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Starting the Aircraft

This guide will assist you with starting your aircraft. It includes images to assist you with understanding the locations of all buttons and switches.


The level of detail in this guide is meant to teach a FlyByWire A320neo beginner to start the aircraft correctly.

A beginner is defined as someone familiar with flying a GA aircraft or different types of airliners. Aviation terminology and know-how is a requirement to fly any airliner even in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

You will find many great videos on YouTube on how to fly the FlyByWire A32NX.
Check out the FlyByWire YouTube Channel as well: FlyByWire on YouTube

Chapters / Phases

This guide will cover these chapters in order:

  1. Overhead Panel
  2. Main Panel


Aircraft is in a cold and dark state at a gate.

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Cockpit Preparation

To start off, we will begin by doing a few pre-checks in all areas of the cockpit to ensure the aircraft is in an normal position before turning on the batteries.

We begin by looking down at the bottom pedestal.

  • Place the parking brake handle in the ON position
  • Ensure the speed brakes have been disarmed/retracted
  • Flaps are retracted
  • Weather radar is switched off
  • Engine masters 1 and 2 are in the OFF position
  • Engine mode selector is set to NORM
  • Thrust levers are idle

This is how the pedestal should look like:


We then direct our attention to the main panel and make sure the following is set:

  • Gear lever is down

Then we look up at the overhead panel. Make sure the following are in the set position before moving on to starting the aircraft:

  • Wiper selectors are in the OFF position

Wiper Switch

Overhead Panel

Electrical section

We begin with turning on batteries BAT 1 AND 2. After pushing these buttons, we check to see on both sides that there is voltage. We will also hear chimes indicating the batteries are on.

To give power to the aircraft we will use the "Ground Power Unit". If ground power isn't available we can also use the APU.

If ground power is available, we should see a green AVAIL light on the EXT PWR button. Push on this button to give power to the aircraft.


If ground power isn't available, we turn on the APU. To do this, we simply push on the APU MASTER SW and START. The APU should be on within one minute.

APU Start

After powering the aircraft, we turn on the crew oxygen supply by pushing on the button, diminishing the white OFF light.

Crew Oxygen

ADIRS alignment

To align the Inertial Reference System (or IRS), we turn the 3 knobs to the NAV position. This will then start the IRS alignment for which we can view the progress on the ECAM display.

IRS alignment overhead



To indicate that the aircraft is powered from the exterior, we turn on the NAV & LOGO light.

Following this, we set the STROBE light to the AUTO position.

Exterior Lights


We can turn on a few lights to help with visibility inside if it is too dark inside the cockpit.

  • The DOME light has 3 settings to choose from. We can set it into the OFF position, the DIM position, or even the BRT position.
  • The OVHD INTEG LT will allow us to see the outlines of the overhead panel. Turning the knob will adjust its brightness.

Once our lighting is in the correct state:

  • Seat belts sign - Set to ON
  • No smoking sign - Set to AUTO

To arm the emergency exit lights, simply put the switch in the ARM position.The white OFF light to the left of the switch will disappear.

Looking up just a bit we find the LDG ELEV knob. This simply means the landing elevation which should be in the AUTO position.

3 Panels

Managing the temperatures of the cabin is necessary as well. Simply rotate the 3 knobs as needed.

Air Conditioning

Hydraulic and Fuel Section

Looking up at the hydraulic panel, we ensure that there are no white lights visible.

Fire Tests

To perform an APU and Engine fire test, hold down the TEST button for each of them for 5 seconds minimum to ensure the lights and aural warnings are working as expected. Checking the ECAM during the test will also show if the ECAM is performing as expected during a fire.

Just below the hydraulic panel, we find the fuel panel. Turn on all 6 fuel pumps until the white OFF light is no longer visible.

Fuel Pumps

Main Panel


The brightness for each display can be adjusted to make them better readable.

For the PFD and ND, the knobs are in the same location. Look left (or right when in first officer seat) of the PFD and find the brightness knobs for them. Simply turn both knobs as required.

PFD and ND brightness

For the ECAM upper and lower display, look just in front of the throttles and find the brightness knobs. Just like the PFD and ND knobs, rotate them as required.

ECAM brightness

For the ISIS display brightness (just left of the upper ECAM), use the + and - buttons until the brightness is suitable. While we are at the ISIS display, set the current QNH.


Radio Panel

Looking down at the radio panel, set the RMP 1 to the active ATIS frequency and set the standby frequency to the ground frequency.

Radio Panel

After setting correct frequencies, locate the BARO reference on the glareshield. We can set the barometer to either inHg or hPa by turning the grey inner selector behind the knob. For this flight ensure that we are set to QNH. This can be changed by "pushing" on the BARO knob (the tooltip will have an upwards arrow).

A note on QNH and QFE

Choosing between using QNH and QFE is a little beyond the scope of this guide. In most cases we will be flying using QNH.

  • QNH: Altimeter indicates height above sea level.

  • QFE: Altimeter indicates height above reference elevation in use (airfield or touchdown). This setting is usually tied to a procedure in use by the airfield, where when on the ground the altimeter will read 0.

Just below the barometer reference, turn on the FD. A green light indicates it has been turned on.

efis control

ECAM Fuel Page

Verify that on the ECAM fuel page that your aircraft has enough fuel for the flight.

If we do not have enough fuel for the flight we can refuel via Microsoft Flight Simulator's hovering menu bar or through the flyPad.

flyPad Fuel

At this point we would have completed 5/7 task on the Before Start section on the FlyByWire A32NX checklist.

Before Start Checklist

This concludes the Starting the Aircraft guide.

Continue with Preparing the MCDU.

Last update: September 10, 2021
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