Proper utilization of FS or X-plane for IR training...

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I'm working my way through my IR DVDs and doing some study for the written. When the time comes, I'd like to use MSFS to do some of the approach practice, although my designated CFII has indicated that I should learn a few things in the airplane before doing it with MSFS so I don't pick up any bad habits on the computer.

That's cool. Makes sense.

However, once I start doing it, I'm sort of lost. What's the best way to put the software to work for me? Do I just pick different types of approaches/holds and fly them, or is there a progression of scenarios I should try in MSFS?

Even better - has someone developed a syllabus or something for learning some things with MSFS (or X-plane - either one) during IR training?
 

esa17

Well-Known Member
Sportys has a few books on using MSFS as a training tool, I recommend using it for my IFR students since it will help with getting the procedures and scans down. Just don't encourage them to shoot approaches in an F-16.
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
Wait until you are done with Basic Attitude flying, then you can go to town! I just tell my students to set the autopilot to fly heading and altitude. That way you can practice the procedures, of say a hold, and not have to worry about maintaining altitude and heading, since it isn't all that realistic.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
Wait until you are done with Basic Attitude flying, then you can go to town! I just tell my students to set the autopilot to fly heading and altitude. That way you can practice the procedures, of say a hold, and not have to worry about maintaining altitude and heading, since it isn't all that realistic.
:yeahthat:

I just basically have them practice the process of the procedure, not necessarily the attitude instrument flying, since MSFS doen not do a very good job of that. But for setting up the radios, identifying fixes, monitoring nav info, all that stuff it is pretty good.
 

LineUpAndWait

Well-Known Member
I think it's a great idea for the IR training. I bought X-Plane during PPL training and it was pretty much worthless for that, but when I started on the IR it was a great supplement to the lessons with my instructor. Really helps if you have the yoke/console and pedals - you can program all the switches and ptt buttons to be anything you want so that you get practice configuring flaps, landing gear, starting the stopwatch, etc. You can program a button to freeze the action if you want to analyze something, then resume the approach. You can also save a situation and then pull it up later - so if you save a situation that is near the IAF for an approach at 3000 feet, or whatever, you load up that situation after landing and bingo you're back up in the air ready to shoot another approach. Just pick the approaches at airports near you and fly them all, ILS, LOC, VOR, Holds, etc. over and over until they become pretty natural. Sure gives you a lot of confidence when you take the checkride. You can start off with pretty easy wx conditions then dial in more and more wind, turbulence, lower ceilings. The cool thing is that after you fly the approach and land the plane you can look at a 3D track that shows how closely you tracked the glideslope and localizer. Same thing with flying the holds, it was always fun to look at the oval on the tracking map after flying a hold with a 35 knot crosswind to see if you got the corrections right. Of course, none of this is as good as going up with your instructor and flying in some real IMC, but it sure is an excellent way to keep your scan going and practice the mental gymnastics involved entering holds, and tracking the needles in between lessons.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
Tell your instructor that you have it and ask for homework.
Yeah, I already mentioned it to him, and he said after basic attitude flying we'd be able to do some of that and save a few bucks.

I like the idea of the homework assignments. That's cool.

Also have considered On-Top - that IFR simulator from ASA. Has anyone used/tried it?
 

tgrayson

New Member
Also have considered On-Top - that IFR simulator from ASA. Has anyone used/tried it?
The very first training I do with an IR student is using OnTop. We usually meet at Starbucks twice a week for about 4 weeks.

I don't think it holds any advantage over MSFS anymore, except that its hardware demands are much lower. I do like using the autopilot with altitude hold for most of the training, but I don't know if MSFS has that for the C172 class of airplane.

A number of students will go ahead and purchase a copy of the software to play with at home. However, I've never seen that it provided much benefit to them; in fact, sometimes it was a problem when they untaught themselves what I was teaching them. I now discourage them from simming at home. My view is that the core of IR training is teaching organization and discipline, and that's tough to teach yourself on a simulator.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
The very first training I do with an IR student is using OnTop. We usually meet at Starbucks twice a week for about 4 weeks.

I don't think it holds any advantage over MSFS anymore, except that its hardware demands are much lower. I do like using the autopilot with altitude hold for most of the training, but I don't know if MSFS has that for the C172 class of airplane.

A number of students will go ahead and purchase a copy of the software to play with at home. However, I've never seen that it provided much benefit to them; in fact, sometimes it was a problem when they untaught themselves what I was teaching them. I now discourage them from simming at home. My view is that the core of IR training is teaching organization and discipline, and that's tough to teach yourself on a simulator.
Good stuff there, thank you.

