Pilots' Handbook -- Basic Procedures
last updated Saturday, March 13th, 2010 @ 19:00 UTC
Welcome to TransGear Airways, and thank you for considering volunteering as a pilot for one of our flights.
These guidelines assume you are already familiar with a jet transport's basic operation in FlightGear Flight Simulator. This includes starting the engines (if necessary), taking off, climbing to a predetermined (or "assigned") altitude and maintaining a predetermined ("assigned") speed and heading, setting and using the aircraft's autopilot (if applicable), navigating yourself towards your destination (see below), following a standard three-degree glideslope, and safely landing and stopping your plane. If you are not already familiar with any of the above, it may be best to hold off performing this role until you have more experience with one of these types of aircraft.
As far as fueling procedures, pushback procedures, navigation procedures, and approach and holding procedures, however -- pilots have the option to use a very watered-down model for each of these, which are outlined below. Communications procedures are outlined in a separate page on this site.
If you know the approximate burn rates of your aircraft to and at various cruise altitudes, and how to calculate the appropriate amount of reserves (usually around 30-60 minutes extra), please do so. Otherwise, feel free to fuel your plane as much as necessary. It may be best to reduce payload to keep your plane under the maximum takeoff weight, so that the aircraft handles as it should. Also, take note of the amount of fuel you use on the trip in, so you can use it as a guideline for the trip back and for future flights.
Pushback from Terminal
Some jet models include an automated "mule" or "pushback" cart/truck. There is also a multiplayer "pushback" available in FlightGear; however, at this time, that is not a position being filled for TransGear airways (if that changes in the future, it will probably only apply at the "hub" airports). In the absence of either, while everyone is well aware that this would be very rare and often dangerous in "real life", it shall be commonly understood that pilots in TransGear Airways will accomplish their own pushbacks from the terminal by the use of thrust reversers (which is referred to as a "power-back" -- for our purposes, these two terms shall be equivalent). Remember, if you are at the hub airport, to get clearance for this first!
Pilots are free to utilize any method of navigation they choose. To make flight planning easier, there is a Flight Planning Guide available which will step one through the process of creating an IFR route. Also, pre-built routing information for each leg is available on the Charts and Resources page, as a shortcut. However, pilots should feel free to fly a direct path if they choose, or navigate visually or by Atlas or the Multiplayer Map if they prefer. Controllers will be prepared to handle IFR or VFR approaches.
For pilots following STARs on their inbound legs, those published procedures include pre-programmed holds. You should assume that you are clear to proceed through them, unless (a) you are in touch with a TGA-enlisted or non-TGA-enlisted FlightGear air traffic controller who instructs you otherwise; (b) in the absence of a controller, you become aware that you are following another aircraft on the same STAR too closely (which you might know from your radar, the Pilots List, the Multiplayer Map, or by being in voice or Multiplayer Chat contact with them); or (c) you need the additional time and distance to drop some altitude, in order to remain in compliance with the STAR.
For all other pilots, if at any point the controller at the hub airport asks you to "establish a holding procedure," instead of using any published procedure, what we would like you to do is what follows: you should already be at an assigned altitude below 10,000 feet and at 250 knots, and at some assigned heading. Once the controller asks for a holding pattern, you should fly a two-minute leg, make a standard 180-degree left turn, and repeat until told otherwise. In a standard two-minute circle turn, the 180-degree turn should take exactly one minute; but whatever your autopilot or your manual control should render will probably be "close enough." The resulting pattern should look something like a standard quarter-mile running track, except that the two straightaways will be approximately 8nm in length. If done properly, you should pass over the same points every six minutes. Hopefully the controller won't need to hold you for much longer than one circuit!
If you must miss an approach and perform a go-around, at your option you may follow the published missed approach procedure. Alternatively, after announcing a missed approach to the controller, you may climb and maintain 5,000 AGL on the runway heading. Either procedure is to be followed unless you are told otherwise by the controller.
Please see the separate page for the Flight Checklist for a quick, simplified, pre-flight and in-flight procedural reference.