WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour – Leg 23

As the title reads, this is our 23rd leg of our 46 total leg journey around the world using the WorldFlight 2018 route schedule.  Upon completion of this flight, we will have reached the half-way point for our long, long journey.  As a reminder, as you are reading this on or around the 29th of August….My wife and I are still in Belgium and will be departing Antwerp in just a few days time to fly back to London.  Once reaching London, we’ll spend a week in the English countryside in the county of Kent.  As I write this in early August, I’m really excited about our trip…but still really busy with work.  But the days seem to be flying by at a fairly good pace and I’m sure I’ll get everything done that truly needs to be done before vacation starts. 

The magenta dots are cities/airports we’ve visited and the blue dots are cities/airports yet to be visited.  But we’re making progress as it seems like it was just yesterday we were turning the corner down in South Africa and that was many, many miles and hours ago. 

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History of City

Established in 1838, Tromso has a population of approx. 64,376 and is the 9th most populous municipality in Norway. It is the largest urban area in Northern Norway and is warmer than most other places due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream.

History of Country

Norway is a unitary sovereign state in Northwestern Europe whose core territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Norway has a total area of 148,747 square miles and a population of 5,258,317.

History of Airport

Tromso Airport began operations in 1864, replacing the older airport. It is the 5th busiest airport in Norway handling 1.9 million passengers annually.

History of Airline

Scandinavian Airlines, usually known as SAS is the flag carrier of Sweden, Norway and Denmark and operates out of its main hub at Copenhagen-Kastrup Airport with connections to over 50 cities in Europe.

Flight Briefing

SAS1066
ENVA – ENTC
Planned Fuel – 12,000 lbs
Planned Altitude – 39,000
Distance – 419nm
Flight Time – 1hr, 22min
Route:  NIGE1A NIGEX AMIMO AMIM4L

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Flight Journal

Not only has the Norway experience been a nice one for the flight crew, our travelers are also finding the Norway experience awesome as well.  Our group spent a few days exploring and now it’s time to move onto our second of three Norwegian cities on our tour.  Once again we’re departing in the late evening.  It’s nearly 9 PM and if not for the cloud cover, you might think it was only late afternoon. 

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Lining up and waiting for our take off clearance.  For this flight we’re moving a Boeing 737-600 up to Tromso.  The last time we flew this variant of the 737 was the JANET flight out to Diego Garcia. 

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Up, up and away once again.

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Wing view to the right

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Wing view to the left

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Our Scandinavian Boeing 736 at flight level 390.  (39,000 feet)

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More of those fluffy clouds.

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Beginning our descent into Tromso, Norway.

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Absolutely love the arrival into Tromso.  Reminds me of some of my favorite flying spots in Alaska. 

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Approaching 10:30 and the sun is still high in the sky. 

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The descent path is taking us over some beautiful mountains and Fjords.  I’ve definitely got to come back here for some low and slow bush flying. 

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On final into Tromso.

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Short final into Tromso

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Under a very cloudy sky, it’s approaching 11 PM and still light enough to see what we’re doing. 

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Simulator Specifics

Prepar3d v4.3
ActiveSky Weather Engine
ActiveSky Cloud Art
Envtex & Envshade
PMDG Boeing 737-800 (Scandinavian livery)
Orbx Global Texture
VATSIM

Route Planning Tools

AivlaSoft & PFPX
Navigraph Charts Desktop
FlightAware
FlightRadar24
SkyVector
Google Maps

Computer Hardware Specs

This was another fantastic flight and as previously mentioned, marks the completion of the first half of the tour.  Our travelers will spend two days exploring the Tromso area before another late evening departure to Svalbard.  This will mark our third and final stop in Norway before we turn west towards Greenland and North America. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour – Leg 22

As you are reading this tour update entry, my wife and I have hopefully (I wrote this obviously in advance) safely arrived in Antwerp Belgium and are enjoying ourselves visiting family and seeing a few sights in the area.  I believe this is my 7th or 8th time to visit Belgium and we always find new things to do and revisit a few places again.  We’ll stay in Belgium for a week, then return back to England where we will stay a week out in the English Countryside of Kent.  But don’t worry…while I’m traveling around Belgium and England, you’ll still have regular/scheduled tour updates over the next two weeks.  Plus if you are somewhat new to study level aircraft, I’ll be releasing an article on 3 September with tips on how I learn these complex aircraft.

It’s been a whirlwind of travel and touring the past couple of weeks for our jetsetters.  The week of relaxation experienced by all back on the island of Madeira is all but a distant memory.  But not to worry, once we reach Svalbard, Norway…we’ll once again pause travel for a week before heading west across to Greenland and North America.

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History of City

Trondheim, founded in 997 as a trading post and served as the capital of Norway during the Viking Age until 1217. Today, Trondheim has a population of 193,501 and is the third most populous municipality in Norway.

History of Country

Norway is a unitary sovereign state in Northwestern Europe whose core territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Norway has a total area of 148,747 square miles and a population of 5,258,317.

History of Airport

Trondheim Airport, is an international airport serving Trondheim, a city and municipality in Trondelag County, Norway. The main airlines at the airport are Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Wilderoe.

History of Airline

Norwegian Air Shuttle, is a Norwegian low-cost airline. It is the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe behind EasyJet and Ryanair and the ninth-largest low-cost airline in the world and the largest airline in Scandinavia.

