A quick and basic tutorial to show how to set up autopilot in FSX.
I will be using a Boeing 737-800 for this, however the process is similar for other aircraft.
Start off by selecting “Flight Planner” in your Free Flight screen.
Once in flight planner, select your airport for Departure and also an airport for the Destination.
In this tutorial I will use VFR as my “flight plan type”, the IFR I will cover in a future tutorial.
Once the airports are selected, it’s time to find your route. Clicking “Find Route” automatically sets the route for you, directly between the two airports added above. If you click and hold the red line you can also add a way point between the two airports.
Below the map you can set a cruising altitude, set to the desired flight level for your trip as this does not matter too much for a VFR flight sim free flight. I personally use between 30, 000 – 40, 000 feet for a jet airliner.
Once you are happy with these settings its time to save the flight plan. Click Save.. and a popup will appear asking you where to save the flight plan. I personally just use the default save location, so click save again. Now click the “OK” button and at this stage another popup should appear asking if you would like to move the aircraft to the departure airport listed on the flight plan, click Yes and you will be back in the main menu with the flight plan ready to go. Click “Fly Now” and you should be at the airport ready to go.
Before take off you will need to set a few things up. Change your view to “Cockpit” to get a clear view of the instruments. (Right click the screen, go to Cockpit ->Cockpit)
Now with the new view, change the navigation mode to “GPS” with the Nav / GPS toggle switch.
Next, set your altitude on the instrument panel, hover your house over the top of the rotary switch until you get a “+” sign, hold down with the mouse until your desired altitude is reached.
Vertical speed can now be set up, hover over again until a “+” comes up and hold down. Once in the air, I like to climb at 1800 ft/min.
Set your cruise speed by adjusting the knob under IAS / MACH – again wait for the “+” sign. I personally cruise at 350 knots, but you can choose whatever you like (as long as it keeps you in the air.. and climbing!)
Now you can take off as per normal, we have not activated the autopilot or auto throttle yet. When at a high enough altitude you can start activating your autopilot systems.
First click the “CMD A” (autopilot on) , now click the one beside it “ALT HLD” (altitude hold). At this stage we have just activated autopilot and set it to hold the altitude set on the dial above with a climb rate set with on the VERT SPEED dial.
We can now activate the navigation hold switch, labelled “VOR LOC” – this then sets the aircraft to follow the GPS route plotted in the flight plan.
For auto-throttle, click the “A/T ARM” button and then select the “speed” button underneath it. This activates autothrottle at your predetermined speed.
You should now be
- Cruising to your set altitude at the climb rate,
- Heading via the GPS route
- Cruising at your desired speed
Please comment below if you have any questions, or suggestions.