The consequences of a little distraction. Mundane task – closing cargo door can show the complexity of PMDG 777 systems simulation.
Did I mention how complex the simulation of Boeing 777 is? Let me describe the problem I had a moment ago. It was to be a short flight. Actually – I just want to take a few screenshots. That is why I allowed myself to get distracted – I just glanced at the checklist – obviously after so many flights I should know how to start this plane, don’t I? Finally – I am ready to taxi, with both engines on… and cargo door wide open.
I have already turned APU off before I noticed “Cargo Door” warning on EICAS display. Ok – no problem. That is what I thought when I opened FMC menu page, then Door page and when I clicked on the buttons that should have closed the door – CARGO FWD, CARGO AFT, CARGO BULK. Only the last closed. Forward and Aft door stayed open.
Some time ago I read that these door should not be closed or opened when engines are running. But why did the CARGO BULK door close? I check the manual again – forward and aft door are controlled electrically. Bulk cargo has manual door – that is why aircraft systems do not prevent this door from being closed.
To close the FWD and AFT door I turned the APU on and then turned both engines off. Annoyed by the delay I did not turn all unnecessary systems off (hydraulics and fuel pumps are still on) – under such load half of my cockpit went dark. A warning came up on the left CDU saying that only the left FMC works (like I did not know – the right one was dark).
The cargo door still would not close. First I needed to turn unnecessary systems off, then some time passed before cockpit systems were powered up and only then there was sufficient power to operate the door. Finally – I can got back to startup procedure and turned engines on.
That is why I like this plane so much. It is not only because of the graphics and animations or the flight model. I like it because it brings something more to Flight Simulator X. Some additional depth to the simulation. It’s complicated and it requires learning. It also shows you when you did something wrong.