Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I can't spare a lot of time right now so the review of this flight will be a little short. The flight itself wasn't that long either, just 90 minutes. 90 more minutes with a Cessna going to the log.

A recent visitor country on my blog was Nigeria so a flight there was in order. More so that I had never done a flight in west-central Africa. This great part of the World is also excellent for airline or cargo flights. Definitely on the list for the future.

Getting ready, 19L

The problem when flying in Africa, if you consider it a problem is the long distances, it's such a large continent that setting up a short hop requires a lot of attention!

The first flight I set was from DNMM Lagos to a city in Cameroon. When I found out the whole deal was going to take like 10 hours in the C206 I looked for some place much closer.

After 20 minutes, I set up a VOR to VOR route to DNPO Port Harcourt from Lagos Murtala Muhammed. The 260NM route took a tad over 90 minutes from brake-release to shut-down.

Over the plains of Africa

The weather was calm at Lagos, just as expected a balmy 31C with scattered clouds at 1300'

I took off in a southerly direction, turned back to the north to intercept the necessary radial according to my flight plan.

Nice view to the right

The enroute flight was calm to say the least and I climbed to 6000' to ensure some good visibility.

After about an hour and a half of sight seeing and playing around with the instruments in the C206, I flew a left downwind leg for a landing on runway 05.

Approaches are a piece of cake with GA birds, whether curved or staight in. That said, my touchdowns are either too firm or I float too much, not to mention I always touchdown left or right of the centerline.

Final runway 5

The slow approach speed with full flaps provided me some good view of the Port Harcourt city surroundings.

4 white! I don't think so

The VAPIs in FS can go wrong and this was no exception as seen in the above shot. There is no way I was too high there.

DNMM definitely deserves a full airliner or cargo flight for sure, a heavy Air France and Lufthansa arrived just as I prepared for take-off.

This will probably be my last flight for 2010, 43 flights in total this year.

Thanks for viewing and happy new year to all the regulars of this blog!

Monday, December 13, 2010


For those who follow regularly this blog, you know that "rendre hommage" to new visitor countries is a custom here. The idea belongs to my better half who came up with other good ideas for this humble flightsim blog, it's great inspiration for setting up a flight around the world. If you see anything good here, it comes from her, the shitty screen shots as you might have guessed are my work.

I had never flown into or out of Iceland in my FS career before. What a shame, the idea came initially from the Air Iceland 757 WAR dvd.

Flight route

DHL 1881 was from Brussels to Keflavik, chartered to carry some heavy machinery parts on behalf of some big industry for their customers over in Iceland. Departure time was actually scheduled at 19:30 on Saturday evening but the parts only arrived around after 18:30 so the flight was delayed for an hour. Brakes were released for pushback at 20:40.

Company office right across

Weather at EBBR was mild winds from the southwest with low cloud cover at 900 and broken clouds at 3300 with a 6-mile visibility.

The enroute weather was looking to be troublesome over the North Sea with storms directly on our route. Whether a deviaiton was going to necessary would be decided once in the air.

Excitement building up

Take-off and climbout was smooth with no departure traffic, I had runway 25L for landings so the arrivals didn't interfere either. I flew the NIK2C standart instrument departure which requires a right turn to the NIK VOR at only 700'. Once the turn completed I hit the central A/P and speeded up to clean configuration as fast as possible.

Climbing out of Brussels

My GW was around 220K lbs, slightly heavy so I set an initial cruise altitude of FL 320 for planned step climb to FL 380. However, my planning was all wrong and as soon as I reached FL 320, the FMC had already calculated an optimal cruise altitude of FL 360. It stayed that way during the whole flight.

The skies were a bit crowded at this point and I had several close counters with other aircraft, the closest being the one pictured below with a Ryanair NG.

Close call with a Ryanair NG

The heavy headwind component rarely dropped below 90 knots on most of the way. I should have flown the reverse route.

