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Bombardier Dash 8Q-400 Flight Tutorial

Flight Plan

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):


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)

Flight Preparation

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.

Engine Start

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
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
1 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant PARKING BRAKE ON *
4 Overhead Signs FASTEN BELTS ON *
5 Overhead Signs NO SMOKING ON *
6 Overhead ICE PROTECTION ENGINE INTAKE 1&2 SET OPN Press each button 1x
8 Overhead APU CONTROL PWR ON Wait for self test
9 Overhead APU CONTROL START ON Wait for green RUN
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
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks

Preparation Of The Glass-Cockpit

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

  • Rotate the outer knob of the DH/MDA selector left of the PFD to “MDA”. Right click the outer ring or use your scroll wheel on the mouse and scroll up (finger moving upwards)
  • Now use the inner knob to change the value of the MDA
  • Once you reach this altitude during the initial climb segment the MDA line on the altitude tape will turn blue, the “MDA” label on the attitude indicator will disappear.

Autopilot Actions Before Takeoff

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:

  • Make sure the HSI select is pointing to our PFD, click it if it need to be toggled
  • Use the onside NAV SOURCE knob to step through the navigation sources available. The left knob affects the left PFD, the right knob the right PFD.

TakeOff GoAround (TOGA) Mode

In the control settings of the Aerofly FS 2 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.

  • Use the scroll wheel of your mouse over the “ALT” knob on the autopilot panel. Select the initial altitude of the departure or even your cruise altitude. For our short tutorial flight from San Diego to Los Angeles select 15,000ft. This will be our cruise altitude.
  • Click the ALT SEL pushbutton on the autopilot panel to arm this selected altitude. If we don't do this the aircraft won't stop climbing.

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.

  • Click the “HDG” button to change the lateral mode to “HDG SEL”
  • With the mouse cursor over the HDG knob on the lower left or lower right knob of the panel, use your scroll wheel to change the selected heading. For San Diego Runway 27 this it should be set to 273°.

Ready State

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.

Taxi Preparations

We're now preparing the aircraft for taxi and takeoff.

  • Set the parking brake by clicking on the orange/black striped lever for the emergency/parking brake. It is set when the lever is in the aft position as shown in the screenshot
  • Set the PROP levers to MAX 1020 all the way forward by either moving your assigned controls or scrolling over them with the mouse wheel.
  • Set flaps to 5° by scrolling down once over the lever with the mouse wheel.
  • Move your mouse over the elevator trim indication and scroll with your mouse wheel to set the trim to the takeoff range (should already be completed)
  • Set the rudder trim to the right by right clicking on the switch about 8 times
  • Click the Autofeather button in front of the power levers
  • Click the STBY HYD PRESS and PTU CONTROL buttons
  • Click the TANK 1&2 AUX PUMP buttons

In the most left column of the overhead panel set the following switches:

  • PITOT STATIC 1, 2 and STBY all ON
  • Click the ENGINE INTAKE buttons left and right once. Wait for them to display “OPN”

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:

  • Click the RECIRCling fan to ON
  • Click engine 1 and 2 BLEEDs to ON
  • Scroll over the BLEED flow selector to select MINimal bleed air flow. This reduced the power penalty of the packs during takeoff. After the initial climb this knob can be reset to NORM.

Flight Control Check (Optional)

  • Set the STEERING switch in front of the tiller (left side of pilot seat) to OFF
  • Set the CONTROL LOCK to OFF
  • Test all flight controls free and correct (indicating on lower half of the MFD)
  • Set HYD #3 ISOL VLV to ON
  • Test elevator and aileron
  • Set HYD #3 ISOL VLV to OFF
  • Set the CONTROL LOCK to ON
  • Set the STEERING switch to ON
Before Taxi Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
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°
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
14 Glareshield Right side ANTI SKID ON *

During Taxi

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

  • Click the “DEC” button on the RDC TOP two times now
  • Click the AUTOFEATHER button to arm the system

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:

  • Click the YD push button on the autopilot panel (FGCP) so that the two arrows light up. This enables the yaw damper.

