- Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:11 pm
Hey Joe, welcome to VATSIM!!
You're right in that you shouldn't expect vectors as a routine thing enroute. Depending on where you choose to fly, not only will you be very lucky if you have enough area controllers to vector you the whole way, but they certainly won't be too impressed if you do
It can be a bit of a tedious task to fly an IFR airways route on the default GPS and I certainly wouldn't recommend it. Nonetheless, it is possible and this is the most straightforward, uncomplicated way to do what you're asking.
Make sure your FSX navigation database is up to date (download updates here
). Build & validate the route on Skyvector - if it includes a SID & STAR, find the charts for the specific SID & STAR (just google [ICAO code] charts).
Open up the FSX flight planner, build a 'Direct GPS' route from your chosen departure to destination ports, but don't just hit accept - here's where you edit your route to add all the important stuff in. Drag the red line to each waypoint on the SID, then each & every waypoint on your route (be careful not to skip these as you don't file every waypoint in your flight plan - just the airway intersections), then each waypoint on the STAR.
When you're in the plane, make sure your nav mode is set to GPS, then when you're airbourne (assuming you haven't been given a vector), hit the nav or loc button on the autopilot (depending on aircraft). Assuming you're using the autopilot, when you engage it, it should then follow the route on its own.
Be sure to file your planned SID & STAR in the VATSIM flight plan so that ATC knows that you've planned that specific SID & STAR. If ATC assigns a different SID or STAR to what you've planned, you will need to state that you're unable and request radar vectoring. If ATC gives you direct to a waypoint that is along your flight plan route, then you can accept it - go to the legs page and select the leg /after/ the waypoint you were given direct to. For example, if my route is DCT OBAMA DCT WHITE DCT HOUSE DCT TRUMP DCT
(DCT meaning direct to...), and ATC tells me to go direct to HOUSE, I would select & activate the HOUSE-TRUMP leg. Do not just enter direct to as it will delete the rest of your route.
If ATC tells you to go to a waypoint that is not in your planned route, then you cannot accept it (unless it is at the end of your route, say, for the beginning of an approach, for holding, etc.) - advise them that you are unable and explain that you're following route flight plan route on the FSX default GPS.
All that being said, I highly recommend you invest your time & money in to learning to fly a more complicated payware aircraft. This will not only make the experience much, much better for yourself & the ATCs you will interact with, but you will feel so much more accomplished once you've tackled the learning curve. One simple, cost-effective option is the BAe 146 from QualityWings
, but a more attractive and mainstream option might be the Boeing 737-800/900 from PMDG
(despite the hefty price tag, I think the vast majority of those who have tried it will tell you it's worth it).
I hope I've imparted at least one bit of wisdom on you just now.
Matt 'Makyoch' McEwen
VATSIM South Africa - I3
Kenya Airways Virtual - vkenya.or.ke
"I'm a pilot, damn it, not a data entry processor!"