Back Course ILS in a 737 in Flight Sim X


Lots of useful information on this site as well as pilots with a great depth of knowledge.

I wonder if you can help me, say we have an airport with one runway. On one end its marked 10 and the other is 23. ILS is available on runway 10 but there are no green ILS indicators for runway 23. Therefore no ILS.

Basically i was wondering is it possible to back course the ILS. I know somewhere along the lines it is possible, but basically i want to use the autopilot to land on runway 23 and intercept the glide path and eventually for it to bring me down.

I was just wondering is it possible to use the same method with the autopilot on an ILS runway as it is on the non ILS runway but using back course. Will it bring me down or will it just line me up with the runway and i must attack the glide slope myself manually.

Also i can't find the BC(Back Course) button on my 737 800 one of the reasons why i've asked the above question, does it have one? The other jet planes have them inc the 747 but i can't see it on the 737. I always fly in virtual pilot mode, so any assitance where the switch is on VP mode, would be greatful.

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Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

I don't have FSX so I can't address the missing Back Course button. You could still fly the course but you would have to use Heading mode(or fly manually) to maintain course.

The Back course(BC) signal is always present , it's a byproduct of transmitting the ILS front course. It will give you lateral guidance but it's reversed thus the need for the BC button for autopilot use. The BC doesn't have a Glideslope. In visual conditions, you can use the BC to help with your visual approach but only certain runways have a BC approach so that it can be flown in instrument conditions. It has to do with signal strength, obstructions and suitable missed approach guidance.

Pro Member First Officer
faust1200 First Officer

A backcourse only applies to the localizer and not the full ILS (glideslope) Although the backcourse is always present they are not flown unless they are published approaches. Check to see if they have the approach. The only time I've ever flown them in real life was during training/instructing however we didn't use any backcourse setting. To help you fly it you can think to yourself "I am the needle" while flying it vs. thinking the needle is the runway with a normal localizer.

x pilot Guest

the back course for runway 23 for starters is not 10... try 05


Hi thanks for the reply.

XPilot (Trainee) what are you on about? On one end of the runway we call it 23 and the other is 10. 23 has full ILS but 10 doesn't. Back Course works for 10, just tried and yes no glide slope. (P.s Those runway numbers are made up, just trying to give you a scene of what i am talking about).

AirNav is a good website however it doesn't cover UK airports, is there a similar site for UK airports so i can check out whether theres a real approach for 10?

In the real world how do jetliner pilots land a back course, i've tried doing it manually but its not the best of landings. (No Autopilot).

Do they.....

1. Set Autopilot on for BC ILS (APP) and NAV set.
2. Get the plane to line up with the runway.
3. Set A/T to 135KTS. (Adjust relevent flaps.
4. Approx 10NM they start the descent manually. Only having to worry with the angle of descent and flaps.
5. 300ft from touchdown, disengage autopilot and bring her down?

Is this what they would do as i can only see this being the easiest method to land without too much trouble.



Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

What you've stated is pretty close. The approach is flown using the instrument approach chart, descent point is based on the charted procedure. Autopilot is used with BC button selection. Autopilot disengage altitude differs depending on aircraft and company, could be 400 feet AGL. Airline pilots can fly them but there are not many in the US, a pilot could fly for years without doing one.

Here is an BC approach chart.

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