During most of the flight, I played the Gran Turismo 5, exploring the new circuits and cars, pushing them to their limit. If you have a PS3 and you don't play GT, you have no idea what you're missing. Multiply FS by 5 and turn it into a driving simulator and you'll get a rough idea of how good this new Gran Turismo is.

Anyway, I kept an eye on the clock and when it was time to start my descent (per the calculated T/D) I tuned into the FS ATC, which once again was accurate with the descent instructions.

The weather at Keflavik which was already rainy with low visibility at my departure time hadn't improved (much to my pleasure!). The winds were 182 at 8 with an overcast at 300, 2.5 miles visibility and rain.

Once the clearance to runway 11 came, I headed on to the Keita 2 STAR which takes you to the KEF VOR just over the airport, after which you complete a typical teardrop circle to land turn 8 miles out.

Short final, ILS 11

I was lined up behind Swissair 8664 on final with an Iceair flight of which I can't remember the flight number right behind me.

My landing was smooth enough and with autobrakes 3 and reversers I slowed down easily to vacate the runway.

It took around 10 minutes to reach the cargo stand, 10 minutes during which I had the chance to check out this simple yet neat freeware Keflavik scenery.

DHL office at BIKF

Ok, 3 hours and 47 minutes goes to the log.

I see Nigeria is the last visitor country here, it was about time I did a flight in Africa...

Thanks for viewing

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Strip

It had been a while since my last flight on the other side of the Pond, in Northern America.

Real world flight, UAL 460 from San Francisco to Las Vegas was with the PSS 757-200 per the real life aircraft.

The route was taken directly from flightaware:

Porte3 CZQ BIH LIDAT J92 BTY Sunst2

Cruise altitude for today was FL350

Can we go now?

The weather at San Fran was light winds from the east, calm to be more precise with few clouds at 4500 and 11C. I was expecting runway 10R for departure but somehow FS has assigned 28L/R, and btw, I did reset AI after refreshing the weather in AS. Weird...

My preflight took around 15 minutes as usual, not to much data to enter for the 450NM or so flight. Heavy tailwinds were on the menu so I was expecting the flight time to be around an hour.

Arrivals and departures

KSFO was bustling with evening traffic, all of the majors coming and going. I was lucky to witness a simultaneous arrival and departure (see above shot).

The United terminal happened to be on the other side of the airport so taxi time was long, too long to my liking.

Lining up, 28L

The Porte3 departure from 28L takes you back inland, to waypoint wages which is the exit gate of the SID.

Cruise flight was uneventful and short, plus, being dark there wasn't much to see either.

Approach into Las Vegas was exciting as I hadn't ever flown into KLAS before in FS. I was really curious about how the Strip was done.

Las Vegas to the left

The Sunst2 RNAV arrival takes you to the south of the airport where you fly the downwind leg for runways 25L/R. If I'm not mistaken, KLAS is very much like KLAX in terms of runway usage. Mostly 25L/R are used.

The southerly winds were blowing steadily at 5 knots with few clouds at 11000 and 8C.

Night flying rules

Night flying, especially the approach phase is extremely rewarding. Every single time the runways lights as in the shot above takes my breath away... Every final approach at night is a great experience.

My landing was slightly off centerline, a tad to the right but was still quite smooth. My taxi time back to the gate was long here as well.

The Strip

An hour and 27 minutes added to log, this one included we should be at 91 with Al. 9 to go to reach our 100 mark. 9 more flights to complete in 24 days. Only a couple of leg series each and we're there.

It should be possible.

Before I wrap it up, I'd like to point out Al's Las Vegas flight in 2009 with the same aircraft here.

As Iceland is the last visitor country on my blog, a flight over there might be in order.

Thanks for viewing

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Arlanda - Adenauer - Arlanda Leg 2

Click here for the first leg.

I had arrived in Koeln at 0830 local time and my return flight, AB6498 wasn't due until 1115. I'm sure I messed up the flight numbers here because they certainly don't match but at the same time, I did note them down carefully from the Air Berlin website.

