March 10, 2011 / admin / 0 Comments
Yep, I know it’s been over a month…Oh who am I kidding. It’s been over two months since I last posted a blog update. January was a busy month for virtual flying…but February not so much. I believe I logged over 60 hours of virtual simming in January and only about 3-4 in February. Bottom line is February was a busy month for me in my job and we all know that jobs come first and hobbies come last.
I’m still flying with American virtual Airlines and still managing the training hub. It keeps me busy. On average we have 20+ new pilots join each month and again on average about half that many are terminated for inactivity. For the life of me I can’t figure out why someone would take the time to join a VA and not fly. Sure we have a few rules that must be followed and we also conduct a very brief quiz over VATSIM and our own policies….but this quiz is not difficult at all. Also, you must fly 5 hours as a student pilot before transferring to a mainline hub. But we don’t require a check ride and the quiz is done on-line and we even tell you where to find the answers. Oh well.
There is something possibly big going to happen with me at AvA. I won’t talk about it now, but will be certain to come back and blog about it just as soon as I can. It’s all good.
The FSX machine is still running incredibly well. I finally got around to installing all the FSDTsceneries I had purchased a few months back. I purchased about a half dozen on a special deal FSDT was running. I installed KDFW and KFLL but had never got around to installing KORD, KFJK, KLAS, PHNL. Anyway….I had all but forgotten I had KORD and had been having issues with the terminals showing up correctly. Basically when I would land in Chicago and taxi to the terminal area all I would see were hanging jet bridges and no buildings. Well..I’m glad to say that the FSDT KORD scenery fixed that issue and I went ahead and installed the rest. I’m planning on flying from KMSP to KLAS on Sunday evening for an AvA event.
Speaking of sceneries. I also purchased the FlyTampa scenery for St. Maarten, TNCM and for Tampa, KTPA. I’m really impressed with FlyTampa’s quality. I know many of you own this scenery and I’m really not sure why it took so long to purchase it. I think Boston KBOS will be my next FlyTampa scenery.
Back to the subject of FSDT. Have you heard about the newest product they are currently developing? It’s called Ground Services X and is pretty darn cool looking. I’ve provided the video showing some of the things it will do. It’s cool. You can learn more about GSX in this forumthread.
FSDreamTeam GSX Preview
What else? Oh….I also purchased and have been using FS Passengers in my VA flights. It’s pretty cool and it has made me a better pilot. I do think the lead flight attendant is flirting with me. She keeps popping into the cockpit asking me what I’m going to do this weekend. Ha ha
Well…that just about does it for this update. I promise to get back to the blog and provide an update real soon on more of my flight sim adventures.
January 15, 2011 / admin / 0 Comments
Back when I began to get serious about this hobby, I wanted to learn how to read all the various charts. This included understanding how to read approach, departure and airport diagrams. But I also wanted to understand how to plot a course from point A to point B using high or low altitude routes. While you certainly do not need this knowledge to fly any version of Microsoft Flight Simulator in offline mode using the built in ATC, it truly is a must when you decide you want to connect to VATSIM.
So one weekend I managed to download all the various charts I would need to fly to most destinations in the lower 48. I then printed off each chart and organized them by airport and placed each in a plastic page protector. I created a binder for approach charts, a binder for departure charts and a binder for airport charts. After all was said and done, I had 8 binders of data. When I would plan a flight I would pull the charts from the appropriate binder and utilize online sites like SimRoutes to help me tie everything together. After completing a flight, the charts (most of the time) would be placed back in their appropriate binder. I’m proud to say that this system worked for me for several years.
When I came back into the hobby, I dug out all those binders and thumbed through them. The first thing that came to mind was how outdated they probably were. Some (if not all) were 8+ years old. The second was how much time it took me to assemble all those binders. Ugh….there’s got to be a better way.
