Colorful Colorado on the Horizon

Just a few days ago, SCS Software announced that the US State of Colorado would be the next DLC to release for American Truck Simulator.  From their announcement on 26 March, SCS Software has been working on the Colorado DLC at full-capacity in parallel with the Idaho DLC.  The release date is unknown, but the announcement mentioned “a few months after the release of Idaho, towards the end of the year.”  This is great news!  If SCS has done their homework, then I-70 should be an absolute joy to drive from Utah through Colorado and over the high mountain passes.  Not to mention the beautiful Glenwood Canyon. 

What will be next?  Will we see SCS head north from Colorado to drop in Wyoming, then Montana?  Or will they head east from New Mexico and bring us the Lone Star State of Texas?  Only SCS knows the answer to this. 

Until next time…

Happy Trucking!

Jerry

COVID-19 Relief Flight Series #2

While my first installment brought us to Europe, I’m going to spend some time flying and jumping around to a few different payware airports which I haven’t visited in a while.  Much like flight #1, these may not be actual routes served by the carriers I’m going to simulate.  But these are flights my imagination wants to fly. 

Flight Planning

Our second flight will another cargo flight.  We’re picking up where we left off (at Brussels) and headed down to Bilbao Spain (LEBB).  Bilbao is a payware airport I purchased a few years ago.  For this flight we will be in a branded Fedex Boeing 737-800 which has been converted from passenger service to cargo service.  The aircraft is being operated by ASL Airlines Belgium (formerly TNT Airways).  ASL operates a fleet of 30 aircraft including a number of freighter conversions of the B737 variant.  Typically ASL operates from their main cargo hub at Liege, Belgium (EBLG) and we’ll probably visit this airport soon.

The flight from Brussels to Bilbao is a cargo relief flight to transport many of the supplies we ferried over from Miami to the citizens in NE Spain.  Our flight time is 1 hour, 35 minutes and we’re loading on 17,500 lbs of fuel.  Once we arrive in Bilbao about 50% of the cargo will be dropped off and our flight will continue to our next destination.

Route: 

1

Let’s Go to Spain

Unlike our flight from Miami which required a crew of three, our shorter flight today only requires two.  My First Officer and I are boarding the aircraft while the ground crew and cargo handlers ready our aircraft for flight. 

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Pushing back from our stand and starting engines. 

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Position and Hold, Runway 01.  Note:  I’m aware the correct terminology is now “Line up and Wait”, however, when I began blogging about my flight simulation adventures well over 10 years ago, the terminology at that time was “Position and Hold” and that is what I called my first blog site.  This was before I rebranded to GrizzlyBearSims.  The old blog site still lives in the cloud (should you want to visit). 

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Gear up!

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Making our right hand turn to join the departure out of Brussels. 

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Quick flight compared to the cross the pond flight from a few days ago.  The northern coast of Spain just off the port side. 

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I really enjoyed the approach into Bilbao.  Lots of beautiful scenery.

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Just about to make our final turn.

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Rolling out, the airport is just ahead.

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Yep, there’s Bilbao just ahead.

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Cleared to land.

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Touchdown!

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After a quick taxi, we were positioned in an area of the airport where local cargo services could assist with removing the cargo. 

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This was another fun and uneventful flight.  We had perfect weather the entire trip and reached Bilbao on schedule.  The PMDG Boeing 737 is still my all time favorite payware aircraft to fly.  It’s just a really well done model and it can go just about anywhere.  Plus as it is one of the most popular aircraft  in the world, there is a wide variety of real world carriers one can simulate flying for. 

Until next time, I hope you continue to remain safe and please STAY HOME!  Thank you!

Happy Flying!

Jerry

Credits

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737 NGX
Airline: Fedex (FDX)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: EBBR (Brussels) Justsim, LEBB (Bilbao) Orbx
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Immersion Effects – Parallel 42 737 Immersion
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

COVID-19 Relief Flight Series #1

As I mentioned in my update post from yesterday, I have been spending some of my free time flying.  It helps me destress and gives my mind something to focus on.  The title “COVID-19 Relief Flight Series” has dual meaning.  First, yes…in my imagination I’m flying some form of relief supplies from point A to point B.  But secondarily, these flights are providing me a bit of relief from the stresses of everything that is going on in the real world.  I hope you enjoy this series. 

Flight Details

The first flight in this series (and I have no idea just how long this series will be) is a relief supply flight from Miami, Florida to Brussels, Belgium.  Why Miami?  That just happens to be the last location I flew to.  Why Belgium?  Well…why not?  By the way, I realize Fedex doesn’t routinely fly between Miami and Brussels. 

For our flight today, Fedex is transporting some much needed relief supplies from Miami, Florida to Brussels, Belgium.  We’re flying in the beautiful Boeing 777 Freighter and we’re heavy!  Very heavy today.  Our ZFW (zero fuel weight) is just below the limit at a whopping 550,000 lbs. and with our planned route, including weather along the way, we took on 171,000 lbs of fuel for the 9 hour flight. 

Our route takes us up the east coast of the US/Canada.  We begin our North Atlantic crossing at St. John’s Newfoundland and fly eastbound to Shannon, Ireland then across England and finally enter Belgium airspace. 

