Sunday, June 28, 2009


Unless you already know, Blagnac is the name of a calm residential neighborhood in Toulouse, the 4th largest city of France. It's also the name of the city airport which incidentally, is the home of Airbus and Aerospatiale ATR.

Today's flight is from La Ville Rose (Toulouse's other name) LFBO to Algiers, Algeria DAAG. The flight number, AH1045, is a real world Air Algerie flight. Lacking an Air Algerie livery, I did the flight in a Pegasus 738. The Algerian airline wet-leased aircraft from Pegasus in 2005 and PGT aircraft actually flew this 450NM route. (maybe they still do?)

Routefinder generated the following flight plan:


I had 150 passengers on board with 9000lbs of cargo and 13000lbs of fuel. ZFW was around 127.5K lbs.

After a swift preflight, we're wating for an LH CRJ, we're going to fall in behind it for taxi to the active.

Weather in LFBO was clear skies, 25C with winds 115/5. Naturally, take off is from runway 14L, following a Pumal 5A departure. Cruise altitude is 33000 feet.

LH4383 is lined up and ready to go to Munich.

Here is a real LH 4383 that I flew with on my last trip home on Octobre 2007. I took the picture while waiting for boarding at our gate.

Another cool feature of this add-on aircraft is a panel configuration in which you can select between different modes for forward view. I mostly use two, which are the default and zoomed ones.

Ready to roll, runway 14L. LH4383 is headed to the left.

Climbing over La Garonne. The city center of Toulouse is on the left. My house was very close to that brigde (Pont Saint-Pierre), I used to spot departing and arriving aircraft on my way to school which got me funny looks from my friends! Looks like I caught the strobe too.

I would like to add a note here, if you are not satisfied with your sky textures, if you think your horizon doesn't look good, then maybe, you should call the A-Team! (HAHA)
Seriously, in this case you should try John Cillis' Soft Horizons for FS9 or FSX. It's very simple to install and you will notice the difference immediately.

Turning towards Barcelona, the Pyrenees fill the front view.

I got cleared for VOR runway 27 approach, perfect, just as I had predicted. I couldn't get the ATIS message for DAAG since it doesn't seem to have a frequency according to the Jepp chart. I could have added one with the Afcad program but realism prevailed...

The metar, which I consulted before the flight, for Algiers was 260/06 210V300 with CAVOK conditions and 30C. There shouldn't be any problems.

No STAR here, the published VOR approach to runway 27 starts at navaid ZEM.

Approaching the Algerian coast, beautiful view...

There was some incoming traffic, I love it when the AI are all spaced out, flying their approaches consistently as they should, without flying on top of one another or having to go around , it's rare in FS but it does happen.

Just before intercepting the radial 273 for the ALR VOR, I disconnected the A/P and A/T, the PMDG bird is very fun to handfly and responds very nicely to trimming.

On final rwy27. Usually, I'm a bit too high on non-precision approaches but this one went well.

Parked at gate A3.

On the internet, screen shot forums have their fair share of exterior shots, so in this blog you'll only see one or two per entry. I like exterior views but my simming is mainly in the cockpit. I lean on the technical side of this hobby and although a banking aircraft at sunset looks nice from the outside, I prefer a crappy cockpit shot anyday.

Hmm...I wonder where I should fly next time? Any suggestions?

Thanks for viewing

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cargo Haul

One thing I like about cargo flights is that you can set them up purely by imagination since they are not scheduled, well, not most of the time. It's possible to pick any destination and it will still feel real. There are certain airports that serve hubs for these freight operations but you can see these haulers pretty much at every airport around the World.

I picked the DHL 757-200 for this one. Why DHL? Because, when I was abroad for university education, my parents used to send me stuff by DHL. So, whenever I see that logo, I always remember those much expected packages full of treats.

Anyway, the flight is from Frankfurt-Main (EDDF) to Gdansk, Poland (EPGD). I wasn't aware of this city until this excellent freeware scenery came out. This is one of the benefits of Flight Sim, you get to know places you've never heard of. If you like flying into and out of small airports in Europe then this add-on is for you.

The route which is around 470NM for DHL 752 (fictional) is:


ZFW was 208600 lbs with a fuel load of 20000 lbs, I wanted a heavy configuration but I think I overdid it here, the figure is beyond the operational limit which is a Max ZFW of 184000lbs.

Weather was bad at EDDF, 071/8 with a few clouds at 4800 and thunder storms, I could see the lightning and hear the thunder during my preflight on the ramp. Temperature was 24C.

Normally I don't fly much around large hubs like Frankfurt, I prefer the smaller, secondary airports. But I have to admit, I loved watching AI traffic doing their thing here. I've been at EDDF many times in real life so the pleasure doubled when I recognized various sections of the airport.