Thankfully my iPad came to the rescue. Since the birth of the iPhone and iPad, all sorts of Apps have been produced. I figured it was worth a try just to search in the Apps Store for Flight Simulator and see what hits would pop up. This is when I was introduced to FS Kneeboard. FS Kneeboard is available in both an iPad App (which I own) and a version titled FS Kneeboard Mobile for the iPhone, iPod Touch (which I do not own). While I own both an iPad and an iPhone, I only opted to purchase the FS Kneeboard for the iPad. The iPad app is available for $7.99 in the Apple iTunes Store and the cost is certainly worth the investment considering it cost me a lot more than that to put together my binders a few years ago.
The FS Kneeboard app includes all the same (but certainly updated) charts I have stuffed away in those binders. It includes 148 IFR and VFR Charts for the US and over 15,000 US digital terminal procedures. But wait….there is more. FS Kneeboard also includes current weather conditions and weather maps for all US airports (updated via NOAA) and over a dozen built-in checklists (with ability to create your own).
FS Kneeboard has certainly helped me to de-clutter my flight sim cockpit and if you own an Apple iPad, I’m confident it can help you as well.
Until next time…
January 1, 2011 / admin / 0 Comments
Hello everyone and thank you for taking time out of your busy day to stop by my blog site. The latter part of 2010 has sure been exciting for me in the flight simulator department. This time last year flight sim wasn’t even on the radar. While before getting involved in the hobby (August timeframe) I would often think about flight sim. I would see my GoFlight gear sitting over in the corner of my basement office and would think to myself….one day I’m going to plug you back in and take a flight. Thankfully that day happened in early August and by the end of August plans were in place to build the new FSX machine.
Somewhere along the way I discovered Al’s Flight Sim Adventures Blog (now titled Clear Left). One can say the best form of flattery is to just outright duplicate what someone else is doing. Well….it wasn’t like that, but I was inspired by Al’s blog and Al was also friendly enough to answer a few email questions I had about getting the hobby going again. Through Al I also met another Flight Sim blogger named Onur. Onur’s blog named “Clear Right” has also given inspiration and ideas which I have incorporated into my FS blogging style. I’m honored to call both of these gentlemen friends.
2010 was finally the year that I accomplished a goal I had been attempting for many years. Yes, I’m talking about my Around the World Journey. I’ve flown around the world many times in “Big Iron”, but had never accomplished it in a single engine aircraft. I had started many times….but always got bored with it. This time was different. You can read the overview of the journey in the final update here.
In the blog posting just prior to this entry, I talked about “Coming Full Circle” with my return to both VATSIM and Virtual Airlines. Neither was necessarily a goal I had when I re-entered the hobby in August…..but I’m glad I’m back.
There is an old saying I’ve heard since childhood and it goes something like this. What you do on New Year’s Day is likely something that you’ll do often do through out the new year. So with that said, I got up early and departed TNCM (where I had flown to yesterday to spend the virtual new year) for KMIA. I’m flying the American B738. While at FL360 I’m taking a moment to wish you all a very productive 2011. Flying and blogging about it. Two things I hope I can enjoy often throughout the new year. Thank you for reading.
Until next time,
December 29, 2010 / admin / 0 Comments
If you’ve followed some of my blog posts in the past 4-6 weeks, you know that I started flying on VATSIM again and also re-joined American Virtual Airlines. AvA was founded in the summer of 2001 and was the very first VA to be affiliated with VATSIM. While I wasn’t one of the “Founding Fathers”, I did join in August 2001 and within a few weeks had been offered the role of VP of Operations and managed several of the hubs. AvA was my virtual employer from 2001 until 2004 timeframe.
I started flying again with AvA just over a month ago. I joined the DFW hub and for the month of December have accumulated over 52 hours and I still have one more day to go. Anyway, after a few weeks I contacted the CEO of AvA and offered my assistance in whatever capacity he could use me. Initially his response was that he would keep me in mind for future openings (as there were none at the time). About a week later he contacted me again and told me about an open position for the AvA Training Hub. The position would be to manage the training hub.
