Take your time and look around the Cockpit for a bit. Read the panel names and get an idea where which panel is located. Lets start a bit of a tour through the flight deck of the Q400. Directly in front of the pilot there are two monitors. The left one is the primary flight display (PFD) and the right one is a multi function display (MFD) currently showing the navigation display page (ND) with the flight plan and waypoints on it. The bottom half of the MFD shows the positions of the Primary Flight ControlS (PFCS). In the center of the front panel we find the Engine Warning Display (EWD) that indicates the status of the engines, most interestingly to us: torque (TRQ) precentage and propeller rotation speed (PROP RPM). Directly above the EWD, in the glareshield, you can find the Flight Guidance Control Panel (FGCP) also called autopilot panel, which we will use to interact with the autopilot.
The PFD displays, left to right, the current airspeed, the attitude, the altitude and the vertical speed. In the lower half of the display you find the horizontal situation indicator (HSI). The primary flight display is the most important display in the entire cockpit. For that reason it is place directly in front of the pilot.
The PFD is split into several parts:
Note - V1 and VR will be removed from the legend as soon as they are passed in the acceleration phase. They come back after touch down when the speed is decreased again. V2 will be removed when it runs of the speed tape and will also come back during the rollout.
The solid triangle represents the flap retraction speed (V FRI). Above this speed you can safely retract your flaps after takeoff.
The triangle outline is the climb speed (V Climb). After the level off (not below 400ft above the field) you can use it as a target when the one engine has failed.
Setting MDA Marker For Takeoff
It is quite helpful to set the Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA) marker to 1500ft above the airport elevation. Then we know when to reduce the pitch attitude after the takeoff and start accelerating into the climb phase. Read the current altimeter indication on the right side of the primary flight display (PFD) and add 1500ft, maybe round it up a little bit.
To enter this altitude as MDA
EFIS Control Panel
The Electronic Flight Instrument System Control Panel (EFIS Control Panel) can be found forward and left of the throttle quadrant. It has knobs and buttons to control the PFD as well as the MFD (Multi Function Display).
The Multi Function Displays (MFDs) in the Q400 are capable of rendering different pages that a pilot can chose from. The selection of the pages is done with the Engine and System integrated display Control Panel (ESCP) and the adjustment of the navigation display (map) is done with the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) control panel. For example, you can zoom in on the map, display the localizer deviation or the flight plan, you can visit system pages or display the PFD or ED instead (display swap).
The Engine and System integrated display Control Panel (ESCP) (what a name! I'm not writing that again ) is found in the pedestal aft of the throttle quadrant, right behind the TRIM panel.
The knobs in the top left and top right of the ESCP panel are the MFD1 and MFD2 revision selectors which each have 4 options: PFD, NAV, SYS and ENG and control the left and right side MFD mode.
With the selector in PFD the MFD displays the primary flight display, e.g. in case the left screen is broken.
In NAV the navigation display is displayed.
SYS displays a system page. With the pushbuttons in the center of the panel the different pages for electrical systems (ELEC SYS), engine systems (ENG SYS), fuel system (FUEL SYS) and doors page (DOORS SYS) can be visited. With the “ALL” button the pages are stepped though, one at a time per click.
With the selector in ENG the engine display is displayed on the MFD in case the center screen is broken for example.
EFIS Control Panel
When the MFD revision selector is in the NAV mode (default Aerofly setting for both MFDs) then the navigation display (ND) is shown on the MFD.
The Engine Display shows the most important engine related parameters. It is located in the center of the flight deck to be visible easily by both pilots.
Other parameters displayed are: Oil temperature and pressure, fuel in each wing tank and the fuel temperature, Static Air Temperature (SAT).
The display also displays “REDUCED NP LANDING” at the top (described further down) and the status of the autofeather “A/F SELECT” or “A/F ARM” under specific conditions.
The “throttle quadrant” in the Q400 moves a lot of levers into one location. From left to right the quadrant features:
In the pedestal we find the Audio and Radio Control Display Units (ARCDU 1 and2), the aileron and rudder trim, the Multi Function Display (MFD) control panel and the Weather Radar controls.
The Audio and Radio Control Display Units (ARCDU 1 and ARCDU 2) are the Q400's interface to the navigation receiver frequencies and audio levels as well as the ATC/TCAS modes and microphone settings.
Automatic Frequency Tuning (FMS Mode)
The ARCDUs have the capability to tune the ILS frequencies of the destination airport fully automatically. They also set the course which is not possible in the real world aircraft. Automatic tuning is only performed when the mode selector of the ARCDU is in “FMS”. The left ARCDU (ARCDU 1) can tune ILS1 and the right ARCDU (ARCDU 2) tunes ILS2 if they are set to “FMS” mode respectively.
Manual Modes (ON, BOTH)
The left ARCDU (ARCDU 1) is assigned for the left side frequencies (VHF1, VOR1/ILS1 and ADF1). The right side controls all receivers with the number 2 at the end.
ON - Only editing of the the onside frequencies is allowed
BOTH - The frequencies of the left and right side can be tuned.
Manual Frequency Tuning
Note - When FMS mode is selected or the mode selector isn't on BOTH and a frequency of the opposite side is selected with the line select buttons then the label will flash. Change the mode to BOTH on each ARCDU device to gain full authority.
Note - Similarly you can access expanded pages for VHF1/2, NAV1/2 and ADF1/2. There is also a PG 1/2 button to access page 2 of the ARCDU.
At the time this text was written no audio reception was implemented yet. So this is more in preparation for later.
There are several derates for the turboprop engines that the pilots of a Q400 can chose from. The selection is made with a movement of the PROP/condition levers and the available pushbuttons for engine control in front of the throttle quadrant. The available affect the maximum torque and therefor maximum power of the engines. We modeled all of the Q400 derates which are:
When moving the condition levers the default selections are restored. The default engine derates are mapped to the lever position like this:
Engine Rating And Noise Reduction
After moving the condition levers to the desired rotation speed the default engine derate can be overwritten with the push buttons on the engine control panel:
Reduced Takeoff Power
To save fuel, engine wear and noise emissions a takeoff with reduced takeoff power can be performed.
