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KBNA-KMEM Tutorials



Your second flight demonstrates fully controlled fields, all controllers available.  We’ll look at:

  • Entering Alternate Airport(s)
  • Specifying a departure rwy
  • Co-pilot on comms and at aircraft controls
  • The Save/Load feature
  • Holding issues
  • Various crossing restrictions
  • Requesting an alternate arrival runway
  • Our Alternate Airport after missed approach
  • Short Final

The Plan

  • 176 miles, jet (FS B737), FL220

  • Route:  KBNA..GHM..MKL..MEM..KMEM

  • Alternate Airport 1 – KLIT

Launch FS and position your aircraft at KBNA.  Start RC. Click the FS200x (*.pln) button, and choose the V4 2 KBNA-KMEM.pln.

Controller Info

Type KLIT under Alternate 1 and click Find.  All controller fields will be populated.  In the Departure column and on the Runways line, click the down-arrow to produce KBNA’s available runways.  Select rwy 20L.  This can be done for your arrival airport as well, but in this tutorial we’ll ask for an alternate arrival runway once in Approach airspace.  Type 220 (FL220) for the cruise altitude. Click OK.

General Options

Choose Northwest Airlines Inc USA for the carrier and 38 for this flight’s call sign.  Select Jet for type aircraft.  Leave the Chatter options in their default positions.  Set the Holding to “ON”.  Leave the three Deviations settings at default.  Along the right column we want Display Text, Pilot Autoreply and Pause at Distance unchecked.  Interact with AI, Play Pilot Wavs, Chkpt Ding, and Tune on Contact should be checked.  Click OK.

On RC’s main Page click Start RC.

Maximize FS and Preflight

Load the V4 2 KBNA-KMEM.pln into your FS GPS.  Flights/Flight Planner/Load, choose V4 2 KBNA-KMEM.pln, click OK, and again OK. Place the FS GPS in the desired location on your panel.

Use Ctrl-Shift-L (optional) to set your Nav radios. 

Nashville ATIS

Press 2 to listen to ATIS.  Note the active runway, and be sure to set your altimeter (press “B”). 




Nashville Clearance Delivery

When comfortable with the weather briefing, press 1 to call Clearance Delivery.


There will be times when Clearance is busy, and will not immediately give you your clearance. He will simply say “…clearance on request…”.  You will have to acknowledge (press 7). In a moment or two, Clearance will call you, and say “…I have your clearance. Advise when ready to copy…”, which you will also need to acknowledge (Press 7).  Then he will begin reading the clearance.

Pay close attention to your clearance.  Enter your initial assigned altitude in your aircraft panel’s Altitude window and your transponder code as they’re read to you.  With Pilot Auto-Reply unchecked, you’ll need to acknowledge this clearance.  You can press 1 to acknowledge and immediately call Ground, press 7 to acknowledge only and call Ground later, or press Ctrl-Shift-/ to have Delivery repeat the clearance.  Acknowledge only at this time (press 7).

Nashville Ground

The next window displays options to request Push/Start, and/or call Ground. 


Press 2 to request Push/Start.  The pilot will call for and receive this clearance.  Ground will tell you to call again when you’re ready to taxi.  Press 7 to acknowledge.  Use Slew, the FS command Shift P or any means you wish to ready for taxi.

Helpful Hint - Use the FS Shift ] command to open a top-down window, in knowing where you’re at on the airport ramp and in taxiing.

Let’s allow your co-pilot to manage the radios for the 1st portion of the flight.  Note: The co-pilot will not call for Push/Start.  When the Push/Start routine is necessary, do not give the radios to him/her until after the routine is completed and you’re ready for the taxi clearance.

Press Ctrl-Shift-K.  The co-pilot now has the radios and will call Ground for taxi instructions.  Notice the request for rwy 20L, as entered on the Controller Tab.  The co-pilot will acknowledge all transmissions automatically.

While taxiing to rwy 20L, notice the AdvDisp window shows you the distance in feet and heading towards the active runway.




Prep the aircraft for takeoff (flaps, trim, AP preset speeds & heading selections, etc).  You should be well into those checklists by now. 

Nashville Tower

As you taxi to the end of the runway, you will be told to contact tower. The co-pilot automatically does this for you.

