A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E10

The situation is getting worse. Since returning from Portland, it’s been more than 10 days since I’ve worked and I’m looking at my options.  Before I accepted the transfer to San Francisco, I had been contacted by Southwest Airlines.  I’m currently in discussions and weighing all my options.  Something has to change.  But for now, I have a trip down to Palm Springs and back.  At least I’m flying…at least I’m working.

Flight Details

Our flight today is Alaska flight 596 with service to Palm Springs.  We’re in the B738.  Our block time is 1 hour and 33 minutes, with flight time of just over 1 hour.  Our cruising altitude is 31,000 and we’re taking 13,780 lbs of fuel. 

Route:  SFO WAGES KAYEX LOSHN CLASN SIZLR3

1

Time To Go

We’re all buttoned up and just waiting for the jetway to be moved and the tug to connect to us. 

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Taxing out to 01L.  Looks like a United Airbus is about to depart. 

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Wheels up and we’re off

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Making our turn around SFO.  I do enjoy this departure.

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Bye-Bye SFO, see you later this evening.

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Beginning our descent into Palm Springs

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I’m digging this approach

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Looks warm down there

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Palm Springs, California

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Making our turn to join the visual approach 31L

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Two Red, Two White….We’re Alright!

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Parked up at the gate in Palm Springs.  I believe this is the Sonny Bono (as in Sonny and Cher) concourse.  Has that Denver look to it. 

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I have some thinking and planning to do.  I really don’t want to make a change at this time, but at the same time I need to work.  Decisions, decisions….

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSFO Flightbeam, KPSP Orbx
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
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.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E9

While I’ve only been based at SFO a short time, I’m starting to sense a bit of an uneasy feeling.  Some of our pilots have had their schedules cut and others temporarily furloughed.  While I enjoy a relaxed schedule, I also need to work.  After all, if we’re not flying…we’re not earning a living.  I’m hopeful this is only short-term problem as it’s been over a week between flights for me.  But hey…today I’m flying up to Portland and back. 

Flight Details

I’m back in the right-hand seat and flying with a captain I’ve worked with before.  We get along very well.  He’s been my mentor for a while now and I’m always pleased to serve as his FO.  In this case as is SFO at SFO.  Smile   Perhaps I’ll have some time to speak to him and get a better understanding of what all is going on. 

Our flight today is Alaska flight 800 in the Boeing 737-900 up to Portland (KPDX).  Our alternate will be my old stomping grounds of Sea-Tac.  Our block time today is just under 2 hours.  We’re taking 16,000 lbs of fuel and have a planned cruising altitude of 34,000. 

Route:  TRUKN2 GRTFL DCT MACHU TMBRS2

1

It’s Time To Go

Today we’re in the “More To Love” livery which celebrates the merger between Alaska and Virgin America. 

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No flight can begin without a walk-around.

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Time for push-back and hopefully an on-time departure.  Today our taxi is a little longer as we’re departing from 28L.

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Let’s Roll

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Wheel’s Up

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Climbing to cruise

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The view on this side of the aircraft won’t change much as we fly up the coast of California into Oregon.

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I believe that’s Mt. Hood just behind us. 

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Clouds are building as we begin our descent into Portland. 

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Making our turn to join the localizer for 10R

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The Columbia River just below. 

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Cleared to land 10R

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Nice

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Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSFO Flightbeam, KPDX Flightbeam
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California, Orbx Pacific Northwest
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
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.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E8

Our new San Francisco adventure starts now and I’m really excited about this new opportunity.  My first flight out of SFO will be a trip over to Vegas and back in the 737-800.  I’ve flown into and out of SFO many times, but there’s something a little different about this first flight out, as now I’m based here.  The good news is I’ve been really made to feel welcome by all the SFO based team and I’m starting to settle into my new home. 

Flight Details

Today I’m serving as Sr. First Officer on Alaska flight 1932 with service to Las Vegas.  Our flight today is in the Boeing 737-800.  Our block time for this trip is 1 hour, 40 minutes and we require 14, 650 lbs. of fuel and our take-off weight is just over 148,000 lbs.  This is a late afternoon flight and will be arriving into Vegas just around sunset. 

Route:  WESLA4 NTELL Q162 ESSAA DCT BTY SUNST4

1

Let’s Go Already

Our 738 is at the gate and being prepped for the flight.  As Sr. First Officer, it’s my job to perform the walk around. 

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We start at the front and make our way around. 

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Inspecting the engine and control surfaces.

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Making sure all lights are working as they should.

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Then to the rear of the aircraft.

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Tires and gear all look good.  It’s time to head back inside.

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Some things are still branded with Virgin America, but that will soon change I’m sure.  Time for push-back.

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Push-back and two successful engine starts.  It’s time to taxi out to 01L.  Don’t worry…it’s a short taxi. 

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Line up and wait.  We’re waiting on a United B788 landing on 28L. 

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Blasting off 01L at KSFO on our way to Vegas.

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Making our left turn to circle around SFO and join the departure out of the Bay area.