Reduced Propeller Rotation Speed Landing For Noise Reduction
To reduce cabin and airport noise during the approach it is common to use a reduced rotation speed of 850 RPM. To be prepared for a go-around with full power available the aircraft is prepared as follows:
Note - To cancel this state either increase power above 50% to perform a go around or push the RDC NP LDG pushbutton a second time.
The Flight Guidance Control Panel (FGCP) is the interface to the autopilot and flight director. The left column of push buttons to the left of the vertical wheel in the center are used to change the vertical modes (pitch up and down). The buttons on right column affect the lateral steering mode (bank left or right).
In the center of the panel a vertical scroll wheel can be found that is used to manipulate the selected pitch, selected indicated airspeed or selected vertical speed, which ever mode is currently selected. The direction of the scroll wheel is always in the same manner, scroll the wheel up with the finger and you find the aircraft pitching down, rotating in a similar fashion as the wheel. And if the wheel is scrolled downwards the aircraft follows that rotation and pitches up.
In the lower left and lower right corner of the panel you can find the heading knobs (HDG). These knobs are rotated with the mouse wheel to change the selected heading. Use either heading knob, they are linked together in our simulated aircraft.
Brief explanation of the purpose of each knob:
Left buttons (vertical mode):
Right buttons (lateral mode):
Basic Lateral Mode
Whenever a lateral mode is disengaged by pressing the button a second time or when the STBY button is pressed or when the FD is engaging in flight the basic lateral mode engages. When the bank angle at that time is below ~6 degrees the wings are leveled (WING LVL) followed by a heading hold (HDG HOLD) and present heading is maintained. Above that threshold the current bank angle is maintained (ROLL HOLD). Tutch Control Steering (TCS) to manipulate this bank angle is not implemented yet.
Heading Select (HDG SEL)
Vertical Speed (VS)
Indicated Airspeed Hold (IAS)
Arming Altitude Acquire (ALT SEL)
Unlike most modern airlines the Q400 engineers decided that the altitude capture function should only engage when pilots explicitly press a button to arm it. Since it is very unique for an autopilot we modeled this in the Aerofly FS aircraft but this also means that you have to check if ALT SEL is armed in white on the PFD every time you changed the selected altitude. Typically a press on the ALT SEL pushbutton is required when you are maintaining the current altitude and want to climb or descent to another altitude. Then another vertical mode has to be engaged and the selected altitude has to be changed and ALT SEL needs to be pushed.
On the upside, if you ever wish to prevent a level off you can disarm the altitude capture (ALT SEL) by holding the ALT SEL button for 1 second.
When ALT SEL is armed in white on the PFD the active vertical mode will change to ALT* (altitude acquire) to capture the altitude followed by ALT to maintain that altitude.
There are four possible navigation sources in total: FMS1, NAV1, NAV2 and FMS2. The selected sources are changed with the NAV SOURCE knobs on the FGCP as well as the HSI SEL button on the same panel.
FMS1 and 2 are the flight management systems of the Q400 that contain the lateral and vertical flight plan.
NAV1 and NAV2 are navigation receivers that can be tuned to a certain frequency to receive VOR or ILS localizer signals as well as Glide Slope (GS) information and distance to the station with their distance measurement equipment (DME). Depending on the frequency NAV1 and NAV2 will be displayed as VOR1 or ILS1 and VOR2 or ILS2.
The selection of a navigation source is done individually on each of the two HSIs (left and right PFD). The flight guidance (autopilot) uses either the left or right side nav-source as indicated by the HSI SEL arrows on the autopilot panel (FGCP) as well as an arrow on the PFD not in use (pointing to the selected side).
The currently selected navigation source for the HSI is displayed on the PFD, in a small legend next to the HSI. The selected course and course deviation change depending on the nav-source. The legend is colored in magenta for “FMS” navigation sources and cyan for “NAV” navigation sources. If the pilot and copilot both select the same navigation source the color for the nav source will be yellow, e.g. to warn both sides not to change any course or frequency without communicating with the other person.
Follow VOR/ILS (VOR, LOC + GS)
Lateral Navigation With Flight Plan (LNAV)
Note - If LNAV HDG SEL is indicating on the FMA turn the heading knob towards the route to get back on track. LNAV should engage automatically when the route is close enough and can be captured.
Typically, during climb, IAS is used up to a certain altitude before switching back to PITCH HOLD. Three climb profiles can be chosen from:
After that speed is either gradually reduced by about 5kts per 1000ft or the IAS mode is deselected by pressing the IAS pushbutton again. In the following PITCH HOLD mode the pitch attitude is lowered to about 5 degrees.
During the descent either vertical speed, IAS or VNAV are used. It is also be possible to use PITCH HOLD during some phases in the descent.
For the descent the indicated airspeed mode (IAS) there are multiple descent types:
Vertical Navigation (VNAV) Descent
The vertical flight plan (VNAV) can only be used for the descent planning. The autopilot will fly a fixed geometric path towards the final approach fix and we have to manage the speed ourselves. We can reuse the speed profiles from the IAS descent (see above). Keeping the power lever a bit above FLT IDLE we can, for example, maintain around 240 kts which results in a nice and stable descent all the way into the approach without the need to reduce speed at any point in the descent.
VNAV PATH will engage once the vertical profile is intercepted. To intercept use any other vertical, e.g. vertical speed and either increment the descent rate if you are above profile or reduce sinkrate or even level off when the vertical deviation shows that the flight plan is above you.
The Q400 uses the Universal FMS which is also used in the Learjet 45 and in the specific 737-500 simulated in Aerofly FS. The FMS is described in detail on the Universal UNS-1 wiki page.
The Q400 has a lot of warning sounds and if you have played around with it in Aerofly already you probably heard at least three or four of them.
A constant medium pitch beep sound is heard when the aircraft logic circuits think it should the gear should be down in the current configuration. Often this warning is heard when the power is reduced to idle low to the ground.
