Around The World – 2010

I believe most all flight sim pilots attempt at least one around the world adventure in their sim career.  I’ve attempted it several times and have completed it just as many.  However, I’ll admit my successful attempts were either not very consistent (using multiple types of aircraft) and in each successful attempt, the adventure was completed in less than 4-6 legs.  Meaning in most cases I used a long-range jet like a B747 or B777.  In each case, the adventure was fun and I saw a lot of the FS world in doing so.   Before I move on, let me just say that any computer pilot who decides to attempt an around the world adventure, there is no right or wrong way of doing it.  Do it based on how you want to do it.  I guarantee it will be fun and you’ll learn a lot in the process.

For me and my attempt in 2010, I want to do things completely different from my past attempts.  First, I don’t plan to use any jet aircraft.  I also plan to select one aircraft type and stick with it.  After all, if you were trying to accomplish this in real life you would fly one aircraft and only one aircraft.

The way I see this is as follows.  First you need to determine what type of aircraft you will fly and second you will need to determine your route.   Of course there is a little more to it.  Actually, the most important element is to determine your ocean crossing points.  This is what I believe dictates both route and aircraft type.  It’s easy to cross from Asia into North America, but a little more planning, luck and judgement will need to be used to get from North America into Europe.  But it is doable.

The one absolute in all this is I have no expectation on time of completion.  I’m not going to set a length of time goal for this adventure.   I believe this is where I failed in my previous attempts to do something like this in something other than a B747.  If it takes me the rest of the year or beyond…my goal is to complete the adventure and have fun along the way.

Probably in a real-world adventure, one would spend months, perhaps even years planning such an adventure.  After all in the real-world a key driver to this would be finances.  We don’t have to worry about that in the sim world.  In addition, I believe in the real-world one would fully map their course before starting out.  This is one approach I plan to differ from.  I’m planning to start out on my journey with only a general direction in mind.  The rest will fall into place along the way.

The tools I’ll use to plan my route will be my imagination followed closely by FSCommander.  I will utilize the mapping and distance measuring capabilities to provide the information I need along the way.  In addition, I’ll use a giant 3×4 foot map of the World hanging in my office to help encourage me along the way.   I’ll also research weather conditions and plan accordingly since I’ll have real-world weather turned on.

Ground rules?  Well…since we are flying there are no ground rules right?  Ha ha…OK….poor attempt at humor.  But my ground rules are simple.  I plan to use a single, default FSX aircraft (non jet) with no time of completion goal.  I plan to use ActiveSkyX weather and will fly in real-time (no acceleration).

So why am I doing this?  I’m so glad you asked.  As I have shared many, many times….I’ve been flying computer sims for over 25 years.  Back in the early days all we had to fly was the Cessna.  I spent hours and hours and hours in the computer cockpit of  the Cessna flying around Meig’s Field in Chicago.  Over the years as the flight simulation software developed, I moved up into the larger jets and would rarely ever fly anything smaller. 

Since coming back into the hobby, I’ve grown to appreciate the smaller aircraft, grown to appreciate flying lower and slower and taking in the beauty of the sim world around me.  So to answer the question of why am I doing this, mainly because I can and just as importanly…because I want to. 

Now, back to my planning.  My aircraft of choice is the Mooney Bravo.  I selected this aircraft over the Cessna models  due to its extended range over its single engine counterpart.  According to FSCommander, the Cessna 172 has a range of 638 nm and cruise speed of 124 kts.  The Mooney provides 412 nm more range and cruises around 190 kts.   I believe the Mooney is the best choice of the single engine models available in FSX.  I could jump up to the Beech Baron 58 and increase my range and speed even further, but I really want to do this attempt in a single engine aircraft.

The initial route I’ve chosen will take me from my home airport of KAPA (Centennial, Colorado USA) up towards the Northeast.  At this point I’m not going to say whether I will stay primarily in the northern hemisphere.  There are some sights I would love to see in Africa and Australia is also some place I’d love to visit on a trip like this.   At this point, we will just have to wait and see.

I’m really excited about this challenge and the challenge began today.  I departed KAPA (Centennial, CO) enroute to KSTP (St. Paul, MN).  This first leg is just under 700nm and should give me a good feel for how the aircraft will perform over the coming weeks, months and who knows how long.   

I will blog occassionally about the trip, my status etc.  But you can see my trip status by clicking the Around the World – 2010 button at the top of the page.  I will keep a running journal of my trip on that page. 

Until next time,

JT


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