Fly Away Simulation

How to Start Cold And Dark & Start/Shutdown Engines with Aircraft in FSX

Full 3D virtual cockpit in FSX.

Using step-by-step procedures to start your aircraft enhances your simulation experience where your flights begin.

This tutorial covers information for both Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) boxed edition and Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition (FSX: SE) - it relevant to both versions.

You can jump to relevant sections of this tutorial using the links below;

Degree of Realism

Startup procedures in Microsoft Flight Simulator are fairly realistic for most of the aircraft. Some controls in some aircraft are inoperative, however:

  • Some depicted switches, knobs, and buttons do nothing.
  • Some switches, knobs, and buttons move, but they do not affect the startup sequence.
  • A few aircraft start only with the Ctrl+E command that automates the sequence.

Consequently, the procedures are sufficiently realistic in most aircraft although not precise in all respects.

Jet Aircraft

Startup procedures are similar among the aircraft, but they differ slightly for specific aircraft.

  • Airbus A321
  • Boeing 737-800
  • Bombardier CRJ-700

Panels and Windows

Switching among panels and windows is helpful and necessary. Some controls are easier to see and use on the two-dimensional panels, while others are available only on three-dimensional virtual panels. Some controls more visible on popup windows.

2D panel.
2D panel.

3D Virtual Panel
3D Virtual Panel​

Popup Window
Popup Window​

Starting Cold and Dark

To start from the beginning with a cold and dark aircraft, shut down everything:

  1. Set the parking brake.
  2. Move throttles to zero.
  3. Cut off the fuel valves on the throttle quadrant.
  4. Or use the standard keyboard command: Ctrl+Shift+F1.
  5. Turn off all electrical items:
    • Avionics
    • Instruments
    • Lights
  6. Turn off every control that works:
    • Switches
    • Knobs
    • Buttons
  7. Save the flight.
  8. Reopen your flight in its cold and dark condition.

The Multi-Function Display in the FSX A321 inexplicably does not go black when all power is turned off.

Basic Startup Conditions

Before engines are started in any aircraft:

  • Passengers should be on board,
  • Doors should be closed,
  • Grounds should be clear,
  • The parking brake should be set,
  • The auxiliary power unit (APU) is usually running.

Jet in FSX.

Step-by-Step Procedures

CRJ-700

The Bombardier CRJ-700 a twin-engine regional jet. Its startup procedure is typical. Other jet aircraft are similar.

Start the left engine first.

  1. Open the left fuel valve below the left throttle handle.
  2. Press the ignition button.
  3. Press the left engine-start button.
  4. Turn on the left generator.
  5. Adjust left throttle as needed to achieve optimum instrument readings.

Start the right engine after the left engine is running properly.

  1. Open the right fuel valve below the right throttle handle.
  2. Press the ignition button.
  3. Press the right engine-start button.
  4. Turn on the right generator.
  5. Adjust right throttle as needed to achieve optimum instrument readings.
  6. Turn on your avionics.
  7. Leave the battery on.

CRJ-700 panel.
CRJ-700 panel.

Boeing 737-800

The Boeing 737-800 is a medium, twin-engine passenger jet. Its startup procedure is similar to the CRJ-700 with a few slight differences.

Start the left engine first.

  1. Open the left fuel valve below the left throttle handle.
  2. Press the ignition button.
  3. Toggle the left engine's start switch.
  4. Turn on the left generator.
  5. Adjust left throttle as needed to achieve the optimum power readings.

Start the right engine after the left engine is running properly.

  1. Open the right fuel valve below the right throttle handle.
  2. Press the ignition button.
  3. Toggle the right engine's start switch.
  4. Turn on the right generator.
  5. Adjust left throttle as needed to achieve the recommended power readings.
  6. Turn on your avionics.
  7. Leave the battery on.

737 panel.
737 panel.​

Airbus A321

The Airbus A321 is similar to the Boeing 737. Its startup procedure is much simpler, however.

Start the left engine first.

  1. Press the left-engine start button below the left throttle lever.
  2. Adjust left throttle as needed to achieve the recommended power readings.

Start the right engine after the left is running.

  1. Press the right-engine start button below the left throttle lever.
  2. Adjust right throttle as needed to achieve the recommended power readings.
  3. Turn on avionics.
  4. Leave the battery on.

A321 panel.
A321 panel.​

Shutting Down

To shut down a jet aircraft, follow these easy steps:

  1. Secure the parking brake.
  2. Cut off fuel.
  3. Turn off all electrical devices.

Exceptions

The Learjet 45 and Boeing 747 start only with the Ctrl+E automated keyboard command.

  • The Learjet 45 never started manually after repeated attempts using various sequences and closely observing the Ctrl-E automatic sequence.
  • The 747 startup controls do not respond to any input.
  • Nobody's recommendations worked.

If They Don't Start

The first place to seek assistance is yourself. We can usually find and fix our own errors in a tiny fraction of the time required for contacting developers and posting questions on internet forums.

