Microsoft Flight Simulator Handbook

by Jonathan M. Stern

High Performance Checkout

For the sake of training simplicity, you avoided learning to use the constant speed propeller, the retractable landing gear, and the mixture control of the Cessna 182 up to this point. This allowed you to focus your attention on the basics of flying. In doing so, you were treating the 182RG more like its little cousin, the Cessna 172 (a fixed-gear single with a fixed pitch propeller). So, for your first new airplane checkout, you transition into the full-fledged Cessna 182RG. In reality, a special logbook certification is necessary for a licensed private or commercial pilot to act as pilot-in-command of a high performance airplane. High performance is an airplane having an engine with greater than 200 horsepower or one with retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable propeller. The Cessna 182RG has all of these.

Use the Sim/Realism and Reliability menu to select Manual Prop Advance. This enables the propeller control in the cockpit (which is a lever with a blue knob) and requires that you set the propeller governor to control propeller speed. In doing so, you use a manifold pressure gauge as the primary indication of power. The propeller pitch is controlled by a piston in the propeller hub. The piston is acted upon by oil pressure, which, in turn, is controlled by the governor. Should oil pressure be lost, the propeller, through the action of a spring and centrifugal force, is returned to the lowest pitch setting. The normal operating range of engine speed and manifold pressure is 2,100 to 2,400 RPM and 15" to 23" Hg, except on takeoff, where full throttle is used.

Also select mixture control. Fuel/air mixture is controlled by the mixture control, which is a red knob in the power quadrant of the cockpit. As air thins with altitude, the ratio of fuel to air increases. An adjustment must be made with the mixture control to restore an appropriate fuel/air ratio. This adjustment is assisted with the exhaust gas temperature (or EGT) gauge. A desirable fuel/air mixture is achieved when the exhaust gas temperature is 50° F below peak temperature.

You need not change any software settings to enable use of the retractable landing gear. The control was always present; you just avoided using it. Now, however, you will use the landing gear lever to raise and lower the landing gear at appropriate times and the landing gear position indicator to determine the position of the landing gear.

The procedures that you have learned to this point in your Cessna 172 (modified 182RG) must be adjusted to accommodate the requirements of mixture control, constant speed propeller, and retractable landing gear. You review the operations in which these are involved in the sequence of a normal flight, which you should simultaneously fly on Flight Simulator, making generous use of the Pause key to read ahead.

Follow these steps:

  1. Use the World/Airports menu to select the Los Angeles database and the Van Nuys Airport.
  2. You need to include a propeller control check in the engine runup and ensure that the mixture control is full rich before takeoff.
  3. After advancing the throttle to 1,700 RPM during the engine runup and checking the magnetos and carburetor heat, cycle the propeller control from high to low RPM and back to high RPM. Operation of the propeller control is confirmed by a reduction in RPM while the control is being moved toward low RPM and an increase when being moved back to the takeoff position. Unless the density altitude at the time of takeoff is greater than 3,000 feet, the mixture should be set at full rich.
  4. Take off from Van Nuys and fly a 161° heading. You will fly the Cessna 182RG to Catalina, an island located about 20 miles off the California coastline from San Pedro.
  5. After liftoff and once there is insufficient runway remaining on which to make an emergency landing and the vertical speed indicator shows a positive rate of climb, retract the landing gear by clicking the mouse on the gear handle or by pressing G on the keyboard (see Figure 7.1).

