The lowest central MFD is the Systems MFD, which displays the status of a multitude of aircraft systems. We will cover the Systems MFD capabilities in a later training session.
Since this is just an introductory lesson, we will not dwell on the minutia of the F-22 systems. We will get around to discussing the systems in detail in later lessons. Right now let’s get the engines started and take our fighter around the pattern to get a feel for her. Starting the engines is accomplished by hitting the left and right bracket keys on the keyboard. Interestingly, the TAW manual indicates that it is possible to start the engines using the Systems MFD:
Go to the Systems MFD by pressing 0 on your extended keypad. The MFD will already be displaying the startup screen, press the indicated red start button, when it is green all systems are live and the engines have been started.
Despite extensive searching, I’ve found no button on the Systems MFD that allows for engine start. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.
Once the engines are running you are free to move about the airport at will. TAW has the unique ability to handle all facets of your flight, from taxiing and takeoff all the way to approach and landing. This is an incredible bit of programming (in my opinion) and shows the depth that DID simulations feature. Although not a system on the real F-22 (that I’m aware of), the auto-taxi feature is nice if you are lost on the airport and don’t want to blunder around trying to find the active runway. Now is a good time to mention how thorough the voice communications are in TAW as well. ATC will give you all the instructions you need for taxi, takeoff and in the terminal area; again, a phenomenal job by the programmers.
To engage the autopilot for taxi and takeoff, simply go to the Systems MFD and select “A” at the bottom left to bring up the “AUTOPILOT” page on the MFD. Once the autopilot page is up, click on “TAKEOFF” and engage the autopilot by either pressing the “A” key or by pressing the big blue button labeled “MANUAL” at the bottom of the MFD. The button will turn red and say “AUTOPILOT” denoting that the autopilot has control of the aircraft. In order to assume manual control of the aircraft at any time the autopilot is engage, you can either press the “A” key to disengage it or manually click on the red “AUTOPILOT” box on the Systems MFD.
You’ll also notice that your airplane will frequently talk to you. When you engage the autopilot a soothing female voice will announce “autopilot engaged”. You’ll find that “Betty” will talk to you at different stages of flight and keep you advised of the status of your aircraft. If you don’t like “Betty” you can take off voice warnings by clicking the toggle switch labeled “VW” on the upper right side of the Systems MFD.