Lined up and ready to go, rwy 07L, TOBAK 3E departure. Note the cells on the weather radar.

Although the weather radar is not fully accurate in FS, it's still adds to the realism to see the cells on the ND. Luckily, we will be flying through a gap. I also find the panel lighting to be very well done on this PSS 757.

Despite it's heavy weight, the 757 climbed with ease to it's cruise altitude of 32000 feet, loads of clouds on the way up, lots of yellow returns on the WX radar.

Just prior to initial descent, FMC message indicates that I have to reset my MCP altitude.

The ride was bumpy on the approach all the way down.

The unassuming FS ATC was spot on with an ILS runway 29 approach via KRT transition, good, just as planned.

Weather at EPGD was 068/10, ceiling 2300 and 16C. Actually, in these circumstances I should have chosen to land on runway 11 but the Jepp chart doesn't include any IAP for 11. Oh well, a nice tailwind would be challenging anyway.

On final rwy 29, my Vref was 140 with flaps 30, talk about being overloaded!

The landing was quite smooth considering the tailwind, and I slowed down with autobrakes 3 and reversers. I bet the brakes were red hot!

To add a note here, the Alpha-India Group has recently done a reworked AF2 file for this version of EPGD, the original one had minor flaws, this one is much better. AIG are experts on AF2s so if you see their files on your favorite FS site, do give them a look.

Parked at our stand with a Wizz Air A320 on the opposite side. You can't see it but there is also a SAS Maddog.

Man, I should do more night flights, I love those runway lights

Thanks for viewing, I hope you enjoyed this review.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I love this aircraft

I can't get enough of the PMDG 737NG, I'm addicted to this add-on and it's always my first choice for a flight. Yes, the first entry in this blog is an Airbus but that was pure coincidence and I was testing the localizer and approach modes of the PSS. You will see that the majority of the flights here will be in the NG.

The reason is simple, it's a perfect add-on, no bugs, no ridiculous fighter-style pitching or banking. Moreover, it's very easy on resources, has an excellent auto-flight and FMC. It's just pure pleasure, load it up and have fun. If you have watched a 737NG cockpit video you will notice that this add-on matches the real thing outstandingly.

Also, bear in mind that this aircraft was done a few years ago, yet it still feels much newer than most of what's on the market...Bravo PMDG!

This flight is Air Europa UX 3182 (fictional) from Palma de Mallorca, Spain (LEPA) to Lyon, France (LFLL) which is around 420NM taking an hour and a half today. I decided to fly with a heavy load considering this is a tourist haul with all the luggage and stuff bought in Palma. Shopping is always a pleasure on holidays. LEPA scenery is the old Aerosoft version and LFLL is a good freeware done by some french guy.

ZFW was roughly 132K lbs with a fuel load of 15K lbs. Note that the 737-800 has a Max ZFW of 136K lbs.

After calculation, rotation speed (Vr) was 140KTS.

The route:

The winds at Palma were blowing from the Northeast, 052/9 with few clouds at 2000 and broken at 4500. The visibility was 6 miles and the temperature a warm 22C. All this indicates that a runway 06R take-off and a Meros 3B will be on the menu. This SID is pretty much straight forward so no fancy turns on climb up to cruise altitude of 32000 feet.

Here I am parked at the gate. The huge winglets on this airplane go very well with it's low fuselage, it kind of looks like a sports car, unlike the "Bus" which looks rather like a family saloon.

There was a lot of traffic at LEPA, probably because of the tourist season, I had a hard time trying to cut in and get taxi clearance from the ATC. Busy airports can be a pain in the ass in flight sim with all the radio chatter and AI traffic but thanks to WOAI it's a joy to watch them on the apron.

Here this Iberia A321 is off to mainland Spain. Call me crazy but I love watching the AI line up and take-off. As you might know WOAI runs real world schedules so you would probably see this Iberia flight if you were at Palma at that time.

After a long take-off roll I had mild turbulence on the initial climb.

Climbing into the clouds, beautiful.

I selected a derated take-off as you can see in the picture. You really don't need all that thrust.

Nice view of Mallorca on the left side.

I checked the winds for my cruise altitude before my flight and just as Jeppesen forecasted, there was a strong headwind, arrrgghhh

I had some mild turbulence too with the occasionnal "juice spiller"

After passing over the bustling city of Marseille I started my descent into St. Exupery airport.

Planned arrival was MTL1 which is a straight line from the MTL VOR to the initial approach fix (IAF) of runway 36R. This saves time, I hate those long downwind legs!

