Christmas Rush 2010

Yes it’s that time of the year and our virtual passengers need our help.  Like my discovery of how much I enjoyed flying the Mooney around the world, I’ve also discovered I really enjoy flying online on the VATSIM network.  My frustrations of trying to fly online from years ago seem to be resolved with my awesome flight sim PC that I built back in the September timeframe.  If you are just finding my blog, please read some of the older posts from September as I describe my new hardware and also discuss how I’m keeping it cool.

Anyway, since re-joining American Virtual Airlines (AvA), I’ve flown over 15 flights (over 30 hours) all of them on the VATSIM network.  Of these online flights I’ve covered flights out of KDFW to DEN, LAX, MEM, MIA, MSY, ORD and my most recent flight to our Nations Capital, DCA.  In thisblog post I discussed how I simulated a real world flight I made recently.  Bottom line is I’ve had a ton of fun and my online experience has been nothing but fun and also educational.

Just like the airlines we simulate, I’m enjoying making every effort to get my flight sim passengers from point A to point B as quickly and as safely as possible.  I’m trying to get in as many hours as I can over the next few days.  This weekend I managed to find time to fly from KDFW to KMIA then from KMIA up to KORD.  Today I picked up my route and headed back to KDFW from KORD.  Finally this evening I’m flying from KDFW to KDCA.  My PAX are happy today as the in flight entertainment is compliments of Fox Sports and CBS Sports.

Climbing through the clouds out of KORD

The weather across the areas I’ve been flying has been mild.  This morning I had some cloud cover as I departed ORD.  I enjoy the challenge that real world weather provides us through the various add-ons like ActiveSky and Real Environment Extreme.  As previously discussed on this blog, I do own both of those applications and find myself using the REX graphics more and more, but I still tend to run ActiveSky weather engine.  I guess it’s my way of getting my $$ worth out of both applications.

Something else I’ve really enjoyed about my new beast of a PC is how much better it functions when flying at night.  When I took my wings off five years ago, not only was it a struggle to fly online…it was also hard to fly at night.  I pretty much had to simulate all my flights during the daytime hours, but now I can handle the twilight and full night-time operations.  I love it.

My flight up to Washington DC this evening was a lot of fun.  DFW was in its usual south operations and ATC gave me 17R.  Once airborne I resumed the Triss3 departure and began my northeast flight up to KDCA.  My route was TRISS3 TXK J42 MEM J42 BKW ELDEE4.  I had ATC coverage just about the entire route with both Memphis and Indy Centers providing the coverage.  Once I departed the Indy airspace I was on my own the rest of the way.

Beautiful sunset behind the MD83

The northeast portion of the US is the most crowded airspace and it is always typically represented this way on VATSIM.  Tonight was relatively light.  I began researching weather conditions for the DC area about 300nm out.  If all holds I’ll be landing on runway 1.

Turning south over DC.

The ELDEE4 arrival takes you north passing over Dulles then turning south keeping you far away from Andrews AFB, The White House and other important locations in the area.  The above image was captured just after I turned south.  I checked weather conditions again and winds were from the north at 7 mph, yep runway 1 is still my best choice.

Final approach into KDCA runway 1

Taking the easy way into KDCA.  On final ILS runway 1.

On the ground at KDCA

At the gate and shutting down.  An end to a great weekend of flying.  I’ll try to fly another route or two this week as I will have a day off and can’t think of anything better to do but fly and help my virtual passengers get to where they need to go just in time for Christmas.

Until next time…Merry Christmas to you and your family.


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