Route:

route

Brussels Bound

Again, for you hard core virtual pilots who might read this and blow a gasket because Fedex doesn’t routinely fly between Miami and Brussels, just relax or close your browser.  Nothing in our world right now is routine.  Either way, today…this Fedex Boeing 777 Freighter is virtually flying today between Miami (KMIA) and Brussels (EBBR). 

Our B77F is being loaded with all sorts of relief cargo which is needed throughout Europe.  Our departure time is 19:35 and we’re on schedule. 

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An extremely low ceiling makes the airport directly behind almost unrecognizable.  The condensation and immersion effects compliments of Parallel 42 777 Immersion.

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Love the immersion of the condensation. 

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As the sun sets in the distance, we turn to join our northeast route along the east coast of the US. 

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Here comes the sun.  With less than two hours to go, the sun is beginning to rise. 

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Making great time as we’re down to our last hour of flight and just leaving Ireland behind us.  It’s all business here on the flight deck as we begin to plan our descent and arrival into Brussels. 

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The west coast of Wales.

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Beginning our descent as we’re crossing the North Sea and headed towards the Netherlands. 

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Making our turn over Antwerp.  The airfield just in view over the wing is EBAW (Antwerp International Airport).  I’ve flown into this airport many times in real life. 

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On final approach into Brussels.  Nice green fields.

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Cleared to land runway 25R. 

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Slowing this heavy girl down.

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Time to unload the cargo.

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This was a fun flight.  For those that may not be in the know.  The main PC based flight simulators (Prepar3D and X-Plane) are both based on a real world scale.  Unlike American Truck Simulator or Euro Truck Simulator 2, where the distance and time is compressed, flying a flight in flight sim will take just as long as a real world flight would take.  Everything from the aircraft performance, weather, fuel burn…everything is “As Real As It Gets”. 

If you’re looking for a true “simulator”, look no further than either Prepar3D or X-Plane to give you the absolutely best simulation experience you can get on a PC.   Remember, this is not a game…this is a simulator!

Thank you for reading! 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Credits

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 777
Airline: Fedex (FDX)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KMIA LatinVFR, EBBR Justsim
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
Immersion Effects – Parallel 42 777 Immersion
Weather Generation: ActiveSky (ASP4)
Flight Planning: SimBrief, Navigraph, FlightAware, FlightRadar24

Note:  If you are interested in any of the above mentioned add-ons.  Visit my P3D Add-ons directory for links.

General Update & COVID-19

Hello Friends,

I haven’t been active on social media much the past few weeks.  Since Monday, 16 March I’ve been working from home and being in the IT field, I feel as if I’m just as busy in this remote configuration as I’ve been at any time based in an office.  Still managing the same projects, much of the same work and even some new challenges as a company of over 100K employees all fight for available bandwidth across a VPN network.  The good news is everything seems to be holding together well and we’re all just trying to make the very best of the situation.

Health

My wife and I, (along with all my family members around the world) are all healthy.  In early March and well before the grocery store shortages began, my wife and I began shopping for essentials as we suspected things would get bad here in the US.  We didn’t hoard, but we added to our pantry some essentials and even some non-essentials such as snacks. After all, if we’re going to be confined to our house for any length of time….might as well enjoy it with some Twinkies, Oreos and bean dip.  No, this doesn’t get consumed together.  LOL

Parents Role Reversed

I’m really not sure at what point in life the role of parent/son gets reversed.  After my mom passed away last year, I’ve had a few opportunities where I needed to apply a little more persuasion with my dad than I’ve ever done before.  My dad will turn 77 this fall and for the most part he’s doing well coping after my mom’s passing.  But I had to be a bit forceful a few weeks ago about insisting that he go to the grocery store and purchase a little extra food than normal and also that he limits his visits.  He gets it and I rest easier being 1,000 miles away from him that he’ll be OK through this. 

Coping Mechanisms

We all have different coping mechanisms when it comes to how we deal with the stresses of life.  My wife and I both lost our moms last year.  She and I were very eager to celebrate the new year and say goodbye to what we thought was a crappy year (2019) and hello to what we thought would be a very good year (2020).  Needless to say, the jury is still out on just how this is all going to unfold and what things are going to look like on the other side.  But as I said, we all have different coping mechanisms….

While I’m busy with work, I’m still stuck at home.  I’ve been spending a bit of time doing some virtual flying.  It had been a few months since I had seriously spent any time with Prepar3D (P3D) and I’m enjoying flying long-haul flights where I can start the flight up before my work begins and either land during my lunch time or after my day ends. 

This week all I’m flying are cargo runs as I still can’t believe we have as many real-world passenger flights flying all over the world and furthering the spread of COVID-19.  But I digress.  As I said, the flights I’m flying are cargo runs with Fedex.  I’ve done some flights to and from Memphis, but now embarking on some imaginative flights to help shuttle medical supplies, food and perhaps even some toilet paper to some far away places. 

Final Thoughts

I’m no expert.  But we all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  Stay Home!  Wash your hands! And while we all need to stay informed, limit your exposure to the 24 hours news cycle to just a few minutes each day (perhaps a few times a day). 

I may storyboard some of my flying adventures and post them here to my blog.  Who knows….

Until next time….

Please stay safe!  Remember, the life you save…might just be someone else. 

Jerry

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