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KGCN-KDRO Tutorials



We’ll depart from a partially controlled, and arrive at a fully uncontrolled field(s).  KGCN has no Apch control, but is served by Ground/Tower controllers.  KDRO is fully uncontrolled. 

Let’s look at entering Alternate Airport(s), general RC departure and arrival procedures for partially controlled/fully uncontrolled fields, NOTAMs, procuring the IFR clearance through the Ground controller, an aborted takeoff, the co-pilot on comms and at aircraft controls, requesting higher/lower altitudes, requesting direct waypoint/fix, Save/Load, IAP & Visual approaches into uncontrolled fields, and canceling IFR.

The Plan

  • 231 miles, prop (FS Mooney),

  • Route: KGCN..TBC..FMN..DRO..KDRO

  • Alternate Airport 1 - KSLC

Launch FS and position your aircraft at KGCNStart RC. Click the FS200x (*.pln) button, and choose the V4 7 KGCN-KDRO.pln.

Controller Info

Enter KSLC under Alternate 1 and click Find.  Enable NOTAMs for KGCN, KDRO, and KSLC.  Set 130 for cruise altitude.  We’ll make no other changes here for this flight. 

Click OK.

General Options

Use Mooney 31RC again for this flight’s call sign.  Select Prop for type aircraft.  Ensure the AI chatter is selected, and Holding is OFF.  Leave the three Deviations settings at default.  Along the right column we want Display Text and Pilot Autoreply unchecked.  Set Play Pilot Wavs, Interact with AI, Chkpt Ding, and Tune on Contact checked.  Enter 2 Souls on Board.

Click OK

On RC’s main Page click Start RC.

Maximize FS and Preflight

Load the V4 7 KGCN-KDRO.pln into your FS GPS.  Flights/Flight Planner/Load, choose V4 7 KGCN-KDRO.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. 

Keep the radios this flight, planning on giving your co-pilot the aircraft controls when airborne. 

Grand Canyon ATIS

Press 2 to listen to your weather briefing via ATIS, then call for your clearance. 




Grand Canyon Clearance (from Ground)

Press 3 to receive your clearance. Though in this scenario the Ground controller is who you’ll talk to for your clearance, the clearance itself will be no different than had there been a Clearance Delivery.  At the smaller partially controlled fields, often the Ground controller is responsible for issuing the IFR clearance.



IMPORTANT NOTE - At any time during any RC flight, your flight plan information can be displayed by pressing Ctrl-Shift-P

There’s that NOTAM advisory again.  If necessary, pause the sim and refer to RC’s Manual sections NOTAMs for explanations.  KGCN is in mountainous terrain.  Having enabled NOTAMs allows us to circumnavigate all obstructions without controller recourse.  It is important however, that you do as your clearance stated “…advise the controller when you can proceed on course”.  That menu option will become available once airborne.

Grand Canyon Ground

Call ground and request your taxi clearance.

 When near the end, Ground will tell you to contact Tower.




Grand Canyon Tower

Having enabled NOTAMs for KGCN:

-          Tower will not assign specific takeoff instructions

-          The co-pilot will accept the aircraft controls when airborne, but will not turn direct your 1st filed checkpoint until you advise the controller you can proceed on course.

-          Your flight path will not be critiqued until you call “on course”

Notice you still have the ability to change your runway.

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.

After you’ve heard, and acknowledged “…cleared for takeoff”, pause the sim, do not apply power.  Save Flight and enter “tut7 1 KGCN C4TO” (no quotes) and click OK.




Abort Takeoff

Abort is available in all RC flights, where the departure airport is served by Ground/Tower controllers. Apply power and begin to roll.  When you’re approx 100 yds down the runway, shut down the engine (F1 – FS Cut Throttle), and select 2-Abort T/O.  The pilot calls Abort.  Tower instructs you to “…taxi clear Rwy X.  Contact Ground…”. 

Call Ground when you’ve taxied off the runway.





Grand Canyon Ground

Ground offers you options.  3-Taxi to Ramp allows you to return to the FBO (or gate).  RC will shut down with this selection.  4-Try Again tells Ground just that, you’d like to try it all again.  Ground clears you to hold short of the original runway.  Of course, you’ve the option to request an alternate runway. For this tutorial, Press 4.



Grand Canyon Tower

This time, we’ll actually take off.

In all departure field/NOTAM flights, you do not need to turn towards your 1st filed checkpoint until you’re comfortable with things.  Do what you need to do to remain clear of obstructions.



The TBC VOR is bearing (approx) 065°.  For illustration purposes, once airborne fly heading 025°.  

Los Angeles Center

Shortly Tower switches you to Center who calls radar contact, issues an altitude and reminds you to advise him when you can proceed on course.  Until you do, your performance will not be critiqued. 




Continue heading 025°, enjoying the view.  At approximately 7 miles north of KGCN, turn to heading 100°.  With NOTAMs enabled, you simply do whatever it takes to remain clear of terrain.  Established on a 100° heading, give the aircraft controls to the co-pilot.  The co-pilot accepts the aircraft and dials the OBS, but waits for your permission before turning on course towards the TBC VOR.  You give that permission and advise Center you can now accept all clearances verbatim at the same time, using 3-NOTAM On Course.  Select 3-NOTAM On Course.

