I read Jonathan Fyfe’s initial on-line tutorial ‘Flying the Circuit in the B737’ some time ago. I was impressed with Fyfe’s writing style which is succinct and easy to read. As a result I was keen to review his latest publication ‘Touch and Go Landings in the 737 NGX’ which is a follows on from his original tutorial.
The book (here on referred to as a guide) is paperback A5 in size, is 135 pages in length and has been printed in colour. The guide is printed on quality paper and has a glossy-style plastic cover.
As the title of the text eludes, the guide examines in-depth all the aspects needed by a flight crew to successfully fly the Boeing 737 in a standard circuit, including crosswind approaches, missed approaches, engine out operations and rejected takeoffs. Although the title of the guide may not appear substantive, the guide addresses nearly everything required to conduct a manual/part automated takeoff and landing.
I was surprised at the volume of information that Fyfe has managed to place in the guide; initially I thought the content appeared rather thin; however, closer examination revealed a wealth of information covering both systems and procedures. This is in addition, to pictures that demonstrate correct landing technique and diagrams that are well-presented and clear.
Derated takeoffs, assumed temperature thrust reduction, descent profiles, runway markings, drift calculations and aircraft systems data, which include: spoiler use, flap schedules, flight deck warnings, use the autothrottle and controlled wheel steering – too mention a few, are explained.
Fyfe’s ability as a flight instructor and educator comes to bear in the nature of how he explains the various procedures. He does not ‘parrot’ procedures, the FCOM or FCTM, but rather adds to this information by his ability to be able to shape the material into a parcel that is easily understood.
Many of the more complicated aspects, such as crosswind approaches, the effects of wind and the balanced field length are explained more clearly by the use of coloured diagrams. This translates to a guide that is very easy to comprehend allowing the reader to easily apply the information when flying their simulated aircraft.
The guide is divided into three primary lessons which encompass: standard circuits, missed approach and crosswind circuits and engine out/asymmetrics.
Each section has three sub-sections.
(ii) Systems; and,
(iii) Air Work.
In groundwork, the theory and methodology for the upcoming lesson is primarily discussed, along with a lesson briefing. In Systems, the focus is towards pertinent information that relates to the lesson; for example, flap positions, warning horns, autothrottle, N1 calculations and FMA annunciations. In Air Work, a tutorial-style lesson is presented, in which Fyfe explains the necessary procedures to complete the lesson. The student (you) can set-up their simulator to mimic the same conditions that Fyfe is flying. This allows the student to self-evaluate their ability.
All the sub-sections, but especially so in air work, are augmented by several screenshots depicting aircraft positions and instrument readings.
The lessons revolve around the use of the Boeing 737 NGX produced by Precision Manuals Development Group (PMDG) and Flight Simulator 10 (FSX); however, the information can easily be applied to any simulated B737 that is using a professional avionics suite, such as ProSim737, Sim Avionics, Project Magenta, I-Fly, etc.
Some enthusiasts may find the guide lacking in that it does not attempt to explain or demonstrate the various automated-style approaches that the B737 is capable of (ILS, VOR, IAN, RNAV, etc.). Nor does it cover off on climbing to altitude, descent or cruise. Although this knowledge is important, it is not relevant to touch and go takeoffs and landings.
The amount of information, especially on the Internet concerning flying the Boeing 737 aircraft is voluminous; however, a caveat must be issued in that much of this information has not been peer reviewed and in many instances is not correct. Although there are numerous monographs available that deal with the Boeing aircraft, these texts are usually very expensive and have not been written with the lay person in mind; often they are technical and assume an inherent level of prior knowledge. Likewise, the FCOM, FCTM are certainly very helpful documents; however, they have been written for trained flight crews and their method of explanation is often clouded without prior knowledge and experience in aircraft systems.
In this guide, Fyfe has succeeded in translating much of this information in a concise way that is easy to read and comprehend.
Some enthusiasts may wonder why knowing how to accomplish a touch and go landing is important. After all, surely it is more important to understand the intricacies of a full stop landing using one of the several approach types that the B737 is certified to carry out, and be able tom land the aircraft following the procedure outlined in the approach chart.
LEFT: FedEx - steep climb out after touch and go (photograph copyright Bob Wood).
Flying circuits and performing touch and go landings will vastly improve your airmanship, as a good majority of what is required during touch and go landings can be applied to other aspects of flying the B737. Additionally, the touch and go procedures are consolidated into a time-dependent envelope in which everything occurs relatively quickly. If a virtual flyer is competent in carrying out a touch and go landing, then it is a very easy transition to use one of the more advanced approach formats.
Final Call and Score
‘Touch and Go Landings’ is aimed at the novice to intermediate virtual pilot who wishes to learn the correct procedures first time around; advanced users will also benefit by not second guessing procedures they are presently using. This said, there are many ways to fly the Boeing 737 aircraft, and often the method chosen depends on the flight crew, environmental constraints and the airline policy.
It is important to realise that the guide is not a glorified tutorial written by an aviation enthusiast, but rather is a thoroughly researched and well written and easy to read text, that provides a pallet of information and comprehensive procedures that are relevant to flying the B737. The guide not only provides a framework of what to do, but it also explains the how and why.
The current retail price is $24.95.
Introductory discount coupons are available, for a limited time, at Jonathan Fyfe’s website.
I have given the guide a score of 9/10.
I have not received remuneration for this review; however, I was provided a guide ‘gratis’ to read. The review is solely my opinion.
Glossary and Acronyms
FCOM – Flight Crew Operations Manual (Boeing airline specific document)
FCTM – Flight Crew Training Manual (Boeing airline specific document)
FMA – Flight Mode Annunciations