Microsoft Flight Simulator Handbook

by Jonathan M. Stern

After Landing Procedures

After the airplane is clear of the runway and at a complete stop, complete the After Landing checklist (in Appendix D). Flaps should be fully retracted and carburetor heat turned off. The airplane is now ready to be taxied to the parking area.

Taxiing a nose wheel-equipped airplane is somewhat a cross between driving a car, flying an airplane, and riding a tricycle. The airplane, like a car, taxis on wheels and is self-propelled. Because the airplane's wings and control surfaces are exposed to ambient winds and relative wind while taxiing, the aerodynamic principles must not be forgotten during taxi. Finally, the tricycle gear arrangement gives the airplane some of the handling characteristics of a child's tricycle.

Unlike a car or tricycle, pilots must constantly be aware that their vehicles span 36 feet. The taxi route must be carefully monitored to ensure that the wing tips do not strike another aircraft or object (see Figure 6.10).

Figure 6.10. Great care must be exercised while taxiing in the vicinity of other aircraft.

With Flight Simulator, the side views (Shift+Keypad 4 or 6) are useful for this purpose, although in close situations it may be necessary to use wing walkers. Constant awareness of what is going on around and ahead of the airplane is also necessary to safely taxi the airplane and to know where to taxi. Flight Simulator's view features do not give pilots the same ability they have in real airplanes to determine and observe the taxi route.

For this purpose, an overhead view—called Map View—comes in handy. Press Num Lock to engage the map view, followed by the plus sign to zoom in or the minus sign to zoom out. The position of the airplane is represented by red crosshairs. The zoom control should be set so that you can observe the taxi route.

Taxi speed must be limited to that which allows complete control of the airplane. Turns must be conducted slowly because of the tricycle-like handling qualities of the airplane. Without the fourth wheel of an automobile, the airplane does not have the same degree of lateral stability while taxiing, and the degree of instability can be increased by the presence of the wings and the effect the airflow has on them.

The control yoke does not control the nose wheel steering. Unlike a car, steering while taxiing is accomplished with the rudder pedals and differential braking. When taxiing in calm wind, the control yoke should remain in a neutral position. When the wind is blowing, adjust the controls according to the information in Table 6.3 to minimize the chance of loss of control of the airplane (see Figure 6.11 also).

Figure 6.11. When the wind is blowing during taxi, the elevator and ailerons should be adjusted.

From the father of physics, Sir Isaac Newton, we learned that a body at rest tends to remain at rest, and a body in motion tends to remain in motion at the same speed and in the same direction. We call these properties inertia.

We also know that when a body is acted upon by a constant force, its resulting acceleration is inversely proportional to the mass of the body and is directly proportional to the applied force. This means that the heavier an object, the slower it will accelerate when a force is applied to it. Translated to the physics of taxiing an airplane, it takes more power to start the airplane moving from a dead stop than it does to keep it moving. The heavier the airplane, the more power it takes to move it.

TABLE 6.3 Relative Wind Adjustments
Relative Wind Direction Elevator Control Aileron Control
Direct Headwind Neutral Neutral
Left Quartering Headwind Neutral Left up
Left Crosswind Neutral Neutral
Left Quartering Tailwind Down Left down
Direct Tailwind Down Neutral
Right Quartering Tailwind Down Right down
Right Crosswind Neutral Neutral
Right Quartering Headwind Neutral Right up

Practically, this means that the initial power application from a standstill should be reduced as soon as the airplane begins rolling. Flight Simulator pilots tend to taxi too quickly. An occasional view out either side helps you gauge your taxi speed. Tight turns require more power than a straight-ahead taxi if a constant speed is to be maintained.

When making a taxiing turn, you must anticipate the completion of the turn because the airplane continues to turn while the nose wheel is straightening. This is, of course, also true with a car or a tricycle, so it should not come as a surprise.

For additional instruction and practice in taxiing, select "Lesson 1—Taxiing" from the Options/Flight Instruction menu (Basic Category).

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