At 20 miles from TBC, request FL230.  Let’s take advantage of those tail-winds.  Press 4 to Request higher altitude.





Press 9 to go to the second page.

Press 5 - 23000

You may be cleared to 15000.



Denver Center

While climbing, you will be switched to Denver center.  You report in “…leaving 13000 for 15000…”. You are then cleared to FL190. As you approach FL190, you will be cleared to FL230.

 Since the co-pilot is flying the plane, he will control the altimeter setting.  If you were flying the plane below the PCA (FL180), press “B” periodically to ensure your altimeter setting is current.  The co-pilot will reset the altimeter to the standard pressure as you pass through FL180.  If you were flying the plane through FL180, you would have to reset the altimeter to standard pressure (29.92).  Your co-pilot calls “altimeter check” passing through FL180 as a reminder.

Enroute to KDRO, Save Flights as often as you wish.  Use these files to experiment with the various RC enroute options.  Look at Change of Destination, Emergencies, Dev for Wx/Turb, etc- anything you’re not clear on, or would like to see from an angle not covered in the tutorials.  As always, our forum is at RC Support Forum for individual help.

Particularly on longer flights, you'll transverse through any number of Centers.  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.

Around 40 miles from FMN, at FL230 with the co-pilot driving and you talking, Center issues a lower altitude clearance.  This altitude clearance may or may not be PD.  Regardless, if the co-pilot has the aircraft and you have the radios, co-pilot will not execute controller clearances until you acknowledge that clearance.



You’ve probably already noticed, the checkpoint <FMN> displays no frequency.  RC treats such cases as checkpoints regardless.  With your co-pilot flying, navigation won’t be a problem.  He’ll do the flying for you.  If you wish, dial 115.30 (FMN freq) manually in Nav 1, 108.20 (DRO freq) in Nav 2.



Request direct DRO when you’re yet 50 miles from FMN.  You’ll see, DRO VOR is not yet within reception range but again, not a problem with your co-pilot at the controls. 





If the controller denies that request, ask again when told to do so. 

At 50 miles from KDRO (by now you’ve got the aircraft controls and radios), select 5-Lv Freq to get Wx.

 It becomes apparent as we descend to our assigned altitude, having enabled NOTAMs for KDRO was very necessary. 



At 25 miles from DRO, Center assigns a lower altitude preceded with “if feasible”, “if able”, or “when able”.  You are now responsible for all terrain avoidance and obstruction clearance. 




The menus now change to display your approach options.  The only option that’s not available is one to request vectors.  It won’t be there; there is no Apch controller.  Make no choices.




At 14 miles from DRO, pause the sim.  Save Flight and enter “tut7 2 14m DRO” (no quotes), and click OK.  RC’s handling of arrivals into fully uncontrolled fields is a bit different from what you’ve seen so far.  Return to this file as often as you wish to review the various options.



Arrival Pre-Planning

Let’s plan on shooting a visual approach, but we don’t see KDRO yet.  The IAP option is there if you need it.  The KDRO VOR-DME Rwy 2 approach plate is provided for your convenience, should the weather be IMC in your flight.

Cancel IFR and Closing Flight Plans

Center will assign lower altitudes as you get closer to KDRO, finally at 10 miles assigning the MVA (Minimum Vectoring Altitude, the lowest he’s allowed to take you).  He’ll prompt you to “. . . report the field in sight for a visual approach” again.  Do not. 

At 8 miles press 4-Req Visual App.  Notice, the controller’s clearance included “…cancel in the air or on the ground through FSS…” 

Closing a flight plan is an FAA requirement.  This is accomplished automatically upon landing at airports served by Tower controllers, or by you contacting the local FSS via telephone when you’re on the ground.


A 3rd option is to cancel IFR in the air. 

At 5 miles press 1-Cancel IFR (AdvDisp, page 2).  You’ll fulfill the flight-end requirement. 




Cancel IFR is available in all RC flights when your aircraft altitude is that of below the PCA.  A controller may not accept a cancellation from aircraft in the PCA.

The RC controller will terminate radar service and ask you to change your transponder code to that which is VFR.  In the States, the VFR code is 1200.  The VFR code can be changed on the General Options Tab.  RC will shut down with your cancellation.

Let’s not Cancel IFR

Load Previously Saved .RCD “tut7 2 14m DRO” for another demonstration.  Do not report the field in sight.  Continue towards DRO VOR.

Center will assign lower altitudes as you get closer to KDRO, finally at 8 miles assigning the MVA (Minimum Vectoring Altitude, the lowest he’s allowed to take you).  He’ll prompt you to “. . . report the field in sight for a visual approach” again.  Do not. 



At 4 miles, if you haven’t made the Visual Approach/IAP approach call yet, Center gives you a field position report.  Do not make a choice.  If by 1 mile from your arrival airport (fully uncontrolled fields), you haven’t made the visual approach/IAP approach selection, Center will clear you “for approach”.  This equates to a no-name IAP approach.



On the Ground

There is no Tower/Ground controller to clear you off the active.  After touchdown and slowed, taxi to the ramp (or FBO) 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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