HOW TO FLY
A FOUR ENGINE
HOW TO FLY THE DC-6B
For flying the DC-6B on Tom Gibson's Classic Airliner Page:
Lots of Classic Airliners and Information!
Information taken from the Mar/Apr 1994 AIRWAYS magazine
A quick reference is listed first, then a detailed description. Enjoy!
FS DC-6 QUICK REFERENCE
1. Start Engine 3 by pressing E3, and then by turning Magneto to
Stabilize at 1000 rpm and check systems. Use same technique to start
engines 4, 2, and 1. Press E1234 to engage all engines. Move to
2. Release Parking Brake, advance throttle to 1000 rpm, and
taxi to run-up position. Adjust throttle as needed to maintain
less than 25 kts (knots).
3. Set flaps to 20 degrees, trim to 1 mark above center.
4. Apply parking brake and run up engines to 1500 rpm. Turn
magneto to R, then L ,then both. Each magneto should not drop
more than about 200 rpm, and should be within 40 rpm of each
Retard throttles and taxi to takeoff position.
5. At 91,000 lbs, V1 (aborted takeoff speed) is 95 kts, V2
(minimum takeoff speed with one engine out) is 120 kts. These
values will work for most heavily laden configurations. For light
loadings use V1 of 85 kts, and V2 of 110 kts.
6. Apply brakes, advance throttle to 2/3, release brakes,
advance throttle to full, and start rolling. At V1, start
pulling back the yoke, and at about V2 you should lift off.
7. Gear up at positive rate of climb indication.
8. Flaps 10 at V2 +10, flaps up at V2 + 15.
9. Throttle to 95%, METO power (maximum except take off).
Above 300 ft and 155 kts, reduce throttle to 90% (Climb power).
Climb at 165 kts at 700-1000 fpm.
10. Cruise initially at 190 kts indicated (true airspeed is 220
kts.) for a slow freight run. Cruise at around 250 kts for a
fast passenger run. Speed will increase as fuel burns off.
11. For an 88,000 lb landing weight (88,200 max landing weight):
Taper speed towards 156 kts with throttle. Enter landing pattern
and flaps down 20 degrees.
12. When on the ILS localizer, taper speed to 135 kts.
13. When the glideslope indicator starts moving down, flaps to 30.
14. When glideslope indicator centers, gear down and adjust
speed to about 128 kts. Add 10-15 kts if in rough weather.
Remember that on approach, throttle controls glideslope while
attitude controls speed. Too high? Reduce throttle. Too
fast? Put the nose up. (Approach attitude is level or somewhat
15. At 200-500 feet, full flaps. Below 50 feet retard throttle
slowly and flare (nose up to level, not very nose up!) Landing
reference speed is 113 kts.
16. After landing, apply brakes to around 10-20 kts and turn
off runway. Flaps up, taxi to ramp. Apply parking brake, turn
magnetos to OFF, secure cockpit.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF FLYING THE DC-6
Portions that can be performed in MSFS are *starred. When
different from the article, FS values are within [brackets].
Unfortunately, FS cannot simulate a supercharged engine, so
manifold pressures shown on the instrument panel will be wrong,
and the reported RPMs are not correct for anything but taxiing
This DC-6A weighs 58,787 lbs empty, has a fuel capacity of
5,405 gal (30,000 lbs) and a maximum carrying capacity of
32,000 lbs. However, a DC-6A will carry only 11,000 lbs for
3,300 miles, trading payload for range. Total maximum takeoff
weight is 103,800 lbs, and maximum landing weight is about
88,000 lbs. Today we have a cargo load of 24,213 lbs and 8,000
lbs of gas for a total weight of 91,000 lbs.
STARTUP and TAXI
Engine Start Checklist
Start engine #3 first, because it drives one of two hydraulic
pumps and a generator, and it's not on the passenger side (for
last minute loading). Flight Engineer (FE) starts engine as follows:
Seven switches on the overhead panel are used, four of them
form a small triangle - a spring loaded start switch, primer,
ignition boost and safety.
Turn the #3 boost pump switch to low and position the rotary
engine starter selector switch to #3. Co-Pilot (CP) signals
with thumbs up that prop is clear. FE calls out "three is
selected, three is boosted, three is clear, turning three".
presses the safety switch with the thumb and the start switch
with the middle finger. CP counts revolutions, counting
through 12 blades, ensuring that there is no hydraulic lock and
the cylinders are well oiled. Then Pilot calls "Switches
and FE rotates #3 dual ignition switch [magneto] to the BOTH
position with the left hand.
Once the engine catches, *stabilize the RPM at about 1000 rpm.
Move the mixture control from idle cutoff to auto-lean, and
when RPM drops to about 800 (engine is becoming too rich), FE
releases the primer. Release the primer too soon and the
engine might backfire, due to running too lean. FE turns off
the engine boost pump, *checks the oil pressure, and hydraulic
pressure and ammeter gauge as well. *Move throttle to idle.