Flight Briefing

NAX1066
EGNM – ENVA
Planned Fuel – 15,000 lbs
Planned Altitude – 37,000
Distance – 694nm
Flight Time – 1hr, 55min
Route:  POL UP17 TIPTA UM82 RIVOT UM89 ALOTI T400 ZOL P5 TOTKO Z86 NELSU NELS1L

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Flight Journal

While our stay in Leeds may have been short, our travelers packed a whole lot of touristy things into the time they had available.  Visits to the Royal Armouries Museum, Harewood House and Kirkstall Abbey.  I think some of our travelers were a bit confused when they learned Leeds Castle is not located in Leeds, England.  Well that’s down in Kent and is one of the spots my wife and I plan to visit on our European holiday.  But I digress….

Our chariot (A Norwegian Boeing 737-800) awaits us at the Leeds Airport.  The ground crew here has been spectacular at helping us keep to our schedule.

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Pushing back from the stand and getting our engines started.

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It’s actually late evening, but being this far north the sun doesn’t set until fairly late.  We’ll arrive into Norway well after 10 PM and it should still be daylight.

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Up, up and away….

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Our Orbx EU England ground textures are really providing the nice eye candy for our departure across northern England.  Looks like some really nice farm land down there.

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Naturally all the other add-ons I’m running to enhance the weather, sky textures, colors etc. are all doing a fantastic job here.

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As a child, my wife believed if she had a plastic bag and a tall enough ladder that she could scoop up the puffy clouds and place them in the plastic bag.  Who can really argue against that possibility?

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Norwegian honors various individuals by incorporating their likeness into their liveries.  The individual featured here is Max Manus who was a Norwegian resistance fighter during WWII.  You can read more about Max here.

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The Fjords of Norway are visible as we are flying over Norway.  Orbx Global Texture does a fantastic job keeping the visual senses filled with immersion.

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We’ll soon reach our top of descent.

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I really like the Norwegian livery.

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The view from the “left seat”.

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I realize I may have gone a bit overboard with the images for this posting.  But the views and ground textures are simply amazing.

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Making our turn along the arrival into Trondheim.

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The shadows are getting long, but still very much light at almost 10 PM.

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Making our turn on final approach with the city of Trondheim just off the right wing.

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Gear down.

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Another view from the right wing on final approach.

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Can’t have the left wing get jealous….What a view across the Trondheim Fjord.

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Norwegian Flight 1066 cleared to land.

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This approach over the water somewhat reminded me of landing at SFO.

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At the gate and shutting down.  We’ll soon depart for Tromso, Norway (our second of three Norwegian destinations).

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Simulator Specifics

Prepar3d v4.3
ActiveSky Weather Engine
ActiveSky Cloud Art
Envtex & Envshade
PMDG Boeing 737-800 (Norwegian livery)
Orbx Global Texture
Orbx EU England
VATSIM

Route Planning Tools

AivlaSoft PFPX
Navigraph Charts Desktop
FlightAware
FlightRadar24
SkyVector
Google Maps

Computer Hardware Specs

Of the twenty-two flights of this years tour, this was one of my favorite as the views of this part of the world are extraordinary.  This is certainly a place I hope to visit someday in real life.  Until then…I’ll certainly do more flying in this part of the world.  As Real As It Gets Right?

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

FlightSimStore Follow-up and Closure

Just a little over one month ago, I wrote about the FlightSimStore, their demise and my own personal story regarding an issue I had been experiencing in attempting to upgrade a flight sim add-on aircraft.  If you happened to miss this article, I encourage you to read it first as it will provide much of the backstory which I’ll omit from this follow-up and closure article.

One thing I do want to reiterate from the previous article.  My decision to write about my struggles with the FlightSimStore was not in any way meant to name & shame the add-on aircraft developer (who I’ll name in just a minute).  In addition, my intention was to not an effort to get something for nothing.  I simply wanted to alert the flight sim community to be careful about making future purchases from the FlightSimStore and to also protect their investment by downloading their purchases and making copies of their purchase receipts/transactions.

Our Community

The flight sim community is small and I believe we’re a special breed of simulation gamer.  While I’ll always argue that flight simulation is NOT just a game, it’s a simulation….but to the outside world it is just a game.  But I believe our community which is comprised of those of us who enjoy flight simulation and those who develop the add-ons are a very special breed of gamer.  I would wager to guess that nearly each and every developer of flight sim add-ons are also flight simmers.  While capitalism and the free enterprise system makes it possible for those developers to operate a business, employee others and market their creations….I believe they also do it because they love and care about the hobby of flight simulation.  After all, it shows in their finished product and it shows in the way they support their customers.

Thank you Majestic Software

Yes, the aircraft add-on which all this has been about is the Majestic Bombardier Dash-8 Q400.  I originally purchased this aircraft from the FlightSimStore back in May 2016 for Prepar3d v3.x.  Again, I direct you to my published article from early July for all the backstory details.

As I explained back in July, I reached out to Majestic for their help.  While it took a few weeks for Majestic Software to provide a solution, I certainly don’t fault them for the delay.  Majestic Software relies on their online partners/retailers to market and sell their add-ons to the flight sim community.  Other than technical support, this partnership handles all the rest.  For a small business, this usually a fantastic relationship as it allows the developer to do what they do best, while leaving financial transactions, bookkeeping etc. to someone else.  While some developers may sell direct and also market through online retailers, Majestic Software only utilizes online retailers.  So naturally Majestic needed a few weeks to work with their other online retailers on a solution.

The Solution

If you are like me and originally purchased your Q400 from the FlightSimStore and either need to download your aircraft again, or wish to upgrade it to the 64 bit version for P3D v4, then just follow the steps below.

+++ATTENTION FLIGHT SIM STORE CUSTOMERS+++

Over the past few months there has been some difficulty for Flight Sim Store Customers who purchased the download versions of the Majestic Software products. We are now making the downloads available to customers who have originally purchased the Q400 from the Flight Sim Store.

