Boeing 747-400 Tutorial

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1rightarrow.png See Boeing 747-400 for the main article about this subject.

Please note that this document does not necessarily reflect the current status of the Boeing 747-400 for FlightGear. Certain parts won't work or differently with older versions and some things may not even work with the latest release.

Normal procedures guide


In order to start our preflight checks, we need some power. As we will need some extra time to get confident with the flightdeck, we will use the battery. With the battery alone, we will be provided with basic power for about 30 minutes, which should be enough for us to set up a better power source.

Turn the BATTERY switch to ON. You will notice that it has a protective cover, click it to open/close it. The battery should remain on at all time, as it acts as a backup for some vital avionics, so let us close it after setting it to ON.

Set the BUS TIE switches to AUTO. This will allow power to flow propertly through all electrical systems. Set the GEN CONT switches to ON, to allow our engines' generators to provide power to the systems. It is perfectly normal for the OFF lights to be lit at thi time, it just indicates that the generators are not being used at the moment (engines are off), but that they will be used once the engines are started.

Without any engine or APU running, the best way of obtaining longterm power is through external power sources, usually provided by the groundstaff at the airport. Using external power is "cheap", as it does not require the aircraft to burn any fuel.

Turn ON EXT PWR 1 and, if available, EXT PWR 2. You will find the switches on the electrical panel on the overhead. External power is only available when you are on the ground and the parking brake is set. It can take a couple of seconds till the EXT PWR switches to ON.

Any time the aircraft is powered, nav lights should be enabled, to alert the groundcrew that the aircraft is powered and under control. So turn ON the NAV LIGHTS, which can be found in the lower right part of the overhead panel. Logo and wing lights are optional, but prefered at night.

Ensure that all flight controls are centered and/or in their idle positions. Meaning flaps are UP, gear handle in DOWN position.

We now move over to the FMC/CDU (you will find three of those at the pedestal, pick the one that is the easiest to control from your position). Click the FMC button located at LSK (Line Select Key) 1L (this means the first button down on the left). Click IDENT at LSK 1L. Ensure that the FMC is reporting accurate information about your current aircraft. Click POS INIT at LSK 6R. The POS INIT page of the FMC allows you to determine and input your aircraft's current position.

Press the CLR button in the lower right of the FMC to clear any messages that may be currently displayed.

Set all fuel XFEED (crossfeed) switches to ON. This will distribute fuel between the main fuel tanks (there are four of them on a 747).

Disable NACELLE and WING ANTI-ICE. Nacelle anti-ice should only be enabled after the engines are started. Wing anti-ice should only be enabled after takeoff.

Rotate the APU switch to START (click twice). The switch will rotate back to ON and the APU will be started (this will take several seconds). As soon as AVAIL is displayed on the APU GEN witches, set them to ON (once again this will take a while). The APU has now taken over the job of power source from the battery, which we must leave switched on!

Let's now continue to program the rest of our flight information into the FMC.

The POS INIT page should still be displayed. Click the RTE button to move to the ROUTE page.


Enter 20 into the scratchpad and then click LSK 1L to set the Takeoff Flap setting. Flaps 20 is the standard flaps setting for takeoffs in the 747. You can also use flaps 10, but it will take longer for you to get airborne.

Verify your V1, VR, and V2 speeds. These are speeds used to determine if and when you takeoff from the runway. Write down or remember your V2 speed as we will need this number in a moment

Turn the F/D (Flight Director) ON. When the autopilot is on, the Flight Director is what controls where your plane goes. When the autopilot is off, the F/D will give us visual cues as to climb pitch and bank angle to keep the aircraft flying safely.

Enter V2 speed into the IAS/MACH indicator on the dashboard. You can adjust the autopilot indicator numbers by clicking the appropriate knob with your left mouse button (to increase value) or middle/3rd mouse button (to lower value). My FMC reported a V2 speed of 144 knots, so I have entered 144 into the IAS/MACH indicator. Immediately after takeoff, you will use aircraft pitch to maintain this speed.

Arm LNAV and VNAV by clicking on their respective buttons on the MCP. LNAV will control the lateral movement of the aircraft (i.e., follow your flight plan direction) and VNAV will control the vertical movement of the aircraft (get you to your cruise altitude and back down efficiently and safely). At this time we are only arming these autopilot functions. They will not actually control the aircraft until the autopilot is engages after we are airborne.

Set HDG to the heading of the takeoff runway.

Set ALT to 10000. You would typically set this to your initial cleared altitude as given by ATC. 10,000 feet will work nicely for most flights.

