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X-Plane - Zibo mod 737-800 - Programming the FMC with data from

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  • X-Plane - Zibo mod 737-800 - Programming the FMC with data from

    The Zibo mod 737-800 is amazing to fly - and it's free but It's been a bit of a learning curve to get to the point where I could get airborne and switch on the autopilot for our mid range tubeliner group flights.

    It's taken me far too long to find digestible resources that aren't million page manuals of gobleygook. I don't know if this will help anyone out there - but here's the resources and concepts I learned about to get to where I'm at so far and some useful summaries.

    If you can sit still for 35 minutes - watch this. It's a real 737 instructor using Zibo and demonstrating a cold and dark start.

    But if you're like me and it's just too much to sit through, I've broken things down a bit - so read on!

    1. First step was learning how to start the engines from a cold and dark state.

    look at the overhead panel - this is where most of the switches you need to start the engines are located. In general the order of switch and button pressing (called the "panel flow") in a Boeing is such that you start at the top and work your way down.

    switch on the aircrafts battery (middle overhead panel) - it will drain in about 20 minutes if you stop here and watch the DC voltmeter on the panel - but luckily our airports have Ground Power Units (GPU's).

    switch on the GPU (middle overhead panel) - your aircraft has now been hooked up to a small vehicle that is supplying the aircraft with electricity so you don't drain your battery.

    start the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) (middle overhead panel) - a self contained push-button-start turbine that generates the electricity for the aircraft systems including the engines) and air pressure that is injected into the engines in order to get them spinning in order to then properly start the main engines. Once the APU is going you can switch off the GPU as the APU is doing it's work, but first make sure you transfer the APU to the electrical bus (circuit) (middle overhead panel) before switching off the GPU (middle overhead panel).

    turn on the fuel pumps (left overhead panel) - the engines will need fuel to reach them under pressure.
    turn on both hydraulics systems (A and B) (right overhead panel) for the engines - engines need these too

    You'll be starting each engine one at a time - traditionally engine 2 on the right wing is started first, then engine 1 on the left wing

    inject air generated by the APU into the engines (right overhead panel) - those big engine blades need air injected into them to get them spinning - do this by bleeding air into the engine you plan on starting

    At this point you have all the elements active that you need to get the engines started - they have an electrical supply, a hydraulic supply, fuel supply, and air being bled into them so that they are already slowly spinning. Mint!

    rotate the engine start selector for the first engine (middle overhead panel), and once they have started spinning and stabilised to a reasonable temperature (EGT on the multifunction display on the centre console), inject the fuel to get the engines operational for normal flight operations. The fuel injection levers are the only elements not on the overhead panel - they are the 2 sliders just below and behind the engine throttles of the "throttle quadrant" (sometimes called a "control stand". You should now be good to go!
    (8 minutes) read my notes, then watch this link, then download the ZIBO engine start checklist and use that.


    2. Then came calibrating the avionics (your plane needs to know where it is) and loading in a pre-made flight plan from one of our group flights.

    once the plane has electrics, switch both of the IRS (Inertial reference system) panel rotary selectors to "NAV" (center panel, up the top)
    on the FMC, select FMC, POSINIT. NEXT PAGE. You will see two identical GPS co-ordinates (you have two onboard GPS systems), click the tab on the left of one of these to place it into the "Scratchpad" - the lowest line of the FMC display (think of it as like a clipboard, or CTRL C function in notepad), then hit PREV PAGE and the button on the right where the empty boxes are on the FMC.
    you have now pasted in the GPS co-ordinates of the plane to the FMC. In a short while your artificial horizon indication on the front panel display will switch from the black blackground, to the usual blue sky, brown ground display, complete with altitude and heading markers.
    download the flight plan - an *.FMS file, into X-Plane\output\FMS plans\
    remember the file name!
    Enter in the FMC the airport code (ICAO) of your ORIGIN and DEST
    then in the scratch pad enter the name of your premade flight plan without the extension, and place that into Co-Route on the FMC and then select Activate on the FMC.

    Ref: (3 minutes)
    Ref: (2 minutes)
    Addendum: is a really great and free website that generates real-world-like routes from your defined origin to destination, and all the numbers your Zibo FMC needs to be fully programmed.

    3. Third came turning on the autopilot in flight.

    F/D on (Flight director on) (pink crosshairs on artificial horizon of the Multi-Function Display (MFD)
    A/T on (Auto throttle on)
    VNAV On (Vertical Nav) - autopilot will fly the aircraft to the waypoint altitudes on the flight plan
    LNAV On (Lateral Nav) - autopilot will fly the aircraft to the waypoint headings on the flight plan
    finally switch on the Autopilot Master switch by pressing A/P Engage ('A' CMD button)
    The computer now has the plane!

    Other resources
    A REALLY GREAT (but long) 30 minute video by an actual pilot starting the Zibo from Cold and Dark :
    Boeing 737 Technical site :

  • #2
    The Zibo is not as good as the PMDG overall. But.... with X-Plane's better feeling of flight, once you shut the autopilot off, the Zibo is a whole lot more fun! ... Especially is there is a decent crosswind or limited visibility.


    • #3
      I bought the PMDG but VR flying in X-Plane is what I enjoy most. I just canít go back to 2D. And I prefer X-Planes VR implementation.

      At this point Iíím prepared to spend some time and or money on a well written book on how to fly a simulated 737 - got any recommendations ?

      Addendum - Just had a look at the PMDG documentation - pretty darn good!
      Last edited by Bluejay; August 16th, 2018, 12:07 AM.


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