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.

  • Click the switch to the on position
  • Listen if an audible warning can be heard, if it does we have forgotten something. This could be either flaps not between 5 to 15°, condition levers not at MAX 1020 RPM or the steering tiller is still deflected.
  • Click the switch again to set it to the off position (this will also mute the warning if it was present)

When no warning could be heard the aircraft is ready to go.

Taxiing Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
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 Right click lower right line select button

Entering The Runway

After receiving takeoff clearance by ATC we're cleared onto the runway. Taxi onto the runway and line up with the center line.

  • Click the LANDING and FLARE light switches to set them ON (forward position)
  • Click the TAXI light switch to turn off the taxi light
  • Click the A/COL (anti collision light) 2x ore rotate your mouse wheel over it to set the anti-collision lights to WHITE
  • Whilst doing this look at the caution and warning panel to check if it is blank, as seen in the screenshot
  • For this tutorial we're using BLEEDS OFF. Click the BLEED 1 and BLEED 2 switches to OFF (upper position)

Remove the control lock by clicking in the area 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
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
1 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant CONTROL LOCK 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.

  • Apply full power
  • Keep aircraft on center line
  • Rotate at VR
  • Gear up
  • Fly the aircraft: Stabilize pitch attitude and speed to about V2 + 10kts, maintain runway heading
  • Engage autopilot and correct pitch if needed with vertical wheel
  • Engage LNAV at 400ft
  • First turn flown by autopilot at 1000ft
  • At 1500ft select IAS with 210kts
  • Retract flaps

Let's get going.

Set Takeoff Power

  • Hold the brakes and move your throttle to about 50% until the spoilers retract (yellow lights in front of you goint out).
  • Monitor both engines and props to see if they spool up identically.
  • Let them stabilize until they reached the similar values for torque, propeller RPM (NP) as well as high pressure rotation speed (NH). Usually they spool up almost identically and you don't have to wait at all.
  • Release the brakes and advance your throttle levers fully forward (rating detent) to set the pre-selected 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!

  • Click the landing gear lever or use your key or button assignment. Typically this is the “g” key on your keyboard.
  • Fly a speed about 10kts above V2 (indicated as -V2 on the PFD speed tape)

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 correct for 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 the autopilot by clicking the “AP” master on the autopilot panel (FGCP) or use your key/button assignment. Default key is “a”.
  • Scroll with the mouse wheel over the vertical wheel in the center of the autopilot. Scrolling up (finger moving upwards) will lower the nose of the aircraft and allow speed to increase. Similarly a scroll down motion over the vertical wheel increases the pitch attitude and slows the aircraft down.
  • Monitor the indicated speed and correct the selected pitch if necessary.

Engage Lateral Navigation (LNAV)

  • At roughly 400ft above the ground click the “NAV” button on the Flight Guidance Control Panel (FGCP) (autopilot panel). “LNAV” should be displayed on the top left corner of the primary flight display since we are still very close to the flight plan.

Note - At around a thousand feet the flight plan will take the first turn, don't be surprised.

Acceleration Phase

Right after passing the MDA marker at 1500ft we are going to change the vertical mode of the autopilot to IAS hold.

  • Click the “IAS” button on the FGCP
  • Use the mouse wheel over the vertical wheel in the center of the FGCP to increase the speed to 210kts, use a nose down input (finger scrolling upwards and the aircraft following the rotation of the mouse wheel)

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.

Flap Retraction

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.

  • Use either your assigned key or button commands (e.g. Shift+F) or move your mouse cursor over the white flap handle and rotate the mouse wheel

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!

After Takeoff

We have already retracted the landing gear and flaps, now we will reduce the power for climb.

  • Set climb power by reducing the condition levers to 900. Watch how the engine rating changes to MCL (Maximum CLimb power)
  • Re-trim the aircraft with rudder trim

And then, finally, we're cleaning up the aircraft after the takeoff.

