What’s Next? How bout a trip to Texas

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.

MD80 climbing out of the clouds over southern Colorado.

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.

Climbing out from KOKC

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,

Jerry

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