So as you can tell from the subject of this blog post, I was officially offered and I accepted this position. I officially got started in the position yesterday and am learning about the automated PIREP system and trying to figure out what pilots are active and which ones need to be showed the door. Don’t worry…I’m not issuing any pink slips just yet. I granted everyone a 2 week amnesty to either start flying and file their required two PIREPS per month or just simply contact me and let me know what is going on.
Since this is my blog, I’m going to insert a little “Help Wanted” notice here. Are you looking to join a virtual airline? Would you like to fly for one of the oldest and best VA’s? Want to fly for the best American Airlines group? At American Virtual Airlines we offer a fully automated PIREP system complete with FSACARS/FSPassengers/FS Flight Keeper/XAcars integration. We offer a low commitment of only filing two PIREPs per month to remain fully active and while all flights must be flown on the VATSIM network, this really only enhances your overall FlightSim experiences.
I would love if you would stop by American Virtual Airlines and submit an application. If you have less than 100 verifiable VATSIM hours you’ll be assigned to the training hub. We offer complete training (soon to be fully automated) to help get you started flying on the VATSIM network.
As Frank Sinatra would sing…..Come Fly With Me, Let’s Fly, Let’s Fly Away.
Happy New Year!
December 19, 2010 / admin / 0 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
Taking the easy way into KDCA. On final ILS runway 1.
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.
December 9, 2010 / admin / 0 Comments
In a few days I will travel down to visit family in Texas. In the past, and for at least the last 3-4 years, we would always drive down. This year we have decided to fly. We are flying American Airlines from Denver (KDEN) to Dallas/Ft. Worth (KDFW) and then on down to Killeen, Texas (KGRK). My parents live in Salado, Texas and the drive to come pick us up is only about 30 minutes versus over an hour if we were to fly into Austin (KAUS).
I’ve been flying into Killeen for several years now. Only a few years ago the old Killeen airport (KILE) relocated to the much larger Gray Army Airfield. Gray is located on the south end of Fort Hood and now serves both military and commercial traffic. American Eagle which has served the Killeen/Ft. Hood area for many years had to operate the Saab 340B into KILE. With the expansion to Gray, American is now able to fly just about anything in now and occasionally does so for military charter flights. But the normal equipment is the Embraer ERJ-145.
Now I don’t know if you are like me, but when I fly in real life I like to simulate the flight before hand in FSX. I fly a few times a year and every other year my wife and I fly to Belgium to visit her family. We’ll be doing this flight next summer and I’ll enjoy simulating that one in FSX as well.
For this trip to Texas, I’ll simulate flight AA1034 and AA3246. AA1034 will take me from Denver, Colorado (KDEN) to Dallas/Ft. Worth (KDFW). I’ll use the same equipment in FSX as American Airlines uses for this route. The equipment is the MD80. The MD80 series is the workhorse of American Airlines and one of my favorite FSX planes. The route I used was again the real world route which takes us south to Pueblo, Colorado on the Pikes4 departure then turning southeast across the southeast corner of Colorado and down into the panhandle of Texas to Amarillo. From Amarillo the route follows very closely the Texas/Oklahoma border then drops down to Wichita Falls and then on into the DFW Metroplex on the Bowie One arrival. The route is as follows: PIKES4 PUB J17 PNH UKW1 You can view the flight info from the Vataware website here.
The weather in the DFW area on this flight day was clear and DFW airport was in their normal south operations. ATC directed me to runway 13R. After taxing across DFW I parked at the gate and prepared for the second leg of my journey.
The second flight and second leg of my real world flight will be AA3246. This is an American Eagle flight from KDFW to Killeen, Texas (KGRK). The equipment type is the Embraer ERJ-145. I departed runway 18L and once airborne made my turn to join the Nelyn Two departure. This route takes you south to Waco where you turn southwest carefully missing President George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas to the Tenat intersection. At Tenat I turned to heading 125 to head across a portion of the Ft. Hood military base to land on runway 15 at KGRK. You can view my flight info from the Vataware website here.