Extend the landing gear by either clicking the lever in the cockpit or pressing your button or key assignment (default key: “g”).
Beta Warning Horn
When the power levers are retarded below the FLT IDLE detent in flight a loud alternating high-low pitch warning sound is heard (oioioi…). This warning indicates that you should increase your throttle lever until it snaps into the FLT IDLE position. Since the Q400 is equipped with propellers that can pitch flat (DISC 90° to flight direction) and even backwards (REV) to create reverse thrust it is not a good idea to try and pull the power levers aft of the flight idle where they could act as two circular 4.1 m diameter airbrakes.
Keep the power levers above FLT IDLE during the entire flight. Also, during flare, don't reduce the power to FLT IDLE, keep the power in during the flare to avoid falling from the sky.
When approaching the selected altitude a high pitch beep sound can be heard. This is just alerting the pilots that the aircraft will level off in about 1000ft and that the pilots should be ready to re-adjust the power, since the Q400 doesn't have an auto throttle system. When the selected altitude is flown through and the aircraft wasn't leveled out the sound is triggered again 250ft below or above the selected altitude as to warn pilots they are diverting from the selected altitude.
When flying around for fun or are currently resetting the selected altitude just ignore this warning. When the autopilot is flying make sure that “ALT SEL” is armed in white so that the altitude capture function is activated when you hear this sound. Then adjust the power once the altitude captures.
If you fly on autopilot and hear the warning two times in a row you probably just shot through the selected altitude. Make sure to arm “ALT SEL” next time. For now you have to change the vertical mode to get back to altitude.
When the pitch trim is moving for more than two seconds a constant ticking sound is heard to warn the pilots of a potential pitch trim run away.
If you are manually holding the pitch trim button release the button for a second to stop the warning or just ignore it until you are finished trimming.
When the aircraft's speed is low (in the red low speed area) or the angle of attack is too high the stick shaker triggers which is audible as a rattling sound.
Reduce the angle of attack by reducing back pressure on the yoke and add power to increase airspeed.
A constant medium pitch beeping sound is set off when you exceed the maximum operating speed of the Q400. This maximum speed changes with the altitude. Look at the PFD speed tape and notice the red overspeed tape.
Gently pull on the yoke to recover from the overspeed and/or reduce the power lever position to FLT IDLE. Check the speed chart on the left side window frame for more the maximum operating speeds under certain conditions and with individual configurations.
Takeoff Configuration Warning
On the ground a medium high pitch pulsing warning is triggered when the power levers are advanced for takeoff power and the aircraft configuration is not okay for takeoff.
Master Warning & Caution
A short medium pitch beep is heard when a caution goes off. This is accompanied by a flashing master caution light on the right side of the glareshield. Click the warning light to stop the flashing and look up to the caution and warning panel (underneath the overhead panel) to read the caution message.
A tripple ding is heard when a master warning is triggered. Immediately check the warning panel. When you shut down either engine a few master warnings are to be expected. The usually can be ignored when you are on the ground.
The flight for this tutorial is taking us from San Diego runway 27 to Los Angeles runway 25R along the west coast, northbound. After adding the start and end to our route we also add the SAN, NFG and ELB VORs to the route to that the flight plan looks like this (with a few automatically generate waypoints left out):
KSAN RWY27 SAN NFG ELB KLAX RWY25R
This route is 103.1 NM long and will take us about 25 minutes. The cruise altitude is going to be 15,000ft and we're only going to cruise for a short time.
Wind: None or slight West-wind
Time of day: 0000Z (4pm local)
After setting up the tutorial route from San Diego to Los Angeles select the Bombardier Dash 8Q-400; in the fresh green or colorful celebration Horizon livery and use the location dialog to place the aircraft in San Diego on the ramp (white aircraft symbol).
In the control settings in the Autopilot section we need to assign a key/button to the TOGA button (“Take off / go around mode”), because we will need this button later.
Move the throttle to idle and if you have your condition levers assigned, move them all the way forward now. Then press “Start” to begin the flight.
You can skip this part if you don't want to do this, the engines should already be running at this point But if you want to start the engines for yourself go ahead and move your condition levers all the way down to FUEL OFF.
* Item should be completed by default
|Engine Start Procedure|
|1||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PARKING BRAKE||ON||*|
|2||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||ANTI COLLISION||ON RED|
|6||Overhead||ICE PROTECTION||ENGINE INTAKE 1&2||SET OPN||Press each button 1x|
|7||Overhead||AIR CONDITIONING||BLEED 1&2||OFF||*|
|8||Overhead||APU CONTROL||PWR||ON||Wait for self test|
|9||Overhead||APU CONTROL||START||ON||Wait for green RUN|
|11||Overhead||APU CONTROL||BLEED AIR||OFF||*|
|12||Overhead||DC CONTROL||MAIN BUS TIE||TIE|
|13||Overhead||ENGINE START||IGNITION L&R||NORM||*|
|16||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PROP LEVER 1||START & FEATHER||Wait for starter cut out (50% NH)|
|19||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PROP LEVER 2||START & FEATHER||Wait for starter cut out (50% NH)|
|After Start procedure|
|3||Overhead||DC CONTROL||MAIN BUS TIE||OFF|
Setting MDA Marker For Takeoff
We're going to set the MDA bug to 1500ft over the airfield elevation to know when to transition to the climb phase. The steps necessary for this have already been shown in the introduction to the flightdeck of the Q400, here they are again. For San Diego which is only barely above sea level we're just going to use 1500ft for the MDA setting.
To enter this altitude as MDA
We have to fly the takeoff manually but we have the option to prepare the flight guidance system in advance to reduce workload in the initial segment right after lift off, where things are very hectic. These steps might all be completed already and you can skip a lot of these steps to prepare the autopilot!