As you approach the end, tower will either tell you to:

  • Taxi into position and Hold – no AI taking off on your runway, no AI landing on your runway, and no AI in front of you
  • Hold Short – Either and AI is taking off on your runway, or an AI is on short final on your runway.

If you’re told to hold short, , keep monitoring tower until it’s your turn. When it is time, you will be told to taxi into position and hold.

Once you are lined up on the runway, Tower will clear you for takeoff.

Since this isn’t a DP flight (GHM is 41 miles out, and a DP calls for the 1st checkpoint to be at or closer than 30 miles), we didn’t select either of the two Dep Procedures options available in planning (on the Controller Tab) and we haven’t enabled NOTAMs, you should expect a specific clearance from Tower.  That clearance may be “fly runway heading”, “fly heading XXX”, or “leaving (altitude) fly heading XXX”.

After takeoff, clean up the aircraft and adhere to assigned headings.  Don't climb above your assigned altitude, and never exceed 250kts while below 10,000 ("one zero thousand"). 

Nashville Departure

When tower tells you to contact departure, the co-pilot will call the Departure .

Though you can give the radios to the co-pilot as early as before listening to ATIS, you must be on Departure’s frequency before he/she will accept the aircraft controls Also make sure the autopilot heading hold and altitude hold buttons are engaged.  If this is not a standard MS plane, the RC co-pilot will not be able to fly the plane.  If this is a MS plane, press Ctrl-Shift-M. Notice the new heading and altitude are set.

Departure will issue various heading and altitude assignments, and when clear of all traffic clear you to 15,000 ("one five thousand").  Again, adhere to all clearances as you're being flown through narrow Departure corridors.  Your first assigned heading may not be your last.  The co-pilot has both the aircraft controls and radios at this point, and will take care of this for you.

IMPORTANT NOTE -   The co-pilot will not make speed adjustments, nor other-than-default FS VAS inputs.  The co-pilot doesn’t extend/retract the flaps/landing gear.  The co-pilot will fly assigned headings, filed routes, climb/descend to assigned altitudes, reset the altimeter when appropriate, make transponder changes and handle the comm/nav/freq end of things when he/she has the aircraft and radios. 

You’re in the left seat.  You can swap duties anytime you wish.  You talk, the co-pilot drives.  the co-pilot drives, you talk.  You do both, or the co-pilot does both.  All your choice.  Be aware, if the co-pilot has the aircraft and you have the radios, the co-pilot will not execute controller clearances until you acknowledge that clearance.






Memphis Center

Eventually Departure has you contact Memphis Center, who tells you to “resume own navigation”.  The co-pilot takes care of all necessary transmissions, and turns on course.  By now the aircraft should be cleaned up, and at (approx) 320kt IAS with 2000fpm VAS. 

Sit back and relax.  While heading towards GHM, then MKL take a moment to navigate through the RC menus.  Press 8 (previous page), 9 (next page) and 0 (home) to view new options and become familiar with what’s available.  You’re welcome to do this at any point during the tutorial flights, as the options change with respect to what phase of flight you’re in.

As you near GHM notice, the line <MKL> 85m/260°/11200 appears on your AdvDisp.  The MKL VOR reception is poor.  You won’t receive its signal until very close.  As you progress GHM, the co-pilot sets 112.00 (MKL VOR frequency) in Nav 1.  The co-pilot does not set Nav 2 for you.  Set the MEM VOR frequency (117.50) in your Nav 2.  You see you’re approximately 130 miles from your destination, and should level at FL220 shortly.


Watching Nav 2, when 105 miles from MEM press Ctrl-Shift-M.  Let’s divide responsibilities and allow the co-pilot to talk, you’ll fly.  MKL VOR still isn’t within reception range.  Reference the heading shown on the AdvDisp (a no-wind heading), and the FS GPS to remain on course until it is.  The co-pilot should have you on a close wind corrected heading already, so only minor changes if any are called for.

At 42 miles MKL (AdvDisp) and 102 miles MEM (Nav 2), Center issues a PD/expect clearance.  You’ll hear something like “NWA38, descend at pilot’s discretion maintain 170.  You can expect, I say again expect a clearance to cross 40 miles from MEM at 120”.  If you do not fully understand what this clearance means to you and what you can/should do with it, refer to the sections Pilot’s Discretion Descent Clearances and Crossing Restrictions in the RC Manual for in depth explanation.  Do not start down.  The most recent altitude clearance is PD.  Let’s stay at FL220 a bit longer. 


