Flying and Navigation

Aircraft Dynamics

Navaids and instrument landings

The Autopilot Doesn't Work (V8.60)

Using the Autopilot - V8.60

Using the Autopilot - V8

Using the Autopilot - V6-7

Using the Autopilot - V5

Flight Management System

Using the FMS


Flying Online and Air Traffic Control

Flying with a Copilot

Flying a Real Airline Route

Flying Helicopters

Other stuff...

How do I shut off the never-ending ATIS broadcasts?

Tune your COM receiver to some frequency other than the ATIS frequencies of nearby airports.

Where's the Glasair??

The manual describes a practice flight from San Bernardino to Riverside and tells me to load up the Glasair. I can't find it!

Unfortunately the Glasair is long gone. (The reference in the manual never got fixed.) X-Plane aircraft come and go as the sim evolves; those that stay version to version require periodic updating. In the case, the Glasair appeared because Austin was building a real one. He never had time to finish and finally sold the partially completed kit, and probably lost interest in the X-Plane model.

Both the Cessna 172 and the Piper Malibu (in the General Aviation folder) have a GPS and will serve just fine for the practice flight.

Every time I try to set the throttle it slowly moves back to idle.

You have probably engaged auto-throttle (airspeed hold) mode in the autopilot. The AP allows you to change the throttle setting, but as soon as you let go it will progressively return the throttle setting to where it thinks it should be. If you accidentally engaged it, then your airspeed setting is probably zero, which explains why the throttle setting returns to idle. Remember that auto-throttle can be engaged by a keystroke ("d" key) even if you don't have the auto-throttle engage button on the panel of your plane.

I'm on short final to an airport and X-Plane freezes for 30 seconds or so.

X-Plane is doing a terrain load. Unfortunately, this happens at certain airports that are near the boundary where X-Plane wants to load new terrain. KSEA 18 (Seattle-Tacoma, southbound approach) is a commonly encountered example. The airport is just south of 47.5 degrees north latitude; as you cross 47.5 X-Plane decides it's time to load new terrain and you're left hanging in the sky. For more details, see the scenery page.

Recent (8.20+) versions of X-Plane have changed the threshold at which scenery gets loaded so this is less of a problem. As long as you fly a traditional pattern (downwind near the airport, base, and then final), your downwind leg will assure that the scenery for the area around the airport is loaded and you won't be stalled by a scenery load while you're on short final.

How do I set up X-Plane so that it starts me off in front of the terminal instead of on the runway?

As of 6.40 you can. From the menu bar, select Location->Ramp and then select the desired airport and ramp location. Not all airports have ramp locations defined; you may need to set one up in WorldMaker.

Before version 6.40, X-Plane can't save a location at an arbitrary point on the ground at an airport (or even on a taxiway). It can only save a runway location. The commonly accepted workaround is to create in WorldMaker a helipad at the place where you want to start. You can then place yourself on the helipad, and your location can be saved there.

I click to close the Low Enroute map and all of a sudden I'm somewhere else!

The problem is there's a small delay between when you release the mouse button and when X-Plane reads the cursor location. If you accidentally drag the cursor onto the map area right after clicking the close box, it may be interpreted as a "click on the map to place the plane". This can be really irritating when you have a lot of time invested in a flight.

Solution: Use the <return> key to close the map instead. This is not a problem in 8.x versions and later, since clicking on the map no longer exits the map.

After flying at high altitude for a few minutes the screen slowly goes black.

You're suffering from hypoxia - oxygen starvation. This will occur in a plane that has pressurization controls and you forgot to set them, or it has an incomplete set and you can't. If the plane has no pressurization controls at all X-Plane assumes the system is fully automatic and functioning.

A full set of pressurization controls consists of
The gauges and test button are useful but not critical.

I have pressurization controls and I still black out!

Check the "Aircraft Altitude" reading on the cabin altitude setting control (once you've descended to where you can see again). There are two types, and the "Set Aircraft Altitude" control allows you to turn pressurization off by setting a low altitude. (In fact, its initial setting is zero!) Make sure the "Aircraft Altitude" reading is higher than the altitude you plan to fly at.

Why is there rain or hail when I'm flying in clear air?

When I set the Cloud levels first of the two hi cirrus may be to about 26000, second Cloud level with broken or scattered cloud may be 7000 feet my problem is when I fly though or under the scattered or broken cloud white speckles appear all over the screen (might represent rain, hail) and the sound of this hitting the fuselage or the aircraft. I have the other weather settings, precipitation, thunderstorms etc turned off. This did not happen in previous versions . This only happens in scattered or broken cloud settings. This is actually a common report these days... people think there is something wrong when they find rain when no rain is requested, or hail when it is above freezing.