1. Acquire the full installers for your originally purchased Q400 Edition:
Since FSS no longer allows users to download products, we now provide the full installers of the MJC Q400 to all customers who purchased the Q400 from Flight Sim Store.

2. Where can Flight Sim Store users gain access to the new installers?

The new installers are accessible via the USER AREA which can be found on the Majestic Software website.

3. The Flight Sim Store customers who would like to upgrade their existing Q400 edition, can write to our Support Department (support (at) majesticsoftware (dot) com). Be sure to include supporting credentials used for the purchase of your original Q400.
a. Order Number
b. Vendor
c. Email address used with purchase
d. Full name used with purchase
e. Indicate which 64 bit version of the Q400 you are interested in upgrading to

Please note:
This announcement is applicable ONLY to owners of the Majestic Software PILOT and PRO Editions of the Q400.

The Majestic Software Team

Final Thoughts

I’m once again a very happy virtual pilot.  I once again have the Q400 in my virtual hangar and I can’t wait to install a few liveries and fly it once again.  Of course, it’s been well over a year since I’ve flown it and it’ll be a few weeks before I get the chance to start the learning process all over again.  I must state for the record, the Q400 is perhaps the most difficult aircraft I have in my virtual hangar.  As a reminder I own a lot of add-ons including all PMDG offerings for P3D v4, the QW787, CS757 and many others.  The Q400 challenges me in a good way and I look forward to flying this beautiful aircraft and learning even more than I knew before.  Thank you Majestic Software!

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour – Leg 21

Ladies, Gentlemen and Children of ALL AGES, the time is here….as you’re reading this edition of the WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour blog update, we’re T-Minus ~ 24 hours from the start of our European vacation.  We will be departing Denver for London Heathrow on the British Airways daily flight.  Our flight leaves (if on time) at 19:35 on Thursday and we arrive in London just before lunch (11:35 AM) the next day.  We’ll spend a few hours making our way across London to London City Airport where we will fly to Antwerp, Belgium.  This all makes for a super long day, but the business class seat on the BA flight does help as we both can get a few hours sleep.

But not to worry…I’ve worked hard the past couple of weeks to not only complete ALL items on my honey-do list…but also complete enough flights in advance to keep up with the twice weekly updates during the time we’re away, plus a few extra.  Once we return from vacation, I plan to increase the blog release schedule to release three updates per week just so I can wrap up the tour around the time the real tour will complete around 10 November.  Of course, there’s more motivation to have the tour completed prior to 20 November as that is the day Farming Simulator 19 releases.  YEA!!!

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History of City

The City of Leeds dates back to 1207, when Maurice Paynel granted a charter covering a small area adjacent to a crossing of the River Aire. Today Leeds has a population around 784,000 making it the second largest city in England.

History of Country

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and shares borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the West. The best known evidence of human presence in the area dates back to approx. 780,000 years ago.

History of Airport

Leeds Bradford Airport began operations in 1931 as Yeadon Aerodrome. The Leeds airport is the highest airport in all of England at an elevation of 681 feet and the 15th busiest airport in the UK. It serves as a base for Eastern Airways, Jet2 and Ryanair.

History of Airline

British Airways is the flag carrier and largest airline in the UK based on fleet size. Established in 1974 after a merger of four airlines, British Airways serves over 160 destinations around the world and has a fleet size of over 270 aircraft.

Flight Briefing

BAW1066
EDDL – EGNM
Planned Fuel – 11,000 lbs
Planned Altitude – 36,000
Distance – 345nm
Flight Time – 1hr, 25min
Route:  SONE7T SONEB UP64 TENLI UL602 SUPUR UL60 KOLAG L60 SOPEK L989 BODSO Y70 GOLES BATLI

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Flight Journal

After a short stay and tour around the Dusseldorf area of Germany, our travelers must move on to our next destination in the WorldFlight 2018 tour with that being the city of Leeds, England.  While not the shortest flight of the tour (that was the last flight) this flight is just under 350nm away, with a flying time of just under 90 minutes.  For this leg we’re ferrying a British Airways Airbus A319 up to Leeds where it is scheduled to resume normal service.

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While our travelers enjoy the more roomy/spacious Boeing 787, 777 or even the 737 (or Airbus A320), for a short flight like this, the A319 will do the job and we’re just fortunate to have the support and use of this BA aircraft.

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We’re lined up and waiting for our take off clearance.  We were just behind a larger Boeing 772 and need to allow a bit of separation to avoid any wake turbulence caused by the larger aircraft.

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All safe now, cleared for take-off and we’re airborne.

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Making our turn to join the departure.  The Rhine River is below us.

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The greater Dusseldorf area as we climb to our cruising altitude.

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Just off the coast of Holland as we fly over Amsterdam headed towards the North Sea.

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A wing view over looking the clouds building over the North Sea.

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Making great progress.

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Land Ho…the coast of England coming into view.  We’ll soon begin our descent.

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On final approach into Leeds.

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Leeds

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Cleared to land.

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Parked at the gate in Leeds, England.

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Simulator Specifics

Prepar3d v4.3
ActiveSky Weather Engine
ActiveSky Cloud Art
Envtex & Envshade
FlightSim Labs Airbus A319 (British Airways livery)
Orbx Global Texture
Orbx EU England
VATSIM

Route Planning Tools

AivlaSoft PFPX
Navigraph Charts Desktop
FlightAware
FlightRadar24
SkyVector
Google Maps

Computer Hardware Specs

Finally, some cooler weather.  It appears the heat wave which has kept much of the UK and Europe has finally broken its hold on the area.  Nice and normal daytime temps in the mid 70’s have moved into the area.  Our travelers will spend three days in the Leeds area before heading to our first of three stops in Norway.  We’re just two legs away from reaching the half-way point of our tour.  I appreciate you coming along for the ride.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

The Joy of Study Level Aircraft

Not everyone appreciates the joy of study level aircraft in the flight sim world.  At one point in time, I was one of these individuals.  My argument (and I believed at the time it was a valid one), was simply I just didn’t have the available time to spend 30 minutes or more on the ground flipping switches and programming a complex FMS.  I simply wanted to spend less time kicking the tires, and more time lighting the fires and flying.