First we will select the FMS1 navigation source on our PFD to have our flight plan available right away. As described in the flight deck introduction these are the required actions on your side to achieve this:
TakeOff GoAround (TOGA) Mode
In the control settings of the Aerofly FS there is a control assignment in the autopilot controls for “TakeOff GoAround Button (TOGA)”. Press this button now. If you don't want to assign this you can also depress the “HDG” pushbutton. Note how the flight director on the PFD came alive and the active lateral mode “WINGS LVL” was selected. The vertical mode “GA” is also activated but the selected altitude is not armed yet. And our selected altitude may be off.
Heading Select (HDG SEL) For Takeoff
At this point we are not going to engage LNAV, instead we are going to use HDG SEL and the departure runway heading for takeoff.
When all these actions for the autopilot have been completed the primary flight display should indicate the modes “HDG SEL” with a selected heading of 273° in this case, GA as active vertical mode and ALT SEL armed with the selected altitude at 15,000ft for this flight.
If you accidentally pressed the wrong button just press the “STBY” button on the autopilot panel to clear all active modes. Then try again. You could also takeoff with PITCH HOLD as active vertical mode and manually set the 9 degrees pitch up with the vertical wheel. When the autopilot engages it will synchronize the pitch attitude anyway.
We're now preparing the aircraft for taxi and takeoff.
In the most left column of the overhead panel set the following switches:
Note - The engine intakes are opened so that foreign object debris (FOD) or precipitation (e.g. hail) bypasses the main intake and it not sucked into the compress or of the engine. When ever the aircraft is at an altitude where debris or even birds can be an issue or the precipitation is heavy or the runways are contaminated the intake flaps should be opened. Above thermal tops (cumulus cloud tops) there typically aren't any birds and debris can't be be thrown any higher than this by updrafts either.
On the most right column of the overhead:
Flight Control Check (Optional)
|Before Taxi Checklist|
|1||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PROP LEVER 1&2||MAX 1020|
|2||Pedestal||TRIM||ELEV., AIL., RUDDER||SET 3x||Rudder slight right|
|5||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||FLAPS||FLAP 5°|
|6||Pedestal||FUEL CONTROL||TANK 1&2 AUX PUMP||ON|
|7||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||STBY HYD PRESS||ON|
|8||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||PTU CTRL||ON|
|9||Pilot Panel||Switching Panel||STEERING||ON|
|10||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||CONTROL LOCK||ON|
|11||Overhead||ICE PROTECTION||ENGINE INTAKE 1&2||SET OPN||Press each button 1x|
|12||Overhead||ICE PROTECTION||PITOT STATIC||ON 3x||*|
|13||Overhead||ICE PROTECTION||PITOT STATIC ISOLATION VALVE||ON (ISO)|
|14||Glareshield||Right side||ANTI SKID||ON||*|
Release parking brake advance the power lever to start moving. Start taxiing to runway 27.
Preparing The Engine
We already set the condition levers to MAX 1020 and we won't move them until we're in the climb. We select the engine rating “RDC TOP TRQ” with 4% power decrease for this tutorial. If your runway is short you may want to use full takeoff power, in this case press the MTOP button before takeoff.
On the ENGINE and PROPELLER CONTROL panel in front of the throttle quadrant
Arming Ground Spoilers
On the glareshield, click the SPOILER switch to FLIGHT. Monitor spoiler extension on the MFD with your power levers at IDLE.
Note - it is very common to see Q400s waiting for takeoff with their spoilers extended. They will retract as soon as takeoff power is set and during landing they extend again once the power lever angle is low enough.
Also on the glareshield:
Takeoff Configuration Test
Now, if we didn't forget anything the aircraft should be in a condition that we can take off with. To test that we use the takeoff configuration test which is located in front of the tiller and may be hidden by it.
When no warning could be heard the aircraft is ready to go.
|4||Glareshield||Autopilot||YD (YAW DAMPER)||ON|
|5||Glareshield||Autopilot||CHECK MODES||HDG SEL, GA, ALT SEL|
|2||Pilot Panel||Switching Panel||T/O WARN TEST||ON then OFF||No audible warning should sound|
|4||Pedestal||ARCDU||ATC/TCAS||ON ALT||Hold down the lower right line select button|
After receiving takeoff clearance by ATC we're cleared onto the runway. Taxi onto the runway and line up with the center line.
Remove the control lock by clicking on the black bar in front of the power levers again. Have a quick scan of the PFD and to check if the flight mode annunciator (top section of the PFD) is indicating either no modes what soever or WING LVL or HDG SEL as lateral mode and GA as vertical mode, ALT SEL armed in white.
We have now reached the takeoff configuration. When you set the aircraft onto the runway using the location dialog in the main menu almost all the steps above will be completed already.
|Runway Entry Procedure|
|1||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||CONTROL LOCK||OFF||*|
|2||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||ANTI COLLISION||ON WHITE|
|5||Overhead||AIR CONDITIONING||BLEEDS||AS REQUIRED||ON/MIN or OFF|
|6||Front Panel||PFD||CHECK AFCS MODES: HDG SEL, GA + ALT SEL||SET/CHECKED||HDG 273° set, flight director visible and shows 9 deg pitch|
|8||Overhead||Caution Panel||NO WARNING||CHECKED|
The next part will be quite stressful and there is a lot to do in a brief period of time. Before attempting this read this section completely or pause your simulation if you try to follow it step by step. With practice the takeoff will get easier. At the beginning we're going to summarize the actions we will perform in a second.
Let's get going.
Set Takeoff Power
Stay On Centerline, Rotate
Maintain the aircraft on the center line using the rudder. When the airspeed on the PFD reaches VR (VR is removed from the V-Speed legend on the speed tape) ease the nose up gently and rotate with about 3° of pitch per second.
Positive Rate, Gear Up
Once the vertical speed indicator indicates a positive climb rate and your radar altimeter confirms this by increasing values, select the gear up!
Correct The Attitude, Fly The Aircraft
Try to hold the wings level and correct for any heading deviation, use only a slight bank angle (5°) to turn back onto the selected (runway) heading to fly a straight first segment. If you look closely on the screenshot above our heading has already deviated a few degrees to the left. We can follow the flight director bank commands which indicates a slight correction to the right is needed.
