How to Line Up With the Runway in "Flight Simulator X"


Microsoft’s "Flight Simulator X" is such a detailed realization of a pilot’s in-flight experience that some commercial flight schools use it to teach students the basics. Lining up with a runway for landing in "Flight Simulator X" is just as complicated as lining up a plane in real life and requires attention to detail in addition to a firm grasp of the game’s mechanics. The autopilot handles most of the work once properly calibrated.

  • Listen carefully to the instructions from air traffic control. You will receive first instructions at about 70 miles from the destination airport. Follow those instructions along with those provided at 25 miles.

  • Write down the airport named in the clearance instructions, the designated runway and type of approach.

  • Click “World” and select “Map.” Follow your plane’s flight path until you reach the destination airport. Double-click a runway at the airport to open the runway menu.

  • Find the runway given to you in the clearance instructions and write down the ILS heading, ILS frequency and airport elevation.

  • Close the map and open the radio. Enter the ILS frequency you wrote down and ensure the “NAVI” toggle is to the left. Click the “NAV1” button on the bottom row of buttons to enable the frequency check. Close the radio.

  • Enter the runway heading into the “CRS” section of your autopilot panel. The plane’s autopilot will take you along the course. At 2800 feet, you should start to hear the Morse Code signal from the ILS frequency that indicates you are on the right course. The plane needs to be moving at 180 KIAS or less by now.

  • Wait to receive a clearance to land. This should happen at about 10 nautical miles from the runway. Flip the “GPS/NAV” switch to “NAV” and double-check that the plane is at 2800 feet or less, it is moving slower than 180 KIAS and that autopilot is enabled. Drop your landing gear.

  • Disengage the autopilot at 500 feet. Adjust your airspeed with the throttle and flaps until you are prepared to land. Each plane requires a different landing process, but generally you want to hit with the rear wheels first, followed by the front. Apply the brakes once you are fully on the ground.

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