It must sound strange…

…to a non-flight sim enthusiast that anyone would spend the amount of money and time on a hobby like this, but truly have no desire to learn to fly in the real world.  The argument is a valid one, I’ve spent at least a high four figures (perhaps five) over the years which would have more than paid the costs of obtaining my PPL.  While I absolutely love flying in real life (as a passenger), I just simply don’t share the same interest in obtaining my private pilots license.

There’s No Right or Wrong Way

Something my YouTube viewers have heard me say many, many times.  There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy the hobby of flight simulation.   I recently wrote an article titled, “Default/Freeware Aircraft in P3D v4” where I discussed some of the history of both default and freeware aircraft and the fact that there is nothing wrong with using these models to simulate flight.  As I was writing that article, I saw a comment posted in one of the Facebook groups I follow.  The individual discussed the fact that he simply doesn’t have the time to study, study level aircraft.  He expressed many of the same reasons for not flying the complex study level aircraft which I mentioned in the first paragraph and his bottom line was he wanted to spend time flying for maximum enjoyment to escape the stresses of his day-to-day hectic life. Sound familiar?  It does to me.

While I’ll always argue and defend the fact there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy flight simulation.  I’ll also add that over the years I’ve found I actually get the maximum enjoyment from the more complex, study level, payware aircraft I once avoided.

Point A to Point B and EVERYTHING In-between

I absolutely enjoy all aspects of flight simulation.  I enjoy the flight planning, the setup of the aircraft, the taxi, departure, climb, cruise, descent, arrival, approach, landing, taxi…..basically everything.  To me, a flight from point A to point B isn’t complete unless all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed.  Yes, it takes some time.  But over the years I’ve developed a process which I use to both learn and also fly these types of aircraft.

New Tutorial Series

The past two articles I’ve written did get me to thinking that I should share my processes for how I conduct my flights with the payware, study level aircraft I enjoy flying.  I’ve only really started the frame work portion of how I draft and write my articles so I’m not sure just how many tutorials or how in-depth they’ll actually be.  But in keeping with my philosophy of “There’s No Right or Wrong Way”, if you are the type of simmer who enjoys dressing up like a real world airline captain and working through each and every checklist, then most likely you’ll not get a lot out of these future tutorials.  HOWEVER, if you desire not to spend greater than 30 minutes, 45 minutes or even up to an hour on the ground just to enjoy a flight…then perhaps you’ll learn something from these upcoming tutorials.  We’ll see.

The first article will focus mainly on how I learn/study the process of flying a new aircraft and I hope to bring that to you within the next week or so.  As I’m looking at my calendar, I have two work related trips I’ll be taking in July, followed by one in early August.  Then my wife and I are leaving for Belgium/England for two weeks in late August, early September.  I honestly can’t wait for this vacation, but will do my best to at the very least get the tutorial series started before vacation.

As always, thanks for reading.  Until next time….happy flying!

Jerry

P.S.  You can read my other Flight Sim Tutorials, by clicking Flight, then Flight Sim Tutorials on the GrizzlyBearSims website.

WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour – Leg 20

Before I get going with this tour update, I just wanted to give a brief shout-out to my fellow virtual pilots from virtual United Airlines.  I recently joined this fine virtual airline and one of the members posted a friendly note in the forums about my blog site.  Thank you!  If you’re looking for a friendly, relaxed virtual airline…visit vUAL and fill out an application.  When I’m back from vacation in mid September, I’ll do a proper write up on this wonderful VA.  I’m having a lot of fun flying the friendly skies for vUAL and so can you.

As I’ve been keeping you informed on my honey-do list progress the past few tour updates, I’m pleased to let you know that as we’re less than six days from leaving on our real world European vacation, the list is almost 100% done.  This blog posting is releasing on Saturday, 18 August and hopefully by the time the sun sets on Sunday…the list will be done.  I’m fairly confident the list will be completed, but to be honest the few remaining tasks are not critical to our leaving and if they get done, they get done…otherwise I’m not going to stress over it.  As my father often says, “Life is just too short to stress over the little things”.  I agree….Let’s go flying!

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History of City

Dusseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the 7th most populous city in Germany. Dusseldorf is known for its academy of fine arts, its pioneering influence on electronic/experimental music and its Japanese community. Located on the river Rhine, Dusseldorf is ranked 6th in the most livable city in the world.

History of Country

Germany is a sovereign state in central-western Europe. It includes 16 states covering an area of over 137,000 square miles. Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union with an approx. 83 million inhabitants.

History of Airport

The Dusseldorf airport is located approx. 4.3 miles north of downtown Dusseldorf. The airport is the 3rd largest airport in Germany after Frankfurt and Munich handling 24.5 million passengers in 2017. It is a hub for Eurowings and serves as a focus city for many other airlines.

History of Airline

Eurowings is a German low-cost airline based in Dusseldorf and a fully owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group. Founded in 1996, it serves a network of domestic and European destinations and some long-haul routes.

