Autopilot GPS Approach

Pro Member Trainee
glen4cindy Trainee

I have been playing around with Flight Simulator for a very long time, but, I still don't really know how to fly correctly on my own. I also cannot navigate using VOR to VOR yet. I am trying to learn. I also don't even know how to fly an approach either.

My question is this. I have been able to create an IFR flight plan, sucessfully take off, set the autopilot and follow instructions from ATC to make heading changes on the autopilot, and folllow handoffs etc.

I think I could learn a little more how to fly an approach if I knew how to program the GPS with the proper approach and then make the autopilot fly the GPS approach that I have called up on the Garmin.

The particular aircraft I am using is the Embraer ERJ-145. It was really crazy, I tried using a Douglas 737-300, got cleared for takeoff, fired up the engines to full throttle, reached like 140 mph, but could not acheive positive climb, and crashed like 3 times. I didn't have the autopilot or any automatic settings set, but, I was unable to lift off at all. I was trying to takeoff from 13C at MDW IFR to STL.

Anyway, I have had good luck with the 145, just need that help with the approach. KSTL usually involves apporachs to either 12L, 12R, 30L, 30R. 24 is used on occasion, but, not much.


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Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

This is a good site to work on.



13C at MDW is 6522 feet long. Probably not enough runway for a fully laden fat albert. I am guessing you mean you used the Boeing 737 and had problems taking off. Do you mean you over ran the runway ie went off the end! Try dumping some fuel..take a look at the fuel plan generated by FS and see what you need. For STL I don't imagine you will need full tanks. Try using flap 5 or 10 for departure.
As far as navigating try and get hold of an IFR chart, I fly in the UK therefore only have UK charts. Plan a route along the airways VOR to VOR. You can do this on 2002 and probably on 2004 get each VOR frequency for the route and fly it once you have read about tuning a VOR and tracking it. Makes it much more fun


Thanks for the link on navigation, I'll be doing some reading and learning!!

Yes, I mean that I ran out of runway before I was able to achieve positive rate of climb. Maybe the runway was too short as you say. Need to try a different runway.

Is there some reference to tell me how much runway I need for a given aircraft? Some choices are obvious. My wife came from a small town called Poplar Bluff, MO. which only has a 5000' runway. But, I was surprised that I was sent to a runway that was too short for takeoff in flight sim for an IFR flight!

Thanks for the help!

Pro Member First Officer
leadfoot First Officer

If you are flying airliners like the 737 you should begin by working out of a large airport, Nothing under 10,000' rnwy length to start with. Try DFW- Dallas, or CMH- Columbus, KPIT- Pittsburg, places like that. I can take the 737 out of a 6000' rnwy if I'm light and set the flaps at 15. 7500'- 9000' rnwys pose no problem. As for the GPS approaches, I don't think there is a glideslope feature on the GPS. The GPS appr. is good for getting lined up with the ground based ILS. Before you go trying to fly ILS's with a heavy, first try flying a visual appr with the Cessna 182. Learn about the VASI lights- those are what keeps you on the right glideslope-- white on white, too high. red on white, just right. red on red, you're dead. Most VASI's at big arpts are a set of 4 lights side by side. all white, too high. 1 red, a little high. 2red 2white, right on glideslope, 3red, a little low, etc. Try that first, then try hand flying the ILS's until you are good, THEN go to the big stuff.

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

Ok, here are my pointers for you :-

- Using GPS to help you fly your approach is called a "Non-Precision Approach", because as Leadfoot has said, GPS does not support 'Glideslope' which means that althoug GPS will give you a position in realtion to the Runway (a lateral position), it will not tell you if you are high or low enough as you descent towards the runway.

However it is a useful starting point..... when you are about 30nm from the Airport, press PROC button on the GPS... Now, as long as you had a Destination Airport programmed into the GPS, pressing the PROC button will display a list of GPS Approaches.... if there is an ILS option on the list (ie... ILS07R), choose that and select it, then you get a message at the bottom of the screen saying "Activate?".... choose yes and press FPL to get the visual flight plan page back.... now you'll see that your original pink line showing your course to the Airport has been replaced with a shorter Pink Line that is leading directly towards the Runway Approach.

You can now ensure that the GPS/NAV toggle switch is set at 'GPS' and then press NAV on the AutoPilot.... The Plane will now fly towards the end of the Pink Line, turn and face the Runway and start approaching it. But you will need to switch the A/P off in order to descend and land.

When you've mastered this type on "Non-Precision" approach flying, you can try out tuning in a proper ILS frequency into the NAV1 radio and activating the APP or APPR or APPROACH button on AutiPilot... this is a Precision Approach that will keep you straight with the Runway AND that will start flying you down (Glideslope) towards the Runway.... however, it will only get it right, if you keep the SPEED correct... ususally around 140kts in larger planes and as low as 60kts in small planes...

When you are 200-500 feet from the Runway, you need to switch off AP and flare the plane to straighten it out, gently raise the nose, cut throttle off and land.

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