Home | Company Info | Products | News | Documentation | FAQ | Contact

KSDF-KATL Tutorials



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

  • Fully controlled fields
  • Fully uncontrolled fields
  • Entering Alternate Airport(s)
  • Specify an alternate arrival runway
  • Tune on Contact
  • Push/Start
  • Alternate departure runways
  • Departure Procedures
  • Request Direct Checkpoint
  • Save/Load
  • Emergency
  • Change of Destination
  • Requesting higher/lower altitudes
  • RVSM
  • The co-pilot on comms and at aircraft controls
  • Crossing restrictions
  • Short final

The Plan

  • 319 miles, jet (FS B737), FL290/FL320/FL350

  • STAR:  RMG2 BWGx

  • Alternate Airport 1 - KCLT

Launch FS and position your aircraft at KSDF.  Start RC. Click the FS200x (*.pln) button, and choose the V4 3 KSDF-KATL.pln.

Controller Info

Type KCLT under Alternate 1 and click Find.  Enable NOTAMs for KCLT by checking the Notams box in the Alternate 1 column.  We’re going to request an alternate Departure runway, but we’ll do that when we talk to Ground.  Set rwy 27R for the KATL arrival rwy.  Make G-10 your Departure Gate and D-10 your Arrival Gate.  Enter 290 for cruise altitude, and check RVSM beneath it. 

Notice in the Dep Procedures box, under KSDF, that Alt Restrictions has been selected for you.   This will be explained later in the Departure Procedure section of this tutorial.

Click OK.

General Options

We’ll use Southwest (Southwest Airlines Co – USA) 1203 for this flight’s call sign and choose Jet for type aircraft.  Leave the three Deviations settings at default.  Make sure AI chatter is checked. Along the right column uncheck Display Text, Pilot Autoreply, Tune on Contact, and Pause at Distance unchecked.  Set Interact with AI, Play Pilot Wavs and Chkpt Ding checked.  Enter 95 for the Souls on Board. Let’s make sure we aren’t held on this flight, so select OFF in the Holding box.

Click OK

On RC’s main Page click Start RC.

Maximize FS and Preflight

Load the V4 3 KSDF-KATL.pln into your FS GPS.  Flights/Flight Planner/Load, choose V4 3 KSDF-KATL.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. 

Louisville ATIS

Press 2 to listen to ATIS.  Nothing happens, silence.  With Tune on Contact disabled (General Options Tab) we must manually set the next frequency into Comm 1.  Enter the frequency (aside Wx Brf on your AdvDisp), and try again.  Note the active runway, and be sure to set your altimeter as ATIS plays.



Louisville Clearance Delivery

When comfortable with the weather briefing, call Clearance Delivery.  Again, unless you entered Delivery’s frequency before pressing 1, you’ll hear only static. 




IMPORTANT NOTE -  All “contacts/switches” are affected by Tune on Contact.  You can return to the General Options Tab anytime to check, Tune on Contact if you prefer things more automated.  Neither this tutorial, nor any later tutorials will again reference Tune on Contact.  This setting will be at your discretion. 

Acknowledge only Delivery, do not ack and contact.





Departure Procedure

Your clearance included the phrase “…via published Departure Procedures, then as filed…”.  Your 1st checkpoint, MYS VOR, is 29 miles from KSDF.  Filing the 1st checkpoint within 30 miles of the departure field constitutes an RC DP.  Detailed DP information can be found in the Radar Contact User Interface section of this manual, under the Departure Procedure heading.

What a DP mean to your flights:

  • Anytime your clearance includes the phrase “…via published DPs, then as filed…”, Tower will not issue specific clearances at takeoff.  You’ll be, “cleared for takeoff”.
  • After takeoff you’re expected to turn towards your first checkpoint and climb to assigned altitude(s), but neither the Departure nor Center controllers will call you ‘off course’ until you’re at or further than 30 miles from your departure airport.
  • Though the RC enroute checkpoint tolerance is 5 miles (you must pass within 5 miles of a filed checkpoint for credit, and you must get credit), tolerance for a DP checkpoint is a stiff 2 miles.  Stay tight.