Weather at Lyon was windy from the North, 356/16, with few clouds at 1600, 6 mile visibility and a temperature of 17C. Perfect for a runway 36R landing, "Nickel" as the french say.

Intercepting the localizer for runway 36R, flaps5, keep an eye on the glide slope indicator.

In some add-on aircraft, localizer and glide slope intercept is shitty, it's very violent, the aircraft banks sharply as it struggles to intercept the horizontal beam or pitches suddenly to grab the vertical one. In the PMDG both are very smooth, you can notice it in the above shot.

If you take a look at Air Europa cockpit pictures on you will notice that they do a lot of flaps 40 landings, company procedure...?

In the NG, if the visibility is clear I usually disconnect the A/P and A/T at the "1000" callout. It's a joy to handfly this aircraft, playing around with the trim.

On very short final 36R, flaring is trickier with flaps 40...The runway is 8750 feet. Gotta love the high Vref attitude of this airplane.

At the gate in Lyon. The Transat A310 is pushing back for it's long trip across the pond.

Comments are most welcome
Thanks for viewing.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Maiden Flight

Hello fellow simmers and aviation enthusiasts,

Welcome to my Flight Simulation blog!

Here I will regularly post my FS9 flights in detail with a few screen shots. You will be able to find all sorts of information of my trips, such as weather, loads, arrivals/departures and many more...

Please feel free to comment so I can improve on the content of this space.

Before I commence on my flight review I would like to thank my good friend and fellow simmer, Al, for inspiring me on starting this blog. Without his encouragement and contribution I wouldn't have done it. Naturally, this first trip report is dedicated to him.

Al is an experienced and dedicated simmer who has an excellent blog himself. If you love this hobby and you already aren't aware of his blog you should be ashamed of yourself!

Ok then,

My first flight, SWR 25 (fictional) is from Rome Fiumicino Italy (LIRF) to Geneva Cointrin Switzerland (LSGG). The airport sceneries involved are respectively ISD and Dreamfactory. ISD's airports are excellent freeware material. The aircraft is the PSS A330-200pw.

Flight distance was roughly 400NM with the SID and STAR included at a cruise altitude of 35000 feet. The PSS fuel planner suggests higher altitudes for these short hops but I find it useless to ascend that high. In the perfect world of flight sim fuel is free so you don't have to care about economy anyway.

The flight plan was
Take-off from runway 16R following a Gilio 5C departure and a Banko 1N Rnav arrival to land on runway 05.

ZFW was around 330K lbs with a fuel load of 25K lbs, far from the limits of this powerful Airbus. One of the things I don't like about heavy aircraft is that they pack a punch and on light take-offs it's extremely difficult to control the speed. I should try a higher flex temperature the next time.

The weather in Rome was quite pleasant, a nice 26C with 6 miles visibilty, the wind, 105/13. Few clouds at 3000 feet and scattered at 6000.

I took a look at the LSGG metar and planned a runway 05 arrival since the winds forecasted were 072/10. This has to be confirmed later on approach to Geneva once the ATIS is received.

Pushed back from the stand and ready for taxi

Note the fuel on board. I forgot to set the correct fuel amount and wondered why in the hell my V-speeds were so high. Luckily I noticed it at this point and reloaded the planned amount of 25K lbs.

You can also see the incoming aircraft on the ND landing on 16L.

BTW, Air Canada 891 departed just before me, I would have caught up with it but I had to sort out the excessive fuel issue in the MCDU so I couldn't get a shot of the 767.

Passing 10000 feet, signs and lights off, time for a smoked salmon sandwich and a Pellegrino to wash it down...

Cruise flight at 35000 feet with a mild headwind was uneventful. The flight took me over the west coast of Italy and the Alps. Just prior to the TOD there were thunder storms to my left but no problems for me.

Default FS ATC was spot on with the ILS 05 Indis transition approach. Despite it's limits I don't think it's that bad.

The PSS A340 Pro handles VNAV descents quite well so I easily captured the G/S which is quite a difficult task at LSGG since it starts at a high 7000 feet right after the base turn.

Due to xwind my approach was a little messy, look at the angle. I'm obviously still a novice on this type...My VREF was 145 knots in case you're curious.
Also, note the PAPI-G/S discrepancy, a well-known FS problem. You can't fix it for the Dreamfactory

Geneva either (at least I can't) since the PAPIs are embedded someplace in the scenery itself.

The landing was bad too, I floated a bit but the runway here is 12000 feet so no sweat.

Taxing to the gate, these guys are kindly waiting for me, the TAP 321 is bound for Lisbon and the AFR 318 to Paris Charles-de-Gaulle.

Thanks for viewing and please comment!