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Flight Simulator - FSX Navigation- How to find your destination airport at 35,000 feet

Updated on April 18, 2014

Use the flight planner on your FSX

The flight planner is a great instrument. It allows you to enter the airport that your aircraft is departing and the destination airport. It allows your aircraft to fly directly to the destination airport.

The most difficult thing for Flight Simulator pilots is lining up with the runway.

Yes, this was a big problem for me when I started to get into my Microsoft Flight Simulator, but I finally got the hang of it and in this hub, I will show you how as well.

The tools you need in the virtual cockpit are these:

  1. Autopilot
  2. Auto-throttle
  3. Flight Planner
  4. Nav switch for your GPS / NAV knob
  5. Approach hold button

Your flight planner screen

Your flight planner draws a magenta line from airport 1 to the destination airport

Ok, when you are flying at 35,000 feet, there is no way that you can see the ground clearly. Not even real world pilots can do this.

Therefore, when you enter your two airports, then flight planner draws a magenta line from your departing airport to the destination airport. You can fly this line and stay on the course to your destination airport. Pretty cool!

However, what if you find it too much work to steer the aircraft yourself? Use your autopilot along with your localizer switch and your GPS / NAV switch set to GPS.

Look at the three green circles

I have circled 3 switches that you need to pay attention to. In combination, these switches will steer your aircraft for you right towards your destination airport, so you can do whatever you need.

  1. The circle on the left is your GPS/NAV switch. Set it to GPS.
  2. Second control is your localizer. Turn it on.
  3. third switch is your autopilot. Turn it on as well.

These 3 controls will guide your plan right to your destination airport using GPS satiellites no matter how high you are, whether you are 3000 feet or 35,000 feet above the ground.

Your GPS Unit

Every aircraft on flight simulator (I use FSX) comes with a GPS unit similar to this one. It shows you all types of information.

In the upper right hand corner, you see 0nm. "nm" stands for nautical miles. That number shows how far away you are from your destination airport. As you get closer to that airport, the number starts to decrease to show you how far away your aircraft is.

The number in the middle is your track or bearing. It is a number from 0 to 360 which shows the degrees, matching a compass, that you aircraft is travelling.

The white plane symbol in the middle is your aircraft. If it is on that magenta line, then you are heading towards the destination airport.

Whether or not you are using autopilot, that white plane symbol must be touching the magenta line and lined up with it. Otherwise you will not be travelling or headed towards the airport.


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