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Climbing up to FL370. 

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The sun is setting and the moon is rising as we enter our cruise phase. 

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Beginning our descent on the Las Vegas SUNST4 Arrival.

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The view from my office window.

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Beautiful sunset

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The Vegas strip just off our left side.

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On final approach.

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Cleared to land

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Parked at the gate and deboarding.  We’re set to return to SFO tonight.

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Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-800
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSFO Flightbeam, FlyTampa KLAS
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
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.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E7

Just a little clarification.  As my storyteller series continues to unfold, I’m going to be taking a new job in APL with Virgin America.  As Virgin America was acquired by Alaska Airlines and fully merged in 2018, for the sake of this continuing story line…I’m going to continue to fly for Alaska.  But be based in San Francisco.  APL will think of me employed by Virgin America…but I’ll follow the real world situation and consider myself still employed by Alaska.  Confused?  Hopefully not….

Present Day

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Upon returning from the Las Vegas trip, I had a few days off and needed to give serious thought to my future plans.  The way I saw it, I had three possible doors to open and walk through.  Thankfully I knew what was behind each door.  The hard part was deciding.  Would it be door #1, door #2 or door #3?
I also suppose there could have been a 4th option, but I just don’t have the brain power to think about that option right now. 

Door #1 is basically stay with Alaska and stay in Seattle.  I could continue flying mostly the same routes I’ve been flying. 

Door #2 would have me accept the transfer down to San Francisco and operate the old Virgin America routes.  Most likely I would stay in the Boeing 73x aircraft.  But could certainly work through the process of getting type rated on the Airbus A320.  This option would certainly better assist me down the road. 

Door #3 is to look at the list of offers I have available.  I really didn’t want to take a step back in pay and my ultimate goal is to eventually get hired on by a 5 star airline.  As far as I’m concerned, this can wait until I reach the rank of captain.  I’m really in no rush. 

A part of me feels that Alaska needs/wants me to go to San Fran.  After all, if they didn’t…they wouldn’t have offered it.  So I must be doing something right.  Again…decisions, decisions. 

OK….

Done!  We’re moving to the Bay Area.  Might as well. 

Flight Details

All my belongings are packed and being moved down to the San Francisco area.  My car is also being shipped down and while I’m still in Seattle, I managed to get assigned to a flight down.  Might as well earn some money and XP in the process right?  Right!

Today I’ll be serving as Sr. First Officer on Alaska flight 1740 with non-stop service to San Francisco.  Our flight today is in the Boeing 737-800 with a total block fuel of 17,141 lbs. and a take-off weight of 159,232 lbs.  Our block time is 2 hours and 10 minutes and our cruising altitude is 35,000.

Route:  HAROB6 FEPOT Q3 FOWND MLBEC BDEGA3

2

Time To Go

The feeling is somewhat bitter sweet.  While I know this won’t be the last time I fly into Sea-Tac, I’ve truly enjoyed calling this airport home.  I’ve enjoyed living in the Seattle area, but looking forward to finding out what life is like in San Fran. While I know this isn’t permanent, SFO will be my new home for the foreseeable future. 

For my big send off, Alaska has matched me up with one of the old black/white liveries.  She’s a classic for sure and I’m honored to have one last opportunity to fly this livery before they are all repainted.  Obviously, Alaska has been most concerned with getting all the Virgin America Airbus aircraft updated first.  After all, branding means everything. 

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We’re all buttoned up and ready to push back. 

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Push back the Boeing 737-900

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Holding short runway 16L.  We all bow to the Queen.  A Boeing 747-400 landing 16L.

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Once the Queen vacated the runway, it was our time to blast off for SFO.  Bye Bye Sea-Tac.  See you sometime soon.

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Turning to join our departure course. 

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Climbing out above the clouds. 

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Descending into what will be my new home for a while.  Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge just out of the Captains window. 

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Silicon Valley

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Clear to land, runway 25L

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Almost there….

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Short final for 25L. 

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At the gate, SFO.

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The sign above the door says it all.  Or at least tells us we landed at the correct airport.  This day and age, that fact is not always a given.

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I’m here and a new adventure begins at SFO.  We have a busy schedule of flights which start almost immediately.  For me, A Pilot’s Life has really helped to give purpose to my virtual flying.  APL makes you think, it makes you plan and it makes you work hard to gain both experience as well as money. 

I truly hope you are enjoying this storyteller series and I hope you’ll tune back in for the next episode next week. 

Thanks again and happy flying!

Jerry

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here.

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-900
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSEA Drzewiecki Design, KSFO Flightbeam
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, Orbx Northern California, Orbx Southern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
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.

A Pilot’s Life Storyteller Series–S1, E1

Welcome to the first series and first edition of “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller Series.  For more context on what this storyteller series is about, please read Return of the Flight Sim Storyteller.  This will bring you up to speed and set the stage for this first edition. 