Louisville Ground

Call for Push/Start and Acknowledge that clearance.  When you’re ready, call Ground for taxi instructions.  Since we entered a departure gate on the Controller Tab, you’ll call from that gate. 


Press 1 to contact Ground for taxi instructions.


We didn’t set a specific runway for KSDF on the Controller Tab, but we can make that request regardless. 




Pressing 2 displays the KSDF runways. 

Choose opposite what runway you were just cleared to.  (example, if you were told to taxi to runway 17L, ask for 35R).  As you’ll see, you can request an alternate departure runway all the way up to contacting Tower.



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.  Give the radios to the co-pilot while taxiing to “the end” (Ctrl-Shift-K). 

Louisville Tower

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

Notice you still have the ability to change your runway.

Press 1.



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.

Remember, this is a DP flight.  Tower won’t assign specific takeoff instructions.  You won’t hear “fly rwy heading” or “fly heading”, just “…cleared for takeoff”.  By now you should have MYS VOR frequency tuned and a course approx 235° dialed in.



Airborne, retract the gear, accelerate, and clean up the aircraft.  Begin the turn towards MYS with a VAS approx 3100fpm.  Don't climb above your assigned altitude, and never exceed 250kts while below 10,000. 

Louisville Departure

The co-pilot will call the Departure controller when told to do so. He will tell you to climb to 15000.




IMPORTANT NOTE -  Consider two things:  First, the Departure controller didn’t assign a heading.  This is a DP flight.  He won’t, which frees you for the second point; look at your FS GPS.  From wherever you are, you can turn to join the magenta track line between KSDF/MYS VOR.  Again, had MYS been outside 30 miles, you could accomplish the same thing by using one of the Departure Procedure options.

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.  Do that, press Ctrl-Shift-M.  The co-pilot will turn towards MYS.

While still in Departure’s airspace, Nav 2 lights up with BWG, your checkpoint #2 (117.90 if you haven’t use Crtl Shift L).  Though the co-pilot has both the radios and aircraft controls, that doesn’t mean you’re not still in the left seat.  Let’s plan on requesting direct BWG as soon as we contact Center.



Indianapolis Center

Contacting Indianapolis center, he clears you to FL230


When the co-pilot acknowledges Center’s climb clearance, Press 9 to go to Page 2, where the Dir Chkpt menu item can be found


When on page 2, press 1 and pause the sim. 





Look this menu over for a moment.

The first line <BWG> 55m/190°/11790 is the checkpoint you are flying too. So it’s already too late to ask Dir Chkpt BWG.


Your 1st choice is 1-<DRAKK>126m/0.  All the information you need; checkpoint ID, dme, and VOR frequency (in this case 0 – meaning it is an intersection). 

Though we’re going to press 1 to request direct DRAKK, in your flights you have the option to request direct any one of these checkpoints (even the last one), any time.   

Unpause and make the request.  If Center denies the request, wait a moment and make the request again.  When approved, the co-pilot dials the course then turns toward DRAKK.  Continue with a VAS 1500-2000fpm.  Mach .78 at cruise will do nicely.



The co-pilot does not set Nav 2.  Press Ctrl-Shift-P to access your flight plan.  Though it’s not your next checkpoint, RMG is the next VOR, a very big part of the RMG2 STAR (provided below).  Set 115.40 up in Nav 2.


Your co-pilot calls “altimeter check” passing through FL180 as a reminder. 

You will have to change controllers as you move from one Indianapolis sector to another.

Having filed FL290 for cruise altitude, you’ll eventually be switched to the HIGH Center controller who takes you to FL290.  You should be level at FL290 within 20 miles either side of BWG.

About 70 miles from DRAKK you’re told to contact Memphis Center

Continue on the STAR.  When at 40 miles from DRAKK, pause the sim. 





Press ;.  In the “Title of Flight” box enter “tut3 1 40 miles DRAKK FL290 Otto-Otto” (no quotes). 

Click OK. We’ll return to this file 4 times before seeing KATL.