Note - Use rudder trim to trim away any side slip. With the 8 right clicks of rudder trim prior to takeoff the slip angle should be quite low but depending on power you might want to add a bit more to keep the aircraft flying straight.
Stabilized, Autopilot On
Above roughly 50ft the autopilot can be turned on. We'd recommend stabilizing the attitude first and also stabilize the speed at around V2 + 10kts (135 to 140kts in this case) at which point the trend arrow on the speed tape of the PFD will disappear. Now, if you want to, engage the autopilot. The autopilot will switch to PITCH HOLD mode which can be seen on the top right of the PFD (highlighted in the screenshot above). Use the vertical wheel in the center of the autopilot panel to change the current pitch necessary.
Engage Lateral Navigation (LNAV)
Note - At around a thousand feet the flight plan will take the first turn, don't be surprised.
Right after passing the MDA marker at 1500ft we are going to change the vertical mode of the autopilot to IAS hold.
After performing these actions the primary flight display (PFD) should look as shown in the screenshot below. The autopilot is flying, LNAV is turning us right on course, we passed the 1500ft above airport elevation, our radar altimeter confirms this (1620ft indicating), speed is nice and stable, without a long trend arrow, vertical speed is good.
Once we are above to MDA marker and above the speed for flap retraction (V FRI), which is displayed as a solid cyan triangle on the speed tape, as displayed in the screenshot above, we are safe to retract the flaps.
The only thing left to do at this point, which we will have to monitor for the entire flight, is align the selected heading bug with our current heading.
We have now mastered the most difficult part of the entire flight, congratulations!
We have already retracted the landing gear and flaps, now we will reduce the power for climb.
And then, finally, we're cleaning up the aircraft after the takeoff.
|After Takeoff Checklist|
|1||Front Panel||LANDING GEAR||LANDING GEAR||UP|
|2||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||FLAPS||ZERO||Above V-FRI|
|3||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PROP LEVER 1&2||900|
|5||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||STBY HYD PRESS||OFF|
|6||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||PTU CTRL||OFF|
|8||Pedestal||FUEL CONTROL||TANK 1&2 AUX PUMP||OFF|
The flight plan is going to to a couple of slight turns now and only two and a half minutes into the flight we will already pass the San Diego VOR (“SAN”) on our route. from there on out we just climb straight and follow the coast to the north.
Close Engine Intake Bypass, Release Passengers
Once we passed the cumulus cloud tops it is safe to assume that there won't be any turbulence. Depending on the weather settings the turbulence might be slight enough to release the passengers from their seat. Our tutorial flight is so short that they only have a couple minutes anyway. We can then also close the engine intake flaps since it's unlikely we will encounter any birds or other debris.
10,000ft, Lights Off
At 10,000ft we turn off the lights and release the passengers.
Above transition altitude (18,000ft in USA, about 5,000ft in Europe) push the BARO SET knob left of the PFD. This will set the pressure to 1013 hPa or 29.92 InHg (which at the current development state it already is). In this tutorial this won't be necessary as we are flying in the USA but stay below the 18 thousand feet anyway.
|1||Overhead||Signs||FASTEN BELTS||AS REQUIRED|
|2||Front Panel||PFD||ALTIMETERS||SET STD||Above transition altitude|
|3||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||LANDING||OFF||Above 10,000 ft|
|4||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||FLARE||OFF||Above 10,000 ft|
|5||Overhead||ICE PROTECTION||ENGINE INTAKE 1&2||SET CLOSED||Above cumulus cloud tops|
Upon reaching cruise altitude the autopilot will start to nose forward and capture the selected altitude (because we manually armed ALT SEL before). The altitude capture is indicated by ALT* on the top right corner, followed by ALT once captured. At this point the aircraft will start accelerating.
In this short hop from San Diego to Los Angeles the cruise will be very short. After the turn at NFG it's already time to think about the descent. (Don't forget to synchronize the heading after the turn…). So let us plan ahead and prepare the descent and approach into the destination airport now.
We're heading into KLAX which has a field elevation of 124ft. We planned to fly a direct entry to the ILS approach for runway 25R, the ILS frequency is 111.10 MHz and the Course is 250°, both of which will be tuned automatically by the FMS since the ARCDU mode selectors are set in the FMS position. Decision height is 120ft which is CAT II and we're using the autopilot and FD DUAL down to minimums and land manually, as always in the Q400. We're going to use flap 15 for landing that gives us a Vref of 122kts.
We can descent down to roughly 2500ft above the destination airport elevation. For KLAX this would mean around 2620 feet. We're going to round that up a little bit because we want to have more time on the final approach so we're using 3000ft in this tutorial. Anything between 2500ft and 3000ft would be good here if you plan to repeat the flight. The lower the altitude you select the less time you have to prepare the aircraft and you will need more aggressive corrections down low. If you stay up near the glide slope (roughly 3000ft above the airport at the final turn) and slow down in time it will be quite a relaxed approach.
We're letting the autopilot and FMS figure out when we need to descent and will use the vertical navigation (VNAV) functionality for this in this tutorial. In the real world VNAV isn't used that often, typically ATC has other plans for us so we have to fall back to indicated airspeed hild (IAS) or vertical speed (VS) hold.
Now that we know the autopilot will start to descent on its own we can do other tasks. When the Top Of Descent (TOD) on the navigation display (small white circle with a <TOD> label) comes really close to the aircraft symbol we have to monitor the flight mode annunciator (FMA) on the PFD (upper part of the display). Once VNAV PATH engages we have to reduce the power or we will speed up dramatically. Remember to stay at or above FLT IDLE during the entire flight. Other wise the loud beta warning horn (oioioioioiou) will ring. Try to maintain 240kts during the descent, you're going to need a little bit of power for this. Don't forget to retrim the rudder after the power change.
The cabin pressurization system, though not actually modeled yet (4th August 2017), needs to know the landing altitude to schedule the cabin rate correctly.
For our own reference we're going to set the solid cyan triangle to the approach reference speed. We can fly this speed in the final approach and use it as a guide/reference for our power management. During the approach we want our airspeed to stay at or above V-REF.
