[HOW-TO] F/A-18E Course Steering for TCN/WYPT

Hello again everyone, with SU9 (1.25.7) we have another new addition to our Navigation repertoire in the form of CRS mode for TCN and WYPT steering modes. This mode is used when you wish to fly inbound or outbound from a TCN/WYPT on a desired course and is effectively the Super Hornet’s version of VOR/OBS mode from the G1000. Currently the primary reason to use these would be non-precision instrument approaches and holding patterns, if we get carrier based TACANs when the Maverick add-on launches we will make much better use of these modes there as well.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll just be using a basic direct flight plan from MCAS Miramar ( KNKX ) to Nellis AFB ( KLSV), departing RWY 24 from Miramar. We’ll take off and climb straight out to 10,000’ MSL. While climbing we’ll tune our TCN to NKX on 33X. Once the TCN information populates on the HSI we’ll box TCN, and then we’re going to go to the CRS switch above the Engine Fuel Display.

For our demonstration, we’ll move the switch to the right to increase the desired course until we’ve selected 045. We’ll see a few things have changed now, on the HSI there’s a line going directly through the TCN with an arrow indicating the desired course, and the CSEL on the bottom right indicates the course we’ve dialed in.


And on the HUD we’ll now have a course steering arrow as well as dots for course deviation indications, just like with a VOR.


Now if you were to engage CPL TCN mode, the jet will turn to a 45 degree intercept and then proceed to follow the course inbound to the TCN.

Pretty simple stuff, but when things get dicey weather wise, we can get pretty creative with it. For example our clear sunny day enroute to Nellis has turned into this as we get closer.

Weather is now below non-precision approach minimums and we don’t have enough fuel to divert, so we need to do something besides chastise ourselves for our negligent flight planning.

From a quick peak at the TCN/ILS 21L approach we can see that the LSV TCN 12X sits roughly halfway down the runway and off to the right. And we see the following MSA


Given that we’re coming from a SW direction, we’ll maintain 13,000’ MSL until passing over the TCN, then fly outbound at 11,100’ MSL.

The inbound approach path looks like this;


So we have what we need to do our own kind of pseudo ILS, keep in mind the closer the weather is to minimums the higher the risk involved, this is a “my only other choice is to eject and crash the jet” kind of thing.

So the further GS point we have is 8600’ MSL at 21NM from the TACAN, so what we’ll do is fly outbound on the 029 CRS from LSV until 21 DME, and then in the interest of simplicity we’ll just do a basic procedure turn. Just prior to beginning the procedure turn, disconnect the autopilot, and change the CSEL to 209. During the procedure turn we’ll slow the jet down and extend the gear/flaps, the goal is to be established at on-speed AoA and 8600’ MSL when reaching 21 DME. Now adjust power to keep the Velocity Vector at approximately 3 degrees below the horizon, unfortunately there’s no mark so you just have to eyeball it using the horizon line and the 5 degree down line. Now because we know LSV is slightly to the right of 21L we’ll keep the steering arrow in the HUD with a slight right deviation as we descend. We know we should be at 5000’ MSL when reaching 13.2 DME, adjust your descent rate as needed and repeat the process at 7.2 DME and 3.8 DME. As you close within 200’AGL be prepared to look for the runway lights or Go-Around as needed.

Forgive the compression quality, was the only way to fit it as a direct upload. Things got a bit dicey as I was tinkering with the weather to get some properly poor conditions, it’s hard to see from the video but the runway lights only became visible at 70 feet above ILS minimums, a lot of pucker factor on this kind of approach.

Now keep in mind if this was planned from the beginning of your flight, you could always grad the lat/long of the localizer antenna from the world map and add it as a waypoint. This will at least give you better centerline guidance.