Flight Briefing

EWG1066
LSZH – EDDL
Planned Fuel – 11,000 lbs
Planned Altitude – 28,000
Distance – 240nm
Flight Time – 1hr, 15min
Route: DEGE2S DEGES Z1 ETAGO DCT HAREM/N0462F340 UN851 LOHRE Z850 ADEMI T854 DOMUX DOMU2G

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Flight Journal

You might remember back a few legs (Leg 13), this was the longest leg of the tour with a flight distance of 2,130 miles.  This leg, leg #20 will be our shortest leg of the entire tour measuring only 240 miles.  But regardless of the distance, the same amount of planning is required.  As we’re a bit rushed to get out of Zurich, we’ll start with push-back and engine start up.

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Climbing out via our departure.

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One last look at Zurich Airport as we circle around to join our departure route.

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A quick climb to flight level 280 (28,000 feet) and head towards Dusseldorf.

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Our Eurowings Airbus A319 cruising over Germany.

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Beginning our descent.

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The Rhine River is visible below.

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Making our turn to join the visual approach.

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The Dusseldorf airport ahead.

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Bugs on the windshield?  Yep, this is an immersion feature of the FSLabs A319 (soon to be coming to the A320).  The windshield will become a bit dirty with bug splats which can only be cleaned while on the ground.

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Parked at the gate and deboarding our passengers.

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Unloading the bags from another successful flight.

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That bag looks heavy.  I’m sure that bag belongs to my wife.

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Simulator Specifics

Prepar3d v4.3
ActiveSky Weather Engine
ActiveSky Cloud Art
Envtex & Envshade
FlightSim Labs Airbus A319 (Eurowings livery)
Orbx Global Texture
VATSIM

Route Planning Tools

AivlaSoft PFPX
Navigraph Charts Desktop
FlightAware
FlightRadar24
SkyVector
Google Maps

Computer Hardware Specs

Once again our stay in Dusseldorf will be rather short as we’ll be departing for Leeds in just under 80 hours.  But that will give our travelers enough time to explore the area and enjoy their stay here.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour – Leg 19

As I mentioned in the previous tour update, the honey do list has been growing at a pace faster than I’ve been able to keep up with.  But it seems as if everything that needs to be on the list, has been placed on the list and a hard days work last Saturday has things looking pretty good.  There’s a good chance I won’t be left at home with chores to do while my wife enjoys vacation without me.  LOL  Of course, she wouldn’t do that…right?  Let’s get right into the tour update so I’ll have some time to get back to the list.

As you can tell from the updated tour map below, the color magenta is slowly, but surely beginning to take a bigger presence on the map.  While we haven’t yet reached the half-way mark, we’re very, very close.

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History of City

Founded by the Romans in 15 BC, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in north-central Switzerland and has an estimated population of just over 400,000. Today Zurich is a leading golabl city and among the world’s largest financial centers despite having a relatively small population. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking companies. The official language of Zurich is German.

History of Country

Switzerland is a sovereign state in Europe and consists of 26 cantons (similar to states) with the city of Bern serving as the seat of the federal authorities. Switzerland is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland has existed in its current form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. However, the oldest traces of human existence in Switzerland dates back about 150,000 years.

History of Airport

The Zurich Airport, known as Kloten Airport, is the largest international airport of Switzerland and the principle hub of Swiss International Airlines.

History of Airline

Swiss International Air Lines is the national airline of Switzerland and operates scheduled services in Europe and North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport with a focus city operation in Geneva. Swiss operates a fleet of 86 aircraft of which all but 10 are Airbus. They operate 10 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Flight Briefing

SWR1066
LEBL – LSZH
Planned Fuel – 15,000 lbs
Planned Altitude – 36,000
Distance – 462nm
Flight Time – 1hr, 45min
Route: DALI2P DALIN UN870 MAXIR UN853 MOBLO UZ662 LAMUR Z57 DOPIL DCT

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Flight Journal

As we’ve officially entered the European segment of our world tour and while we’re still not at the half-way point, there’s still a level of accomplishment to be pleased about.  The next few flights will have us visiting Switzerland (next stop), Germany, England and Norway.  We’ll actually visit three different cities/airports in Norway before turning and heading towards Greenland.  But before we can get to Greenland, we must depart Barcelona for Zurich.

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Lined up and waiting for our take-off clearance.  It’s a hot day today in Barcelona and our travelers are ready for a cooler (hopefully) stay in Zurich.  But then again, all of Europe is currently suffering under heat wave conditions, but thankfully the hotel has air conditioning.

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Up and away from Barcelona.

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Heading out over the beautiful Balearic Sea towards the South of France.

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Snow in the Alps…that’s a welcome sight.

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With the recent high temperatures, I highly doubt there is that much snow in the Alps.  But it’s still pretty to look at and I can confirm (living near the Rocky Mountains) that our high mountain peaks will still have snow on the very top usually through much of July and into August.

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Beginning our descent into Zurich.

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Runway in sight

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The Swiss countryside.  I hope to visit Switzerland someday in real life.  My wife actually lived in Switzerland for several years before we met.

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Short final view from the flight deck.

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Another Swiss Air just pushing back from their gate and about to depart Zurich.

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Parked up at our gate and in the process of deboarding.

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Simulator Specifics

Prepar3d v4.3
ActiveSky Weather Engine
ActiveSky Cloud Art
Envtex & Envshade
FlightSim Labs Airbus A320 (Swiss Air livery)
Orbx Global Texture
VATSIM

Route Planning Tools

AivlaSoft PFPX
Navigraph Charts Desktop
FlightAware
FlightRadar24
SkyVector
Google Maps

Computer Hardware Specs

Our travelers will spend a little over 72 hours in Zurich before we pack up and head to Germany.  Until then, I hope you are having a wonderful month of August and enjoying the tour.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour – Leg 18

As the weeks of summer quickly tick by, so do our flight legs.  With a third of the tour safely in the books, we’re closing in on the half-way mark.  Life of course is busy, busy, busy for me right now.  With less than two full weeks before my wife and I fly to Belgium, I’m struggling to keep up with the honey-do list.  It seems for every item I manage to check off, there are a couple more items added.  At this rate, I’m really not sure when it all will get done.  But the good news for me is I did manage to convince her that we don’t start anything new until after we return, so for now the tasks more or less all involve finishing up a few small projects and then just focusing on things that MUST be done prior to leaving.  But of course, this brings up the dreaded “S” word….yes….shopping!  Wish me luck!