Ensure the autopilot DISENGAGE bar is UP.

Ensure that fuel control switches are set at CUTOFF (knobs pulled out and down). This will ensure that fuel will not flow to the engines

Set AUTOBRAKES to RTO. This will initiate full braking if something goes wrong during your takeoff roll and you reject (decide to end) the takeoff. Rejected Take Off braking WILL stop the plane VERY quickly if things go badly before you takeoff.

Ensure that the SEATBELTS selector is set to AUTO. AUTO will turn off the SEATBELT indicator when you are above 10,000 feet.

Pushback and start

Ensure all throttles are at idle.

Turn ON continuous ignition. This will send a continual spark to the engines which will ignite the fuel when it is introduced.

Pull the Engine Start Selector for Engine 4.

Watch the N2% RPM increase in the EICAS display. Bleed air from the APU is being 'blown' across the engine and is beginning to turn the turbines. When the N2% RPM indicator on the EICAS reaches around 14%, switch the Fuel Control Switch for Engine 4 to RUN. The engine should start up and then idle back.

Repeat this process for engine 1. Pull the Start Selector, wait for N2 to reach the magenta line, set Fuel Control to RUN.

Now do the same thing for engines 2 and 3. As soon as you get the hang of it, you can start engines 1 & 4 and engines 2 & 3 simultaneously.

Turn OFF the APU. The main engines are now powering the electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems. The APU is no longer needed.

Check the upper EICAS (center display) for any warnings. If any appear, resolve them before continuing.

Taxi and Takeoff

Turn TAXI LIGHT ON. Even though it's daytime, it's good practice to turn them on as it makes your aircraft more visible.

Set flaps to takeoff configuration. The standard for a 747 is flaps 20, but if you set flaps 10 in the FMC earlier on, use 10. The flaps take a minute or so to extend, so extend them well before you begin your takeoff roll.

Move the control wheel and the control column to full travel in both directions and verify: • freedom of movement • that the controls return to center Altough control surface failures are currently not simulated, it is good to get used to this, as you will/should do it with whatever aircraft you fly.

Release parking brake and taxi to the runway. As you taxi, review your V1, Vr, and V2 speeds. Ensure all other flight systems are set and you're ready to fly. When the runway is clear of incoming traffic, taxi onto the runway and stop (called "position and hold").

Turn LANDING and STROBE lights ON.

Arm Autothrottle. This will arm the autothrottles of the aircraft for the takeoff.

Ensure that F/D is ON, runway heading is set in HDG, IAS is set to V2, LNAV and VNAV are armed, and that altitude is 10,000. If all is set, then you're ready to fly!

Move throttles slowly forward to around 70% N1, then click the TO/GA button.

The TO/GA (Take Off/Go Around) button tells the flight computer to control throttle settings during takeoff and initial climbout. The TO/GA button is located on the yoke in the real cockpit. In FlightGear, this button is not yet implemented, press the SPD button on the glareshield instead.

Apply slight forward pressure on the stick/yoke until you reach around 80 knots to keep the nose gear firmly against the runway. Use rudder to keep the plane centered on the runway. If something goes wrong or you receive an EICAS warning message, quickly return throttles to idle and initiate reverse thrust (Delete key). Autobraking will commence if you are travelling over 85 knots, otherwise apply braking, exit the runway, resolve the problem, and try again.

When the copilot announces V1, this means that you're going to fly, or at least try to, if you experience any problems. You are now going too fast to safely reject the takeoff. Any problems that you encounter should be taken into flight with you.

At Rotate, slowly and smoothly pull back on the controls to become airborne. You should be leaving the runway by the time V2 is announced.

Climb and cruise

As soon as you're over 500 feet altitude, select one of the A/P ENGAGE buttons on the autopilot MCP.

This switches LNAV and VNAV from armed to active. The autopilot is now flying the plane and you can sit back, complete this checklist, and monitor the flight.

You'll notice that as the flight continues that the autopilot will control altitude, speed, and direction.

Monitor the autopilot and speed as the aircraft levels off at 10,000 feet.

Turn off the TAXI and LANDING LIGHTS. The SEATBELTS indicator may be turned off above 10,000 feet. If set to AUTO, it will automatically turn off.

Set MCP ALT to your cruise altitude and hit the center of the ALT dial to command the autopilot to climb.

Approach and landing


Click the INIT REF button. You will see the APPROACH REF page. This page gives us two flap settings, with their corresponding speeds, that can be used for approach. Flaps 25 is the standard approach flaps setting.