MKL VOR lights up Nav 1 at approx 20 miles at this altitude.  Continue towards MKL.  At a point between 10 to 12 miles from MKL, pause the sim.  We’ll Save this flight’s parameters here.  Press ;.  In the “Title of Flight” box enter “tut2 1 12m MKL FL220 Otto-me H100%” (no quotes). 

Click OK.

Shorthand, definitely.  If you’re interested in holding work, practice approaches or shooting multiple ILSs, the shorthand you develop can be priceless.  This particular name might mean “Tutorial #2, the 1st Saved file in this flight at 12 miles from MKL.  Altitude FL220 (or you could enter your PD altitude).  Who’s talking/driving, and we set the Holding ON up front (or anything special, that means something to you)”.  For more tips on naming your files and what’s being done behind the scenes, refer to the FAQ section, question beginning “I’ve got a mess…”.

Click on the Radar Contact icon on the Task Bar, and press Quit RC.  “No way!  After all this work?”.  Don’t worry, press Quit RC. 

Now launch the RC program, press Load Previously Saved .RCDs and choose what file name you entered previously (tut2 1 12m MKL FL220 Otto-me H100%.rcd).

Click Open.

In a moment, the flight and all its parameters will be loaded, precisely where you saved.   

IMPORTANT NOTE - This demonstrates that, if necessary you can shut everything down and return to a flight at a time more convenient and should clearly illustrate the power of RC’s Save/Load feature.  You know Holding’s coming in this flight.  You know Missed Approach and Alternate Airport work’s coming in this flight.  At any point during any phase, you can Save a situation and return to it, anytime.


Time to Start Down – Holding

Continue towards MKL.  At 70 miles from MEM, Center advises you’ll have to take a delay and offers Holding Pattern or Delay Vectors.  Do not respond yet, do not make a choice, pause the sim.




IMPORTANT NOTE -    So long as you’re talking/you’re driving, or the co-pilot is talking/you’re driving, you have the HP/DV choice.  If the co-pilot has the radios and aircraft controls, or if you have the radios while the co-pilot has the aircraft, the delay will default to Delay Vectors.

In this case, the co-pilot is talking, you’re flying.  We’ll not dictate what you should do in this tutorial, only to say refer to the section Enroute Holding and Delay Vectors in the RC Manual.

IMPORTANT NOTE -  For those who’d like to learn how to fly a holding pattern, the holding patter description in the Enroute Holding and Delay Vectors section of the Manual is based on this flight. 

If you choose Holding Pattern, you must keep the aircraft until cleared out of hold.  Your specific holding instructions are forthcoming.  If you choose Delay Vectors, give the aircraft back to the co-pilot at anytime.  Center will have heading and altitude clearances for you shortly.  At your discretion, reduce speed to 250kt IAS.


Decide between HP/DV, unpause and make the key input.  After you’ve told Memphis Center what you’d like to do, he’ll clear you direct MEM.  Set the VOR frequency (117.50) in your Nav 1 now and turn towards MEM.

Keep in mind, you can return to this point anytime you wish using the file you previously Saved.  Practice your holding skills or see what Minimum Fuel’s all about, of course.  Do this as many times as you wish.  For the purposes of this tutorial, do not declare “Minimum Fuel”.  “Use Lv Freq for Wx” anytime during Holding Pattern or Delay Vector to get updates on the weather and active runways.

Out of Hold

When he’s able, Center will clear you out of hold.  Listen very carefully to this clearance, as there may be a crossing restriction.  Once a restriction is acknowledged, there’s no turning back; there is no “I Changed My Mind”.

Here is what the ground track of delay vectors looks like, after being cleared direct MEM.

IMPORTANT NOTE -    You can “Unable” this restriction out of a Holding Pattern, if you’re talking.  The co-pilot will always acknowledge crossing restrictions, committing you to meeting that restriction.  Further, you must always retain the aircraft controls during a holding pattern.  Do not give the aircraft controls to your co-pilot anytime during the Holding Pattern routine.  “Unable” is not available with respect to crossing restrictions if you’ve chosen Delay Vectors, regardless of radio/aircraft control combination.