I hope you enjoyed the write up from tour leg #17.  I can’t wait to find another reason to fly into Madeira.  I think (for now) this has been one of my favorite legs.  As I had never flown into the island before, the visual approach was slightly stressful.  Now of course if you are not a flight simmer, perhaps you can’t understand how a flight made in a simulator can be stressful.  I guess that’s just the immersion and perhaps the closest thing I can compare this to with other simulation based games might be the stress we feel when we’re running late on an ETS2 or ATS delivery job or perhaps the final days of fall in Farming Simulator and the weather forecast shows rain, but you still have over half of your crops still on the field.  It’s a good level of stress and again it just further adds to the immersion.  After all, I think that’s one of the reasons we all enjoy our simulation based games so much.

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History of City

Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. Founded as a Roman City in approx. 15 BC, in the middle ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona and later merged with the Kingdom of Aragon. Today Barcelona is the home to around 4.8 million people, making it the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London and Madrid.

History of Country

Spain is a sovereign state mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. With an area of 195, 360 square miles, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union and the fourth largest country in the European continent.

History of Airport

The Barcelona-El Prat International Airport is located 7.5 miles southwest of the center of Barcelona. It is the second largest and second busiest airport in Spain behind Madrid-Barajas Airport and the 7th busiest in all of Europe.

History of Airline

Vueling Airlines is a Spanish low-cost airline based in Barcelona with hubs in Barcelona-El Prat and Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome. Its name comes from the Spanish word vuelo, which means flight. It is the largest airline in Spain by fleet size and the number of destinations it serves. Vueling serves over 100 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Flight Briefing

VLG1066
LPMA – LEBL
Planned Fuel – 21,000 lbs
Planned Altitude – 36,000
Distance – 1037nm
Flight Time – 2hr, 45min
Route: DEGU3N DEGUN DCT NARTA/N0410F180 B18 ESP G52 MAGUM/N0452F240 UN870 PORLI/N0457F370 DCT UREDI/N0455F380 UN870 RBO/N0451F240 R870 PONEN/N0454F380 UT600 CASPE DCT

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Flight Journal

The extra few days we’ve stayed on the beautiful island of Madeira have made a huge difference with the morale and attitudes for all.  Our travelers and crew have enjoyed time on the beach, a few diving excursions and just the relaxation of not being under a tight schedule.  But it’s time we resume the tour and head into the continent of Europe.  Next stop…Spain!

We’re shuttling this Vueling Airbus A320 over to Barcelona.  But before we can depart, we need fuel.

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Myself, my first officer and cabin crew typically arrive about an hour before our flight to get the aircraft ready for departure.  Our travelers have now made their way to the airport and are in the process of boarding.

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But of course, we can’t leave until all bags have been loaded and the ground crew here are doing a great job helping us stick to our scheduled departure.

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The ground crew attaching the tow bar and push truck to our A320.

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Gear going up and off we go headed towards Spain.

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One last look at the island of Madeira.  I’ll be back…..

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High above the clouds at a cruising altitude of 36,000 feet.

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The west coast of Portugal.

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Beginning our descent into Barcelona, Spain.  Our arrival will bring us out over the Balearic Sea.

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Final approach into Barcelona.

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The Spanish coast looks nice.

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Cleared to land.

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On the ground in Barcelona, Spain.

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Simulator Specifics

Prepar3d v4.3
ActiveSky Weather Engine
ActiveSky Cloud Art
Envtex & Envshade
FlightSim Labs Airbus A320 (Vueling livery)
Orbx Global Texture
Aerosoft Madeira X Evolution (LMPA)
VATSIM

Route Planning Tools

AivlaSoft PFPX
Navigraph Charts Desktop
FlightAware
FlightRadar24
SkyVector
Google Maps

Computer Hardware Specs

Another spectacular flight in the books.  Once again we’ll resume our faster paced touring schedule and will be departing Barcelona in just three short days and we’ll knock out the European portion of the tour in just a few weeks (hopefully).  We’ll slow things back down again once we reach Norway.  As always, thank you so much for reading the tour progress articles.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

WorldFlight 2018 GBS Tour – Leg 17

Our next destination has somewhat been on my Flight Sim “Bucket List” for some time.  The small island airport of Funchal-Madeira features one of the more challenging approaches of any airport we’ll be encountering on our tour.  The airport is on the list of the 10 most dangerous airports in the world.   If you would like to watch a YouTube video featuring an Airbus A320 making the approach and landing into Funchal, watch this video

While the majority of our airport destinations have been on default P3D scenery, I’m pleased to be able to feature the Aerosoft payware scenery for the Funchal-Madeira airport.  This will both enhance my immersion of the approach and landing, but also give us more more to look at as well.  In addition, this is also the first time I’ve ever attempted this approach and landing.  As I previously mentioned, Funchal-Madeira has been on my bucket list for some time, but as I didn’t have the scenery, I wanted to wait before I attempted it.  Hopefully we’ll get our Airbus A320 on the ground safely as we begin the European portion of our tour. 

