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Tutorial for the PMDG 737NG with regard to the Nav instruments.


I have chosen my home airfield Farnborough (EGLF) in the UK for this tutorial as it has a tricky ILS approach due to it's proximity to London Heathrow (EGLL) - Here is the Approach Chart for Runway 06.You will notice that it is quite a precise manoeuvre, particularly demanding when the "Aldershot Ranges" are active..D132 & 133.

The ILS Approach for Runway 24 is similar in that the approach is identical up to (isec) TAGOX but continues toward OCK for a left turn at 05DME onto a HDG of 245'. Final Approach Fix is actually the D4 marker inside D133.

For the purpose of this Tutorial I am assuming NO WIND, therefore Track will equal Heading - all being equal.


Both approaches however start overhead Popham Airfield (EGHP) about 18 miles to the southwest of Farnborough, or more precisely at (isec) PEPIS.

This is what it will look like to the Air Traffic Controller!



Having managed your descent into PEPIS, (this is the HOLD point for EGLF) turn onto a heading for VAPID, approximately 070'. This is easily done on the 737. I am flying on AUTOPILOT, whilst selecting HDG (Headings) based on the chart above. Remember to tune your NAV Radio to the 2 frequencies you will require - Tune OCKham 115.30 and TransFeR to the active frequency, and pre-dial the ILS frequency 111.55 into the standby register. This is all you need to do with the NAV Radio, and it requires just a button push to "swap" frequencies. I also have Farnborough Approach and Tower frequencies selected on the COMM panel.

You will also notice that I have selected VOR 1 on the Navigation Display Panel, I have selected MAP at a range of 20 miles - I have also selected all information except WXR (Weather) to be displayed......WPT (Waypoint), ARPT (Airport) and POS (Position) are the most important and it makes sense to select the TFC button too in case of other aircraft in the vicinity. You will also notice that I have pre-selected 084 degrees in the COURSE register as this is the first heading given in the Approach Chart above, and shows itself as a dotted green line on the ND (as shown below) This is the 084 Radial into OCKham.

Now that everything is displayed on the ND we can see from the above display, that we are 34.6 miles from OCKham which is pointed TO (from our current position) by the solid green line with the arrow. It tells us that we are currently on the OCK 259FROM Radial.The reciprocal TO Radial would be 079'.The dotted green line is the 084' Radial which we want to fly down. The Magenta line shows the HDG register which I have set to turn us to overfly PEPIS. I have the AUTOPILOT ON, HDG SEL set to 056', and A/T ARM ON set to 180knots. ALTITUDE is set to 2400 which is the initial Approach altitude, obviously the QNH has been set and is visible on the PFD.


On reaching PEPIS, I turn the HDG register until the Magenta line falls over VAPID, which in my case means a Heading of 070'.

On reaching VAPID (below), select a HDG which bisects the NAV lines, in this case it is 084.

The idea is to fly the Green dotted line as near as possible, unfortunately I have already flown through it.

If I turn on the TFC you will see we are not alone........

but here we are lined up perfectly, our HDG is 084' and on the 264 Radial FROM OCKham.(i .e. flying away FROM)

2 things to notice here, apart from the TRAFFIC, is that EGLF is dead ahead, as you'll have seen from the chart, and we are coming up to the start of our first turn to the right at 17 DME.

Time to dial in the next Radial which is 065' to intercept TAGOX which you can see above (on the 10 mile ring).

I have done 3 things here, firstly I have decreased the ND Range to 10 miles (precision required !) I have dialled 065' into the COURSE Register, the dotted green line shows our new course into OCKham, and as we are exactly on the 17 DME point I have dialled 164' into the HDG register (Magenta line) and we begin our turn to the right. This can be just a "guesstimate" but roughly equal angles between the current and required headings.

( Maths goes like this - Original HDG' +/- New HDG' + 90' /2 + Original HDG = TURN HDG)

I am assuming that as we are directed to turn at 17DME to follow an arc at 15DME it takes this CATegory of aircraft 2 miles to turn 90', this may be incorrect, however it is a good starting point and with the range set to 10 miles each ring denotes 2.5 miles, therefore you should be preparing to turn left, back to a HDG of 065' as the green dotted line crosses the nearest ARC on the display.

It's now almost time to turn back inbound on the 065' Radial, you can see that I am a little shy of the 15DME arc (being 15.2) I don't know, other than by practise how to be more precise with this technique. I guess you just have to know your plane! Look at the Approach plate below and you will see a second clue for the start of this next turn ..... The 255' Radial (Its a shame the Arrow Radial is not shown at this point as this would make things very easy!).

Lets re-cap...This is where we are so far!

Once stable on the 065' heading, you can now dial the 269' Radial into the COURSE register, and once over TAGOX make a left turn in the same way to intercept this new outbound course of 269'.

After the left turn on the outbound course. Descend as directed to (not below) 1900ft

We are now 18DME from OCKham HDG 269' and stable, with 2 miles to run on this leg, you should select the ILS Frequency of 111.55 which you had pre-programmed into the second register of the NAV Radio, Dial in the ILS COURSE - 065'. You should hit the VOR LOC button at this time, as things start to get very busy, from here. You should now select 5' flaps, Arm the speed brake, and Set the Autobrake. Lower speed toward VREF as planned, quick glance at the missed approach proceedure, and confirm your minimums set (This will have all been done in the detailed brief during descent).

At 20DME start your left turn inbound to the ILS approach path, which should "beep" on capture.....

Remember to keep your turn outside ODIMI

Once the localiser is "Captured" select APProach on the MCP


At this point (or before) you should also select APProach on the Navigation Display Panel which brings up the ILS Approach page.

Here you can see the aircraft symbol (white triangle). The Magenta Line is the COURSE setting, which is confirmed as 065' in the upper right.

Our status suggests we are 5 miles out, just below the glideslope, approaching (closing) the localiser, represented by the thick Magenta Bar.


This is generally where ATC would pass you to the TOWER, so be prepared to hit the flip flop on the NAV Radio, - get permission to LAND....


On rollout you should be set fine - lined up - 10' flaps and GEAR out, confirm 3 Green - select 20' flaps


Enjoy a complete AUTOLAND (unnavailable unsimulated), or grasp control at 1000'

"Of course, if you have to go around, you already know that you climb
straight ahead to 4DME and then turn right onto 280 don't you?" <vbg>

I hope this has been useful as a laymans guide to "Gettin it down!"

As realistic as the PMDG really is - We all know.......

It would be foolish to pop out and fly one of these on this level of information now, wouldn't it??



Kevin Townsend

ilsboy AT

Thanks to Bones for additional material.