Commercial Break

LOL  OK….I figure this is as good a place as any to plug my new Flight Sim Project, Flight Sim Helpers.  Flight Sim Helpers is my way of giving back to the community which has been so good to me for over 35 years.  The concept of Flight Sim Helpers, is to help those who are just starting out in the wonderful hobby of flight simulation.  However, regardless if you are brand new or a seasoned veteran, all are welcome.  I’m actually hoping to recruit others who are knowledgeable in FSX, P3D and X-Plane to serve as moderators and subject matter experts.  If you are interested, please let me know.  For now, please visit and join the Flight Sim Helpers Facebook Group and also check out the Flight Sim Helpers website.  Thank you and I’ll now proceed with the story.

Present Day

Once again I had an overnight layover in the Bay Area.  This time at SFO.  I enjoyed a nice steak at the hotel in celebration of my new promotion.  Looking at my schedule, I’m due to fly back to Seattle then out to Salt Lake City and then back up to Ketchikan, Alaska.  Oh…my favorite.  But I need to get through the next few days first. 

The crew shuttle picks us up at our hotel at 4:30 AM sharp.  It really feels like we only just arrived.  But I had the rest required by the FAA and anxious to get back to sunny Seattle (NOT).  It’s been raining all up and down the West Coast of the US the past several days.  We have a great crew with us today, so we expect no issues.  Of course I’m dreaming of my next promotion which will finally have me at the rank of Captain.  But  I’ve gotta grind it out from 212 XP up to 650 XP for this one.  But XP points do come a little quicker with each promotion.  As a comparison, at FO I earned just a little over 5.0 XP on KSEA to KOAK.  However, with Sr. FO on the flight from KSEA to KSFO, I earned almost 8 XP.  As soon as I get paid (end of the month), I’ll purchase a mobile phone which will earn me a 10% XP bonus each flight. 

Flight Details

This morning my captain and I will be operating Alaska flight 1737, non-stop service from San Francisco to Seattle.  Our flight is scheduled to depart at 6:00 AM from gate 52B.  Our planned fuel for this morning is 16,720 lbs and our take-off weight is 148,143 lbs.  Our cruising altitude will be FL360 and we have a block time of 2 hours, 9 minutes.  We anticipate departing from runway 28L. 

Flight Plan: TRUKN2 DEDHD DCT RBL DCT LML HAWKZ7

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Walk Around

As Sr. First Officer, it’s my job today to conduct the walk around inspection of our Boeing 737-800.  This is the first flight of the day for this aircraft and the bags and cargo haven’t arrived yet. 

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Almost done, checking all lights and this aircraft is looking good. 

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Here Comes the Bags

Obviously we can’t go anywhere without our passengers and all their bags. 

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Time for push-back

With our passengers, bags and a small amount of cargo loaded onto our Boeing 737-800, it’s time to close the doors and push back from the gate.  The skies are looking a bit rough this morning, but we expect no departure delays this morning. 

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After a brief taxi, we have arrived at runway 28L. 

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ASA 1737 is wheels up and on our way to Sea-Tac.

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Making our right turn and headed east towards OAK.

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The  obligatory wing shot. 

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Making our way along the SID or Standard Instrument Departure, just a slight chop as we continue our climb.  We’ll keep the cabin crew in their seats a bit longer, but reports are smooth skies above FL200.

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It’s complete cloud cover as we make our way through northern California and into Oregon. 

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At FL360, we can relax a few minutes before we need to start planning our descent and arrival into Seattle. 

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Monitoring a thunderstorm as we cruise above Portland. 

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As we begin our approach and descent into the Seattle area, a little drag is required to meet the speed restrictions of the STAR or Standard Terminal Arrival Route.

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Runway 34C is in sight.  No auto-land required today.  The Sr. First Officer has control. 

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I think it’s going to be a beautiful day in Seattle today.  This makes a nice change.

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Clear 34C, Cross 34R and taxi to the gate.  Note the other Alaska B738 which arrived just before us.

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Parked at the Alaska terminal Sea-Tac. 

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I’m due to report to another aircraft and Captain for a rotation down to Salt Lake City and back in the Boeing 737-900.  Since I only have default scenery for SLC, I will return with my “A Pilot’s Life” Storyteller Series in a few days for my trip to Ketchikan, Alaska.  That’ll be fun. 

Until then…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

Credits

If you are interested in experiencing your own “A Pilot’s Life”, I highly recommend the A Pilot’s Life, by SimBitWorld add-on for Prepar3D, FSX and X-Plane.  You can learn more about the A Pilot’s Life by visiting the SimBitWorld website and/or purchase APL at SimMarket.  Also, please read my full review of A Pilot’s LIfe here

Flight Simulator:  Prepar3D v4.5 (hotfix 1)
Aircraft:  PMDG 737-800
Airline: Alaska Airlines (ASA)
ATC:  VATSIM
Airport Scenery: KSFO FlightBeam, KSEA Drzewiecki Design
Terrain Scenery: Orbx Global Base, Orbx Vector, Orbx openLC North America, Orbx NA Pacific Northwest, NA Northern California
Sky/Cloud Textures: REX 5 SkyForce and REX 5 Environment Force
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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