Do you do this? I do this

I almost always do this. I’m weird that way…and a bit of a masochist. Whenever I buy a new plane (for FSX, X-Plane, or DCS), I usually will open it up cold and dark and see if I can get it working without reading the manual. For some reason I derive an odd pleasure in bringing something like the 757 to life without knowing anything about it. But, to be fair, most airplanes (even the complex ones) are fairly standardized.

  1. Electricity - (Battery or GPU)
  2. Fuel Pumps or Valves
  3. APU for air if you are rotating a big engine (or again GPU)
  4. Starter and introduce fuel (maybe)
  5. Generators / alternators
  6. Conditioned air / pressurization

I’ve met some creatures I couldn’t bring to life on my own. Some, like the Ka-50, stumped me I recall. I don’t know if I ever tried starting the Mi-8. Some have quirks like fuel cutoff on the throttle, or configuration limitations that will lock-out other controls - those can be tough to solve. Anyway…just wondering if anyone else does that… Managed to get all my recent purchases started (the NH-90 had me stumped for a bit)…


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I’m the exact opposite. Every time I buy a study plane, I read the manual the night before and then the next day I jump in cold and dark and start her up and shut her down. Following the checklists if avalible. After that I consider myself ready for my first flight.


I don’t do that, but most of the new aircraft I usually do try to cold start are from DCS, and much of time there will be some sort of ‘now hold down this button for 3 seconds and the move this other thing forward’. Which is accurate but not something I would guess intuitively :smile:

What I usually do is ogle the manual like @weaponz248 on an iPad late at night, but then mainly just forget it all - a big part of my purchase is the manual ogling regardless of the actual flying I guess.

After that I will always try a cold start, but then I’ll tend to look in the manual or watch one online and then (important bit) make up my own start-up checklist.

I’m one of those people that always has a big sheet of paper on my desk in-front of the keyboard (like a huge deskpad and lots of black ink pens) so will do ‘write-only’ notes (my handwriting is so bad that I don’t actually expect it to be re-read by a human). Making the notes lets me remember better. After the paper is full I’ll tend to stuff it in the recycler, as when I sit down I like to start again with a huge white empty sheet in front of me. Anything important and I’ll just type up a note, otherwise ink/doodles/old start-up procedures on paper all gone…

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:smiley: Yeah…I only do this for the very first time I load the airplane. After that, I dig in and follow the checklists and want to learn about all the systems and why they work they way they do. I just find it entertaining to do that “what if” where someone asks the theoretical question “if I put you in X cockpit, do you think you could fly it…” :smiley:


I do this as well. I have one of those composition books in front of me where I make notes.


Thinking about it, I believe it’s because when fresh out of college I did various development contracting gigs (it was the 80’s so Gordon Gecko was a thing) and one of the first I got was with a big Engineering consultancy. I got into the habit of the ‘Engineering Log Book’ day journal basically because other people who looked like they knew what they were doing used them religiously. Later on when I did defence or govt work I remember having to do the ‘clean desk’ thing and lock up all my scrawly spider-writing books into a safe. Little did they know my encryption consisted of making my cursive unreadable!

Old habits die hard. Always make a top right corner with the date/location :smile:

@fearlessfrog @BeachAV8R Holy crap! I thought I was the only one that took notes!!! I got tons of note books filled with various stuff, Ranging from start up procedures to routes I am flying!

Also when I first start flying a new plane. I have the manual open on my tablet for the whole flight.

I do like @BeachAV8R what if we put you in X jet question though. Im pretty sure as long as its labeled in english I should be good. lol

I take notes and panel locations to derive a flow. If I can get it in “muscle memory” with a flow then I can let my brain go back to what it does best…


I’ll read through the manual before hopping in a plane the first time, use the procedure for the start up, then immediately take to the runway to take off and wring it out. There’s varying levels of success with this, as I have yet to get the DCS Dora and Gustav off the ground with both wings intact, for example.

If/ when I get the plane off the ground, I’ll usually get some altitude, run her through some basic maneuvers- steep turns, spins, loops- to get a feel for what the limits are, then start playing with some touch and go’s. And again, the last part there has varying success, as I still can only land the MiG-21 maybe one time in 6 attempts.

Actually, my first reaction is to go up on YouTube and see if anyone has done a “tutorial video” on the start-up of the plane I had bought. Then I take a look at the manual. So far it has worked well for me. :grinning:

Same here. Occasionally I try to start a plane without any idea how it works. That makes great cockpit familiarization because I spend half an hour checking out all of the switches to find the ones I assume might be necessary for starting up the plane.
Then I go to youtube for a basic startup tutorial, fly around a bit, and then I read the manual.

It depends. In western planes some things are similar so you can start’em up. But eastern planes are not all the same. For example starting Mig-15 requires reading a manual…there is no way around it.

That’s true - I would never have found that MiG-15bis throttle level hidden by my left leg unless I had seen it done before.

Same with that rotor brake lever on the left side of the Ka-50…you can’t start the engines unless it’s down…I’d have never found it…

Maybe we’re establishing a pattern. If you are in an unfamiliar Russian aircraft and want to start it, look by your left leg… :frog:

Indeed. In the AN-24 - the mudflap lever is on the left side too I believe…


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I visited a DC3 that was in for maintenance and having a chat. He invited me into the flight deck and my eyebrows raised considerably.

He looked at my eyebrows and said to me… " If you can start it, you can have it"

I didn’t get it.

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But after that he said…“…but if you break it, you have to buy it…”

Uh…I’ll just watch you do it mmkay…

Funny, I don’t remember 34s having a Garmin GPS (or color, for that matter.)

I like starting out trying out my luck initially to learn the basic cockpit layout and systems but will ultimately resort to pdf checklists or youtube tutorials.