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.



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. 


Pushing back from our stand and starting engines. 


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). 


Gear up!


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


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


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


Just about to make our final turn.


Rolling out, the airport is just ahead.


Yep, there’s Bilbao just ahead.


Cleared to land.




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


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!



Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737 NGX
Airline: Fedex (FDX)
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. 



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. 


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


Love the immersion of the condensation. 


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


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



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. 


The west coast of Wales.


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


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. 


On final approach into Brussels.  Nice green fields.


Cleared to land runway 25R. 


Slowing this heavy girl down.


Time to unload the cargo.


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!!!



Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 777
Airline: Fedex (FDX)
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.


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