Start remaining engines by the same method. Typical starting
order is 3-4-2-1 (engines numbered left to right).
*Release parking brake, and throttle the engines to 1000 rpm
for taxiing. *Taxi to run-up position, set the parking brake
and advance the throttle to 1600 rpm.
*Set flaps to 20 degrees. Check *mixture, generators, and
alternators. Test prop feathering buttons and RPM limit
switches. *Advance throttles to 2100 rpm [1500 rpm] and turn magneto
1, then to 2, then to both. RPM drop for each magneto alone
should be 100  or less, and no more than 40 rpm between
magnetos. Check high blower postion of the supercharger and
anti-detonation system (ADI - alcohol/water injection). FE should
checking ignition system on the engine analyzer (referred to as
"Chinese Television"). *Retard throttle and taxi to
TAKEOFF and CLIMB
Pilot gives takeoff briefing, describing takeoff procedures.
*Today we have 8000 lb of gas, so takeoff weight is 91,000 lbs
(max is 103,800). *V1 speed is thus 95 kts (takeoff abort
speed), while V2 speed is 109 kts [120 kts](minimum flying
speed in event of an engine failure).
*Double check flap setting, trim for takeoff [one notch above
close cowl flaps to trailing position and move mixture to auto-rich.
*With brakes on, advance throttle to about 30 in of manifold
pressure [2/3 throttle]. Turn on ADI system switches. *When
final takeoff clearance received, Pilot calls out "Max power
wet", and advances throttle to 59 in of manifold pressure,
which should be about 2800 rpm and 242 BMEP (brake mean
effective pressure (propeller torque) [full throttle]. CP
calls out "Speed Alive" at the first jiggle of the
indicator. Pilot has right hand on throttles and left hand on
steering wheel until V1 in event of aborted takeoff. Rudder
becomes effective around 60 kts.
As CP calls "V1", Pilot moves hands to control wheel,
*begins to pull back. *The plane should be airborne around V2.
*Gear up when a positive rate of climb is indicated. *About V2
+ 10, flaps to 10, at V2 + 15, flaps up. *METO power (max except
takeoff) is set, 48 in manifold pressure, 2600 rpm, and 197
BMEP [about 90% power]. Water off.
*Reduce throttle to Climb Power [80% throttle]. Climb speed
should be about 155 kts at 500 fpm climb rate (freight runs)
[165 kts at 700-1000 fpm for passenger runs].
*Cruising speed at 8,000 ft should be set at 190 kts indicated
(true airspeed is 220 kts), 35 in manifold pressure, 2000 rpm,
and 155 BMEP. [This is a slow freight run; passenger runs
should be set around 250-280 kts]. The plane will gain speed as it
burns fuel. Typical cruising speed is 274 kts., maximum cruise
is 285 kts. Never exceed speed (Vne) is around 326 kts. Lean
the engines by peaking the BMEP indication and then reducing it
by 12 BMEP [peak the EGT and reduce by 50 degrees].
*Fuel burn has been about 3000 lbs, so our weight is now 88,000
lbs (max landing weight is 88,200 lbs). *Enter ILS
pattern and flaps to 20 degrees. *Set rpm to 2300 [speed to
about 156 kts, 1800 rpm], mixture to auto-rich. *When on the
taper speed to 135 kts [1550 rpm]. *Flaps to 30 when glideslope
indicator starts moving down.
*When glideslope centers, gear down and increase rpm to 2400 [1500
*Approach speed should be 125 kts; add 15 kts in rough weather.
cowl flaps to climb setting and arm ADI in case of go-around. *At
200-500 ft, go to full flaps. Landing reference speed is 113 kts.
Reverse propeller pitch until 60 kts is reached. *Apply brakes
slowed to turn off runway.
Airspeed Limitations Max. allowable speed
Wing Flaps DOWN 0-30 degrees 170 kts
>30 degrees 150
Recommended speeds in severe
turbulence <84,400 lbs 150
>84,400 lbs 160
Landing Gear DOWN 170
Landing Lights extended 210
Autopilot engaged 214
Maximum use of Flight Controls 182
Crosswind speed 26
@ 88,200 lbs: Recommended speeds
Flaps 20 degrees 135
30 degrees 120
50 degrees over boundary 105
Weight V1 (IAS) V2 (IAS)
70,000 70 kts 95 kts
80,000 81 102
90,000 92 107
100,000 103 113
103,000 107 115
NEA Reserve Fuel Load: 2000 lbs
Note: if two checklists are included, the first is for
the pilots, and the second for the flight engineer.
If only one is included, it is for the flight engineer.
* indicates useful in FS.