Set the HDG to the runway heading. Do not press the SEL button! Simply enter the HDG as a reference and as a set altitude in case you abort the landing.

Click the INIT REF button on the CDU. You will see the APPROACH REF page. This page gives us two flap settings, with their corresponding speeds, that can be used for approach. Flaps 25 is the standard approach flaps setting.

Click LSK 1R to copy the flaps 25 settings and VREF speed to the scratchpad.

Click LSK 4R to set the approach flap and approach speed. This will allows the autopilot and flight director to provide accurate flap restriction speeds on approach. Take note of the approach speed value as we will need it in a few moments.

As soon as you begin the turn at the VCV VOR (base leg) or your descent, set the IAS/SPEED to approach speed + 5 knots. The approach speed is the speed referenced in the FMC previously. In order to set the speed, you must first click the center of the speed adjustment knob and then set the speed to the correct setting. The plane will now begin to decellerate to the indicated speed.

Use speedbrakes to slow you to your flaps 1 speed if your speed remains high (due to a steep descent) or if your speed exceeds 250 knots below 10,000 feet. You want to be close to your approach speed as you turn to final.

Lower the landing gear. The landing gear CAN be extended when your speed is below 270 knots and SHOULD be lowered when you set flaps 20. If you are approaching the turn to final and your speed is well above approach speed and below 270 knots, lower the gear to increase drag and help slow you down. Make sure you are at your approach speed with flaps at 25 when you are several miles from the runway.

ARM the speedbrake. With the speedbrake armed, it will deploy as soon as the main gears touch the runway.

Turn LANDING and TAXI lights ON.

As you complete the final turn, press the LOC and then the APP buttons on the MCP. LOC will instruct the autopilot to lock on to and follow the ILS localizer, which will align your plane with the runway. APP will instruct the autopilot to follow the glideslope and will enable the autopilot to complete a full autolanding. The LOC and VNAV lights will extinguish when you press APP. All three A/P lights should be on indicating that the autopilot is set up to perform an autolanding.

Ensure that flaps are at 25, the gear is down, and that the plane is properly following the ILS. Sit back and enjoy the autolanding. The autopilot will fully control all aspects of the aircraft until touchdown. If you'd rather land manually, you can disengage the autopilot by pulling down on the DISENGAGE bar, turning A/T ARM off, and setting F/D to OFF. You will then have full control over throttle, pitch, and roll. Manually keep your speed at approach speed + 5 knots and follow the ILS indicators to the runway.

As the main wheels touch the ground, bring the throttles to idle and then engage full thrust reversers (Delete key). The autopilot will perform a rollout maneuver that will keep the aircraft centered on the runway. Braking is also performed automatically, though engaging thrust reversers will decrease brake heating and wear. Do not touch the controls except to engage thrust reversers - the plane will do everything else.

At 80 knots, set throttle back to idle, disengaging thrust reversers.

As soon as, or shortly before, the aircraft comes to a complete stop, DISENGAGE autopilot, set A/T ARM to OFF, and turn the F/D OFF. The aircraft is now in your control and you may begin your taxi. When you apply taxi thrust, the speedbrakes will retract. Exit the runway when able and taxi toward the gate or parking area of your choice. The airport here is HUGE, so you've got plenty of time to work through the remainder of the checklists.

Taxi in, parking, and shutdown

Set flaps to UP.


Set LANDING and STROBE lights to OFF.

START the APU. This will allow us to turn off the engines, but still power the aircraft until ground power is available.

Set the parking brake as soon as you're fully stopped at the gate or parking area of your choice.

Turn ON APU GEN 1 and APU GEN 2.

Set FUEL control switches to CUTOFF. This will turnoff the engines.

Turn OFF the seatbelt indicator. This indicates that the passengers may now deplane.

Turn OFF the BEACON lights to indicate that the plane is properly parked and will not be moving. This alerts ground crew that they are free to connect ground power and unload baggage, etc.

Ground power should now be available. However, ground power is not available at all airports. You would typically switch to ground power and turn off the APU at this time, but if ground power is not available, leave the APU on to power the aircraft until you're done with the shutdown checklist.

Turn OFF CONT ignition. Turn OFF AUTOSTART. Open all XFEEDs. This allows fuel to flow freely if the aircraft is refueled on the ground. Turn OFF APU GEN 1 and GEN 2 (if on) Turn OFF the APU (if running) Turn OFF EXT PWR 1 and 2 (if available) Set all internal and external lighting to OFF. Turn off the BATTERY.

The aircraft is now in the same cold and dark condition that it was in when we boarded. Congratulations on completing the flight!