The Real World

Taking a short break from writing about the flight sim world just to document some thoughts I have towards the real world.  Specifically the real world of aviation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic it is experiencing.  

Like many avid flight simulation enthusiasts, I’m also an avid avgeek.  It’s somewhat funny if you think about it.  As much as I enjoy the hobby of flight simulation and enjoy the real world of aviation, I’ve never had any desire to obtain my private pilots license.  The amount of money I’ve spent on the sim world could have gone a long ways towards paying for lessons.  But either I was too busy in my younger days or now it’s just too expensive.  Either way, time (or lack thereof) still plays an integral part I guess.  But in any event, I still very much love everything about real world aviation.  It might just be plane spotting from my back deck or even travel…I love it all.  But the future of aviation is really uncertain at this point in time. 

Sure, we all must keep a positive outlook on this.  As my long time readers will know, my wife and I usually travel to Europe every other year or so.  We were just over last summer and while we had no plans to travel this year (2020), I’m sure we’ll make the trip again sometime in the future. 

State of the Airlines

Within the aviation industry, airlines are struggling.  Most major airports around the world look like airplane parking lots with multiple runways and taxiways being closed and used for storage.  Those airlines still flying are only operating a small fraction of their fleet and routes.  These flights may contain a few passengers, but mainly are flying cargo.  It’s unclear whether carriers will be able to weather this storm.  While we’re starting to see a re-opening of the world’s economies…I’m not sure how long it will be before we see a return of pre-COVID-19 air travel.

The Demise of the Jumbo

Airlines were quick to begin grounding their fleet of aircraft around the world.  As previously mentioned, some airlines are storing aircraft at their hub airport locations while others are flying them out for longer term storage in the many desert storage locations.  As airlines begin to predict their return to service, the jumbo jet doesn’t appear to be part of their plan.  Virgin Atlantic made the decision to retire their Boeing 747-400’s in early May.  Delta will retire their entire Boeing 777 fleet by end of the year.  Of the approx. 234 Airbus A380’s, not a single one is flying at the present time and just yesterday I heard that Emirate’s has plans to retire some 46 of their A380’s approx. 10 years ahead of schedule. 

Long Live the Queen

My trip to London last summer was onboard British Airways Boeing 747-400.  A truly magnificent aircraft and my favorite to travel on.  While I can’t be certain, but I suspect that flight will go down in my personal history as the last time I was able to fly on the B744.  Most of the 744’s are in the 20+ year age range and just simply may not survive this crisis.  But of course that’s not to say we’ll never see another Boeing 747 flying into our favorite airports. 

Both the Boeing 747-400 and 777 will continue to fly as cargo aircraft for many years to come.  While some passenger variants may end up in the airplane graveyard, many will be retrofitted and return to service flying cargo all around the world.  This of course won’t be the case for the Airbus A380.  Unfortunately, the A380 (passenger variant) wasn’t designed to have an afterlife as a cargo hauler. 

Not Just Widebodies

The impact of COVID-19 isn’t just hitting widebody aircraft.  While one can argue that Boeing certainly had major issues before COVID-19 was even heard of, the global pandemic certainly isn’t making it easy on the aircraft manufacture and specifically for the Boeing 737 Max.  In recent days, orders totaling just over 100 aircraft were cancelled and of course the worldwide fleet of this variant has been grounded for more than a year.  It’s truly difficult to predict when or even if the 737 Max will ever fly again. 

Switching Gears

While not aviation related, I’ve heard that RV sales are at an all time high.  At least for now, people are changing their attitudes about travel and will opt to take their entire house with them where ever they may roam.  This might be wise for some as everything you need is all self-contained in your RV. 

Final Thoughts

As I said at the top of the piece, the future is simply unknown.  As I write this, I’ve been self-isolating/working from home for just over two months.  I don’t expect this to change anytime soon.  Many tech companies have decided not to attempt to bring their workforce back until sometime next year.  Other companies are planning to continue with a work from home policy indefinitely.  While I personally believe we’ll continue to see a drop in the infection/death rate due to COVID-19 throughout the summer, I believe we may see it climb once again later this fall as we enter the typical flu season.  Again, while the future is unknown…we all need to be prepared for the impacts of COVID-19 (in one way or other) to continue to impact us well into the decade. 

Thanks for reading and I’ll be sure to return shortly with a P3Dv5 setup update.  Until then, please continue to take care of yourself and those around you. 

Jerry

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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