Microsoft Flight Simulator Handbook

by Jonathan M. Stern


In a straight climb, the heading indicator is the primary bank instrument. If the heading doesn't change, the wings are level (assuming coordinated rudder use). The primary pitch instrument is the vertical speed indicator for a constant rate climb.

If you wish to climb at a constant airspeed, the airspeed indicator is the primary pitch instrument instead of the vertical speed indicator. For a constant rate, constant airspeed climb, the airplane pitch is adjusted to establish the desired rate of climb (500 feet per minute); the throttle setting is then adjusted to maintain the desired airspeed. For years, flying authorities have debated whether pitch or power controls airspeed. Adjustments may be necessary to both pitch and power settings to maintain the desired performance.

The instrument scan should also include the secondary instruments, both as a backup and so that you know when to level off at the desired altitude. As a rule of thumb, the leveloff should begin when the altitude is within one-tenth of the rate of climb. For example, if the desired altitude is 6,000 feet and the rate of climb is 500 feet per minute, forward pressure on the control yoke should be applied as the airplane passes through 5,950 feet. Table 12.4 reflects one possible scan pattern for a constant rate climb.

TABLE 12.4 Scan Pattern For Constant Rate Climb
Instrument Reading
VSI Climb rate 600 FPM
Attitude indicator Reduce pitch slightly to achieve 500 FPM climb rate
Heading indicator Confirm constant heading of 330°
Attitude indicator Maintain bank angle of 0
Airspeed indicator Check for desired airspeed; adjust throttle accordingly
VSI Check for climb rate at 500 FPM
Attitude indicator Maintain pitch and bank
Heading indicator Maintain 330° heading
Attitude indicator Maintain pitch and bank

Practice by climbing from 5,000 feet to 6,000 feet on a constant heading at 500 feet per minute while maintaining 80 knots. Descend back to 5,000 feet and try it again. Keep trying to do it until everything comes out right.

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