I loaded my return flight a little lighter than the inbound leg, my take-off weight was 135K lbs to be exact. Tailwinds were forecasted so I was expecting to be in ESSA in under 2 hours

Boarding complete

With lighter loads and a dry runway, I went with derated take-off to ease off on the engines in terms of wear and tear (as if that existed in FS!) The wind direction hadn't changed in EDDK so the active runway still being 14L, I took off and followed the Podip 3F departure.

Company Fokker coming in

Departure traffic was light and I was number 1 but had to wait for an inbound company Fokker. (seen above)
Watching AI coming into land is huge fun. The weather enroute was good enough with tailwinds until over Sweden where I encountered CBs, requiring deviation. It had been a while since I used the offset function in the PMDG FMC, which I noticed again how good it worked. This add-on just doesn't get old.

CBs ahead, deviation required

My approach was straight in, on the TRS 3M STAR for an ILS landing on runway 01R. I made a silly mistake here with the AF2 file. I wanted separate runways for landing and take-off so I set the closest runway to the terminal area for departures and the other one for arrivals. On my own arrival I found out that runway 01R approach plate wasn't among my charts! Luckily my inbound route was pretty much a direct route to the localizer anyway. The weather was better than that morning with lighter winds and better visibility. You know I would have preferred CAT3 conditions though.

Very short final, just before going missed, note the middle guy going missed too

I encountered some traffic on final approach and had to go-around because the idiot in front couldn't vacate the runway quickly enough. I flew a right-hand circuit at 2000 feet and came back on the localizer 8 miles out. Btw, I found out my missed approach skills needed a lot of practice!

Very short final, again

My landing was perfect, spot on the centerline with a nice greaser. The taxi back to the terminal was way too long, I have to reconsider my runway usage for ESSA...

At the gate

Btw, in case you might be curious, the Arlanda scenery above is the recently free released Swedflight version (previously payware). A great thank you goes to the folks at Swedflight for this freeware gem.

My next flight, will be another leg series, most likely in the US this time.

Pushing to 100, eh Al?

Thanks for viewing

Arlanda - Adenauer - Arlanda Leg 1

Where better to start a winter flight than Stockholm, Sweden..? Although, Winter hasn't really started yet.

Still, my random choice was spot on since there was light snow at Arlanda.

Flight AB8103, a real world Air Berlin flight per their website was from ESSA, Stockholm to EDDK, Koeln-Bonn. I flew the round trip, 2 legs. I should have started the series at EDDK since Air Berlin is German but Arlanda seemed more appealing somehow. Probably because of the snowy conditions.

Taxing to the active

The weather at ESSA was winds 058 at 14 with few clouds at 700 and broken clouds at 1500 in light snow. The temperature was a freezing -7C. Perfect conditions for fliping those anti-ice switches on the overhead panel.

With northeastern winds, I took off from runway 01L and follwing the Nosli 4C departure route, turning south and joining the UN850 airway.


The take-off was pretty bumpy, mostly due to the slight crosswinds and gusts but above the low cloud cover the ride got smoother. I ran into some turbulence for a minute or two at FL200 but nothing serious. The clouds didn't clear until I left Sweden.

Approaching EDDK

The weather was much better at EDDK with very mild winds from the east, few clouds at 1600 but still quite chilly at -1C.

For your information, on the day I did the flights my howntown of Istanbul is still in the low 20s!

I flew the Kopag 1V arrival for a landing on runway 14L.

Very short final

One of the advantages of a leg series is that you can fly both at night and during the day, enjoying the night-time atmosphere of the runway lights and the sight-seeing oppotunity of day-time.

Traffic was calm on this Sunday morning at Adenauer airport. Just a few company aircraft along with the regular customers such as GermanWings or Lufthansa coming and going.

At the parking stand

Click here for leg 2

Thanks for viewing

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Berlin - Riga Leg 2

On to leg 2,

Before I continue, I have to explain a couple of details.

