The freeware Project Opensky 757 is quite good, but the panel systems are quite basic, and it flies much like many of the other multi-engine jets in the MetroAir fleet.
On the other hand, the QualityWings 757 is one of the most in-depth aircraft systems we have here at MetroAir. The QW757 offers a fully functional flight management computer with an advanced autopilot. To get the most out of this payware aircraft, it is important to understand how to fully utilize the FMC and autopilot – which has a couple of quirks which may throw off pilots new to the system.
The aircraft comes with a detailed manual, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to dive right in and figure it out as you go, only cracking opening the manual when something doesn’t work the way you’d expect.
Before takeoff, the FMC can load a flight plan from a separate file, but it can also import the flight plan from FSX. To load the FSX flight plan, open the FMC and go to the Index page and choose LOAD ATC RTE. On Boeing FMCs, it is important to remember that one must click the EXEC button to save any changes to the computer.
Once the flight plan is loaded, it’s time to choose the departure and arrival procedures and runways. Clicking the DEP ARR will allow you to choose the proper procedures for the airports in your flight plan.
Here’s the first quirk I noticed comes into play: If your flight plan already includes the waypoint for the SIDs and STARs, adding them through the FMC will duplicate those waypoints. To remove the duplicates, go to the LEGS page and find the first waypoint in the procedure you’d like to delete, then click DEL and the button next to the waypoint you want to remove. When you’ve finished removing duplicate waypoints, remove any discontinuities by typing in the fix following the discontinuity and clicking the button for the blank space in the LEGS page. Remember to press EXEC when you are finished.
Finish setting up the flight as you normally would – the next quirk comes after takeoff.
Engaging the autopilot: I’ve found the smoothest way to engage the autopilot is to manually setup the desired IAS and vertical speed for immediately after takeoff. For example, I’ll have 240kts and +4100 set in the MCP when I engage the autopilot. Once the autopilot is engaged, I’ll press the VNAV button to have the FMC take control of the pitch and speed. I’ve noticed that if VNAV is already pressed when the autopilot is engaged, it doesn’t actually take control – I can’t explain why that is.
So, now we’ve got the 757 climbing and maintaining speed – next, let’s get it to follow the LNAV course.
The LNAV will not engage until the aircraft is on an intercept course AND within 2nm of the planned route – depending on your departure route, it may take some hand-flying or HDG input to get LNAV engaged.
The HDG button on the MCP actually has two different settings – the SEL button in the middle of the dial will hold the heading dialed into the MCP display, while the HOLD button below the knob will hold the current aircraft heading. When you first engage the autopilot, HOLD is active, so it will be necessary to either disable HOLD to hand-fly the aircraft or press SEL to have it fly the course intercept heading you plugged into the MCP.
Once LNAV is engaged, you’ll be on your way to the top of descent. Once the QW757 reaches T/D, it will automatically descend if the desired altitude in dialed into the MCP. So, it is important to remember to dial it in before reaching T/D.
If your STAR includes altitude and speed restrictions, which you can verify on the LEGS page of the FMC, it will automatically follow those restrictions, e.g. for the EMI5 STAR into BWI, you can dial the final approach fix altitude into the MCP before T/D, and the aircraft will cross all the waypoints at the proper altitude before reaching the final altitude – at the final fix – exactly the way you’d want it to.
Speaking of final, the QW757 makes it easy to do an ILS approach: the NAV and Course are right there on the MCP – dial it in and engage LOC/APP to make the landing.
My final tip: just like every other landing, it is important to keep the power up until the wheels touchdown – don’t glide to a landing. Doing this will make your landings a lot smoother – try it, I dare you.