I have a question regarding ATC:
I flew out of LAX and reached 35,000 ft, and flew to Houston Texas. I didnt select a flight plan because I didnt know where I wanted to land, so I looked at the map and realized I was in texas Near Houston, so I set the NAV to Houston. (The pline line appeared on the NAV screen)
My question is, when I set flights with a flight plan before hand, ATC always helped me find the airport from the start to finish, it would tell me what altitude to go to, and what direction to fly, and set me directly towards the runway. In a case like the one I flew, where I didnt set a flight plan, how Can I have ATC direct me to the airport I want to go to, towards the runway, and at the right altitude (like it usually does). -- Assuming I never contacted ATC before, and I was, say... 70 miles from the airport. Is there a way to do that???
You have to file an IFR flight plan. It should be an option in the ATC window when you're flying VFR. Select any airport/cruise altitude, but make sure you set the destination airport to the one you're thinking of. When you load the flight plan, make sure you say "NO" when it asks you if you want to move your plane! Then just get IFR clearance and let ATC guide you in. I've had to do that when i've been up in a Mooney or Baron and came across a storm!
It has been my experience that if you file an IFR plan when you are already close to the destination, ATC will send you way out of the way before finally bringing you back to the airport. Unless you absolutely must have IFR clearance, it is usually faster to fly to within 30 miles of the airport, click on "Nearest Airports" in the ATC menu, and select your airport that way. Then you can call the tower and request to land.
Of course, they won't vector you in-- they will give you pattern entry instructions, and you have to figure it out from there. The only help you can get is to ask the direction and distance to the airport.
Of course, I don't fly around in a 747 full of passengers, either. 😉
In FS09, once you get reasonably close to your destination, you can use the map icon in the cockpit view to bring up the map. Just looking at your airplane symbol on the map and the airport location, you can visualize how you need to approach the airport for any given runway and pattern entry.
You can also double click on the airport symbol and that will bring up a screen that shows, among other things, the localizer freqeuncy, if any, for the runways that have ILS approaches at that airport. You can then use that to shoot an ILS approach. If there are VOR or NDB facilities in the vicinity of the airport, just positioning your mouse cursor over the symbol on the map will show a box with the radio frequency for that VOR or NDB (most of the FS09 frequencies are the same as the real world but not all).