First Catch Your Rabbit
It is an urban (or rural?) myth that the once famous cookery
book writer, Mrs Beeton, prefaced her recipe for
rabbit stew with the above sentence. Maybe few of us eat rabbit
stew any more, much less capture rabbits (well if you do, please
let it go again - don't eat it!.) However, back to flight simulation!
Long before you take to the skies, there is a lot of work to
Once airborne, you can't just pop in to the nearest garage
if you run short of fuel; there are no road signs if you
find yourself a bit lost; is your aircraft too heavy to take
are just some of the things you need to check before taking
off in an aircraft. So you will find our Preflight
web page very useful - setting out most
of what is necessary to enjoy a trouble-free simulated flight.
Two Pilots - One Aircraft - Who has control?
Cockpit sharing can be very sociable and a lot of fun. Both
pilots can be half a world apart, connected to each other over
the internet, but there is no detectable delay in flight performance.
In the applications below, two people can share one aircraft
cockpit. Aircraft control can be swapped between them quickly
and simply. The handling pilot has full control of all aircraft
systems. The non-handling
pilot has control over the aircraft systems except his joystick
and rudder pedals and any buttons on his joystick. This
facility is extremely valuable for training of course. An instructor
can demonstrate a manoeuvre sitting at his computer, while
the student watches the aircraft being flown on his computer.
The student can then practice the manoeuvre while the instructor
- For FSX/ FSX-Steam Edition and Prepar3D, there is the inbuilt
shared cockpit option within the sim. Full details can be found
on the FSX
- For X-Plane, the option currently is a payware program called
Copilot. Unfortunately, because it is payware, the Club
is unable to use it for one to one training.
- One of a few truly game-changing utilities for Flight Simulation
enthusiasta in the last few years has been JoinFS. This
simple to use application not only works in the three
FSX family Sims, but also in X-Plane.
JoinFS deserves its own paragraph on this page because it
has revolutionised the world of multiplayer flying. Although
VATSIM and IVAO have offered a multiplayer environment for
many years, and both FSX and X-Plane have cockpit sharing capabilities
as described above, the Freeware JoinFS allows cockpit sharing
without the need for port forwarding or payware or
indeed anything complcated at all, and it works across platforms.
A pilot flying X-Plane can share their cockpit with someone
using FSX, or Prepar3D and vice versa. As a consequence, it
the multiplayer environment of choice for Club training.
An additional advantage is the author, Peter Memmott, is an
active Club member, and the software is in continual development..
Weather is of vital importance to VFR flights - much more
so than for IFR flights. This tutorial gives the lowdown on
Flight Simulator weather, and the METAR and TAF weather codes,
and the interaction of weather and Visual Flight Rules. It
includes the September 2012 change to UK Rules of the Air to
allow VFR flight at night.
for VFR Pilots
Joining The Circuit at an Aerodrome
The UK is perhaps unique in having an aerodrome joining procedure
called "The Overhead Join". In some countries, they believe this
procedure is crazy, but if the procedure was fundamentally unsafe,
then it wouldn't exist - simple as that. However, it does require
a bit of study to work it out and you have to have your planned
inbound manoevres all carefully thought out long before reaching
your destination - even prior to departure. The old adage "The
more you do on the ground the less you have to do in the air" is
never more true than with the Overhead join. In addition to this
procedure, there are also distinct procedures for holding when
inbound, if the aerodrome is busy. You can "hold in the overhead",
which is a procedure conducted over the aerodrome and within
the Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) and there is "hold overhead"
where you circle above the aerodrome above, i.e. outside the
ATZ. Confusing? Not if you learn the procedures carefully.
the Club, on some of our "Mad Monday" evenings, controllers will
deliberately test the inbound pilots' mettle by asking them to
carry out any of these procedures. Fortunately, Our Air Traffic
Services Manager has written a comprehensive tutorial on this
subject, complete with numerous diagrams showing sometimes bewildering
flight patterns unless you study carefully. One word of warning
though - the Club emphasises that members should have FUN, so
if you mess up, the worst that will happen is that you feel a
bit of a fool. The solution to that is just to try again next
time! To find out more, download The