  1. Recognize that the Learjet 45 and Boeing 747 do not start manually.
  2. Be sure you are following the instructions and checklists precisely.
  3. Be sure you are using the keyboard commands correctly.
  4. If you are using add-on aircraft, ask its developer. He is in the best position to help you.

Propeller Aircraft

Startup procedures are similar among the aircraft, but they differ slightly for specific aircraft.

  • Beechcraft Baron 58,
  • Beechcraft King Air 350,
  • Cessna 172 Skyhawk,
  • Cessna 208B Grand Caravan,
  • De Havilland DHC2 Beaver,
  • Douglas DC-3,
  • Grumman G21A Goose,
  • Mooney M20 Bravo,
  • Piper J3 Cub.

Panels and Windows

Switching among panels and windows is helpful and necessary. Some controls are easier to see and use on the two-dimensional panels, while others are available only on three-dimensional virtual panels. Some controls more visible on popup windows.

2D Panel
2D Panel

3D Virtual Panel
3D Virtual Panel​

Popup Window
Popup Window​

 

Starting Cold and Dark

To start from the beginning with a cold and dark aircraft, shut down everything:

  1. Set the parking brake.
  2. Move the throttle to zero.
  3. Cut off fuel with the mixture, condition, or fuel cutoff valve.
  4. Or use the standard keyboard command: Ctrl+Shift+F1.
  5. Turn off all electrical items:
    • Avionics
    • Instruments
    • Lights
  6. Turn off every control that works:
    • Switches
    • Knobs
    • Buttons
  7. Save the flight.
  8. Reopen your flight in its cold and dark condition.

Step-by-Step Startups

Before engines are started:

  • passengers should be on board,
  • doors should be closed,
  • grounds should be clear,
  • the parking brake should be set.

Aircraft on ramp.​​

Single Engine Aircraft

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a high-wing single with a carbureted piston engine. Its startup procedure is typical. Other aircraft are similar.

  1. Turn on the battery.
  2. Turn on cockpit lights if needed.
  3. Slide the mixture lever to full rich (all the way in).
  4. Advance the throttle lever one-tenth.
  5. Turn on the fuel pump.
  6. Turn on the rotating beacon. Itís required by law whenever an engine is running.
  7. Turn the starter switch. Hold it in place if necessary.
  8. Turn on the alternator. (In some aircraft, it is a generator.)
  9. Adjust throttle as needed to achieve optimum instrument readings.
  10. Turn off the fuel pump.
  11. Turn on your avionics.
  12. Leave the battery on.

Cessna 172 panel
Cessna 172 Panel

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

The Cessna 208B Grand Caravan is a high-wing turboprop single.

  1. Turn on the master battery.
  2. Turn on the rotating beacon.
  3. Advance the condition lever to "low idle."
  4. Advance throttle to full.
  5. Open the fuel valve.
  6. Turn on the fuel boost pump.
  7. Turn the starter switch.
  8. Turn on the generator.
  9. Turn off the fuel boost pump.
  10. Adjust throttle to achieve optimum instrument readings.
    • Fuel flow 80 to 100
    • NG 52 percent minimum
    • ITT 1090 C maximum
  11. Turn on the avionics.
  12. Leave the battery on.

Cessna 208B panel.
Cessna 208B panel.

de Havilland Beaver

The de Havilland Beaver is a heavy and powerful high-wing, single-engine, piston-prop with floats.

  1. Turn on the master battery.
  2. Turn on the rotating beacon.
  3. Slide mixture lever to full rich.
  4. Slide propeller lever to 100 percent.
  5. Slide throttle to 100 percent.
  6. Turn on the fuel boost pump.
  7. Turn the magneto switch to "Both."
  8. Turn the starter switch.
  9. Adjust throttle to achieve optimum instrument readings.
  10. Turn on the alternator.
  11. Turn off the boost pump.
  12. Turn on avionics.
  13. Leave the battery on.

de Havilland Beaver panel.
de Havilland Beaver panel.​

Mooney M20 Bravo

The Mooney M20 Bravo is a low-wing, single piston-prop that uses a fuel-injected engine.

  1. Turn on the master battery.
  2. Turn on the rotating beacon.
  3. Turn on the fuel boost pump.
  4. Slide mixture lever to 100 percent.
  5. Slide propeller to 100 percent.
  6. Slide throttle 10 percent.
  7. Turn magneto key switch to "Start."
  8. Turn on the alternator.
  9. Adjust throttle to achieve optimum instrument readings.
  10. Turn off the fuel boost pump.
  11. Turn on avionics.
  12. Leave the battery on.

M20 Bravo panel.
M20 Bravo panel.

Multiple Engine Aircraft

Always start one engine at a time, starting with the left and moving toward the right.

Beechcraft Baron 58

The Beechcraft Baron 58 is a piston-prop twin.

  1. Turn on the battery.
  2. Turn on the rotating beacon.

Start the left engine first.