    Figure 7.1. When insufficient runway remains on which to make an emergency landing and the vertical speed indicator shows a positive rate of climb, the landing gear may be retracted.
  6. The three green lights on the gear position display indicate that all three gear assemblies are down and locked. After the landing gear handle is raised, the gears unlock and fold into the fuselage. The green lights go out and the red gear in transit light illuminates. At the completion of the gear retraction cycle, all the lights are off. Accelerate to and maintain VY (88 knots) until passing through an altitude 500 feet above any obstacles.
  7. At an altitude of 500 feet above any obstacles, accelerate the airplane to cruise climb speed (90–100 knots) and set the throttle/propeller controls to 23" Hg and 2,400 RPM. This is accomplished by reducing the throttle to the desired manifold pressure (23"). The propeller governor is set for a maximum RPM of 2,400, so no change to the propeller control is necessary at this time.
  8. If full throttle manifold pressure is below 23" Hg, full throttle is maintained. Continue the climb to 5,500 feet. If the throttle was reduced to achieve 23", it must be intermittantly increased as the airplane climbs and the air becomes thinner. At some point in the climb, full throttle will be reached and the engine will be unable to maintain 23" of manifold pressure.
  9. When level at 5,500 feet, allow the airplane to accelerate to cruise airspeed. Reduce the throttle to 21" Hg. Then reduce the propeller control to 2,100 RPM. It may be necessary to readjust the throttle setting after the propeller control is set (see Figure 7.2).

    Figure 7.2. When reducing power, the throttle is reduced first. Then the propeller control is moved to a higher pitch/lower RPM setting. Finally, the mixture is leaned.

At this point, lean the mixture for cruise flight by performing the following steps:

  1. Slowly lean the mixture.
  2. As the mixture is leaned, the EGT increases until it reaches a peak; it then decreases.
  3. Note the peak EGT.
  4. Enrich the mixture so that it returns to the noted peak.
  5. Continue enriching the mixture until the EGT is 50° cooler than peak EGT.

The EGT gauge includes a bug needle, which you can move left or right by pressing U++ (plus sign for right) or U+- (minus sign for left). The mixture control may be adjusted by dragging the mixture control with the mouse or with the following keystrokes:

Mixture F Keys Top Keyboard Keyboard with F Keys Left
Enrich Ctrl+Shift+Keypad 9 Ctrl+Shift+Keypad 9
Lean Ctrl+Shift+Keypad 3 Ctrl+Shift+Keypad 3
Idle Cutoff Ctrl+Shift+1 Ctrl+Shift+F10
Lean (less) Ctrl+Shift+F2 Ctrl+Shift+F8
Enrich (more) Ctrl+Shift+F3 Ctrl+Shift+F6
Full Rich Ctrl+Shift+F4 Ctrl+Shift+F2

On the assigned heading, you pass near, if not over, the Los Angeles International Airport. Catalina Island will come into view. As time passes, and you approach Catalina, you should plan how you will enter the traffic pattern to land. A left pattern is used with Runway 4 with a pattern altitude of 2,600 feet MSL. Your approach will bring you into a nice downwind entry if you plan it just right.

When ready to begin the descent, the propeller control may be left at a reduced RPM position (see Figure 7.3)

Figure 7.3. This is a good point from which to start a descent to Catalina.

This keeps the noise level lower than if it is returned to low pitch. The mixture must be enriched during the descent, although for ease, it may be advanced to full rich before starting the descent. The important thing with respect to the propeller control and mixture is that both are returned to the takeoff position prior to initiation of the landing. These settings ensure that maximum thrust is available in the event the landing must be aborted and a go-around is needed.

Enter the traffic pattern for Runway 4 at Catalina. At some point prior to final approach—on downwind if flying a full traffic pattern or several miles out if cleared straight in by the tower or if in accordance with the arrival procedure, the landing gear must be extended by lowering the gear selector handle. You must keep in mind the VLE and VLO speeds on the Cessna 182RG—both 140 knots indicated airspeed. This means that the landing gear may not be operated and may not remain extended above 140 knots indicated. If the airplane is at a higher speed, it must be slowed before the landing gear is extended.

On final approach, a final check should be made that the fuel is selected from both tanks, that the landing gear is down and locked, that the mixture is full rich, and that the propeller control is set to high RPM. An easy way to remember this is with a GUMP check (Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Propeller) (see Figure 7.4).

Figure 7.4. On short final for Catalina

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