to that given by the above website.

Of course, then, if i want to fly a realistic route (as programmed into the FMC manually), and i set FS9 to follow it's default route for the flight, then the ATC gets rather unhappy with me rather quickly as i choose to ignore it and follow the FMC-entered routing. Which defeats the object of using it.

Am i explaining this well?! I guess i can just turn off the ATC and not bother with the FS9 flight planner, and only use the FMC to program a realistic route and then follow it, but i'd prefer to have ATC guidance also, with the ATC having visibility of the route that i'm actually intending to follow (as opposed to FS9's out-of-date version of the route), and i certainly prefer to have ATC for ILS vectors at the destination airport if its busy.

Any ideas?! Thanks! (BTW i'm using 737PIC if that's relevant)

Pro Member Chief Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Chief Captain

GraemeNCL, never attempt to fly add-ons with FMC's alongside FS9's ATC. Reason being, the FS9 ATC is not programmed to recognize SID's and STAR's, and will not understand many of the real world restrictions. My personal suggestion would be for you to look into flying with Vatsim or to purchase Radar Contact, (apparently, its not a bad piece of software, but I don't have it, so I can't testify.)

Don't, however, purchase Radar Contact if you plan on using FSX in the near future, as they may be completely incompatible.

I hope I was of any help
Wink

Pro Member Captain
Sean (SeanGa) Captain

CRJCapt, you sure the FMC isn't used for ILS approaches? With my PMDG I always approach with the FMC, and I've always thought it's an ILS approach because I have to set the ILS frequency in my NAV1 and 2 radio for it to work properly.. and the plane does follow the ILS glide slope as if I would've hand-flown it

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

I've never known the FMC to be used to fly a ILS. What happens is that you have the ILS course and runway in the FMC for situational awareness. The AP can only follow one nav source at a time. You may be on the center of the FMC course but the ILS is using the ILS signal to control the aircraft tuned by the nav 1 radio. If you set altitudes along the ILS course and leave it set for FMC/GPS guidance, the aircraft will appear to be flying an ILS but in reality it's flying a GPS approach using VNAV, that's not a true ILS and would be illegal in the real world. I don't have your program so I'm not sure but some FMC installations have a radio page where you can enter nav radio frequencies. It's just a another way to tune the nav radio but it doesn't have anything to do with the guidance of the FMC.Smile

Pro Member Captain
Sean (SeanGa) Captain

If you set altitudes along the ILS course and leave it set for FMC/GPS guidance, the aircraft will appear to be flying an ILS but in reality it's flying a GPS approach using VNAV

This is not really what I do. I can explain in details Smile

Ok. I enter the ILS frequency into NAV1 and NAV2. When I am established on the localizer I hit "vor loc" and the aircraft will localize the glideslope. When localized, I will be either above or below the glideslope, and I will adjust myself so that I am on it (by using vertical diamond/purple thingie on the screen (whatever you call it, can't remember Razz)

When on it, G/S (glideslope) will be the active roll mode, and I will activate CMD B. At this point, I will have both autopilot A and B activated, and the plane will fly the approach for me all the way to the runway.. at 100 ft I will disengage the autopilot and land.

Tada!

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

What you're doing is using the FMC to get onto the LOC then going to VOR/LOC to do the approach. Not wrong as long as you switch to VOR/LOC at a point that you would have intercepted the LOC on a heading anyway. Normally nav 1 alone should do it, I think two AP's are only required for auto-land. No big deal though. Smile

Pro Member Trainee
GraemeNCL Trainee

crosscheck9 wrote:

GraemeNCL, never attempt to fly add-ons with FMC's alongside FS9's ATC. Reason being, the FS9 ATC is not programmed to recognize SID's and STAR's, and will not understand many of the real world restrictions. My personal suggestion would be for you to look into flying with Vatsim or to purchase Radar Contact, (apparently, its not a bad piece of software, but I don't have it, so I can't testify.)

Don't, however, purchase Radar Contact if you plan on using FSX in the near future, as they may be completely incompatible.

I hope I was of any help
Wink

Yes you were! Very Happy Thanks crosscheck9, i had suspected that it was simply going to be impossible to use the FMC and use the built in ATC together, and you've confirmed it!

I've never seen Radar Contact, anyone here got any opinions on it? I'll search the forum in a sec. I mainly fly UK and European short haul routes, does anyone know how detailed its database of these airport name recordings is?

Thanks!

Re: Vatsim, i've never had the confidence to go online and try it (and not sure my 512 connection is good enough in any case...)

Pro Member Captain
ARD-DC Captain

GraemeNC wrote:

Re: Vatsim, i've never had the confidence to go
online and try it (and not sure my 512 connection is good enough in any case...)

[offtopic] I think many people think about online flying that way, I used to as well up until a week ago, but if you start off small you'll find you will be OK; and definately so if you are serious enough to already be flying using FMC's, SID's and STAR's.
Just read the 'new pilots' stuff, download the charts for a certain small (controlled) airport, get in a cessna and go a few practice circuits just to get used to the whole idea. Practise circuits only require a minimum of communication if you pick an airport that is not busy. And the controllers will help you for sure if you ask them. Go do it, you won't regret it!
[/offtopic]

Pro Member First Officer
Mohit (Mc_GaNgStA) First Officer

Just a quick question, how do I calculate COST OF INDEX and RESERVES?

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Mc_GaNgStA wrote:

Just a quick question, how do I calculate COST OF INDEX and RESERVES?

If your question is in reference only to the FMC,

Cost index:
I have heard of an FMC having this entry but I've never used it. It would require the input of the cost of fuel and or other operating expenses. This would allow the FMC to give a cost value based on fuel consumption, speed and distance.

Reserves:
Normal IFR reserve fuel is 45 min. of fuel at normal cruising speed. Normal altitude for calculation is 10,000 feet. This is above the fuel required to reach any required alternate airports. Smile

Pro Member Site Admin
Fly Away Simulation (Flyaway) Site Admin
David. Guest

Hi, I have Microsoft flight sim 2004 and have just bought the B777adon. The program works and the graffics are good, however when I try to programme the fmc nothing happens. Can any body tell me what I'm doing wrong.

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