Normally the return leg should have been flight 218 but, I wanted to fly at night so I skiped a few legs and flew 214 which in real life is the last daily flight back to Riga.

By the way, if you haven't read about leg 1 you can find it here.

I simulated a 45-minute layover, more than enough to get through the flight preparations which normally in my case only takes 20 minutes or so.

Return leg

The loads on this trip was just a tad heavier than the previous flight with the take-off weight nearing 185K lbs.

Boarding complete

The weather was more or less the same, only the winds were lighter now, below 5 knots. I took advantage of the situation and didn't refresh the AI via Active Sky, leaving runways 08L/R in use. This helped shortening the departure route which was Gerga 1T for this evening.

Taxing to 08L

Taxi time was 10 minutes and with light traffic I didn't have to wait for any departing aircraft.
That said, traffic wasn't sparse at Tegel but most of it cleared up during my preflight.

Cleared to go

Cruise flight was uneventful, except for some mild turbulence over Poland. However, the flight got interesting as the weather in Riga got worse. Before take-off, weather reports for EVRA were showing 0,6 miles visibility. By the time I was going through the approach briefing (by myself!) the visibility had dropped even lower to 0,4 miles. Perfect for a CAT3 landing. Winds were calm with foggy conditions.

The arrival route was Gunta 3A for a CAT3 ILS landing on runway 18.

Approaching Riga, RVR is 300 meters

The fog was pretty dense and the runway lights only came into view just after the 300' callout. It was very exciting and huge fun to fly a full CAT3 approach and autoland with no visibility. Waiting anxiously for the runway lights, checking the instruments to ensure everything is alright and finally monitoring the autoland were definitely the highlights of this leg series.

Autolands may be dull and boring to some simmers but it's a favorite of mine and I bet it's very exciting for the crew in real life as well. Those who have seen the missed approach in the TUI FLY WAR dvd will know what I mean.


The autoland wasn't bad, smooth enough. Fortunately the visibility was good on the ground so I was able to find my way to the gate.

Where can a guy get a beer?

1h 35min for the 1st leg and 1h 40min for the return leg, totaling to 3 hours and 15 minutes going into the log.

I've certainly missed flight sim, that's for sure. Even if it means getting up a couple of hours earlier on the weekends I'll try to do at least one flight per week this winter.

I'm planning on checking out some of the Swedflight sceneries which have turned freeware. So a flight into or out of ESSA, Arlanda might be in order.

Thanks for viewing

Riga - Berlin Leg 1


How long as it been since my last flight? More than 2 months!! I did a couple of GA flights with the GA aircraft but nothing worth putting on the blog, just a few touch and go's.

As I might have mentioned here before, I'm a big PS3 buff so I've been spending all of my free time playing the new Medal of Honor Tier 1 and the very recent COD Black Ops. For those interested in this type of gaming, to put it very briefly, MOH is awesome in single player but is mediocre online and the new COD is huge fun both in single and multiplayer modes. It needs a couple of fixes and it will be perfect just as the previous versions.

Back a couple of months ago, I was so sure we would be able to do 100 flights with Al by the end of the year, it seemed possible then. We should be around 87 right now. Would 13 flights be feasible in 6 weeks? Not very likely. I guess 90 would be the correct number to settle for, eh Al?

Anyway, on with the flight.

The 1st leg is from EVRA, Latvia Riga to EDDT, Berlin Germany. I flew with the Air Baltic 757-200, the type is used on this route in real life as well. Well, according to spotter shots on various sites.

On a side note, the Air Baltic WAR dvd is very well done, great footage with plenty of explanations by the pilots. I found it very useful for flying the PSS 757.

First leg

The loads were light on flight 217 this morning, take-off weight was a hair over 182K pounds with 20K lbs of fuel for this 90-minute flight.

Weather at Riga was winds 086/5 and 8C with clouds overcast at a low 300 feet, visibility 1,5 in miles in light rain.

Cleared for taxi

I took off from runway 36 following the Rogat 1G departure on to the M869 airway.