My real-world trip is to visit my family for the holidays. We are sort of splitting the difference between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The little town where my parents live hold a Christmas festival in early December with nighttime shopping and an outdoor play. This outdoor theater is presenting A Christmas Carol. It will be a lot of fun. Back in the early 90’s I played the character of Bob Cratchit in this same outdoor theater.
I have completed the return trip from KGRK to KDFW and have been running some short flights in the MD8x out of DFW. I’ve flown down to KMSY and back and then over to KMEM and back. Finally I took a short hop up to KOKC and back to KDFW. The screenshot below was captured during my climb out of KOKC on Sunday evening. The sun had just set and the evening sky still had a hint of red in it.
I’m not sure when I’ll complete the return leg to KDEN to match up with my real world travel. I’m having fun running routes out of KDFW for now. But when I do return to KDEN I’ll probably fly from KDEN over to either KLAX or KORD and run routes for a while. Eventually I will head back up to the Pacific North West or even Alaska for more of that GA flying I enjoyed so much on my return from my Around the World – 2010 Adventure.
Until next time,
December 5, 2010 / admin / 0 Comments
Just a brief blog update. Yesterday I attended a small meet up of like-minded individuals on the topic of….(you guessed it) flight simulation. Except the time I met with a member or two ofAmerican Virtual Airlines back in 2002/03 timeframe, I had never met with fellow flight simmers and sat around a table and discussed the subject of our hobby.
Including myself, there were eight fellow simmers who attended the meet up. The age range was from the early thirties up to the late sixties/early seventies. While age in this hobby certainly makes no difference, it is always good to interact with the more mature crowd.
The experience background ranged from real-world pilots (both active and retired) as well as a young gentleman who is a flight instructor for the University of North Dakota. I was also pleased to find there was another gentlemen who like me has no interest in learning to fly.
The fact I have no interest in learning to fly in the real world may strike some as odd. However, I suppose there are those who may doubt why any real world pilot (active) would spend hours sitting behind a computer flying computer planes. The flight sim hobby is and always will mean different things to different people. This fact was demonstrated in the meet up.
Just another fact from the make up of the group. About 50% of us had experience in or actively participate in VATSIM. Two of the younger (early thirties crowd) are actually VATSIM Supervisors. We hope to make our Spring meet up topic (scheduled for first part of March 2011) be all about the world of VATSIM. I certainly look forward to sharing the knowledge I have with others and while doing so, pickup up a few new tid bits of knowledge along the way.
If you are located in the metro areas of Denver or Colorado Springs and interested in attending our Spring 2011 meet up, please contact me. This group meets in Castle Rock at the public library. If you are not in this area, please consider looking up others who share in the interest of flight simulation and start a group meet up.
I’m working on my next blog entry which will feature a flight I made on VATSIM and will also make in the real world when I travel down to Texas in a few days. Also, I added a new poll question asking the question, “Do you fly online” You’ll find the poll question in the right hand column.
Until next time,
December 1, 2010 / admin / 0 Comments
The virtual world aspect is nothing new to us sim pilots. We nailed the virtual concept down many years ago and each year we’ve worked hard to make it better. While the early days were limited to a single player game, over time this has blossomed into what we enjoy today with multi-player groups like FlightSim Nation, Flight Simulator Network and even larger true-to-life experiences with VATSIM and IVAO. With Microsoft Flight Simulator X and add-on scenery such as Orbx Pacific Northwest and Stark’s Twin Oaks Airpark, one can be fully immersed in what Microsoft has been calling “As Real As It Gets” for many years. It’s hard to imagine it getting any better than this.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the online virtual community called Second Life. Second Life has been around since 2003 and as of 2010 has an estimated 18 million registered accounts. Yours truly has one of those 18 million accounts, but I’ve not visited the community in over 2 years. At a very high level glance, you register for a Second Life account and install their free client software. Second Life is absolutely free to join and use, but free accounts have many limitations. When you join you create an avatar and move around within the Second Life virtual world. Second Life has become popular in the corporate world as well as the arts, science and religious spaces as well. One can even buy property in Second Life.
