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KDSM-KORD Tutorials



Our first flight will have fully controlled fields as departure and arrival airports.  We’ll look at:

  • Entering alternate airport(s)
  • Specifying departure and arrival gates
  • Preview callsigns
  • Pause at distance
  • Push/Start
  • The co-pilot at the controls
  • Deviating for Wx & Turbulence
  • PD clearances/crossing restrictions

The Plan

  • 289 miles, jet (FS B737), FL290


  • STAR:  JVL4 DBQx

  • Alternate Airport 1 - KMSP

Launch FS and position your aircraft at KDSM.  Start RC.  Click the FS200x (*.pln) button, and choose the V4 1 KDSM-KORD.pln. 

Controller Info

Type KMSP under Alternate 1 and click Find.  All controller fields will be populated.  Type  “B3” for your KDSM Departure gate, and “C14” as your KORD Arrival gate.  Type 290 (FL290) for the cruise altitude. 

Click OK.

General Options

Under the Aircraft Name, scroll down and find “American Airlines – USA” for your aircraft name and choose Jet for type aircraft. 

Let’s take an extra moment for entering callsigns.  Note the speaker icon to the right of the call sign field.  Use this to test how your call sign will be voiced once the flight begins.  Callsigns and type aircraft cannot be changed after Start.

Type “293” in the Call sign field and click the speaker icon.  You’ll hear “American two ninety three”.  We’ll use this call sign for tutorial #1.

Check Pause at Distance and entering “140” in the box to its right. Make sure Interact with AI, Pilot Autoreply, Play Pilot wavs, Chkpt Ding, and Tune on Contact are checked.

Click OK.

On the main page click Start RC.

Maximize FS and Preflight

Load the V4 1 KDSM-KORD.pln into your FS GPS by clicking Flights/Flight Planner/Load, then choose V4 1 KDSM-KORD.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. 

IMPORTANT NOTE -  Look over the nav information on your AdvDisp.  It shows <CID>86m/70°/11410.  This shows your first checkpoint (Cedar Rapids) at a distance of 86 miles, bearing 070°.  CID VOR frequency is 114.10 (already loaded if you’ve used Ctrl-Shift-L).  Set your Course window value to be that of the bearing to the next checkpoint.

DesMoines ATIS

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




DesMoines Clearance Delivery

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


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 checked (default), the pilot will read the clearance back verbatim.

DesMoines 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 this clearance “at B3” (the departure gate we entered on the Controller Tab).  Ground will tell you to call him again when you’re ready to taxi.  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.

Press 1 for your taxi clearance and begin your journey to “the end”.  While taxiing to the assigned runway, prep the aircraft for takeoff (flaps, trim, AP preset speeds & heading selections, etc.).  You should be well into those checklists by now.  Remember, hold short.

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




If you want to choose a different runway, you can choose menu option 2.

DesMoines Tower

As you taxi to the end of the runway, you will be told to contact tower.


Choose menu option 1 to contact tower. After contacting tower, he will acknowledge you, and you should continue to taxi to the end of the runway.

When you are close to the hold short line, you will be told one of two things, depending on what the AI are doing.

  • 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 Departure Procedure flight (CID is 86 miles out, and a DP calls for the 1st checkpoint to be at or closer than 30 miles), we didn’t check any Departure Procedure options  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” (simply don’t turn when airborne), “fly heading XXX” (begin a turn to the assigned heading prior to 450 ft AGL), or “leaving (altitude) fly heading XXX” (as you’re climbing through that altitude, begin your turn to the assigned heading).

After takeoff, quickly 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"). 

DesMoines Departure

When told to do so, press 1 to contact the Departure controller.

Departure will issue headings pointing you towards the departure gates, and when clear of all traffic clear you to 150 ("one five thousand", or fifteen thousand feet).  Again, adhere to all heading assignments as you're being flown through intricate corridors that provide separation between departure and arrival traffic.  Your first assigned heading may not be your last.  Listen.

While climbing through Departure’s airspace, take a moment to navigate through the RC menus.  Press 8 (previous page), Press 9 (next page) and Press 0 (home) to view new options.




IMPORTANT NOTE -  Ctrl-Shift-M calls for your co-pilot to take over the controls.  This command will not work prior to Departure airspace.  You’re welcome to take advantage of this feature now, or at anytime throughout the flight, all the way to “cleared to land”.  Your co-pilot will not make speed/gear/flap adjustments, nor other-than-default FS VAS inputs.  If the co-pilot is flying, attempts to change heading or altitude settings, will be reset to the assigned heading and altitude by the co-pilot.

