Flying Flight Simulator

Sky-High Adventure with the Macintosh, Amiga, & Atari ST
by Charles Gulick

Chapter 23

If you have just booted, load your third situation disk and recall TEMPORARY.

With your aircraft in position behind the numbers for 27R at Oakland, click on FILE and switch to JET. We'll use the Learjet to set up the second abbreviated panel option.

Click on SIM, open PARTIAL PANEL, and turn on VOR 1, TIME, and DME. Close the window, drag the instrument panel up a bit and position it so that the frequency readout for NAV 1 sits exactly on the bottom border of your screen. Then, readjust the main display, if necessary, to completely fill the screen above the instrument panel. Take the spot plane view, and again adjust the screen to fill the display. Do the same with the on-board camera view. Then, return to your out-the-cockpit view.

Because you can't see the flaps indicator, be sure that your flaps are zeroed by pressing the flaps-up key four times. Then, put on 20 degrees of flaps. Similarly, press up elevator several times to be sure that the trim indicator is at full up, and then trim for takeoff with five quick presses of the elevator down key. (Mac pilots, set your elevator trim to the third notch below full up. You can still see that notch if you didn't shrink the panel too much.) I'm going to show you a high-performance Learjet takeoff.

With these few additions to your instrument panel, you have greatly added to your navigating capability—at the cost of only a modest compromise with your out-the-cockpit view. You can now fly the VOR radials, read your DME distance from the station, and tell what time it is. You can dub this panel arrangement “NAV 1” because it describes the significant equipment you have added to your primary, or PRI, panel.

Unpause. The jet may move a bit, and you'll hear the tires squeal. But you should be fairly well lined up for a takeoff on 27R.

Delete TEMPORARY (if you have such a file), and save the current situation as NAV1 OKL 27R /L.

Before we go on, I want to acquaint you with a concept that I call “flying dynamically,” which suits this new way of flying and which provides the most flexible means of handling your new abbreviated panels.

Now that you know how to handle the instrument panel for the maximum out-the-window display, why not fly with a maximum display all the time? That means, change the panel to suit the situation, and do it dynamically or in the air. For example, if you need a VOR radial to fly, turn on VOR 1 and DME and raise the panel to set the frequency and get the necessary readout. Center the needle on your OBI, and then shrink the panel down again to the PRI mode. Once you've tuned in the station, you won't need the NAV 1 radio on the panel, so you deep-six it and fly the needle. If you need to use the COM radio, turn on COM, raise the panel to call the tower, get the information, turn off COM, lower the panel, and continue to fly with maximum scenic views. If you handle your instruments and your panel dynamically, it simply becomes a standard “cockpit duty” and is not a compromise with realism.

As you fly dynamically, you can fly with only your compass readout in view and your panel reduced to occupy only half an inch of the display. In other words, change the instruments and the panel presentation to suit how and where you're flying.

Tower switching is another aspect of flying dynamically. To illustrate, say you take off from Tracy on a pleasure flight with no specific destination in mind. While you're over the city of San Francisco, you decide to fly to Moffett NAS. You pull up the panel briefly to get a radial to the San Jose VOR and start to fly the needle. En route, you decide to take the tower view of your approach, so you open NAV and switch the tower to Moffett NAS. You can follow this procedure for any airport to which you're flying. The easiest way is to put the tower at the north and east positions given in the AIRPORT DIRECTORY section of your Flight Simulator charts. Set the altitude at 30 to 40 feet above the altitude listed for your destination airport, and you're in business. Then, take the tower view and watch yourself come in. Should you decide to do a few stunts above the airport before you land, you can watch from the tower, as if you were flying R/C. It's all part of flying dynamically.


In the current situation, you are pretrimmed for a high-performance takeoff in the Learjet, with your flaps preset at 20 degrees for extra lift. This mode permits you to take the jet off from virtually every runway in the simulator world. Oakland's 27R is only 5453 feet long, but you'll be airborne before you've used two-thirds of it. Follow this procedure:

Apply full throttle. Rotate (two quick ups) when your indicator reads 100 TAS. The aircraft will lift off at about 120 TAS. Pick up your gear and zero your flaps. When you see only sky, take off the rotation back pressure.

From this point on, you could proceed with your normal climbout. But this time, I want to show you how to make a transition quickly into slowflight (which is the desirable condition for sightseeing). Quickly, but at a rate that keeps the aircraft climbing, back off your power to (Mac) 44% or (Amiga/Atari) 50%. If your procedure is correct, you should be at that power right before you reach 2000 feet. Then, slowly and carefully, notch by notch, trim down and hold your altitude at or near 2000 feet as your airspeed climbs to and settles at 160 knots. Unless you made some turns, only the Pacific Ocean will be out your windshield when you are fully trimmed.

Now, turn left to a heading of about 76 degrees, or until the city of San Francisco is straight ahead of you. Then pause.

Pull the instrument panel down to the very bottom of the screen, and open your windshield fully to the outside world.

And do one more thing: Press your sound toggle key (Tab on Amiga/Atari and the cedilla/apostrophe key on the Mac) once. Then unpause.

And now turn, swoop, climb, glide, fly—wherever you like—in the great blue and the great silence…alone…at one with the eagle, the seagull, and the wind.

If you hear an intermittent beating now and then (and you may), it isn't your wings.

It's your heart.

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