I would estimate my account dates back to around 2006 or so, so I by no means can be considered as an early adopter of Second Life. I played around with it on a free account and then upgraded to a paid account and then completely lost interest even before my one-year subscription expired. While it was cool moving around the different virtual areas and meeting people, (I even explored the Titanic) I felt it was missing something to keep me fully engaged. Plus I got the impression I was mainly interacting with kids and very young adults. It got old really fast.
The one element to Second Life that I always thought about was how it might be neat to be able to combine some aspects of Second Life into the Flight Simulator hobby or vice versa. For example, as I stated earlier in Second Life one can buy land. The land purchase can be either already developed or can be undeveloped space. While I never purchased land in Second Life, the idea of being able to do something like this in relation to the Flight Simulator hobby interested me. Of course, I’m not a software designer and never really took the idea outside of my head and shared it with others. Thankfully someone else had the same idea and did act on it.
I recently learned of a project called Andras Field which has been in development for several months and available for download/purchase since 30 June 2010. Andras Field is a fictive airport located in Southern Bavaria, close to the Swiss and Austrian border. The add-on software is available through Aerosoft and as of this blog posting, the current version is 1.10 (full build) with update 1.12 applied on top. Updates are made available as property is sold. More about this later.
Again, as of this blog posting Andras Field is sold through Aerosoft for $27.36 USD. This price is very competitive for all that you get with this add-on product. Andras Field is more than just an airport, it is an entire airpark including a 7,006 foot asphalt runway, 2,000 foot grass glider base and a 6,000 foot water runway. Need space to land your favorite heli? No worries…you’ll find plenty of space at Andras Field to do just that. Still want more?
Andras Field includes all the amenities one would expect in a self-contained airport city. You’ll find servicing facilities, restaurants, hotels and residential properties designed by pilots for pilots. When ready to fly, your airplane can be rolled out of your private attached garage and in minutes you’ll be on the active runway.
But how does all this tie in with Second Life? Well…like Second Life, you can buy commercial or residential property for real money at Andras Park. You can have the developers place a standard house/hangar or you can model your own to have placed on your plot for all to see including your name on the street sign. Updates are made available every ten days or so.
I haven’t decided if I’ll buy some virtual property. But I have had fun with this software add-on.
Until next time…
November 29, 2010 / admin / 0 Comments
Before my long multi-year hiatus from the hobby I was a regular on the VATSIM network. In the short period of time from first joining VATSIM to my break from the hobby I had accumulated over 420 hours. Keep in mind this was over a period of time from 2002 through 2004 and another brief stint around 2006. Not bad for just a little over 2 years. Of course I know other pilots could accumulate more hours, but during much of this time (2002 – 2004) I served in the capacity of either hub manager or VP of Operations at American Virtual Airlines (AvA).
In those early days nothing was automated like it is today. Pilots expected to see their flight hours updated on the roster every couple of days or even daily. I managed the DFW hub and it was one of the most active hubs in the VA and I found it easier to take 15-20 minutes daily to tally up the hours, then spend an hour or more once or twice a week. My philosophy back then was I would do all the admin duties BEFORE flying.
When I started clawing my way back into the hobby a few months ago, the world of VATSIM and Virtual Airlines was NOT at the top of my list. Due to PC issues in the past, I did find it sometimes to be a struggle to complete an online flight. Either I would find no ATC online or the hit to the frame rates would cause the sim to run so sluggish or crash….it sort of took the fun out of flying online.
While I was on my Around the World – 2010 Journey, I began thinking about how cool it might be to do an around the world flight and do it online. While I hope to do another around the world flight in 2011, I’m not sure it will be online. But I will admit that just the thought of it did peak my interest in VATSIM again.
