Trip planning

If I want to take off at a certain time how long before should I start the flight at my gate?

If you want to be realistic: Turnaround time for an aircraft (deboarding, cleaning, boarding) can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or two, it depends on the aircraft really.

As someone who strives to fly realistically, I usually spawn in 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time of the flight I am simulating. This means that sometimes I may be sitting at the gate longer depending on whether or not that flight has a delay in real life.

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Hey, although your question in the topic is slightly more specific, the topic’s title prompted me to post this here. It’s my general overview for how to prepare and execute a trip:

  • ALWAYS USE A REALISTIC SCHEDULED FLIGHT CALLSIGN. When doing so, check for aircraft type, livery, route, gate, terminal, etc

  • Make a realistic flight plan using SimBrief.com and convert to IF friendly waypoints using FPLtoIF.com

  • Spawn 15-20 mins before your time of departure to file the flight plan, add SIDs/STARs, and check airport for other departure/arrival info

  • Check FR24 or FlightAware to see runway operations as well as taxi patterns (if IFATC is not present), or check (D-)ATIS for controller approved procedures

  • Use In-Flight Assistant to plan for step-climbs throughout the flight as well as auto fill in V1 and V2 speeds as required based on flight parameters. these altitudes can be accessed through SimBrief planning software

  • Pushback either according to IFATC or FR24 established procedures

  • After pushback, commence the start-up and after-pushback checklists. This will include starting of both engines (done one at a time) as well as turning on the beacon lights. These checklists will also walk you through the flaps and spoiler control checks and settings required for various aircrafts. This typically takes about 5 minutes total. Obviously take more time if needed under the proper conditions ie: no IFATC DO NOT start taxiing as soon as your engines are running. Make sure to run them for some time to ensure proper thrust stabilization.

  • After check list procedures are completed (~5 minutes), begin taxing to the proper runway using established taxi procedures (FR24 or IFATC)

  • Announce and hold short of the runway to check fuel levels (do not adjust, this is how much fuel you have now) as well as nearby traffic and other parameters as designated

  • Line-up and wait on proper runway. Make sure to turn on landing and strobe lights here! Before beginning the spool, make sure to set thrust to N1-50% to ensure proper thrust stabilization from both engines.

  • Release parking brakes and begin roll. Once V2 is established, rotate aircraft at proper angle of attack

  • After hearing/confirming positive rate, retract gear.

  • Fly the designated SID, IFATC instruction, or check FR24 for current departing procedures

  • Selectively retract flaps based on current speeds when met

  • After climbing past FL100, speed up slowly to designated Mach speed to ensure smooth transitions once above FL280

  • Turn off your landing lights above FL100, and turn the seatbelt sign off at an altitude of your discretion

  • Supply a stead rate of climb to your cruising altitude, inputting trim where necessary, and monitoring the whole climb to ensure a proper transition into the cruise phrase

  • Cruise

  • About 25-30 minutes before arrival, begin the landing/arrival checklists. Make sure to check FR24 or the (D-)ATIS for current arrival procedures

  • Slow speeds where necessary, and extend flaps where speeds comply

  • Below FL280, turn seatbelt signs on again

  • Below FL100, turn on landing lights again

  • I like to set my ILS/APPR below FL100, but you can now assign APPR to a runway whenever you want with 20.1

  • Follow the proper arrival procedures in place, either by IFATC or check FR24 for current procedures

  • Always land on the appropriate runway and check FR24 for proper taxi to gate procedures

  • When exiting the runway, turn off landing lights and strobe lights (only turn back on when crossing a runway)

  • Arrive at the proper gate, checking FR24 or other sources for proper info

  • If APU is present, make sure to turn that on after exiting the runway at some point, and turn engines off at the gate

  • With engines now off, turn off the beacon light.

  • Turn off the seatbelt sign, and open doors where applicable.

  • Exit the flight!

Here is the full procedure I use to make my flights ultra-realistic. It’s always a good idea to have either FR24 or FlightAware open when doing any flight.

To increase the realism with some cool third-party or add on features, consider these:

Always learn more or brush up at the Inflight Flight User Guides as well!

Hope this helps! 😀

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Wow! This is realism at a whole nother level.

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