Here’s some quick notes about my experience flying some of the legs from this year’s WorldFlight on VATSIM:
Flying the 777 during high traffic events:
Man, this plane is amazing! FMC programming was a breeze and takeoff/landing was relatively straightforward. I had some issues landing at some airports due to my scenery files were not updated but the FMC navigation data was. One of the flights had the ILS localizer about 100 feet to the left of the scenery’s runway. A quick dance to disengage the autopilot and a slide to the right and all was well.
Knowing how to program a HOLD at a fix in the FMC:
I was quickly able to program a random, non-published hold in the FMC while on approach. That was mainly due to reading the manual and having it open while working the sim. I got about 5 minutes warning before reaching the fix:
“FedEx 4345, a delay is required. Hold at fix TUBBY, one minute circuits, left hand turns, maintain flight level 350”
That was reasonable simple, but I had never done it and it was nerve-racking for sure. Luckily it was one circuit so within a 5 minute span of time, I programmed the hold, completed the circuit and exited the hold, with aircraft in front and behind me.
Tips for flying in events:
- Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know how to do something or declare unable. It’s more important to say what you can/can’t do so controllers know how to handle your flight.
- Don’t trust the FMC and autopilot to fly the plane. When you’re in a densely populated area of air traffic, set the heading and speed as “fixed” and wait for the controller to tell you direction. Most of all, it’s up to you to slow the plane for the arrival and landing UNLESS given speed restrictions.
- Make sure you understand engine de-rates an climb thrust for your airplane. On two separate takeoffs, I used assumed info when programming the flight and that left me woefully underpowered for the climb out. A quick trip to the FMC to program an override was my solution. Others were not so lucky.
The WorldFlight ATC team was great and worked very hard to keep everyone on track, inbound and outbound. I’ve got some ideas about helping these guys out for next year, but I’ll save that for a future post.