Chicago Center

Eventually Departure will have you contact Chicago Center, who tells you to “resume own navigation”.  You see CID is well within reception range.  Use VOR1 and/or your FS GPS to proceed direct. 


Remember, RC’s checkpoint heading information on the AdvDisp is no wind.  The indicated heading won’t necessarily be that which you need to fly.  Make course corrections per wind as necessary.

Notice also, checkpoint #2, DBQ (view VOR2) is within reception range.  Though you have the ability to request direct DBQ (Press 9, 1, 1), we’ll stay on course for now.

Center issues assigned altitudes upon initial contact.  The altitude may be to the upper limits of this controller’s stratum (LOW) or an interim altitude if you have crossing traffic.  Having filed FL290 for cruise altitude, you’ll eventually be switched to the HIGH Center controller who takes you to FL290.

While below the PCA (FL180), press “B” periodically to ensure your altimeter setting is current.  Climbing through FL180, be sure to reset the altimeter to standard pressure (29.92).  Your co-pilot calls “altimeter check” passing through FL180 as a reminder.

During this flight you will be switched to a new Chicago center controller, because you have crossed a sector boundary. You make the switch to the new controller, he will acknowledge you. No new altitudes will be assigned.  Moments later you will be told to contact another Chicago center controller. When you make this switch, this is a stratum switch, and you will be assigned your cruise altitude of FL290.

Approaching CID remember, the enroute checkpoint tolerance window is 5 miles in RC.  You must pass within 5 miles of CID for credit.  Having left the Chkpt Ding checkbox at default on the General Options Tab, you’ll know you’ve gotten credit as the wav file plays.  You should be level at FL290 within 20 miles either side of CID.



Also, notice that the checkpoint after your next checkpoint is being automatically displayed once you are within 15 miles of the next checkpoint.

As you pass over CID, use Ctrl-Shift-L to auto-set your Nav radio(s) again.  Notice, the DBQ frequency is set in Nav 1, but Nav 2 hasn’t changed.  This indicates the checkpoint after DBQ is a waypoint or fix (a checkpoint without a frequency).  Press Ctrl-Shift-P at this time.  Sure enough, BRIBE (an intersection) follows DBQ. 


You have several options.  Fly via your Nav 1 only.  If you wish, locate the next frequency to be used on your flight plan display and enter that frequency manually in Nav 2.  In this case it’s JVL’s frequency of 114.30.  Or, you could set and leave your destination’s VOR frequency in Nav 2.  This helps in determining when to expect descents and crossing restrictions.  You’ve every option here.

IMPORTANT NOTE -    Use the AdvDisp for general no-wind heading information and the FS GPS for precise navigation to checkpoints without frequencies.  Your co-pilot does all this for you if he/she is at the controls.

At 45 miles from DBQ, let’s see if the controller’s sleeping.  If the co-pilot is flying, take the plane back by pressing Ctrl-Shift-M.  Climb to FL294.  The controller has a word with you, doesn’t he?  Return to FL290.  With DBQ bearing approximately 055°, turn left to 025°.  Again, the controller has something to say about this.  Turn direct DBQ, pause the sim and let’s talk about this for a moment.

  • Make RC as tolerant as you like by adjusting the Deviations settings under Heading, Altitude, and Speed on the General Options Tab.  The higher the value, the more forgiving your RC controller will become.  Enter 100 in Altitude for instance (300 default), and you would’ve been scolded sooner.  Enter 25 in Heading (15 default), and the controller won’t be so quick to call your hand at straying off course.  In time and after several flights, you’ll know what numbers suit your needs.
  • There will be times when deviating from a flight path is necessary (thunderstorms), or due to chop/turbulence you cannot hold your assigned altitude.  Pressing 9 displays menu page 2, where you’ll find “Dev for Wx” and ”Dev for Turbulence”.  When necessary, select these options to state your needs.  

IMPORTANT NOTE -    The RC controller will always deny wx deviation requests when within 25 miles of a checkpoint.  If you’re close to a checkpoint and must deviate, request direct the following checkpoint before making the deviation request.  Also, if deviation’s been approved, once you come within 35 miles of your next checkpoint, the RC controller required you to return to on course.  Again, if this isn’t possible, request direct the following checkpoint, then request to deviate again.