Request Higher/Lower and RVSM

As discussed in the RC Manual, Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum is available in certain countries and in the States, giving you six additional legal altitudes.  They are FL300, 320, 340, 360, 380 and 400.  Use at your discretion.

Press 4-Req Higher





Choose 3 - 32000.  If the controller denies the request, make the request again when told to do so. 




When level FL320, press 5-Req Lower





Choose 3 - 29000.  You can request higher/lower, just about anytime during RC flights.




When you’re done experimenting, pause the sim, maximize RC and press Quit RC.  Launch RC and press Load Previously Saved .RCD, then choose the file you previously Saved (tut3 1 40 miles DRAKK FL290 Otto-Otto). 

Change of Destination

Unpause Flight Simulator. 

    Go to AdvDisp page 3, and choose 3-Change Dest. 


A keyboard entry window appears in which you enter the ICAO of the airport of choice.  Type in KSTL (St. Louis, MO), and press “Ent”.  You’ll hear the co-pilot make the request. 





Center will ask your requested altitude. 

Press 9 to change to page 2, Select 2- 35000 (your current altitude will always default to item #1 as first choice on page 1).  You’ll be cleared to KSTL via direct and climbed to FL330 (this controller’s stratum upper limit).  HIGH will switch you to SUPER, who’ll take you to FL350.


IMPORTANT NOTE -  All Alternate Airport and Change of Destination Airport clearances will be direct that airport.  Make use of the FS GPS, entering KSTL for precise navigational aid.  Remember, the AdvDisp yields no-wind information.

You can enter any ICAO in the world, from anywhere in the world.  The NOTAM checkbox is available on the COD keyboard entry window for use at your discretion. 

Optional - When using COD, pause the sim anytime to visit the Controller Tab.  Though no changes can be made to this screen manually after Start, viewing the COD field’s available controllers may be helpful in determining what clearances to expect.

Return to this file and experiment as many times as you wish.  If you like, continue all the way to KSTL. 


When you’re done, again Load Flight, “tut3 1 40 miles DRAKK FL290 Otto-Otto”, pause.  Take a moment to read the RC Manual, Emergency section.  Unpause.  Go to AdvDisp page 4. 



Choose 1-EMERGENCY by pressing 1




The following types of emergencies are displayed

Press 4


The co-pilot will call the emergency, Center asks what you’d like to do.


Choose 1


Vectors to Closest Airport

Center takes a moment to determine which airport is best suited, then clears you to the KMQY (your airport may be different) via radar vectors, heading 210° (approx).  He’ll tell you “…descend at your discretion…”, though in any emergency you do not need to hear this before descending.  As he says, do what you need to do. 

At most, you’ll have but one altitude clearance in any emergency.  Your current clearance is “…descend at your discretion…” (no specific altitude), so for now set any altitude in your AP that gets you low.  Depending on what terrain you are over, 2000 ft-3000 ft AGL usually works well, though you’ll have a specific assigned altitude clearance before getting that low.

You should always have the aircraft controls in an emergency.  You’ll automatically take the controls from the co-pilot, though he/she stays on the radios.  Turn to the assigned heading and begin a 3100fpm descent.

The controller has a minimum amount of information he must gather in all emergencies.  Get to these questions as quickly as possible, but flying the aircraft is your priority.  You’re looking at a “fuel” menu, choices listed in time remaining.  With your selection, The co-pilot will advise Center of remaining fuel, and Souls on Board “…95…” from your entry on the General Options Page.


 “SWA1203, will you need any special handling on the ground?”.  You’re viewing your options, your choice.  While you’re in the descent, the controller notifies supervisors of your situation and advises the necessary personnel of the emergency and your needs, in this case KMQY Approach.



The initial vector may very well take you past KMQY.  This is necessary given your high altitude.  The controller monitors your rate of descent vs. speed, and at the appropriate time assigns a heading back towards KMQY, in this case, 020.  In an emergency, aircraft speed is at your discretion, slow as necessary.  You’ll not be chastised for exceeding 250kt below the 250kt Alt setting from the General Options Tab.