I've already decided to defer to my CFII on "how" to go about using the stuff, and I certainly don't want to pick up any bad habits. The fact that OnTop is less of a hardware pig than the others means I could use my laptop for this instead of rebuilding my other machine. Which I don't want to do. :)

You said you meet with them 2x a week for 4 weeks. I'm assuming you have specific curriculum you use in each lesson. Would you mind sharing it?
 

tgrayson

New Member
You said you meet with them 2x a week for 4 weeks. I'm assuming you have specific curriculum you use in each lesson. Would you mind sharing it?
I don't mind at all, but I don't have it here. I have a set number of lesson plans such as

  1. VOR orientation, and intercepting and tracking. I have a set of firm, mechanical rules which are the foundation for more advanced applications. Everybody needs work on this. At least two sessions. And will probably be revisited. Very, very important.
  2. Holding. Chance to use the rules above and practice the 5T's. Plus, one of the first approaches I shoot has a hold-in-lieu. At least two sessions.
  3. Simple VOR Approaches.
  4. Advanced VOR Approaches
  5. Simple LOC approaches
  6. Advanced LOC Approaches
  7. Simple ILS approaches
  8. Advanced ILS approaches
I can't do GPS approaches on OnTop, so that would have to be handled in simulation mode on the GPS itself later on in training. And we don't have any NDBs anywhere around, so we can now skip that training.

My goal is that before we ever get into the airplane, the student knows how to fly pretty much every approach we will encounter.
 

aloft

New Member
  1. VOR orientation, and intercepting and tracking. I have a set of firm, mechanical rules which are the foundation for more advanced applications. Everybody needs work on this. At least two sessions. And will probably be revisited. Very, very important.
Do tell!
 

tgrayson

New Member
There are four rules to using the VOR to navigate. The first two everybody knows:


1. To identify what radial you’re on from a VOR, turn the OBS knob until the needle centers with a FROM indication on the ambiguity indicator.
2. To go directly to a VOR, turn the OBS knob until the needle centers with a TO indicator on the ambiguity indicator and then fly the heading at the top of the OBS ring.


But the next two are the most important ones. I use a mnemonic of “In the bottom, out the top.” If you want to go inbound on a radial, dial the number in on the bottom of the OBS ring, if you want to go outbound on a radial, dial it in at the top. In the bottom, out the top. Here it is, step by step:


3. To fly outbound on a radial, turn the OBS knob until the desired radial appears at the top of the OBS ring, then turn to a heading that is on the same side of the dial as the needle (not left or right).
4. To fly inbound on a radial, turn the OBS knob until the desired radial appears at the bottom of the OBS ring, then turn to a heading that is on the same side of the dial as the needle (not left or right).

The critical part is “turn to a heading that is on the same side of the dial as the needle.” This doesn't mean turn right if the needle is to the right, it means, look on the dial for a number, then reference your heading indicator to determine if you need to make a right or left turn to get to that heading and then turn.

This works from any position around the VOR, no matter what your heading, and you don't need to have any idea where you are around the VOR as long as you correctly tell the VOR what you want to do by using “In the bottom, out the top”.

If you master #3 and #4, you will never be confused about VOR navigation. The important point is to use these mechanically. If you try to visualize your position around the VOR, you will be slow and often incorrect. I expect about a 3 second reaction time to being assigned a radial to intercept and seeing a turn in the correct direction.

There are also some additional skills that can be gleaned from a VOR. I think it's helpful to be able to glance at the VOR and know immediately where you are with respect to a particular radial and the VOR. For instance, where are you with respect the the radial and the VOR with these needle indications?







The mnemonic is "you're where the needle's not". The needle is to the west, which means you're to the east of the radial, so you're somewhere in the blue:



If you have a heading of 270, you know you haven't reached the radial yet. If the radial is a cross radial defining an intersection, you're not there.

You can get more info by using the ambiguity indicator. If it's "FROM", you're on the same side of the VOR as the radial you have selected, meaning you're here:



Somewhere to the northeast, between 360 CW 090.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
The critical part is “turn to a heading that is on the same side of the dial as the needle.” This doesn't mean turn right if the needle is to the right, it means, look on the dial for a number, then reference your heading indicator to determine if you need to make a right or left turn to get to that heading and then turn.
Universal and solves the reverse sensing issue. Unsure whether you are reverse sensing or not? Those numbers will tell you.
 

tgrayson

New Member
My DPE for my private ride was quite impressed that I knew how to quickly determine a heading to intercept an inbound radial with just one twist of the OBS knob.
I would certainly be impressed if a private student was able to do that. Or even an ATP. ;)

The hard part is untraining someone who really wasn't given a methodology to do this. Most often, they try to picture it in their heads after figuring out what radial they're on. Slow and unreliable. It takes a while to instill new habits. Even later in training, if I see them pause for more than a few seconds, I know they've reverted back to prior habits.

Neat thing, too, is that reading the VOR this way makes the knowledge test problems easy to answer.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
I would certainly be impressed if a private student was able to do that. Or even an ATP. ;)
I would be impressed by a pilot who could look at a single VOR set on any radial and determine their position relative to the VOR as in your blue-shade graphics.

But "how to quickly determine a heading to intercept an inbound radial with just one twist of the OBS knob" ?

Nope, I'd expect a student pilot to be able to do that before the checkride.
 

aloft

New Member
But "how to quickly determine a heading to intercept an inbound radial with just one twist of the OBS knob" ?

Nope, I'd expect a student pilot to be able to do that before the checkride.
I said "quickly". Most students do it as tgrayson describes:

Most often, they try to picture it in their heads after figuring out what radial they're on. Slow and unreliable.
(Emphasis mine.)
 
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