I did kick around the idea of returning to VATSIM online flying as an independent. I would fly for whatever carrier I wanted to fly for and the rules would be my rules. But I didn’t think that would be much fun. Part of what I find so awesome about this hobby is the people you meet along the way. By the way, two friends of mine that I’ve met since returning to the hobby both have Flight Sim Blogs. Please check out Al’s Clear Left, and Onur’s Clear Right Flight Sim Blogs.
Now what I’m going to say next is NOT a paid message. But the very best virtual airline in existence really is American Virtual Airlines. Perhaps I feel what I feel about AvA because I put so much effort into it. Perhaps it was the way things ended when I left (yes there is a bit of a story here). In a nutshell I had spent much of my free time helping to keep AvA going strong. Both my life as well as the life of the CEO became very busy. We agreed we had nothing else to give and would close the doors. Thankfully….Thankfully……the other hub members gained control of AvA and kept the doors open and it is still going strong today.
If I could go back in time I would not have walked away like I did. My problem was I didn’t know how to ask for help. I felt the CEO slipping away and he had founded the VA a few years prior to me joining. The right thing to do would have been for me to ask for help from the rest of the management team and not walked away like I did. But…..you can’t undo something that has already been done. Like I said, the VA was taken over very quickly and has been in great hands ever since.
Anyway….when I realized I wanted to fly on-line again on the VATSIM network with my super fast and super reliable new PC, I knew I wanted to fly mostly with my real-world favorite airline (American Airlines) and didn’t bother looking if other VA’s were out there. I knew I needed to return home to AvA…and I did.
I joined AvA and am currently a Sr. Captain with a CAT IV rating and assigned to the best hub in their system, KDFW. I am as happy as can be. My first online VATSIM flight was held early this morning (couldn’t sleep) from KDEN to KDFW. I feel I have a few tweaks to make with theSquawkbox client as it crashed my very fast and very reliable system once I landed in Dallas. All had worked fine and once I switched it to squawk standby, it all crashed. I think I’m going to fly a few more trips and see if I can reproduce the issue. If it happens again, I’ll move SB over to another machine and run it in network mode.
Until next time,
November 20, 2010 / admin / 0 Comments
If all goes as planned, this update (update 10) will be the final trip update for my Around the World – 2010 Adventure. If by some chance you are just finding this blog. I began an Around the World Journey on what feels like a really long time ago, but actually just on 30 September 2010. As I stated in this blog post, I’ve done around the world flights before. I’ve completed about as many as I’ve started. But I’ve never completed an around the world flight in a single engine prop aircraft. This all changes now as I’m just a few flight legs away from completing this adventure in a Mooney.
As my Mooney sits in Sitka, Alaska I’ve traveled 3 nm shy of 34,000 nm in 191.0 hours and burned 3,077 gallons of fuel. I’m less than 2000 nm from Centennial, Colorado KAPA (my starting point). According to Wiki Answers, the circumference of the Earth at the Equator is 24,901.46 miles. While I’ve traveled over 50% of this trip north of the equator, I did fly down under to Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. The bottom line and I guess the point that I’m trying to make is I’ve traveled a long, long ways and have had fun along the way.
It is the early morning of Wednesday, 17 November and it is time to snuff out the fire in the cabin and ready the float plane for the trip back to Sitka. The weather today is cloudy but with good visibility. I expect no issues getting out of the Fjords surrounding the cabin location. With the flight down to Sitka taking just about 45 minutes, I’ll still have a full day of flying to get me on down closer to home. I arrived back at the Sitka float plane base to turn in my float plane and then head over to the neighboring PASI to pickup the Mooney.
I had the Mooney serviced while I was on my float plane R&R adventure, so she is good to go all the way back to Denver. I’ve really been impressed with how well this plane has performed on this long, long trip. She has exceeded my expectations….but we’re not home yet.
I departed runway 29 at PASI and made the nice, slow turn to the south taking one more look at the surrounding area. The first leg of today’s trip will be down to CYZT, Port Hardy. I’m flying over the southern area of the Tongass Fjords scenery area and it’s just beautiful. I really can’t wait to get back up here to explore all it has to offer.