The final step for the approach preparation is to set the decision height (DH). We're going to use a fantasy 120ft category 2 height. In the ILS approach we are not allowed to descent below this height above ground if we don't have the runway in sight. If we don't see at least the approach lights of the runway though the thick fog we have to go around and the missed approach procedure. But we chose clear weather for this flight so this won't be an issue. If we look outside the windows we can already see L.A.
With the VNAV descent armed and close to the <TOD> on the navigation display the vertical deviation is displayed to the right of the attitude and left of the altitude tape on the PFD (see screenshot above). The magenta line indicates the correction required to stay on the vertical profile. At fist the path is above us and parked at the upper end of the scale, then it moves down and VNAV engages at the Top Of Descent (<TOD>). After that we reduce power and aim for 240kts in the descent.
Note - Don't reduce the throttle too much because the Q400 doesn't like a power lever angle below FLT IDLE, as mentioned above. And the huge Props on this aircraft act like airbrakes, keep the power up until touch down or you really start to slow down and drop like a rock (well almost but you get the point). For the descent we used about 28% torque during the descent but this might change with next versions.
|Descent Preparation Checklist|
|1||Overhead||PRESSURIZATION||LANDING ALTITUDE||FIELD ELEV. SET||KLAX is at 124ft|
|2||Front Panel||GPWS||LANDING FLAP||AS REQUIRED||We're going to use flap 15 for this tutorial, no action required|
|3||Front Panel||PFDs (left and right)||V-SPEEDS||SET||set 122kts for flap 15 and current mass|
|4||Front Panel||PFDs (left and right)||DH/MDA||SET||DH 120ft in this tutorial|
Once the autopilot pitched down the nose to initiate the descent we have to watch the speed of the aircraft even closer. With decreasing altitude the maximum airspeed will decrease below roughly 10,000ft. The red band on the speed tape will begin to come dow, if we have to stay below 240kts we should be good. For some extra safety and protection against bird damage (not yet simulated) we will keep the speed at least 10kts below maximum operating speed (VMO).
Descending though the transition level we have to change from the flight levels and standard pressure back to local airport conditions (QNH). Since the current weather engine of the Aerofly doesn't change the atmospheric pressure and we stayed below the transition altitude of 18,000ft in USA in our tutorial flight, there is nothing to do. If pressure were modeled all you need to do in the Q400 is rotate the BARO SET knob to the left of the PFD with the mouse wheel. Repeat this in a similar fashion for the first officers side as well the standby instrument.
Reaching Cumulus Cloud Tops
Checks Before The Approach
We're descending to our destination airport and are only about 7000ft high at this point. On the Navigation Display page (ND) of the Multi Function Display (MFD) we can see the last waypoint coming into view at roughly 15 NM, time to prepare the approach.
|1||Front Panel||PFD P&FO||ALTIMETERS||SET LOCAL QNH||Below transition level|
|2||Overhead||Signs||FASTEN BELTS||SET ON||No later than 10,000ft|
|3||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||APPROACH||ON||Below 10,000 ft|
|4||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||FLARE||ON||Below 10,000 ft|
|5||Overhead||ICE PROTECTION||ENGINE INTAKE 1&2||SET OPN||Below cumulus cloud tops|
Since the last turn of our flight from San Diego to Los Angeles Intl. is approaching rapidly we should begin to prepare the approach and arm the localizer and glide slope capture.
Preparing The Right PFD
With the ILS2 selected on the right side PFD the display should look similarly to the screenshot below. To the right of the PFD we see the selected NAV SOURCE which we set to ILS2. Course has been set by the autotuning to 250° which should be correct for the ILS 25R into KLAX.
The HSI on the bottom center shows the localizer deflection. We're heading to roughly 294° and the localizer and runway course are about 250°, so roughly a 45° intercept. As we come closer to the localizer the course deviation indicator will move towards the center as shown with the arrow.
To the right of the attitude you find your typical glide slope diamond, currently indicating that we are slightly below the 3° ILS glide.
Preparing PFD On Left Side
To confirm we receive the ILS on our side as well (NAV1 receiver) we can use a little trick in the Q400. We have the option to display the localizer deflection on our MFD. To so so we have to hold down the “FORMAT” button on the EFIS control panel for one second (in the real world aircraft), due to technical reasons we used the right mouse button for this.
As you can see on the screenshot we can see the deflection of the NAV1 receiver, currently tuned into 111.10 MHz (ILS1) and set to the course of 250°, displayed in the top right corner. This confirms we have the ILS tuned correctly and can use it in a second.
To leave this view and return to the map mode either
Heading Select And Vertical Speed
To intercept the localizer smoothly we're going to use the HDG SEL function and Vertical Speed (VS) with our current heading and a vertical speed of -1000ft/min. Keep your torque at roughly 23% for now to help us slow down gently. Don't let the speed drop too much at this point, we don't want to waste our time here. With 200 to 220 kts you're doing just fine for now.
Arm Localizer Capture
Note - The left PFD should now display in the flight mode annunciator (FMA): HDG SEL, LOC (white) and VS -1000, ALT SEL (white) and GS (white). The Glide Slope (GS) can only engage when the localizer is already in capturing mode (LOC*) or localizer track (LOC). During testing the “ALT SEL” usually captured first and the vertical mode changed from VS to ALT* (altitude acquire) followed by ALT (altitude hold). This is not a big problem as GS will remain armed in white and capture the glide slope (GS*) as soon as possible.
Whilst the autopilot could be capturing the glide slope, let us quickly do a few remaining items on the to-do list.
On the hydraulics panel just below the gear lever
Below the engine display and in front of the throttle quadrant:
|1||Pedestal||FUEL CONTROL||TANK 1&2 AUX PUMP||ON|
|2||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||STBY HYD PRESS||ON|
|3||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||PTU CTRL||ON|
The autopilot switches to LOC* and starts turning to the left to establish the aircraft on the localizer. The glide slope will be captured shortly after that.
Synchronize the selected heading
In case of a go around we would want to have a good reference to maintain runway heading.