Now that we’ve been cleared out of hold, you handle the radios but let’s allow the co-pilot to fly for now.  Use Ctrl-Shift-K and Ctrl-Shift-M as necessary so you’re talking, the co-pilot is driving.  Don’t forget, you must acknowledge transmissions with Pilot Auto Reply unchecked (press 7).

Memphis Approach

You’re at or descending to 120, and will be switched to Approach at 40 miles from MEM. 


 Use “1 to ack and contact” when switched to Approach if you wish. 


The controller welcomes you and advises which approach to expect.  Pause the sim.  Between now, to the time you’re cleared for approach, you can request an alternate runway. 

We’ll Save this flight’s parameters here.  Press ;.  In the “Title of Flight” box enter “tut2 2 KMEM Approach (early) Me-Otto” (no quotes). 

Click OK.

As you progress through the RC tutorials, more and more features will be discussed, such as IAP Approaches.  For learning purposes, return to this file (or others you make at choice spots) to experiment with the various features at a later time.

Instead of pressing “Ack” or “Ack and Contact”, choose “Req Rwy” (press 5).  Select one of the rwy 36x options, one you weren’t told to expect.




Rwy 36L/R/C are on the next page, so hit 9

Then press 3 for 36L




From this angle of entry, any of the rwys 36 or rwy 9 will give you full pattern vectors, any of the rwys 18 or rwy 27 will be turns directly to base.  Keep in mind, if there’s a particular runway you know you’ll need at your destination; this request can be set up front on the Controller Tab prior to clicking start.

Until you receive alternate clearances, the co-pilot will continue direct to MEM.  He/she will follow the clearances issued by Approach as they come.  With you talking and the co-pilot driving, he will not make control inputs reference clearances until you acknowledge that clearance. 

Don’t forget to reset that altimeter from time to time.  Get after those checklists and remember; never exceed 250kts while below 10000.  The co-pilot is driving, but you’ve got the IAS/VAS/flaps/gear.  There will be an initial heading/altitude clearance that sets you up for pattern entry and eventually you'll be turned to downwind and base. 

Because Memphis is such a busy airport, and has so many runways, there will be an additional Approach controller that you will have to contact. When you are about 14 miles from MEM, you will told to contact Approach. He will clear you into the pattern, saying “Northwest 38, descend and maintain 6000, fly heading 180”.  Your co-pilot will make the necessary adjustments.

When you are abeam of the airport, Approach will tell you to “…descend and maintain 4000”  Your co-pilot will make the necessary adjustments.

About 15 miles from KMEM, Approach will turn you to base, “Northwest 38, descend and maintain 3000 fly heading 270”.  Your co-pilot will make the necessary adjustments.

From base you'll be turned towards the localizer with "Northwest 38, 9 miles from the marker, fly heading 330°, maintain 2200 until established on the localizer, cleared ILS rwy 36L approach".  The co-pilot flies the approach (if you allow it), all the way to “…cleared to land”. 

IMPORTANT NOTE -    The co-pilot will not chase the glideslope in a descent.  He/she must be below the glideslope prior to the approach clearance for a smooth capture.  Base your VAS descent knowing that.

Memphis Tower

At 6 miles out you'll contact Tower who will issue the winds and when appropriate, clear you to land.  The co-pilot will automatically give the aircraft controls to you, be ready!

Missed Approach and Alternate Airport

We’re not going to land (you knew this was coming). 


At 500 ft, climb and accelerate.  Retract the gear, clean up the aircraft, and call Missed Approach (press 2) after you’ve achieved a positive rate of climb.


The pilot calls Missed Approach.  Tower will switch you back to Approach.  Approach will assign a heading/altitude, then Say Intentions. 

Make no choices yet, We’ll Save this flight’s parameters here.  Press ;.  In the “Title of Flight” box enter “tut2 3 MA KMEM rwy 36L at SI Menu” (no quotes). 

Click OK.

We’re getting you used to Save Flight in precise, very advantageous spots during flight.  With the sim paused, look at your AdvDisp.  It should be obvious, you can return to this file anytime to experiment with the five listed options.  Refer to the RC Manual for details on each.  For this tutorial’s purpose though, we’re going to Little Rock, AR (our filed Alternate Airport).

Unpause the sim and choose “5 - Land KLIT”.  Then you will be asked for your requested altitude.