Notice, no frequency switching as you descend through stratums.  He knows your attention needs be elsewhere.  Take time while descending to gather information.  2-Lv Freq for Wx, as necessary.  Glance at the Controller Tab to view the KMQY level of ATC service.  You’ll see KMQY has been set in the Arrival column, all controllers are available.

Smyrna Approach 

Leaving 150 (approx) you’ll contact KMQY Approach.  You’ll be assigned an altitude (PD), and told what runway to expect.  Use 5-Req RWY if you prefer another.  You also have choices of 2-Req Vis App, and 4-Req IAP App (IAPs discussed in tutorial #4).  Use at your discretion.

Smyrna Tower

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

Smyrna 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.

Request Direct

Load Flight “tut3 1 40 miles DRAKK FL290 Otto-Otto”.  Select Emergency and the nature, then “2 - Request Direct”.




IMPORTANT NOTE -   From the menus which display airport choices, do not use the 0 (home) key to return to the first page.  Use 8 (prev page) and 9 (next page) only to find an airport, and make the choice.

You have several pages of airport selections to choose from.

For this tutorial’s purpose, choose 5 - KSRB/42m.  The initial handling is exactly that of what we’ve flown into KMQY already, and will not be discussed here.  This section’s purpose is to illustrate the importance of knowing what field you’re choosing.


After you’ve had your talk with Center and are in the descent, glance at the Controller Tab. 


You’ll notice KSRB is a fully uncontrolled airport.  Are you familiar with KSRB?  Do you have approach plates?  Center does not vector to final.  All flights destined fields without an Approach controller are expected to know what approaches are available (if any), and what it takes to get safely on the ground.  Jeppesen’s Sim Charts is a priceless tool in RC flights.

IMPORTANT NOTE -  Arrival airports having an Approach controller but no Tower/Ground controllers are handled similarly to RC’s full controlled fields.  Arrival airports having Tower/Ground controllers but no Approach controller are handled similarly to RC’s fully uncontrolled fields.

KSRB available approaches are an ILS, and an NDB/GPS rwy 4.  For your convenience, KSRB Approach info:  ILS 110.10, course 037°, IAF 233.

Center watches your descent vs. speed performance.  When appropriate you’ll be cleared direct KSRB, altitude to maintain “until the initial”, then cleared for “the full” approach.  You’re now free to fly “the full” ILS rwy 4 approach from the IAF (or any full approach per your plates if more were available).  Proceed direct KSRB for a visual if weather conditions permit.

Nearing KSRB, Center terminates radar and allows you to jump his frequency.  This is standard practice into fully uncontrolled fields, though it doesn’t mean he’s not still listening and watching out for you.  Several new menu options are now at your disposal.

Return to KSDF

This illustrates the choice of returning to your original departure airport.  Follow all procedures learned so far.  When you’re ready, Load Flight “tut3 1 40 miles DRAKK FL290 Otto-Otto”. Select Emergency and the nature, then “3 – Return to KSDF”.



KSDF-KATL Flight (continued)

When you’re comfortable with emergency/fully-uncontrolled field handling, Load Flight “tut3 1 40 miles DRAKK FL290 Otto-Otto” (no quotes).  Pause. Let’s recap, we’re on the RMG2 BWGx STAR at FL290.  Your co-pilot has the radios and aircraft controls.  Let’s take a look at the RMG2 BWGx STAR, and do some pre-planning:

Your next checkpoint is DRAKK, and the next NEUTO; both are waypoints.  The arrival has you join the BNA (114.10) 148° to intercept the RMG (115.40) 326°.  You’ll intercept at DRAKK.  With DRAKK/NEUTO being waypoints, the co-pilot won’t fight you if you’d like to set this up in the radios.  Set BNA in Nav 1, keeping 115.40 in Nav 2.  You’re all set to fly the STAR.  The co-pilot will set the proper course at DRAKK.  This pre-planning is helpful if you intend on taking the aircraft controls back, prior to DRAKK (we do).