Once the needle of the localizer starts moving we know that we are about to do the last turn and since the glide slope is also already off it's maximum deflection it's time for us to reduce speed further. Since the altitude captured and we didn't increase power the speed is already dropping a bit. Let it drop to about 180 kts. Once the glide slope captures you need to reduce power. Set FLT IDLE if speed is getting away.
Note - Don't move the power levers below FLT IDLE in the entire flight, unless you want to hear the full beauty of the beta warning horn that goes like this “WioWioWio”.
Flaps 5 Degrees
When the aircraft levels out onto the ILS course the glide slope should engage any second. We should be below 200kts, select flaps 5°. Use your assigned key or button commands (e.g. “f” key) or your mouse wheel over the flaps lever. (I think you will find the white lever now, we have used it before for the takeoff.) Continue slowing down to 160 kts.
Set Reduced NP Landing
During the approach and landing want a low propeller speed (850 RPM) since the setting MAX 1020 RPM is quite loud. But for a go-around we want full power available and that is only possible with 1020 RPM since power = torque * rotation speed. To achieve both we have the clever option of latching the propeller rotation speed (NP) at 850 RPM with our PROP levers already at MAX 1020. When we increase the power levers above roughly 50% the latch is removed and the propeller speed increases to 1020 automatically.
To achieve this condition:
Note - To cancel this state either increase power above 50% to perform a go around or push the RDC NP LDG pushbutton a second time or move the condition levers again.
Gear Down, Flaps 10
At around 2000ft radar altitude (RA) (displayed on the PFD at the bottom of the attitude indicator, small white text on black background) we're selecting gear down. When speed is below 181kts we can also extend the flaps to 10 degrees. Increase power now, we added a lot of drag, we want to keep the speed at 145 or so.
Note - The Q400 is equipped with a gear warning horn. If the gear is not down and the aircraft things it should be (e.g. power lever low and RA low) then a constant warning horn will sound. “BEEEP”
Retrim the rudder so that the side slip is zero. This also helps the localizer tracking by the autopilot.
Landing Flap 15
At around 1500ft RA set flaps to 15 (check that speed is below 172kts), which is our final stage of flaps for the very long runway in L.A. we could even land with flaps 10 if we wanted but we want to try get off the runway quickly as well, since we're going to park near the middle of the terminal.
Maintain a speed of around 135 kts now. The final approach reference speed (V-REF), as mentioned and set as V-Speed before, is around 122kts in this configuration. Time to run the landing checklist.
Note - If you want to be even more realistic for this landing and use flaps 10 or want to test out flaps 35 remember to adjust the GPWS LANDING FLAP knob. The Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) will otherwise warn you about your flap configuration on short final. This alert is currently not modeled (20th August 2018) but might be in the future.
When speed is stabilized look up to the overhead panel and set the bleed strength to MIN. This increases engine performance which we would need in case of a go-around. In L.A. the go-around is not difficult, there are not mountains near the airport that we would have to climb over. In front of us is just the Pacific Ocean, so we can leave the engine bleeds on but we're going to reduce the demand by setting the strength to MIN.
|1||Front Panel||LANDING GEAR||LANDING GEAR||DOWN 3 GREEN|
|2||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PROP LEVER 1&2||MAX 1020|
|3||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||FLAPS||SET/INDICATING||Select 15° and verify position|
1200ft RA, DUAL FD
With the ILS1 and ILS2 set to the same frequency, same course and good signal, ILS1 and ILS2 selected as navigation sources and LOC and GS captured the PFDs will show “DUAL FD” up and right of the attitude indicator. The HSI SEL button on the Flight Guidance Control Panel (FGCP) points left and right indicating that the autopilot is using both navigation receivers. In case one LOC or GS is lost on either PFD the HSI will switch to the remaining good side to keep the approach.
Additional requirements for the category 2 ILS approach with this DUAL FD mode are two identical decision heights on left and right PFD, both below 200ft (CAT 2) and, of course, working radar altimeters.
This DUAL FD fail→active, fail→passive behavior is modeled in the Aerofly FS Q400, if you re-tune one receiver for example or switch the nav source on one side away from ILS. In case the capability of the aircraft to fly the ILS 2 approach drops (e.g. one nav source is set to the wrong position) a CAT 2 FAIL message is displayed. Then your approach minimums change and you might need to go around.
1000ft RA, Reduce To Final Approach Speed
At 1000ft slowly reduce the speed to V-REF (122kts), use only small power adjustments. Perform final touches to the rudder trim. Enjoy the ride, we're not going to do anything until we reach the decision height of 120ft.
120ft RA, Decision Height
At this point we have to decide if we have the runway or runway approach lights in sight to be able to continue the approach visually. We have very good weather, so no need to go around at this point for that reason. If your speed isn't stable between 122 (VREF) and 132kts (VREF + 10kts) you might want to consider going around.
We have to disconnect the autopilot at this point anyway, if you think you can manage the landing continue, if it looks chaotic go around.
To disconnect the autopilot you can do several things.
Flare, Keep Power In!
Different to a lot of other aircraft you mustn't pull power back to FLT IDLE or even DISC (your throttle at idle). The large props of this aircraft accelerate the air and push it onto the wing. Therefor the wing sees a faster airspeed behind the propeller and is also creating more lift. If you pull the power lever to FLT IDLE at this point the props will actually slow the air and act a bit like wind mills. Not only does the drag increase dramatically also your lift decreases a lot, and you fall from the sky and have a hard landing.
Instead, keep your approach power (roughly 20%) during the entire flare, until the aircraft has settled down.
Touch Down, Now Idle
With the main gear on the ground pull your throttle lever all the way back to idle. This moves the power levers to DISC in the simulator and the propellers are pitched to 0° flat. In this position they help us slowing the aircraft without needing too much brakes actually. With the power at idle the ground spoilers also extend and help to dump the remaining lift. This increases the down force and thus breaking action and also adds a little bit of aerodynamic drag.