BEFORE STARTING ENGINES CHECKLIST
1. *Gear Lever and Lights DOWN & 3 GREEN
2. *Parking Brake ON, PRESSURE CHECKED
3. Emergency Air Brake Pressure ______ LBS (1600-2000 psi)
4. *Radios ON & CHECK FREQS
5. *Transponder STANDBY
6. Radar STANDBY OR OFF
7. *Autopilot DISENGAGED & OFF
8. *Altimeter & Clocks SET & CROSS CHECK
9. *Flight Instruments CHECK & SET
10. No Smoking and Seat Belt ON
11.*Nav. and Cockpit Lights AS REQUIRED
12.*Fuel Quantity ________ LBS
13. Cabin Pressurization CHECK & SET
14. Oxygen Mask and Regulator STOWED
15. Voice Recorder CHECKED
1. *Pre-Flight Inspection COMPLETE
2. Circuit Breaker Panel CHECK
3. Landing Gear Locks REMOVED & 3 ABOARD
4. Battery Switch and Ext. Power CHECK & ON
5. Inverters CHECK & ON
6. *Propellers AUTO-FORWARD
7. Hydraulic Selector Valve FORWARD-BRAKES
8. Alcohol, Oil, Hydraulic Fluid, CHECK
ADI Water, Fuel Quantity
9. Log Book & Placards CHECK
10.*Fuel Selectors MAINS ON - X-FEEDS OFF
11. Hydraulic By-pass DOWN
12.*Carburetor Heat FULL COLD
13. Emergency Checklist CHECK
14. Oil Cooler Doors AUTO
15. Cowl Flaps OPEN
16. Heaters & De-icers AS REQUIRED
17. Crew Oxygen Supply ON - ____ LBS
18. Oxygen Mask and Regulator STOWED - 100%
19. Fire Warning CHECK
1. Door Warning Lights OUT
2.*Wing Flaps 20 degrees
3.*Control Trim Tabs SET
4.*Flight Instruments CHECK & SET
5.*Takeoff Data V1 & V2 CHECK
1. Analyzer ON
2. Generators CHECK
3.*Fuel Selectors MAINS ON - X-FEEDS OFF
4. Boost Pumps AS REQUIRED
5. Feather CHECK\
6. Mixture Controls AS REQUIRED
BEFORE TAKEOFF CHECKLIST
1. *Run-up COMPLETE
2. Blowers LOW
3. *Propellers AUTO, FORWARD, & 4 BLUE LIGHTS
4. Anti Detonation Injection (ADI) ON
5. Heaters & De-icers AS REQUIRED
6. *Mixture Controls AUTO-RICH & LOCKED
7. Gust Lock DOWN & LATCHED
8. *Flight Controls FREE & FULL TRAVEL
9. *Transponder ON
10. Cowl Flaps +4 degrees
1. Seat Belt - No Smoking AS REQUIRED
1. ADI OFF
2.*Gear Handle NEUTRAL
3. Windshield Heat AS REQUIRED
4.*Pressures, Temps, Flows CHECK
5. Hydraulic By-pass UP
6. Fuel Boost Pumps AS REQUIRED
7. Analyzer CHECK
1. Radar CHECK AS REQUIRED
2. Seat Belt AS REQUIRED
1.*Cruise Power SET
2. Cowl Flaps SET
3.*Fuel on Board ______ LBS
4. Pressurization CHECK
5. Boost Pumps AS REQUIRED
6. Cabin & Airfoil Heaters CHECKED AS REQUIRED
PRELIMINARY BEFORE-LANDING CHECKLIST
1. *Altimeters SET & CROSS CHECK
2. Seat Belt AS REQUIRED
3. Cabin Pressurization CHECKED & SET
1. *V2 & Gross Weight CHECK
2. Windshield Heat AS REQUIRED
3. *Fuel Selectors MAINS ON - X-FEEDS OFF
4. *Fuel Quantity ______ LBS
5. Blowers LOW
6. Boost Pumps OFF
7. *Carburetor Heat AS REQUIRED
8. Hydraulic By-pass DOWN - PRESS & QUANTITY CHECK
9. Hydraulic Selector FORWARD - BRAKES
10. Circuit Breaker Panel CHECK
FINAL BEFORE-LANDING CHECKLIST
1.*Landing Gear DOWN, 3 GREEN LIGHTS, BRAKES & PRESS. OK
3.*Propellers AS REQUIRED
1. No Smoking ON
2.*Mixtures AUTO-RICH & LOCKED
3. ADI AS REQUIRED
4. Cowl Flaps +4 degrees
AFTER LANDING ROLL CHECKLIST
1.*Wing Flaps UP
2.*Radar and Transponder OFF
1. Cowl Flaps OPEN
2. Heaters & De-icers OFF
3. ADI OFF
4. Gust Lock ON
5. Analyzer OFF
6. Side Window OPEN
SECURE COCKPIT CHECKLIST
1.*Parking Brake ON - PRESSURE CHECK
2.*Control Trim Tabs SET
3.*Engine Ignition OFF
1. Inverters OFF
2. Ground Blower AS REQUIRED
3. Ground Power AS REQUIRED
4. Cabin Heater AS REQUIRED
5. Prop Selector Switch MANUAL
6. Oil Cooler Switches OFF
7. Radio Master OFF