  • Click the STBY HYD PRESS button to set it to off and repeat that for PTU CTRL button right next to it.
  • Click the TANK 1 AUX PUMP and TANK 2 AUX PUMP below the engine display to OFF.
  • Click the AUTOFEATHER push button on the PROPELLER CONTROL panel
After Takeoff Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
2 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant FLAPS ZERO Above V-FRI
3 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant PROP LEVER 1&2 900


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.

  • Click the APPROACH and FLARE ligth switches in the overhead panel
  • Right click the FASTEN BELTS switch or rotate your mouse wheel over it to set it to off.

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.

Climb Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
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.

  • Using your mouse wheel set the PROP levers to 850. The engines will now be in MCR (Max CRuise rating)
  • Reduce the throttle position to maintain a speed of about 260 kts, roughly 68% torque is good.

Descent Preparation

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.

Approach Briefing

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.

Arming VNAV

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.

  • Select the FMS1 as navigation source (already done)
  • Mouse over the altitude knob (ALT) on the Flight Guidance Control Panel (FGCP) and rotate the mouse wheel to set a selected altitude of 3000ft
  • Click the ALT SEL pushbutton
  • Click the “VNAV” pushbutton.

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.

  • Move your mouse cursor over the small knob in the lower left corner of the pressurization system (can be found in the overhead panel)
  • Rotate the knob with your mouse wheel until the needle displays roughly 120ft.


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.

  • Click the “SEL” button left of the PFD to select the speed with the solid triangle (usually V FRI)
  • Use the speed bug knob right next to it to adjust the speed within 5 seconds after pressing the button

Decision Height

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.

  • Rotate the outer knob of the DH/MDA selector to DH (left click the outer ring)
  • Mouse over the inner knob and scroll up to change the DH value on the PFD to 120ft.
  • Repeat for the right side PFD as well!

VNAV Capturing

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
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
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


Monitor Speed

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).

Transition Level

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

  • Reduce speed to roughly 230kts. Below the clouds we may encounter birds or debris (not modeled yet) and at high speeds the damage those objects make is significant.
  • Open the engine intake flaps by clicking on the two pushbuttons in the overhead ice protection panel. They will display OPN after a brief period of time once they are fully open.

10,000ft Checks

  • Turn on the Seat belt signs in the overhead by clicking on the switch.
  • If not already in the ON position also click the NO SMOKING switch.
  • Click on the switches for the APPROACH and FLARE landing lights to set them ON (forward position)

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.

  • Synchronize the selected heading with the current heading on the ND (value is displayed at the top of the arc). Do do so please move your mouse cursor over the heading bug and use the scroll wheel, as shown earlier.
  • Monitor speed, we should have a margin of at least 10 kts to the red overspeed tape
  • ALT SEL is armed in white, so the autopilot will capture the aircraft once we reach the selected 3000ft.
  • Both PFDs have 120ft DH set
  • Rudder trim is set (side slip on PFD shows zero)
Descent Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
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

  • On the right side PFD switch the navigation source to NAV2 (“ILS2”) and check if we are receiving the ILS signal. For our tutorial flight the PFD should show “ICFN” on the legend to the right of the display, the course of 250° should be set automatically.

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.

  • Look down and right to the EFIS Control Panel (forward and left of the throttle quadrant)
  • Right click the FORMAT button on that panel

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

  • Right click the FORMAT button again
  • Click the FORMAT button (due to a bug 2x currently)

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.

  • Click the “VS” pushbutton on the Flight Guidance Control Panel (FGCP)
  • Use the vertical wheel in the center of the panel to adjust the VS to -1000 ft/min (probably nose up input needed)
  • Click the “HDG” pushbutton on the FGCP to engage HDG SEL
  • Alternatively to HDG SEL: Click the NAV button to deselect the current nav mode “LNAV”. Since we are wings level this will put us directly in HDG HOLD.

Arm Localizer Capture

  • With the HSI SEL pointer pointing to the left (as throughout this flight) now rotate the left NAV SOURCE knob with your mouse wheel to select NAV1 (“ILS1”) as a navigation source on the left PFD.
  • Click the approach button (APPR) on the FGCP

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.

