Friday, August 7, 2009

Heading to the East Coast

This will probably be my last flight for the next 5 months or so. I will be doing my mandatory military service near LTAJ (Gaziantep) during this period and hopefully will be back in January.
I flew UPS 29 (fictional) from Denver to Pittsburgh. Block time for the 1140NM flight was 2 hours and 49 minutes. After putting in a few extra thousand pounds of fuel on what the PSS fuel planner gave me, together with the 170K ZFW my GW totaled to around 200K.

The winds were blowing from the East at Denver, 124/6 with 7 miles visibility and 16C. There were scattered clouds at 16000 feet.

After a short taxi from the cargo stand I lined up on 35L, took off and continued on the Plain4 departure and joined the J146 airway.

I made a mistake with my crosswind runway assignment, thus my tailwind take-off. I "tied" the runways in the wrong direction which resulted in 07-25 and 08-26 being the decisive runways. I'm not sure if xwind runways are a good idea at KDEN, I wonder how they use them in real life...?

Runway 35L, note the 07 and 08 landings on the ND

I forgot to turn on my weather radar which I noticed just after take-off. Never rush a flight...I was in a hurry to get in the air and have some breakfast.

Denver is a high altitude airport and you pass through 10000 feet in no time, especially in a 757.

Flying is better with clouds

I hit some mild turbulence in the clouds above giving the 757 a gentle bounce. The gentle bouncing continued all along the route. I also saw some storms over Chicago. Re-routing to avoid weather in real life must be a bitch, just like holding.

After the ACO VOR, I headed to cutta per the Cutta2 arrival and then proceeded to waypoint hadji. Just look at the name of that fix, really, how in the hell did they come up with that one...!?!

There were also other good ones like cofee, ideas and nasty near KPIT. From my experience, I can say that the US has a higher number of funny fix names when compared to other continents.

The PSS 757 VNAV has a step climb feature. My initial cruise altitude was 35000, after about 170NM I got the indication "S/C" on the ND and climbed to FL390.

ATIS indicated that the 28s were in use which meant a long downwind leg for me, arrgghh!! After some cursing at my luck I reset the CDU correctly and decided to descend in V/S mode for a change. Usually, I only use it below 10000 feet.

Surface winds were calm at KPIT with a ceiling of 15000 broken and 15C.

Downwind leg for 28R

According to the charts, major US airports are mostly "vectors to final" unless an RNAV or GPS approach is concerned. In Europe, however, a published STAR will usually take you all the way to the IAF which then is followed by the IAP. Those who are familiar with real world charts will understand what I mean. As FS ATC usually cannot provide accurate vectoring, I take the shortest route in HDG mode in these situations.

Short final 28R

I would have expected the Mach1 scenery to look better in the above shot. My rig is not top of the line as you can gather from my shots but the one above looks like it's from FS8. Don't get me wrong though, I'm a big fan of Mach1 airports and have enormous respect for their work.

The landing was not bad, I just touched down slightly right of the centerline. An AI was landing just behind me so I vacated the runway as soon as possible. I tend to be courtois to my AI even if the behaviour isn't always mutual.

After taxi, I parked and shut down on the North cargo ramp.

On the ramp at KPIT, cool aircraft the 757

Needless to say, I have no idea what and where my next flight will be, it won't be before 6 months at the best. I'll have a lot of time to think about it, as a matter of fact I'll probably have enough time to plan my FS schedule for the next 10 years!

Happy landings to all and thanks for viewing

Monday, August 3, 2009

Over The Rockies

My flight started with every simmer's worst nightmare, CTD! 5 minutes into it actually. I reloaded the flight for a second attempt and just as I was pushed back, bang! Another one. I opened the scenery folder of the addon scenery and removed a certain AF2 file related to a heliport or something. My third attempt was succesful. CTDs are extremely frustrating and if it happens mid-flight I get so pissed off I don't retry. Luckily this time it came on the ramp.

Anyway, I flew with the Fedex 737W for this review, an obviously fictional livery but one I love for its looks with the huge winglets. From what I gathered on flightaware, CYVR - KDEN seems to be flown usually by United A319s and B733s, I don't have any of these so I just picked the NG from my hanger.

Take-off weight for this 1000NM flight was roughly 120K lbs, with a 20K fuel load.

The flightaware route took me to the J52 airway continuing on an easterly heading to the OCS VOR then to CHR via J163 where I entered the STAR gate for the Tomsn4 arrival.

Total block time was 2 hours and 35 minutes. (thanks to a mild tailwind)

CYVR weather was winds 279/14, 15 miles visibility and 26C

After a very short taxi of a minute or two I lined up on 26R and departed straight away without stopping.

"V1, Rotate!" Rwy 26R

Not surprisingly, traffic was dense at Vancouver with a lot of arriving and departing. I heard a KLM MD-11 departing to Amsterdam just before me.

Once I climbed to around 3000 feet, in some mild turbulence, I turned left and headed to YVR to join J52. The turbulent conditions continued upto 10000 feet.

Spokane airport was on my route. FRF has a good freeware rendition of KGEG if you're interested. As a fan of smaller airports I like it very much. As a matter of fact, I might do a flight there for my future reviews.

Climbing towards the mountains, joining the J52 airway

I don't know how cruise flight went since I wasn't in front of my computer. I ate a sandwich (no, Al, not the tunafish sandwich, I was out of tuna!) while watching a couple of my favorite TV shows. All was well when I sat back in the cockpit after about 2 hours to start my descent planning.

I'm not sure but I think I flew over the Yellowstone National park or at least a portion of it.

Cruising at FL370, lovely sunset

I had initially planned a 16L arrival according to the preflight forecast for Denver. It appeared the weather hadn't changed and I was cleared to visual 16L. FS database does not have this runway so the ILS approach goes out of the window, not a problem if you fly with real world charts though.

Also, before the flight, I had put in crosswind runways at KDEN so there were arrivals for 25 and 26 as well.

As I mentioned in an earlier review, waypoint names can sometimes be very entertaining. The Tomsn4 arrival has a few like FROGS, HYGEN (must be a very clean lat/lon!) and SHAFT. I was also very amused to see the name of a good friend "ALLAN".

BTW, if you fly your PMDG in the US, be sure to use Dan Downs' sid/stars files as they are excellent, you don't get unwanted DISCOs or any other common flaws.

Winds at KDEN were 216/10 with a few clouds at 10000 feet and 17C. I was hoping for some crosswind for an exciting approach but it wasn't enough for serious crabbing. Still, I always love to handfly my final approaches.

Short final, rwy 16L

My landing was good and I slowed down easily on autobrakes 1 without reversers due to my light weight.

This is my first time in Denver, I found out it was quite large an airport. Taxing to the cargo ramp I looked around and saw plenty of Frontier and United aircraft. I have to say, airports and aircraft look much cooler at night.

Making way for company traffic

I want to do a domestic flight in Turkey but before I might do another one in the US, possibly departing from KDEN.

Thanks for viewing