Traffic wasn't very heavy at EVRA, good enough not saturating the single runway.

Unidentified ATR coming in

After 2 incoming aircraft I lined up and started my take-off roll. Despite the low load figures I used full take-off thrust per wet runway procedures. Needless to say, with all that power I was rotating before I knew it.


Climb and cruise flight was pretty smooth. The clouds cleared over Poland and arrival weather seemed good.

Clearance for 26L came 80 miles out and I flew the Bodla 3Z arrival.

I flew through some mild turbulence at 10000 feet, entering the clouds. Weather at Tegel was winds 228 at 7 with clouds 1900 few and light rain.

Turning to base

My 2 month pause had taken its toll and my flying on approach was sloppy to say the least. I was too high and to fast on final approach but was able to recover by lowering the landing gear, creating some extra drag.

Final, ILS 26L

Once stabilized, the A/P went off and I handflew the approach below 1000 feet.


My landing was good, not excellent but good nonetheless. I touched down slightly to the right but quite smoothly so no discomfort for the pax.

Where's the gate?

EDDT isn't very comlicated ramp wise and since the gate numbers were marked on the ground I didn't need the FS taxi aid.

At the gate

Note the LH 300 in the upper shot. This type was operated on short shuttle flights in Germany and I believe it was phased out this summer. I guess I'll have to wait for the next Lufthansa update from WOAI for the virtual A300s to cease service.

After a 45 minute layover, we're heading back to EVRA.

Click here for leg 2.

Thanks for viewing

Friday, September 10, 2010

Air Europa Leg Series 3

Alright, time for the return leg.

Find leg 1 here and leg 2 here.

Departure time was 10.35 and taking into account my late arrival to Almeria I had only 20 minutes to get the aircraft set for the trip to Paris.

145 passengers boarded here, bringing the total number to 173 with the 28 previously boarded at Alicante.

Anyway, putting aside the confusion with the numbers my take-off weight was a hair over 161K lbs.

Return leg route

Take-off was from runway 08 following a SORBA 1B SID. The winds had slightly changed at LEAM, now blowing from 124 at 12 and few clouds at 3000. The temperature had risen to 25C by now.

I was parked next to an Easyjet A319 which I found out on its clearance delivery was off to Gatwick.

Easy 5164 pushing back

My parking spot was just next to the runway providing a great view on the arrivals and departures.

The weather hadn't changed at Paris so I set the FMC for a runway 26L approach. Arrival was going to be KEPER 1W if the winds wouldn't shift to the north.

Easy 5164 to Gatwick

I was ready to go by 1030, saving me 5 precious minutes. Time is money in the airline business, hehe...

Cleared to go

The take-off roll took forever as rotation speed was around 150 knots due to heavy loads.

Sorba 1B departure

The return flight route took me over the same places as before but over Agen I took a left turn to fly over Poitiers and approach LFPG from the west, thus the KEPER arrival.

A reason I chose this route was because it passes close to Toulouse where I spent a great deal of my life. I used to look up in the sky and see the contrails of passing aircraft, wondering where they were headed.

Pyrennees on the retun leg

No changes on the arrival route and I was cleared to the ILS 26L. Winds were reported to be 243 at 6 with clouds 4500 scattered.

Coming from the west, the long downwind leg was a real pain to fly.

Final 26L

Not surprisingly, the airspace was crowded over Paris with arrivals and departures everywhere. I was third on final but with good spacing ahead I wasn't concerned.


Flaps 30 this time so the touchdown was much easier, I was able to grease it, the pax would have barely noticed it, it was that good.

Back at LFPG

Block time for this last leg was 2 hours and 30 minutes. I shut down at Roissy six and a half hours after releasing brakes that morning.

Doing multiple legs is huge fun, however, next time I'll probably keep the legs under 400 NM so I could do more at a time.

The latest visitor country on the blog was Latvia so next flight is into or out of Riga.

Thanks for viewing