Speaking of Europe.  You’re reading this edition of our long tour on Wednesday, 8 August and in two weeks, + 1 day my wife and I will head out to Denver International Airport for our British Airways flight from Denver to London Heathrow.  We’re both very much ready for our European vacation to Antwerp Belgium.  We’ll spend one week in Belgium and one week in the English countryside before returning to Denver.  For the most part, I plan on being mostly unplugged from social media during the two weeks abroad.  However, I may occasionally post some pictures and comments in Discord.  But no guarantees.  But enough about all that…let’s get this journey started.  I can’t wait to attempt this approach.

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History of City

Funchal is the largest city, municipal seat and the capital of Portugal’s Autonomous Region of the island of Madeira. The city has a population of 111,892 which makes it the 6th largest city in Portugal and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries. Because of its high cultural and historical value, Funchal is one of Portugal’s main tourist destinations.

History of Country

Madeira is an archipelago of Portugal and lies in the North Atlantic Ocean southwest of Portugal. The total population is estimated to be 267,785. Madeira was claimed by Portuguese sailors in 1419 and settled sometime after 1420. The archipelago is considered to be the first territorial discovery of the exploratory period of the Age of Discovery. Today, Madeira is a popular year-round resort, being visited every year by about 1.4 million tourists (almost 5 times the population).

History of Airport

The Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo is located 8.2 miles east-northeast of the regional capital of Funchal. Officially opened in 1964, the airport runways have been updated multiple times over the years. Often considered to be the Kai Tak of Europe because of its singular approach to runway 05, the runway was extended to its current 9,124 foot length using a concrete platform partly over the ocean. In 2016, it was announced that the airport would be renamed Madeira International Airport Cristiano Ronaldo in honor of Madeira native football player Cristiano Ronaldo.

History of Airline

Air Arabia Maroc (not to be confused with Royal Air Maroc) is a Moroccan low-cost airline, setup as a joint venture between various Moroccan investors and Air Arabia. The low-cost carrier was launched on 29 April 2009 and started operations that same year with its maiden flight serving Casablanca to London Stansted. Still a small airline, operating 7 Airbus A320’s serving Brussels, London, Marseille, Milan and Paris.

Flight Briefing

MAC1066
GMAD – LPMA
Planned Fuel – 16,520 lbs
Planned Altitude – 36,000
Distance – 403nm
Flight Time – 1hr, 30min
Route:

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Flight Journal

As previously mentioned, the past few legs of our world tour have been fast paced.  Since leaving Cape Town, we’ve spent less than 48 hours in each of the locations we’ve landed and both our travelers and crew are starting to grow a bit weary and I believe we all could benefit from slowing the pace down slightly.  I believe our stay on the island of Madeira will do wonders for travelers and crew alike. 

One really couldn’t ask for better flying weather for this leg.  We have some mid afternoon clouds starting to build in Morocco.  We’re loading the fuel needed for the 90 minute flight onto our Airbus A320. 

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Our passengers have arrived.

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And so has the luggage

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Time to pushback.

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Take-off clearance received and acknowledged.  Let’s Go!

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Off we go into the wild blue yonder…

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We’ve made our turn to join the departure and the airport is just off the right side.

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Another turn before heading out into the North Atlantic.

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Goodbye Africa

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Cruising at Flight Level 360

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Nice and simple livery for the A320

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The island of Madeira coming into view as we descend into the area. 

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The runway at LPMA just to the left.   Our approach takes us west of the island and then back around.

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Island view

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The airport just off to our right side. 

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Making our final turn on the visual approach for runway 05.

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We have the runway in sight and we’re cleared to land runway 05 at LPMA.

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Safely on the ground at Madeira. 

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Simulator Specifics

Prepar3d v4.3
ActiveSky Weather Engine
ActiveSky Cloud Art
Envtex & Envshade
FlightSim Labs Airbus A320 (Air Arabia Maroc livery)
Orbx Global Texture
Aerosoft Madeira X Evolution (LMPA)
VATSIM

Route Planning Tools

AivlaSoft PFPX
Navigraph Charts Desktop
FlightAware
FlightRadar24
SkyVector
Google Maps

Computer Hardware Specs

This was a very enjoyable flight with a challenging, but fun approach and landing.  It was nice to be able to check this airport off my flight sim bucket list and I’ll certainly be returning here for more flights down the road.  Our group will stay here for several days before departing for Barcelona, Spain. 

The overall progress of the tour is coming along nicely. The next leg is a little over 1000 miles, but then we hit a series of really short hops of just a few hundred miles each.  I plan to crank out a few of these flights in quick fashion so I can continue with two sessions per week while I’m on vacation.  Once I return from vacation in mid September, I’ll resume flying the tour legs and hopefully will be able to increase the blog writings to three per week just to try to wrap up the tour around the time of the actual event. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

VATSIM, POSCON & The Days of Our Lives

When I was a child (keep in mind I grew up in the 70’s, early 80’s and sneaking up on year 52) my mother and grandmother absolutely loved their soap operas.  I always found it interesting that while I didn’t watch them regularly (no, really…I promise) I could either be home sick from school, on summer or holiday break and catch 5-10 minutes in passing and then repeat in a few weeks/months time and feel as if I really hadn’t missed anything.  Yes, those WERE the Days of Our Lives!

About a week ago I wrote a detailed piece regarding POSCON (Positive Control Network).  Now let me just state for the record that I am not involved in any capacity with the POSCON team.  I know a few of the folks behind POSCON, but I’m personally not involved.  Said another way, I’m merely an individual who is interested and highly excited about the possibilities POSCON is planning to bring to the flight sim community.  Period!

Drama, Drama, Drama

Since the time I published the article last week, a whole lot of drama has bubbled up regarding POSCON’s plan to purchase one of the existing online multiplayer networks.  If you are new to the hobby, we only have three online multiplayer ATC networks and they are VATSIM, IVAO and PilotEdge.  It became clear who the target was fairly soon after news broke about the plan and the VATSIM network found itself in the crosshairs.  The dollar amount offered for the VATSIM network was $50,000 USD.