At 10 miles from DRAKK, Ctrl-Shift-M and fly the STAR as described above.  Remember, RC’s enroute checkpoint tolerance is 5 miles.  (Optional:  At DRAKK, set RMG 115.40/326° in Nav 1 and ATL 116.90 in Nav 2). 

You’ll be switched to Atlanta Center about 20 miles from NEUTO.


Time to Start Down

At approx 75 miles from RMG you'll be told to “descend and maintain FL240”.  Descend and maintain is a statement, a "start down now" clearance.  No discretion here, you need to begin a descent (standard rate).  Eventually the HIGH controller will clear you to the lower limits of his stratum (FL240) and switch you to LOW for further descent.

The LOW Center controller will issue a PD/"expect" clearance.  For purposes of this tutorial, do not descend.  Remain at FL240.  At 35 miles RMG. Press ;.  In the “Title of Flight” box enter “tut3 2 55 miles RMG PD (15000) Otto-Me” (no quotes). 

Consider what’s about to happen.  You were told to expect a crossing restriction, the co-pilot has the radios.  The co-pilot will always acknowledge any crossing restriction, thus committing you to meet that clearance.  You have choices/decisions to make; when to begin descent to the PD altitude considering your speed vs remaining distance, is it necessary to take the radios from the co-pilot etc…

You do not have opportunity to “Unable” this clearance with Pilot Auto-Reply checked, or checked/unchecked if the co-pilot has the radios. 

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.

Return to this Saved file anytime to practice the decisions you make.  Missing acknowledged crossing restrictions have consequences.

Maximize FS, unpause.  Let’s keep the aircraft, allow the co-pilot to keep the radios and remain at FL240.  You will have two Atlanta sector switch.  When you check on with the new Atlanta Center controllers, you report “…at FL 240 with discretion to 15000…”. About 25 miles from RMG, the Atlanta controller will issue "...cross four zero miles from 'ATL' at and maintain one two thousand...”.  The co-pilot will acknowledge (accept) the clearance.  As discussed in the RC Manual, a crossing restriction is a PD clearance.  Remain at FL240.

At 15 miles RMG, begin a VAS 2500fpm descent to 12000 and slow to 250kt.  Don’t forget, descending through FL180, reset your altimeter to the local (press “B”).

What’s this, a left 360°?  Correct.  Though we slowed to 250kt with a liberal 2500fpm descent earlier, waiting so long to start down was a bad call.  Begin the continuous left turn.  Once at 12,000 turn back towards DALAS.

Atlanta Approach

When your 40 miles from the ATL VOR, you will be told to contact Approach. Otto checks onto Approach frequency with “…requesting Rwy 27R”.  We set this for our KATL arrival runway on the Controller Tab.  Save Flight here if you wish for later use.  Landing Rwy 27R, expect full pattern vectors.  Your AdvDisp is showing Rwy 27R ILS information now.


You’ll be given initial vectors to set you up in the pattern. (“…descend and maintain 7000, fly heading 130…” Larger, busy airports have multiple Approach controllers.  KATL certainly qualifies. 

Contact the Final controller when told to do so. Final will assign an altitude and heading 095° (downwind).  Watch the dme and bearing to KATL on your AdvDisp closely.  When you see (approx) KATL 10m/240°, choose a short final.



Short Final

Press 9 to display page 2, select 5 - Short Final.  If Approach denies the request, wait a minute or so and make the request again.  This “Slam Dunk” clearance really tightens things up, so use with caution in your flights.  Refer to the section Vectored Pattern Approaches/Short Final in the RC Manual for details. Approach tells you to “…fly heading 185 descend and maintain 2800…”.

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.  This is an excellent Save Flights opportunity while on base, or even back on downwind abeam KATL.

Your approach clearance will be something close to “SWA1203, 7 miles from the marker. Fly heading 245°, maintain 2800 until the marker. Cleared ILS rwy 27R approach”.

Atlanta Tower

 At 6 miles out you'll contact Tower who will issue the winds and when appropriate, then clear you to land. 




Atlanta 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!



JDT LLC © 2005 | All Rights Reserved | Contact

Template by
Round the Bend Wizards