Here's the answer from the author:

Forgetting about SIMS, though, and thinking about the REAL WORLD, we realize that clouds will produce rain a mere half a mile from a weather reporting station which might not report this rain, and hail very frequently occurrs on 85 degree South Carolina summer days.

Because rain comes from clouds, and clouds are not smoothly distributed over the whole world... they are clumpy, and will emit precip even a mile away from some area that is not under a cloud, and is therefore bone-dry. You can fly across the south-east USA during the summer (as I often do) going from clear blue sky scattered with puffy white cumulus to rain spattering up the windshield as you fly through the occasional puffs.. even though not a single airport will report rain!!!!!!!!!!!! Why? These little summer showers are too isolated to be picker up by a surface report at the arbitrary location of an airport.

And what about hail when it's 80 degrees? This happens all the time in the real world, because the hail forms up higher, where it's cooler.

Both of the effects above occurr commonly in nature, AND ARE CURRRENTLY SIMULATED BY X-PLANE 7.50 AND ABOVE. So in fact when people say they encounter rain in the sim when no rain was requested, or hail on a warm day, as if those are bugs, they are in fact NOT bugs, but intentional modelling of the vagaries of real weather systems.

Bottom line: We are moving into an area of simulation where the simple 0/1 thinking everyone is used to is starting to become obsolete, and this is especially true of the weather in X-Plane... and will become more so in the future as we abandon the over-simplified constructs of"cloud layers", which in fact are ridiculous ideas when you try and apply them to much weather that you find in the real world.

I'm flying along and all of a sudden the xxxx subsystem fails.

I set up everything in the Instrument Reliability and Equipment Reliability menus to "Always Working". What's wrong?

There's one more setting you need to hit: Settings -> Realistic Reliability. This menu sets the overall failure rate of all subsystems on the plance. If you don't want to deal with failures, click and hold over the leftmost digit until the whole thing reads 99999.

Help! I can not launch or fly the Space Shuttle!

The "Space Shuttle" in X-Plane is in fact only the part of the Shuttle which is called the Orbiter. The Orbiter itself does not carry any significant amount of fuel. The little it has is used for small orbital manuevres.

The rest of the Space Shuttle consists of the main fuel tank that drives the main rockets and two secondary boosters rockets. This is not simulated in X-Plane. Nor is positioning an aircraft vertically for takeoff.

Flight with the Shuttle Orbiter in X-Plane is thus limited to re-entry only when the Orbiter is flown as unpowered back to Earth for landing.

Does X-Plane support flight plans?

X-Plane supports filing a flight plan between two airports, but without waypoints. It is up to you to use the real V and J routes, or a real flight plan, to get there. ATC Centre in X-Plane will only make sure that you stay at your filed altitude and will not vector you along the way (as is mostly the case with real ATC centres).

For a real flight planner, see the Goodway product. Not only does it have comprehensive planning features, but the plans it generates can be loaded up into the X-Plane FMS.

Is there a better GPS available than the ones built into X-Plane?

X-Plane's GPS is pretty rudimentary; even the Garmin GPS instrument only implements a small subset of the real one's capabilities. There's a plugin available called XN02 that interfaces X-Plane to a complete Garmin GNS530 training simulator. Unfortunately this product is PC only.

How can I control what other aircraft are in the sky?

As of V8.60, use the Settings->Other Aircraft and Situations menu.

I shut off the autopilot and can't turn it back on

I disconnected the autopilot (with the "!" key) and now the autopilot is disabled. None of the AP functions will engage. (This behavior was discovered in V8.11 but may apply to earlier versions as well. It no longer exists in V8.32.)

Problem is the "!" key disconnects the autopilot by switching off the flight director. There is a separate flight director switch with 3 positions:
  1. OFF - means just that. The autopilot is disabled and will not engage.
  2. ON - the autopilot is on and can be engaged. Autopilot outputs are displayed as a cue in the artificial horizon. You are still flying the plane - follow the cues to fly the plane as the autopilot directs.
  3. AUTO - the autopilot is on and can be engaged. The autopilot is flying the plane and you are hands off (in terms of the axes being controlled by the autopilot).
So... if you've disconnected the autopilot with "!", to use it again you need to turn the flight director switch back to AUTO. If your plane doesn't have a flight director switch you're screwed, since there's no keystroke to turn in back on. Consider opening the plane with PlaneMaker and adding one.

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