Hi! Randy here, from the X-Plane team. This is the third email in the course on getting the most out of X-Plane.

Today I’d like to share with you a few things you can do with X-Plane that are perfect for flight training.

1. Fly with a real-world EFIS

You can use your iPhone or iPad as a 100% realistic flight display. The display is called Xavion, and it’s being used in real cockpits as we speak.

See Xavion in action

Here’s what Xavion does:

  • Serves as a backup to the plane’s primary instruments—airspeed indicator, artificial horizon, and so on
  • Provides advanced synthetic vision so you always know exactly what the terrain is like around you
  • Provides highway-in-the-sky guidance to your destination
  • Estimates your fuel expenditure at various speeds and altitudes, so you can fly as fast or as efficiently as you want
  • Provides emergency guidance to the safest nearby airport in an engine-out situation

Here’s the great news: if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use Xavion for free with X-Plane. So, first download the demo and install it on your iPhone or iPad.

Download the free Xavion demo

Once you’ve downloaded it, click here for the manual with instructions on setting up Xavion with X-Plane. Then, if you’re a real world pilot, purchase a subscription and use it in your aircraft as well, just like you practiced in X-Plane.

2. Practice startup procedures

By default, X-Plane starts your aircraft on the runway with engines running, ready to take off. If you prefer to start your own engines or taxi from an apron (also called a ramp) onto the runway, you can do so by changing some settings in Flight Configuration.

To place your aircraft at a ramp, go into the Location Customize screen then either click on a circle in the map, or pick from the text list of all ramp starts. Start with the aircraft “cold & dark” by clicking the Customize button on an aircraft icon, then uncheck the Start with engines running box. (Keep in mind that this checkbox will apply to all flights, so you’ll need to re-check it if you want to start a new flight with engines running.)

3. Get real-time charts and plates on your iPhone or iPad

Using an app called ForeFlight (available in the App Store), you can get charts and approach plates on your iPhone or iPad. Previously, this tool was only for use when flying in the real world, but now you can also use it in simulated flights in X-Plane.

To do so, you’ll need to have your iPhone/iPad on the same wireless network as the computer you run X-Plane on. For details on setting up networking settings, check out the X-Plane user manual.

4. Use an Instructor Operator Station with a flight instructor

X-Plane supports the use of an Instructor Operator Station (IOS), a console used by a flight instructor in order to fail systems in the student’s aircraft, change the weather and time of day, or relocate the aircraft.

The IOS can be run on the same computer as the simulator by using a second monitor. Simply open the IOS window (press the ‘i’ key by default), then click the icon in the corner that looks like two boxes to make it a separate window. Now you can resize it and move it wherever you want on the second monitor.

5. Fly with a copilot

By connecting two computers running X-Plane together on the same network, you can have two users flying together in the same cockpit. Even better, you can have each pilot see a different half of the instrument panel!

To do so, you’ll need two computers, each running their own copy of X-Plane, connected to the same network. You’ll also need two copies of the aircraft you intend to fly. By modifying that airplane’s instrument panel, you can set up the copilot’s view.

For all the details, see the section of the user manual titled “Setting Up a Copilots Station.”

6. Replay your takeoffs and landings to see how you’re doing

Visualizing a 3-D path in X-Plane

X-Plane offers a couple different ways to visualize the path taken by your aircraft.

See the path traveled by your airplane in 3-D

The path taken by an aircraft up to its current location can always be seen as a trail behind the aircraft when you toggle the 3-D flight path on. To do so, either press Ctrl + p on the keyboard, or move the mouse to the top of the screen, click on the View menu, and click Cycle 3-D Flight Path. Doing so once will cause X-Plane to display a violet-striped line behind the aircraft. Cycling the flight path again will give a semi-transparent black bar extending from the flight path to the ground (seen in the image above). Cycling it a third time will show a series of boxes in the air representing the glide slope of a runway (Note: the Nav1 radio must be tuned to the proper ILS frequency). Cycling the flight path twice more will add in the violet line and the semi-transparent black bar, respectively, to the glide slope boxes. Cycling the path once more will turn off all flight path lines.

To reset the 3-D flight path, either press Alt + p on the keyboard, or open the View menu and click Reset 3-D Flight Path. The flight path will also be reset whenever you load an aircraft or a location.

Replay your flight up to this point

You can replay your flight, from the last time you loaded an aircraft or a location up to your current location, by toggling the replay mode on. This can be done either by pressing Alt (option on a Mac) + r or by opening the Flight menu and clicking Toggle Replay Mode. In the top of the window, you will see shuttle controls to (listed left to right):

  • play backward faster than real-time,
  • play backward at real-time speed,
  • play backward slower than real-time,
  • pause playback,
  • play forward slower than real-time,
  • play forward at real-time speed,
  • play forward faster than real-time

Additionally, you can click the shuttle slider and drag it to quickly jump around in the playback.

To return to the flight, either press Alt + ‘r’ again or open the Flight menu and click Toggle Replay Mode once again.

Wrapping up

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you’re successfully training in X-Plane, you’re probably ready to get rid of the time restriction on the demo (and get scenery for the rest of the world!). By ordering X-Plane 11 from our web site, you’ll be able to fly as long as you like, without the annoying time limit.

As usual, if you have questions, send me an email at info@x-plane.com and I’ll be happy to help.

Until next time,

– Randy