Here you will find initial tips and tricks to get you started, specifically with the pmdg 737. It is our belief that once you have mastered the 737, the 747 and 777 aircraft will be relatively similar and should take much less time and effort to master. We will update this section with relevant tips for the 747 and 777 as and when.
We would ask that you download our options files, configured by those who use the PMDG most in our community. These will ensure that the aircraft starts in cold and dark, as well as ensuring the autopilot is more BVI friendly on takeoff. The program Flight Simulator First Officer Pro is also recommended to help with the aircraft systems in general, and you will find many videos from the dev on his own site. Flight Simulator First Officer Pro is very configurable, and this config aims for stability and gets the most out of the program by enabling most of the automated functions available. The read me which comes with this folder will explain where to place the files. Download options files
Note: This config is for first officer 2.04. We strongly recommend you use this version which is downloadable from our downloads page. This is because 2.05 has certain accessibility drawbacks that have not as yet been addressed.
You will of course also need Talking Flight Monitor, the program created by members of our own BVI Pilots community which gives access to the FMC, and some of the panels, in the 737, 747 and triple 7 line up of aircraft.
Pilots who fly the PMDG 737 should feel free to add to this information. This guide will briefly emphasise important points in using the pmdg 737 that we believe you should be aware of. It is by no means a full totorial on how to set up a flight, since this is covered in more depth in demonstration videos from our community and the wider sighted community as well. The aircraft also comes with in depth documentation which we strongly recommend you read. It will most likely be necessary to attempt several set-ups of the aircraft before you are confident enough to take it up into the air, and we recommend performing a flight you know well offline several times to increase your skills. This is a complex simulation and is not something you can learn in a matter of hours. If you do not use the addons mentioned, both first officer pro and talking flight monitor, results cannot be guaranteed.
We also encourage you to use your own initiative and to search for videos online. Aviation pro, doofer 911, and matt Davies are all good youtube channels with educational resources, but there are so many out there we cannot provide a full list. The videos by blindflightsimmer in a further videos section on this page will also help from a blind pilots perspective. The advantage of the PMDG is that the sighted community can access it in just the same ways as us. TFM's CDU, for example, is set out in such a way as to mirror it's counterpart in the real aircraft, meaning that videos or tutorials providing detailed info on how to set it up can be followed just the same. Therefore, rather than exploring how to set up the panels or CDU, we will focus in on a few tips for using the specialist softwhere talking flight monitor and first officer pro.
When you download the pmdg 737 NGXU and flight simulator first officer pro, to make things easier for you, you will find in this folder download links to a user.cfg and an options.ini. These have been configured so that you will have minimal work to do in terms of finding options to enhance your user experience.
The key things to note are: the 737 will start in cold and dark. Changes have been made to ensure the smoot engagement of the autopilot even when you are using a joystick to fly the first few hundred feet. This file, called 737NGXu_Options.ini goes in C:\Program Files\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v4\PMDG\PMDG 737 NGXu, with the minor adjustment depending on if you are using p3d v4 or v5.
The user.cfg file for FSFO makes various changes, mainly making the process and actions of the co-pilot more automated, but feel free to look through the file as well as browse through the cfg section of the program to adjust settings. This file goes to C:\Program Files (x86)\Flight Simulator First Officer Prof
talking flight monitor will read many of the indicators, lights, and CDU messages automatically. The CDU:
Now for a brief description of the CDU for those unfamiliar. The CDU is laid out as in the real aircraft. There are six lines to the CDU, and each can have options/text on the left, centre and right. The left and right are marked with a less than and greater sign respectively. sometimes, you will also need to use your arrows and figure out whether text is on the left or if there is a gap represented by the many spaces for it to be further along on the right. Often, you will see the labels for options above the line itself, and then the fields for those options below. For example, you may see the labels origin and destination above line one, and then the number one followed by a blank. This means left softkey 1 will be the origin, and the right softkey on this line will be the destination. The centre columns, if filled, are simply for informational purposes and are not editable. By default, TFM comes with hotkeys set to control and alt plus the numbers for softkeys, so lsk1L will be ctrl 1 and lsk1R would be alt one. These are changeable to the function keys in the tfm settings. TFM has self-explanatory buttons to clear the scratchpad (the typing pad essentially), a scratchpad text field to enter text into, and further buttons which mainly go to pages of the fmc which we will come to later.
We will also briefly discuss first officer pro from a blind pilots perspective: The button labelling in first officer can be a little interesting. For our purposes the main areas you will need are:
The connect button, to connect to the flight sim once FSFO is loaded.
the voice button, to toggle voice listening off or on. We encourage you to press this once first officer is loaded and then use the no smoking sign to toggle listening instead to minimise tabbing back and forth. You can even assign the no smoking signs to a button on your joystick if you prefer, this can be done in the p3d key binding options.
The VCHK button, this turns on the automatic voice replies to checklists. Press it once first officer has been loaded if you wish to have checklist items responded too automatically. Do not press if you want to use your mic to respond to checklist items via voice yourself.
The options button will open the dialogue to adjust various parameters, but much of the dialogue is mislabelled. We strongly encourage you to instead use the text config for adjusting options to avoid mistakes.
The BRF button. This takes you to the briefing page which should be filled out before departure. Again, much here is mislabelled, but it is generally possible to figure out what each box is for. The import flight plan will open a dialogue for you to brows to the pln file you got from simbrief to be imported. This will prefill much for first officer. We recommend you tick the download wx box, so that first officer will find the local pressure ETC and perform relevant tasks, and also the tune ILS checkbox. This means first officer will tune the frequency to the nav radios in the 737 before landing. The blank eddit box next to the set ILS checkbox is to choose the arrival runway to be tuned. By majority, the rest of this dialogue can be left as is. There are boxes to choose arrival flap settings, arrival minimum altitudes, departure pac settings ETC, but these can be left on default options if you wish. First officer is able, for example, to pull the flap settings you enter into the fmc in the takeoff and landing performance pages and use them for it's purposes, meaning that if you do not adjust these boxes in the briefing, you will not notice any opperational differences.
you will First open the doors with ctrl E. FSFO should begin the start-up flow. You will hear ground power establish eventually, and the position entered into the FMc amongst other things. Whilst this is happening, you can bring up the fmc with left bracket ctrl C in tfm. It will appear in the prior-mentioned format.
Here then, you see how first officer performs flows automatically when events are trigured. When you are ready to close the doors and do so, it will begin the before start flow and start up the APU.
So far you have seen that much of the systems opperation, aside from the CDU, can be performed by first officer pro. As you grow in experience with the aircraft, you will see that you learn the flows that are performed on the overhead panels. If you wish to do anything on these panels, from starting the APU or engines yourself, you can. By hitting left bracket followed by ctrl + P, you can bring up TFM's panel dialogue. This treeview has various panels you can access, before tabbing through the various elements within this panel. A video on how to start engines manually is linked in the videos section of this page.
Another key example in using these panels may be in reconnecting the ground power after landing and when parked up. You can request chocks and a GPU in the FS actions/services section of the CDU, but will need to use the TFM electrical panel to turn the ground power on, and to shut off the APU by turning generators off followed by the APU master switch.
For a full flight example with video walk-through, see the following videos. You can cross-reference them with much of the documentation that is provided with the aircraft itself. The following two tutorials were created by Blindflightsimmer on the PMDG 737 NGXU:
For a briefer demo of TFM in action with the pmdg see:
For a demo of how to manually start the 737 engines:
for a demo of first officer pro from the dev himself: