Airplane Flight Instruments and Navigation Equipment


Gain the skills associated with managing instruments appropriate for an IFR flight.


This is the required reading for this lesson. Numbers in [brackets] indicate the starting and ending page in the referenced reading material. Read all the pages and sections referenced.


The notes below highlight the important parts in the referenced material. Reading the notes without having read the actual referenced material is generally not sufficient to pass the written exam!

PHAK - Chapter 14

  • Transponder
    • 4 codes, 0 to 7 (4,096 total)
    • Ident
    • 7500 - Hijack (must not be used!)
    • 7600 - Radio Failure
    • 7700 - Emergency

IFH - Chapter 5

  • Pitot/Static Systems and Instruments
    • Altimeter
    • Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI)
  • Dynamic Pressure Type Systems and Instruments
    • Airspeed Indicator (ASI)
  • Magnetic Instruments
    • Compass
  • Gyroscopic Systems and Instruments
    • Attitude Indicator (AI)
    • Heading Indicator
    • Turn Indicator

IFH - Chapter 9

  • GPS Substitution
    • ADF
    • DME
  • GPS Instrument Approaches

IFH - Chapter 11

  • Identify failures
    • Analog Instrument Failure
      • Warning Indicator
      • Inconsistence between attitude indicator and supporting performance instruments
    • Pneumatic System Failure
      • Indicated by vacuum/pressure gauge
    • Pitot/Static System Failure
      • Use alternate static source, if installed

Sim Pilot Notes

These notes highlight the differences between simulator and real-world flying. These differences are most often due to simulator limitations or specific VATSIM rules.

PHAK - Chapter 14

  • VATSIM ATC clients simulate limited transponder functionality:
    • Standby
    • Altitude (Mode C)
    • Ident
  • All aircraft on VATSIM have an installed transponder in the pilot client and must squawk mode C on taxiways and in the air - unless otherwise advised by ATC
  • Common VATSIM squawk codes
    • 1200 - VFR
    • 2000 - IFR with ATC but without radar coverage (Oceanic)
    • 2200 - IFR without ATC

IFH - Chapter 9

  • When using the "Direct to" function in the default FSX/P3D GPS, the pre-programmed route is erased. This GPS should therefore not be used as the primary navigation instrument for IFR flights
  • The GPS waypoint database needs to be kept updated
  • 3rd-party GPS add-ons often require proprietary database updates and can therefore be hard to keep current

IFH - Chapter 11

  • Most add-on planes in the simulator will properly indicate a blocked pitot tube
  • Additional failures can be turned on in most add-on sim aircraft

Tomas Hansson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Chief Flight Instructor, VATSTAR
DISCLAIMER: all information contained herein is for flight simulation purposes only.
March 2021

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