Press 9 to find “17000”





Press 9 to find “17000





 Press 4





Memphis Departure

Approach will switch you to Departure.  You’ll be either cleared direct or put on assigned headings and climbed to various altitudes.  KLIT is only (approx) 110 miles to the west, a fairly short leg.  Let’s keep the radio and aircraft controls to ourselves into KLIT for now.


KLIT VOR frequency is 113.90.  The VOR is approximately 3 miles SE KLIT.  It does not sit on the field.  Though using a VOR is certainly useful if the NAVAID is on the airport grounds, your clearance is direct the airport.  Do not navigate direct LIT VOR.  All Alternate  Airport and Change of Destination Airport clearances will be direct that airport.  Make use of the FS GPS, entering KLIT for more precise navigational aid.  Remember, the AdvDisp yields no-wind information.

Memphis Center

Reaching 15000, you will be switched from Departure to Memphis Center. He will clear you to 17000 and tell you to “…resume own navigation…”.  Little Rock (KLIT) is about 90 miles WSW of your current position.

About 70 miles from KLIT, Memphis Center issues the crossing restriction with “Northwest 38, descend and maintain 120.  Start down now please.  I need you level in 30 miles or less”.  As discussed in the sections Pilot’s Discretion Descent Clearances and Crossing Restrictions in the RC Manual, this is one of the crossing restrictions you can expect from time to time. 


We could easily meet this restriction, but choose “Unable” (press 6).  The controller will accommodate.  Though we’ve told the controller we cannot be at 120 in 30 miles, his clearance included “…start down now…”.  That much we must do.  Begin your descent.  Remember to slow to 250kt IAS or less before reaching 120.

Now that we’ve demonstrated “Unable”, we’re safe to have the co-pilot take the radios (the co-pilot will always acknowledge crossing restrictions), but we’ll keep the aircraft throughout landing.

When we’re 50 miles from KLIT, the co-pilot tunes ATIS.  Take note of the active rwy and weather conditions.  For preplanning purposes, we’re going to choose rwy 04L with the KLIT Approach controller if that’s not currently “the active”. In this flight 04L was the active.



Little Rock Approach

Once in Approach airspace (Save Flights here if you wish), make the request for rwy 04L.  Expect full pattern vectors.  Notice your AdvDisp is showing rwy 04L ILS information now.  Final approach course setting 043°, ILS frequency 110.30.  Enter 353 in your ADF if you wish (the IAF). 

You’ll be given initial vectors to set you up in the pattern.  At approximately 16 miles KLIT you’ll be turned downwind, heading 225° and descended to 6000.  When you are abeam of the field, you will be descended to 4000.

Watch the dme and bearing to KLIT on your AdvDisp closely.  When you see KLIT bearing 330°, and dme 16 miles, choose a short final request.


Press 9 to go to the next page


 Press 5 to ask for a Short Final





Short Final

We’ve fought a head-wind since leaving KBNA, held outside KMEM, and come to our Alternate, KLIT.  Fuel’s got to be becoming an issue. Use it.  If Approach denies the request, wait a minute or so and make the request again.  This “Slam Dunk” clearance really tightens things up, use with caution in your flights.  Refer to the section Vectored Pattern Approaches/Short Final in the RC Manual for details.

Approach will turn you to base, “…fly heading 320, descend and maintain 2200…”. While on base, get that aircraft slowed and dirty before your approach clearance.  You’re going to be close, maybe closer than you’re comfortable with.  There are excellent Save Flights opportunity while on base (hint-hint).

Your approach clearance will be “Northwest 38, 3 miles from the marker. Fly heading 015°, maintain 2200 until the marker. Cleared ILS rwy 04L approach”.

Little Rock Tower

At 5 miles out you'll contact Tower who will issue the winds and when appropriate, then clear you to land.

Little Rock Ground

After touchdown and slowed, tower will tell you to “…exit the next high speed and hold, contact ground on…”.  Once you have exited the runway, the co-pilot will contact Ground.  Taxi to your gate.  All post flight and shutdown checklist completed, set your parking brakes and choose between Flight Critique for a flight synopsis, or End RC to close the program.


Questions or comments?  Your RC staff and veteran users are ready to help.  The RC forum is at RC Support Forum.  There are always several RC users there, eager to assist.  Thank you for using RC!


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