PREAMBLE - a lot of people I watch or read say the 747-8 is currently unflyable. I want you all to know first thing, it is very flyable, very smooth, it just needs some tender love…tune off the ATC and find a good smooth Jazz station, and fly’er right.
Thank you for visiting this tutorial, since none is pinned, I wrote one myself. First: A little about me–
I never have flown before, I have never used a simulator before and I decided to go straight for the Lion…the 747. I completed one run of the Flying Lessons Tutorial and moved straight into the Boeing 747-8 default. Learning it was…interesting…to say the least, but hopefully from a novice now intermediate (I only crash…sometimes ) this tutorial will therefore have more value for any newcomers while also providing a platform for more experienced pilots to critique what I have observed along the way.
Table of Contents in Order of Appearance:
- World Menu
- Preflight Checks
- Take-Off and introduction to Vertical Speed (VS)
- How to make a smooth, minimal correction turn and how to best control turn.
- How to slow down, and lower flaps.
- Small changes = smooth flying.
- Simple troubleshooting advice for if Autopilot goes on the fritz.
- Known bugs and what to do about them.
So let’s get started. First, I assume you navigated to the World Menu and selected a Departure Airport and Arrival Airport.
This tutorial is rooted in ILS so I selected ILS High Altitude and found a departure flight plan and an arrival flight plan from the World Menu then started the simulation. (Please ignore that I flew the plan backwards, and that was because I wanted something short at a good approach angle).
It is important to always check your Computer: When initializing the simulator sometimes the computer is empty, the next few steps show you how to check it, and what you’re looking for. There are more advanced tutorials out there that show you how to program this if you want to do it the “real way”.
Above are the routes you chose, for me, Manila.
Here you check your Departure and Arrival, using the 2nd button on the right you select Arrival and see the flight plan you chose.
Here you check the legs of your flight plan, to confirm that they are correct, and entered into the computer. For game-troubleshooting, LEGS is where you will notice nothing is in the computer and the simulation didn’t initialize the flight plan correctly
Here is where you check your ILS frequency is entered. I ran into an issue where I had a flight plan, but no ILS initialized. So I ended up having to approach without the LOC and Glide Slope indicators. Fun…
Next preset a plus Vertical Speed. Yes, I accidentally had a minus Vertical Speed set once on take-off. When I switched to the Autopilot (AP), well…you know what happens.
*For whatever reason Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tells you to set Squawk to a value. It’s your Transponder (XPNDER) and here’s where you change it.
In flight it is important to keep an eye on the magenta indicator for VS, if it is not present, it is NOT SET > Click the VS button until it is set and then you can manipulate it.
Also important: When you approach your holding altitude (the altitude you set) the VS light will turn off, the magenta indicator will disappear. You will have no control over your Vertical Speed (as far as I can tell) until the AP captures the Hold and the HOLD indicator lights-up. The AP will maintain this HOLD.
For turning I highly recommend you do NOT use the heading set to adjust bank, but rather USE the max bank selector that’s part of the button.
This makes for a MUCH smoother turn with very little micro-management as shown below. Every tutorial I have watched, the pilots always increment the heading in order to lessen or steepen their bank. There’s a LOT of activity doing this, many little heading changes. Rather, in a proper circle, you can complete the turn by simply turning to the next heading (even if it’s 180 degrees behind you) and proper max-bank setting and you will follow the circle perfectly.
In this scenario the circle was somewhere between 15 deg bank and 10 deg bank, so after coming into the circle a little I switched to 10 deg.
Still a little too sharp, I switched to 5deg, and then to 15 deg to finish the turn, I only turned my heading dial a few times, instead of many times, and that just to keep the heading correct, not to adjust my turn. The turn was entirely corrected and the circle followed by changing max-bank.
This follows the rule of slow, little changes to keep the airplane running smoothly (see last picture insert).
This is a little later in the flight but a needed understanding for troubleshooting your plane. As you descend faster, you keep speed. There is an equilibrium where you can’t lower your speed anymore.
In this case, use the Speed Break as needed to lower your speed
When you approach 220 Knots you can begin at 1deg flaps, this will eventually allow you to perform faster descents with less speed break as you need less throttle to maintain lift.
Rule of thumb so far:
220knots = 1deg
180knots = 5deg
160knots = 10deg
150knots = 20deg
140knots = 25deg
135knots = 30deg.
Even with Approach set, the AP is kind of dumb, and I kept coming in too fast. Recognize this by how far above the Glide Slope is from your altitude, and take control by pressing VS and adjust your rate of descent accordingly. I find the APP setting to be difficult. The LOC works fine.
Here I use minus600 to recapture the Glide Slope
Set your autobreaks - I set these to 4 as I think I read somewhere that’s recommended for wet aprons
Remember with the 747 VERY SMALL CHANGES for smooth flying
I can’t stress enough that the 747 requires time and space. A lot of it. As I’ve gotten better I’ve gone from needing something like 40 miles of approach, to 30 miles of approach, to this flight path was something like a ~13deg banked turn then 20 miles of approach. (Even at 20 miles of approach it felt like every change was being done back-to-back)
The fastest I’ve descended on approach until the last few miles, so far, was minus3,000 feet/min. So it can be done???
But, it’s because I’ve gotten better at making sure every piece of the machine is working smoothly and slowly.
If the airplane starts to bounce, go crazy, turn too sharp and lose speed so the AP thrusts too hard etc, DISENGAGE AP and recover the plane, smooth it out, re-engage the AP and start again with smaller adjustments.
Big adjustments leads to the computer over correcting and ruining everything until you’re a brick flopping around in a hurricane.
Go back to the flaps section, this is where I had the most trouble, and the flaps require about 1 minute to 2 minutes each setting, if not more. At the same time, usually it takes that long to slow by 10knots anyway while using 100% speed break. Which helps you to smooth out your changes as you approach.
- One Bug I already mentioned, the magenta indicator. Keep an eye on it. Sometimes it just disappears!
- Another Bug, when the airplane rises above FL240 - it automatically goes to Mach setting. I can later get a picture of this.
Sometimes when it automatically goes to Mach, it won’t visually change back to knots. I say VISUALLY because you CAN select knots, and you CAN still have control over your speed through autopilot/auto-thrust.
But it will VISUALLY get stuck at 0.40 Mach, sticking you at 266knots, and SOMETIMES
Sometimes it will revert back to thinking you want 0.40 Mach, and you might be on approach at 135knots and suddenly your thrust hits max. > select Mach > adjust speed down until you catch the thrust before it maxes out > walk the speed selector back down until your speed stabilizes.