  • If you request to deviate for wx, be sure to use “Wx on Course” when done to advise the controller.  Likewise, if you’ve told the controller you’d be a bit high/low from assigned altitude, use “Turbulence Gone” when you can again hold your altitude.
  • Particularly on longer flights, you'll transverse through any number of Centers and Sectors.  Expect to be switched to these different centers/controllers from time to time.  Some will require transponder code changes.  Simply dial the new code in when it’s assigned.  If your co-pilot has the radios, he/she will do this for you.

At approximately 35 miles from BRIBE, things stop, the Flight Simulator freezes.  Remember, we’ve enabled Pause at Distance on the General Options Tab.  You’re 140 flying miles from KORD.  Consider this feature in your flight planning, especially those long cross countries or over-the-ocean flights where staying with the sim the entire way might be impractical.  To continue simply un-pause.

Time to Start Down

At approx 34 miles from BRIBE you'll be told to “descend and maintain FL 270”.  Descend and maintain is a statement, a "start down now" clearance.  Notice the new option “3 – PD”. If you wish to stay at FL290 and be more fuel efficient, you can choose option 3. For now, acknowledge the descent clearance and start the descent to FL 270.  When you near FL 270, the HIGH controller will descend you again to FL 240. When you near FL 240, the HIGH controller will switch you to the LOW controller for further descent clearances.  You may be descended directly to FL240.  Intermediate descents happen randomly.

The LOW Center controller will issue a PD/"expect" clearance.  For purposes of this tutorial, do not level.  Continue your descent to the assigned PD altitude.  Don’t forget, descending through FL180, reset your altimeter to the local (Press B).

About 17 miles from JVL you will have another sector switch.

About 2 miles from JVL, the controller will issue "...cross four zero miles from 'ORD' at and maintain one one thousand, two five zero knots...” or "...cross four zero miles from 'ORD' at and maintain one two thousand, two five zero knots...”.  Another new feature, RC now determines what runways are active at this point in the flight. If the active is a “near side” approach (no downwind) the controller needs you a little lower than if the active runway is a “far side” approach (downwind, base, final). Adjust your speed/rate of descent to meet this restriction accordingly.  You do not have opportunity to “Unable” this clearance with Pilot Auto-Reply checked. 

IMPORTANT NOTE - The PD altitude and crossing restriction clearances have caused confusion to users since v1.  Refer to your manual, the sections Pilot Discretion Descent Clearances and Crossing Restrictions for in-depth explanations.

As you pass BULLZ, get the arrival ATIS at approx 50 miles out by using “Lv Freq for Wx” (Press 2).  You'll make the request to leave frequency, hear the ATIS loop, and report "back up" all automatically.  And what runway did ATIS say to expect?  Listen! 


If you wish (stay ahead of things), use the ILS information displayed on the AdvDisp, below the checkpoint data.  This information become available after you report “back up”.  You’ll see something like <14L>142°/11090.  Set the ILS frequency and course data in your #1 radio now, and 113.90 in Nav2 (ORD VOR frequency).

O’Hare Approach

At 40 miles from KORD, Center will switch you to Approach.  We'll accept whatever runway Approach needs us on.  You've not received any alternate clearances yet, so continue towards your final checkpoint, ORD.  Follow the clearances issued by Approach.


While being vectored, take a moment to look through the menu pages and become acquainted with RC’s enhancements.  All are covered in later tutorials.  For this flight however, as tempting as those features are, let’s follow the Approach instructions to landing.  Don’t forget to reset that altimeter from time to time.  Get after those checklists!

Remember; never exceed 250kts while below 10,000.  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.  Larger, busy airports have multiple Approach controllers.  KORD certainly qualifies.  Contact the Final controller when told to do so.

ATIS named rwy 14L as active at this tutorial’s writing, calling for full pattern vectors.  Your approach sequence may be different.  Simply follow your clearances.

At the appropriate time you'll be turned towards the localizer with "American 293, XX miles from the marker, fly heading XXX°, maintain 4500 until established on the localizer, cleared ILS rwy XX approach".  Begin the turn, intercept the localizer and continue descent below 4500 as the glide slope indicates.  Keep the needles centered. 

Watch your speed. Don’t exceed 230 knots on downwind, and 210 knots on final

O’Hare Tower

At 7 miles out you'll contact Tower who will issue the winds and when appropriate, clear you to land.




O’Hare Ground

After touchdown, slow and contact Ground when off the active runway. 




Taxi to gate “Charlie 14” (as entered on the controllers screen).  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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