So. You just bought X-Plane, and you want to hop into a large airliner and fly to the other side of the globe. But then…you have one look at the FMS (Flight Management System), and realize that you’re probably in way over your head. Fear not! It’s incredibly easy for flight sim rookies to program the FMS with just the basic information you’ll need to fly. This very basic
The easiest X-Plane FMS tutorial ever
I am the first to admit that I actually know very little about flying a real airliner and programming the FMS . I’ve only been “flying” in flight sims for a few months now, and learning how to fly these big airplanes is a lot like learning a new language. To do it properly (by the book) takes a ton of studying and reading – and constant practice. Unfortunately, for busy guys like me, that means that it’s probably going to take years to learn how to file a real flight plan and fly it point to point.
So does that mean that newbie flight simmers have no hope of using the autopilot on some of these large airliners? Hardly. I’ve messed around a bit with my latest X-Plane purchase (the Worldliner 777) and I’ve discovered the proper steps to set up the FMS and autopilot for basic point-to-point flying.
Basic FMS programming to fly direct to an airport without having to deal with confusing waypoints and stuff like that:
- Select <FMS1
- Select POS INIT>
- Enter REF AIRPORT (current location), then select ROUTE >
- Enter ORIGIN and DEST, then select ACTIVATE, then EXEC (on the keypad)
- Select NEXT PAGE on the keypad
- Enter your destination airport and press the button next to the TO field, then press EXEC (on the keypad) to confirm.
- Press the LEGS button on the keypad
- Press the button next to your destination airport that is displayed on the screen TWICE. The color of your destination airport will turn to purple.
- Press the EXEC key. This will leave you with a direct line on your main display to your destination that you’ll have to follow manually with the HDG control in autopilot.
Once you set this up, and you manually adjust your heading to follow the line on your display, simply engage the autopilot and walk away from your computer. The 777 will fly direct to your destination.
Keep in mind that strong winds might push you off course a bit, so you’ll have to check in every now and then to re-adjust the heading to follow the line on the display. Also, it probably goes without saying, but this method only provides a direct route to the destination airport. You’ll still have to set up your landing manually.
Finally, the most important FMS / autopilot tip for the 777:
The autopilot will disconnect easily if you’re not going fast enough, so keep your speed up. The faster the better (without going to overspeed)! It took me a while to figure this out. I had no idea why the autopilot was disengaging by itself so frequently but I ultimately discovered it was because I didn’t have enough airpseed. The 777 likes to go fast.
Anyway, I hope this very basicsaves you a lot of time and frustration. I was very excited when I first purchased this airplane, but it eventually turned to disappointment when I realized how complex the FMS was. As you can see, it’s not so bad – even for sim pilots who have never programmed an FMS before.
Also, do be sure to check out my full tutorial for programming the FMS for the 757 in X-Plane. It’s just as easy!