Approach Checklist

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

  • Click the PTU CTRL button to ON
  • Click the STBY HYD PRESS button right next to it to ON

Below the engine display and in front of the throttle quadrant:

  • Click the TANK 1 AUX PUMP and TANK 2 AUX PUMP pushbuttons
  • Click the AUTOFEATHER pushbotton (usually done later but before we forget…)

Approach Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks


Localizer Capture

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.

  • Mouse over the selected heading knob on the FGCP and use your mouse wheel to adjust the selected heading to the localizer course (250°).

Reduce Speed

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, we have used it two times before in the flight for 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 pretty 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 lock is removed and the propeller speed increases to 1020.

To achieve this condition:

  • Move the PROP levers to 850 RPM if not already in that position from cruise and descent
  • Click the RDC NP LDG pushbutton
  • Move the PROP levers to MAX 1020 RPM and limit the power demand to below 50% within 15 seconds.

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.

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 is currently not modeled (6th August 2017) 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.

  • On the AIR CONDITIONING panel in the overhead, top right, mouse over the knob and use your mouse wheel to scroll it to “MIN”. You could also use your left mouse button to turn it left to MIN.
Landing Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
2 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant PROP LEVER 1&2 MAX 1020
3 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant FLAPS SET/INDICATING Select 15° and monitor extension

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 2 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.

  • Intended way: Use the autopilot disengage button or key as set in your control assignments
  • You can also press the autopilot master key or button (default key “a”)
  • Last option, which isn't really good that close to the runway, move your mouse over to the autopilot panel in the virtual cockpit and click the “AP” button. Depending on your current view you might need to pan the camera to see the button, not ideal! Using a button is recommended here.

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 2.

Lights Off

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.

  • Click the APPROACH and FLARE light switch to OFF
  • Click the TAXI light switch to set them on.
  • Mouse over the Anti Collision Light (A/COL) switch and rotate the mouse wheel to set it to RED

Exit Runway

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.

After Landing

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

  • Click the flight director standby (STBY) button to remove all current modes and the flight directors from the PFDs
  • Click the yaw damper button (YD) to set the yaw damper to off

Spoilers To Taxi

  • Click the SPOILERS FLIGHT/TAXI switch to the down position to disarm the ground spoilers. As a result the spoiler lights next to the switch will go out and the MFD shows spoilers in down position.

Close Engine Intake

  • Click each engine intake button in the overhead, ICE PROTECTION panel to close the bypass doors.

Flaps Up, Control Lock On

  • Click in the area of the Power levers to engage the control lock. This will prevent wind gusts from deflecting the ailerons
  • Mouse over the flap handle and scroll up to set the flaps up.

Fuel Pumps Off

On the FUEL CONTROL panel (below the engine display):

  • Click TANK 1 AUX PUMP to off
  • Repeat for TANK 2 AUX PUMP

Transponder Standby, Weather Radar Standby

  • Right click the lower right line select of the ARCDU1. This sets the ATC/TCAS to standby (SBY)
  • Mouse over the weather radar mode knob and rotate it to standby (STBY).

Main Bus Tie To Tie

Pan up to the upper left corner of the overhead panel. On the DC Control Panel

  • Click the MAIN BUS TIE switch to set it to the TIE position

After Landing Checklist
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
5 Glareshield Autopilot YD (YAW DAMPER) OFF
7 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant FLAPS ZERO
8 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant CONTROL LOCK ON
11 Pedestal ARCDU ATC/TCAS STANDBY Right click lower right line select button

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…

Parking And Shut Down

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
No. Location Panel Name Action Remarks
1 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant PARKING BRAKE ON
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
12 Pedestal Throttle Quadrant PROP LEVER 1&2 CUT OFF After 30s cool down timer
13 Overhead Signs FASTEN BELTS OFF
14 Overhead EXTERNAL LIGHTS ANTI COLLISION OFF When props stopped

Final Words

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!

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aircraft/dash8-q400_flight_tutorial.1502178089.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/08/08 09:41 by jh