First of all, this is not for pilots but this is for beginner/intermediate flight-sim enhusiasts.
I think, aviation contains more acronyms than computer science. It's nearly impossible to read an aviation-related resource without knowledge of acronyms. So I think one needs to learn a little about acronyms before flying an airliner.Frequently asked things
:1. Aircraft Lights
Most people just don't care about lights. As a simmer, they may not impress you much, but in real-life, it is crucial.Navigation Lights
: These are usually at tip of wings. Right wing has green, left wing has red light. Navigation lights should be on during whole flight, so you can turn on when you start taxi.Position Lights
: In addition to navigation lights, there could be white lights as well. If this exists on the aircraft, you can turn on before taxi.Rotating beacon lights
: The rotating beacon lights are at top and bottom of the aircraft. Also called as "anti-collision lights". It should be switched on when first engine is about to start and should be off after last engine shuts down.Taxi lights
: Should be turned on when aircraft is about to move on taxi way and off when aircraft stops.Strobe lights
: Purpose is grabbing attention. When taxi ends and aircraft lines up on the runway, they are usually turned on. Strobe, however, is a high intensity light. It may affect vision of other pilots. In this case, they should NOT be turned on.Take off/Landing lights
: Should be turned on when pilot receives take-off clearance. There is no strict rule about it (AFAIK), but upto 10000ft, they better be on. After 10000ft, they better be off. When landing, they should be on again around same altitude. This could cause strange things, too. I have read something really awkward happens about landing lights this. An aircraft during its descent, sees an aircraft who's past the VOR about 40nm and still has landing lights on. He reports this to ATC and ATC talks to other plane:
"Sir, your landing ligts are still on..."
"Oh thank you very much... but what kind of radars do you have???"
When crossing a runway during taxi (i.e. there is a run way in your taxi route and you are about to cross it), all lights better be on and this is a bit more serious thing than on taxi way. You better listen your radio and ask explicit clearance from the controller to cross it.2. Marker letters
I remember somebody has asked "what do these O and M mean?". They are simply navaids for landing, and may help during take-off as well.O (or OM)
: Abbreviation for "Outer Marker". This beacon is placed roughly 4-5nm from the threshold. When you fly over this beacon, you may see O or OM or another symbol (sometimes blue light).M (or MM)
: Abbreviation for "Middle Marker". This beacon is placed roughly 1km from the threshold.I (or IM)
: Abbreviation for "Inner Marker". This beacon is closer to runway threshold and aircraft usually reaches this marker when it's around Category II minima.3. AbbreviationsToC
: Top of climb. At this point, you reach your cruise altitude.ToD
: Top of descent. At this point, you start descending to destination.ASL
: Above sea level.MSL
: Mean sea level. This is average sea level, as sea level is not constant.AGL
: Above ground level.AL
: Auto land.AP
: Auto pilot.GS
: Glide slope.TOGA or TO/GA
: Take-off / go around mode.DH
: Decision height.4. Hints
Before take-off, it has never happened to me but it's required in the "real world", that pilot in command should have his/her hand on the throttle and switch autobrake to RTO (Rejected Take Off) position upto 100kt (well, it's actually V1). This means you better calculate (or enter into FMC/MCDU) your V1, VR and V2 before take-off (before leaving gate?). So, have your hand over throttle (throttle key, if you're using keyboard)
Increase pitch trim slightly, around 3-6 degrees to facilitate take-off. Never try to apply full throttle while having parking brakes! You may have toebrakes pressed, but no parking brakes during take-off. Gently push throttle, stabilize (depends on aircraft where you stabilize), then increase gently until aircraft reaches V1. When you hear/read VR, pitch up gently, try not to pitch up more than 7-8 degrees, as some tail could hit the runway if you pitch up too much. When you hear/see positive climb, retract gear. Depending on various factors, start retracting flaps step by step.
When you are making a precision approach (ILS approach, specifically), aircraft should follow glide slope. A good GS is about 3-6 degrees and better not exceed or go below this. Assuming that you do not fly with an A320 and/or FMA does not display SRS, therefore aircraft will not try to command throttle, making autoland, if you happen to hear/read "glide slope" and you are below glide slope, apply throttle gently. If you are above glide slope, decrease gently. Wind plays an important role here. Depending on the wind, you may not follow GS exactly, but try not to go below it. The important thing about wind is that more than it's strength, change in it's direction is important.
Before final approach, depending on your aircraft, prepare yourself for a GA. Some aircrafts, like PMDG 737NG, Wilco A320 PIC, AFAIK, already place this valuable information with the STAR and all you need to do is execute or follow it, and flaps one up (retract one level). AFAIK, this part is a bit complicated, since, for example, in a CAT III approach, DH is as low as 50ft AGL. I have read this in somewhere on the web says that the plane may barely touch the runway and deploy spoilers. In this case, pilot should immediately execute TOGA and undeploy spoilers.
Depending on the aircraft, at some point, you need to disengage AP and land the aircraft. For a CAT I ILS approach, this can be around at 150ft, for CAT II and CAT III 90ft. Maintain GS, slightly pitch up when aircraft is about to touchdown.
It seems like the order of whether toebrakes/autobrake or reverser should be executed first has been an important discussion. AFAIK and which also sounds logical, applying reverser first, slowing down a little then applying brakes is better than other way around. In particular, to stop a heavy, tremendous amount of force needs to be applied (F = m*a E = 1/2*mv2
..) - although it has got many wheels. Of course, this energy will transform to heat.
Happy flights, safe landings!