On a short runway you can also use reverse thrust where the prop is pitches backwards and actively pushes air forward. This is pretty loud in the real world and it also can cause small stones to be thrown forward and damage the props or antennas in the forward section. In short: Shouldn't be done on a regular basis but this is a sim, right? No small stones simulated yet and where is the fun if you can't use full reverse and try to do the shortest landing possible…
Note - Due to an imperfection in the current governor you will need to tap the reverser key or button once or move your axis in the reverse ever so slightly. This will make the prop flip to DISC and give you a much better braking force.
Use your pedals or, if you don't have any, use your assigned brake key or button (default key “b”). Touch the brakes gently, don't hold full brakes as this would be quite unrealistic and would typically only be done on short runways or emergencies. Real aircraft would need maintenance a lot more often due to brake wear…
Try to take the second high speed exit off the runway to the right. (The one after a small concrete patch to the right of the runway, ending directly behind that parked British Airways aircraft). This should take only slight to moderate braking and we'll end up right in front of the terminal where we want to park.
With the little trick (tapping the reverser key once) we could turn off the second exit whilst testing without braking at all in our testing with the current version of the Aerofly FS.
Do a quick look up to the EXTERNAL LIGHTS panel in the overhead and turn off the APPROACH and FLARE landing lights. Set taxi lights to ON.
Slow down on the taxi way leading and can keep the speed moderately high (35kts when exiting). When you exit the runway (passing over the hold short lines) your speed should be below 20kts again.
Now that we have crossed the hold short line completely we may stop and clear up the aircraft after landing. We have already set off the landing lights so no one will be blinded by them on the ground.
Flight Director Clear, Yaw Damper Off
Spoilers To Taxi
Close Engine Intake
Flaps Up, Control Lock On
Fuel Pumps Off
On the FUEL CONTROL panel (below the engine display):
Transponder Standby, Weather Radar Standby
Main Bus Tie To Tie
Pan up to the upper left corner of the overhead panel. On the DC Control Panel
|After Landing Checklist|
|3||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||ANTI COLLISION||ON RED|
|4||Overhead||ICE PROTECTION||ENGINE INTAKE 1&2||SET CLOSED|
|5||Glareshield||Autopilot||YD (YAW DAMPER)||OFF|
|8||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||CONTROL LOCK||ON|
|9||Pedestal||FUEL CONTROL||TANK 1&2 AUX PUMP||OFF|
|11||Pedestal||ARCDU||ATC/TCAS||STANDBY||Hold down lower right line select button|
|12||Overhead||DC CONTROL||MAIN BUS TIE||TIE|
Entering The Stand
Turn off the taxi lights when you are turning into your parking position. In the real world you would blend ground personnel. If you exited at the same high speed taxi way you can now take any stand (not “gate”) that you like. We would suggest the one opposite of the other Q400 and right next to the parked ATR 42 regional aircraft. This might not be a realistic position for our horizon airline livery but, hey it looks cool, alright?
Short notice: Gates are where passengers wait, there may be multiple gates per passenger bridge or you might wait at a gate and then be picked up by a bus and driven across the entire airport to get to the stand where the aircraft is parked…
I'll leave you with the parking and shut down procedure. From previous screenshots and the entirety of this tutorial you might be able to do this one on your own. You have seen all of the switches and buttons for this before and a lot of the fun in simulation also comes by experimenting on your own, play around a bit.
|Parking And Shut Down Procedure|
|1||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PARKING BRAKE||ON|
|2||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||STBY HYD PRESS||OFF|
|3||Front Panel||HYDRAULICS||PTU CTRL||OFF|
|4||Pilot Panel||Switching Panel||STEERING||OFF|
|5||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PROP LEVER 1&2||START&FEATHER||Start 30s cool down timer|
|7||Overhead||APU CONTROL||PWR||ON||Wait for self test|
|8||Overhead||APU CONTROL||START||ON||Wait for green RUN|
|10||Overhead||APU CONTROL||BLEED AIR||ON|
|12||Pedestal||Throttle Quadrant||PROP LEVER 1&2||CUT OFF||After 30s cool down timer|
|14||Overhead||EXTERNAL LIGHTS||ANTI COLLISION||OFF||When props stopped|
A quick recap of this flight my be good to close off this tutorial. We started the engines, configured the aircraft for takeoff, took off from KSAN in HDG SEL and engaged LNAV right after takeoff. We then accelerated to 210 kts and reduced the RPM of the props. Reaching the cruise altitude of 15000ft the autopilot leveled off because we manually armed ALT SEL, we reduced power and changed to 850 RPM. Then we prepared VNAV and planned the approach into KLAX, captured the localizer and glide slope, slowed down and configured the aircraft for landing. As always in the Q400 we landed the aircraft manually and vacated the runway, cleaned up the aircraft and taxied to one of the many parking positions at LAX. Then we shut down the engines and are now ready for the next flight.
What you could do next is either a flight back to San Diego, repeat the same flight again until you feel more comfortable or start a totally different flight, it's up to you. I hope this tutorial provided you with enough info to fly the Q400 on your own.
Don't forget to readjust power, trim, heading, ALT SEL, power above FLT IDLE, gear down in time, flaps for takeoff and not even full flaps for landing and the Q400 won't bite you!
|Max Cruise Speed||360 KIAS|
|High Speed Cruise Speed||349 KIAS|
|Long Range Cruise Speed||287 KIAS|
|Maximum Operating Limit Speeds - Vmo|
|Altitude (up to)||Speed (KNOTS)|
|0 - 8,000||245|
|Max Flaps Extend Speed (Vfe)|
|Speed||200 KIAS||181 KIAS||172 KIAS||158 KIAS|
|Minimum Control Speed (Vmca)|
|Speed||113 KIAS||98 KIAS||95 KIAS||91 KIAS|
|Va (Maneuvering)||204 KIAS|
|Vlo (Landing Gear Operation)||200 KIAS|
|Vle (Landing Gear Extended)||215 KIAS|
|Vra (Rough Air)||210 KIAS|
|Takeoff Field Length||4,819 Feet|
|Landing Field Length||4,232 Feet|