Posted by: gehlm | 2010/01/20

Ground Operations


Learn how to perform a preflight check on a Cessna 172SP aircraft and prepare your aircraft for startup at Atlantic City International Airport (KACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Engine running, you’ll taxi and familiarize yourself with the airport using an FAA approved Airport Diagram. Next, you’ll park your airplane at the run-up short of runway 31 and perform the Before Takeoff procedure. Lastly, you’ll taxi back to the GA ramp and perform the Post Flight procedure.

Duration: 30 minutes


  1. Locate and print an Airport Diagram
  2. Preflight inspection and engine start utilizing the Checklister plugin
  3. Taxi using an Airport Diagram and the Airport Navigator plugin
  4. Perform the Before Takeoff procedure utilizing the Checklister plugin
  5. Perform the Post Flight procedures utilizing the Checklister plugin


Preflight Planning

Flights begin with preflight planning. In X-Plane this includes selecting your aircraft and location, configuring time and weather conditions, organizing navigational charts and planning your route. If you have not previously done so, install the Checklister plugin, Checklist for the Cessna 172SP and the Airport Navigator plugin.

Set your aircraft to the Cessna 172SP located at the Atlantic City International Airport (KACY) on a calm, sunny morning.

Print the Atlantic City Airport Diagram and familiarize yourself with the airport. Airport information for airports in the USA can be found at Simply type any airport code into the search box and press [shift][enter]. KACY Example.

Very shortly you will be taxiing from the General Aviation (GA) parking ramp to runway 31 via taxiway NOVEMBER, PAPA, DELTA, ALFA, BRAVO (see Aviation Alphabet). You’ll be taxiing a longer than normal route for practice.

KACY-Airport Taxi Route

KACY-Airport Diagram

Preflight Inspection

Once your flight has been planned, perform the Preflight Inspection checklist for your airplane. Checklists help you remember the critical items necessary for successful operation of an aircraft. Some X-Plane aircraft, like the Cessna 172SP have checklister plugin checklists which can be downloaded from The goal of preflight inspection is to make sure the control surfaces of you airplane are functioning properly (joystick, control yoke, keyboard).

Before Engine Start

Before starting the engine, check the fuel gauge to ensure the aircraft has enough fuel and that the fuel selector is set to Both. Set the Transponder code to 1200 for (VFR) flight and the mode to standby. Lastly, turn on the flashing red beacon light. The beacon is turned on just before the engine is started and remains active until the engine is shut down. The beacon helps to serve as a safety warning to ground personnel that the engine is operational.

Engine Starting

You are now ready to start the engine and ensure the engine instruments and warning lights are functioning properly. You will start the airplane with the throttle pushed 1/4 of the way in and the fuel mixture set to rich (full in). Turn the key and hear the engine start. Check the oil temperature and pressure. If the oil pressure needle does not enter the green arc within 30 seconds (60 seconds in cold weather), turn off the engine. Check the engine instruments, turn off the fuel pump and test the annunciator panel lights.

Before Taxiing

We’re almost ready to go! You’ll need to turn on the Navigation Lights and the Taxi Lights and recheck your altimeter settings before taxiing. Turn on the Avionics Master switch to turn on the radios. In future lessons you’ll learn how to use the radios for clearance and taxi instructions.


Hide the Checklister plugin and display the Airport Navigator plugin. Press [ctrl][shift][page up] to zoom into the map and [ctrl][shift][page down] to zoom out. Release the parking break ([B] key on the keyboard) and increase the throttle to begin moving. Tap the brakes to ensure proper operation. Once moving you can ease up on the throttle as it requires less power to keep the aircraft moving. Maintain a normal taxi speed with a maximum of 20 knots and reduce speed while turning. Keep the airplane centered on the yellow taxiway center line and continually scan forward, left and right for traffic (air traffic will not appear until later lessons).

Before Takeoff

Display the Checklister plugin again and follow the Before Takeoff procedure. Here you will perform a final check on your fuel, engine and oil pressure. Turn on the strobe light and keep it on while airborne. Finally, you will rotate the elevator trim wheel to the takeoff position and set the flaps to 10 degrees (optional). A this point you are ready for takeoff. In future lessons, you’ll learn how to radio for takeoff clearance and proceed to the runway for takeoff.

Post Flight Procedures

In this ground operations lesson, we will skip the takeoff and assume you just landed


Now its time to practice on your own. Perform the Cessna 172SP Preflight procedure as instructed above. Be sure to use the Checklister plugin to carry out the preflight procedure in the correct order. Use the Airport Navigator plugin to taxi and hold short of runway 31 via NOVEMBER, PAPA, DELTA, ALFA, BRAVO. When you are short of runway 31 taxi your aircraft to the run-up area and complete the before takeoff checklist.

Congratulations! You have begun your journey into the world of flight simulator education and enjoyment. By following the preflight and postflight procedures every time you fly, you are establishing consistent habits that will promote the use of checklists and planning before you take to the sky.