I’ll be honest and once again state for the record that I really don’t understand exactly how an organization such as VATSIM could simply be acquired.  If someone offered to purchase my blog site which is solely owned/operated by yours truly, then yes…I understand how that financial transaction would take place.  But VATSIM is simply a non-profit, unincorporated entity which is made up of a Board of Governors and the general membership.  I’ve been a member of VATSIM for 17 years, I have never been charged a dime to use the service, I pay no dues and to my knowledge there has never been any method to contribute/donate/gift funds to cover the operational costs for the network.  So in this sort of setup, exactly who would one write a check to?  Who would benefit from the $50K?

Nothing in life is free

That’s right!  Absolutely NOTHING in life is free.  Someone, somewhere is paying.  While I charge nothing for folks to read my articles, view my mods and add-on spreadsheet or review my hardware/software configurations….it costs money (my money) to have this website and no I’m not about to start charging.  But my point is this.  People (and it all started with the original VATSIM Founders) have been footing the bill to run the VATSIM network for the past 17 years.  While I would assume much of the development of the software/database etc. has been done by fellow VATSIM members, there are still hardware costs associated to keeping the network operational 24×7.  My guess is $50K wouldn’t even come close to covering all the costs which have been incurred over the past 17 years.  But the point I’m making here (or trying to make) isn’t about the $50,000.  Please keep reading!

Hate runneth over

As much as I love the Internet age we all find ourselves living in, I for one could certainly do without all the hate and negativity which goes along with it.  Seems like every rock you turn over, you’ll find a troll lurking under it….just waiting to pounce and then retreat back under the rock.  This is one of the reasons I have given myself a break from YouTube and Twitch.  But that’s another story, for another blog post…

When the news broke about the $50,000 offer from POSCON to acquire VATSIM, speculation run amuck over what POSCON’s true intentions were.  Folks began piling on their bandwagon of choice and filling the interwebz with hate and speculation over how POSCON (and certain individuals associated with POSCON) were going to destroy our hobby.  The general consensus was just because POSCON was offering money to acquire VATSIM, that at some point in time there must be an equal or greater return on that initial investment.

The Park Across the Street

True story as we take a brief break from the POSCON v. VATSIM story.  I live and work in what is called the Denver Tech Center.  It’s a wonderful and beautiful part of Denver and my commute from home to office is generally less than 5 minutes.  If you know anything about Denver traffic, then you know this is a HUGE benefit.  After all, every minute not stuck in traffic is a minute I can spend doing something else.  But I digress….

Across the street from my neighborhood is a fairly large park.  The land was donated/gifted many years ago with the intention that it would always be used as a park for people to enjoy.  The park is very well maintained.  It is mowed weekly, there are numerous trash cans which are emptied on a regular basis.  And each year around Christmas, lights are placed in the trees in beautiful fashion.  On any given day, you’ll find both young and old enjoying the benefits in which this park gives to everyone.  Yet….there is no admission fee to enter.  There is no “pay for play” entry fee to enjoy this little park across the street.

Of course, YES….our tax dollars are used to cover the costs of maintaining the park.  But this just further proves my point from earlier that nothing in life is free.  But the bigger picture here is that someone with very generous pockets gifted this land for the purpose and benefit of others.

Back on Point

Just because someone, somewhere steps up and makes the decision to financially back something or even create something new and different, doesn’t automatically mean at some point in time it will turn into a “pay for play” subscription offering. Likewise, just because someone else appears to have a lot of different projects in various stages of development doesn’t indicate dubious intentions.  Individuals do often care enough to give for the betterment of all.

My Final Thoughts

As I’ve said before, it’s never been my intentions to write about breaking news content.  I chose to write the POSCON article last week simply because I found it exciting and wanted to share that exciting news with my readership.  As I sit here writing this follow-up, that level of excitement for what I believe POSCON will bring to this hobby HAS NOT WAVERED.   I’m just as excited and I’m just as confident in the people behind POSCON and their ability to deliver the next generation flight simulation network.

My advice to the POSCON team (should they care to read it) is to just simply move forward with their plans.  Draw a line in the sand and say everything which has transpired up to this point is on that side of the line and everything we have to look forward to is on this other side.  Then continue marching forward.

As for VATSIM, there’s a reason why I’ve been a member of this online community for 17 years.  However, VATSIM hasn’t done a good enough job in keeping up with the times and the VATSIM leadership appears to have acknowledged this oversight and only time will tell just how serious they are in correcting it.

My advice for anyone still reading this.  Try VATSIM, try IVAO, try PilotEdge and perhaps sometime after the first of the year…give POSCON a try.  Then make a decision.  But understand that you absolutely do not have to limit yourself to just one online network.  As I pointed out in the article last week, POSCON may not be for everyone and that’s absolutely OK.  But please….let’s stop the hate.  Let’s not turn this into another measuring contest where we divide and single folks out simply because of how they define their enjoyment of the hobby.  Remember, there is no right or wrong answer.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and all my writings.  This will most likely be the last mention of POSCON until such time as I have the ability to experience it first hand.

Until next time….

Be Happy!!!

JT

P.S.  No, my blog site is not for sale.  LOL  Second, I hope to share some really exciting news with everyone very, very soon regarding an opportunity which I’ve been offered (which has nothing to do with the content of this article) and something I’m really looking forward to.  As a teaser, yes it does have to do with writing and it has to do with the flight simulation hobby.  But beyond that, you’ll just need to wait a few weeks to hear the rest of the story….

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