As I got closer to Port Hardy, the clouds began to fill in all around me and so did the rain. The approach into CYZT was uneventful. I just needed to remember this would not be a water landing. Once on the ground I fueled the Mooney and myself and departed as quickly as I could and head down through Washington State and into Oregon. Just 4 miles south of Hillsboro is Stark’s Twin Oaks Airpark, 7S3. This little slice of heaven is depicted very nicely by Bill Womack. Check out his website for more information on this Orbx scenery.
It’s great to be back in the lower 48. I’m going to spend the next day around Stark’s Twin Oaks Airpark and will resume flying on Friday.
It’s Friday and the final day of flying has arrived. Today I will make it back home and complete my Around the World – 2010 Adventure. As I depart Stark’s Twin Oaks Airpark, I will officially be starting the 73rd leg of my journey. I plan to fly a long first leg followed by two shorter legs to finish out at 75 legs for the entire journey.
I departed Stark’s just as the sun was rising. I’ve still got a long way to go and need a full day of flying to reach KAPA in Centennial, Colorado late this afternoon/evening. Also this strategy will also allow me to carry less fuel as the Mooney just seems to struggle at higher altitudes when fully fueled. I will need her to run smooth to get me over the Rockies.
The overall weather and visibility today has been wonderful. I’m flying a modified route from what I talked about in update 9. I’m headed for Idaho Falls, Idaho and KIDA. From KIDA I will head southeast to Glenwood Springs, Colorado KGWS then on to KAPA.
I landed in Idaho Falls, KIDA and loaded enough fuel for the short flight down to Glenwood Springs and grabbed a bite to eat. The weather is holding, but winds along the mountain range coming into Wyoming is a little turbulent. The Mooney is bouncing around a little, but I have a good strong tailwind and making great time. I landed at KGWS and purchased the final few gallons needed to make it up and over the Rockies and into Denver. I grabbed some food and I was in the air in no time.
This final leg is perhaps the shortest of all the previous 74 legs on this trip. At just 116 nm, I’ll be on the ground within an hour. I suppose this last leg is somewhat bittersweet. While I’m please I’ve managed to accomplish a task that many in the flight simulator hobby only dream of, I’m also thinking “what next”? For the past seven weeks, I’ve known where I’ll fly and what aircraft I would fly in.
Of course the sweet part of this is the journey is complete and I can do whatever I want to do. As much fun as I’ve had flying low and slow, I do miss the “big iron” and will soon fly an American Airlines/American Eagle trip which I will also be flying in real life in the next few weeks. What I’m fairly confident about is I’ll return to a low and slow journey again very soon.
The flight from Glenwood Springs to Centennial (Denver) went really fast. I spent some time flying over the area gaining altitude before I headed east and followed fairly close the route of Interstate 70 as it winds through the mountains. Once I was on the eastern side of the Rockies, the downtown skyline of Denver came into view.
Weather conditions had KAPA operating landing north to south and Centennial Tower gave me runway 17R. I had a Cessna ahead of me and another behind me. Plus lots of traffic on the ground. It’s a beautiful day to return home. I’m glad to be here.
So what was the final breakdown of statistics? Well, the journey began on 30 September 2010 and finished today, 19 November 2010. I was away from home for 51 days and of those 51 days, 30 were actual flying days. The number of flying hours total 201.5. This averages out to 6.7 hours per flight day. I completed the trip in 75 flight segments and traveled in both the northern and southern hemisphere. The total number of miles flown was 35,816 and I burned a total of 3,235 gallons of fuel. If you want to view my route on Google maps, just click here.
When I first began flying computer simulators back in the early 80’s, the concept of going anywhere other than around Chicago Meig’s Field was simply unheard of. Now today I’ve completed something that I’ve always wanted to do. Like I’ve said, I have circled the globe several times in heavy iron and I’ve attempted the task in smaller planes many times only to burn out and simply give up. I look forward to the next time I can circle the globe.
Thank you for reading and sharing in my journey.