  1. Slide the left throttle fully forward.
  2. Slide the left mixture lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the left propeller lever fully forward.
  4. Turn on the left fuel pump.
  5. Turn the left ignition key to "Start." Hold it if needed.
  6. Adjust throttle to achieve optimum left-engine instrument readings.
  7. Turn on the left alternator.
  8. Turn off the left fuel pump.
  9. Leave the battery on.

Start the right engine after the left is running properly.

  1. Slide right mixture lever fully forward.
  2. Slide the right propeller lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the right throttle lever fully forward.
  4. Turn on the right fuel pump.
  5. Turn the right ignition key to "Start." Hold it if needed.
  6. Adjust throttle to achieve optimum right-engine readings.
  7. Turn on the right alternator.
  8. Turn off the right fuel pump.
  9. Turn on avionics.
  10. Leave the battery on.

Baron 58 panel.
Baron 58 panel.

Beechcraft King Air 350

The Beechcraft King Air 350 is a turboprop twin.

  1. Turn on the battery.
  2. Turn on the rotating beacon.

Start the left engine first.

  1. Slide the left condition lever to "low idle."
  2. Slide the left propeller lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the left throttle fully forward.
  4. Turn on the left fuel pump.
  5. Turn on the left starter switch.
  6. Adjust the left throttle to achieve optimum left-engine instrument readings.
  7. Turn on the left generator.
  8. Turn off the left fuel pump.

Start the right engine after the left is running properly.

  1. Slide the right condition lever to "low idle."
  2. Slide the right propeller lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the right throttle fully forward.
  4. Turn on the right fuel pump.
  5. Turn on the right starter switch.
  6. Adjust the right throttle to achieve optimum right-engine readings.
  7. Turn on the right generator.
  8. Turn off the right fuel pump.
  9. Turn on the avionics.
  10. Leave the battery on.

King Air 350 panel.
King Air 350 panel.

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 is an old, heavy, and powerful twin piston-prop.

  1. Turn on the master battery.
  2. Turn on the rotating beacon.

Start the left engine first.

  1. Slide the left fuel mixture lever fully forward.
  2. Slide the left propeller lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the left throttle lever fully forward.
  4. Turn on the left magneto.
  5. Turn on the left booster pump.
  6. Turn on the left primer switch.
  7. Turn on the left starter switch.
  8. Turn on the left generator.
  9. Adjust the left throttle to achieve optimum left-engine readings.
  10. Turn off the left booster pump.

Start the right engine after the left is running.

  1. Slide the right fuel mixture lever fully forward.
  2. Slide the right propeller lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the right throttle lever fully forward.
  4. Turn on the right magneto.
  5. Turn on the right booster pump.
  6. Turn on the right primer switch.
  7. Turn on the right starter switch.
  8. Turn on the right generator.
  9. Adjust the right throttle to achieve optimum right-engine readings.
  10. Turn off the right booster pump.
  11. Turn on avionics.
  12. Leave the master battery on.

DC-3 panel.
DC-3 panel.

Grumman G21A Goose

The Grumman G-21-A Goose is an old, heavy, twin piston-prop aircraft that uses land or water.

  1. Turn on the master battery.
  2. Turn on the rotating beacon.

Start the left engine first.

  1. Turn on the left fuel pump.
  2. Slide the left fuel mixture lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the left propeller lever fully forward.
  4. Slide the left throttle lever fully forward.
  5. Turn on the left magneto switch.
  6. Turn on the generator.
  7. Toggle the start switch toward the left and hold it until the engine turns over.
  8. Adjust the left throttle to achieve optimum left-engine readings.
  9. Turn off the fuel boost pump.

Start the right engine after the left engine is running properly.

  1. Turn on the right fuel pump.
  2. Slide the right fuel mixture lever fully forward.
  3. Slide the right propeller lever fully forward.
  4. Slide the right throttle lever fully forward.
  5. Turn on the right magneto switch.
  6. Turn on the generator.
  7. Toggle the start switch toward the right and hold it until the engine turns over.
  8. Adjust the right throttle to achieve optimum right-engine readings.
  9. Turn off the fuel boost pump.
  10. Turn on avionics.
  11. Leave the battery on.

Grumman Goose panel.
Grumman Goose panel.

Exceptions

The default Extra and Maule Orion start only with the Ctrl+E automated keyboard control. They would not start manually after numerous attempts. Nobody's recommendations worked.

If Your Aircraft Do Not Start

The first place to seek assistance is yourself. We can usually find and fix our own errors in a tiny fraction of the time required for contacting developers and posting questions on internet forums.

  1. Recognize that the Extra and Maule Orion do not start manually.
  2. Be sure you are following the instructions and checklists precisely.
  3. Be sure you are using the keyboard commands correctly.
  4. If you are using add-on aircraft, ask its developer. He is in the best position to help you.

If you are absolutely sure you followed all the instructions correctly and made no mistakes: Search our forums for answers and advice.

You may find our cold & dark cockpit add-on useful in creating cold and dark startups in FSX.

Credits

This tutorial and video were written, produced and narrated by Bill Stack exclusively for Fly Away Simulation. Tell us about how helpful this tutorial was for you. Share it with other flight simmers who might benefit from this information.