Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Actually, I was planning on doing a longer flight, something around 3-4 hours but I didn't have the time so I had to come up with a shorter route. The 700NM flight took 1 hour and 58 minutes:
DARVA B416 MUTVI L223 TARDI N629 RAGUD
The story of this review is the following. This in fact is the second leg of the DHL flight which departed EBBR, Belgium initially for Kuwait and then Muscat. After unloading a part of the cargo, the flight was to continue to Muscat, Oman to where the rest of the load was headed. This review will feature the second leg. Flight simulation is always more amusing with a little imagination. Oh, and for those curious about the cargo on board, it was Belgian chocolate!
My take-off weight was 186K lbs with a fuel load of 22.5K lbs.
Take-off roll, 33L
The weather was beautiful at OKBK, a typical Middle Eastern evening, winds 347/7 cavok conditions and 27C. This is what I love about the Mid East (among other things), summer around the year.
I took off from runway 33L and flew the DARVA3C SID to join the B416 airway. Traffic was calm at Kuwait airport, too, company activity mostly with Kuwaiti 743 departing to Riyadh.
Even though the thrust was derated 15%, the 757 climbed easily and smoothly to FL350 in the lovely Mid Eastern weather.
It was getting dark so FS decided to "turn on the lights" just when I was lining up on 33L, great timing actually, I'm a big fan of runway lights. The panel lighting of this add-on is beautiful, too.
The Active Sky Nav Log showed winds aloft blowing stiffly from the Southwest which turned out to be the case and the nice tailwind contributed to the time of the flight.
I few over the Persian Gulf mostly with the Kuwaiti coast and Bahrain to my right and over Dubai. I could see the lights of Iranian cities to my left as well. The skies were clear over the Persian Gulf this evening.
Cruising, note the tailwind
Flight 644 of some airline followed me at FL330 until the UAE and started descending when we got close to Dubai. It then got cleared to 30L, 30L being one of the runways at OMDB so I guess it was heading there.
Approach clearance came at 65NM out forcing me to change my initial planned arrival runway of 08 to 26. The default FS database has the ILS 26 approach via the MCT VOR which I promptly selected as well to prevent vectoring.
A quick ATIS check revealed winds were blowing from the Southwest at 4 knots with a 5NM visibility and 29C. Calm winds are tricky in FS, real life ATC would have cleared me to runway 08 per my arrival route in these conditions, but impossible to simulate this in FS.
Final for the ILS DME 26
My landing was perfect, a greaser to be more precise. I think I'm finally getting there, no wait, the winds were calm so I can't be too sure...
A/P and A/T came off at 1000' and I handflew the approach from there on.
No idea on where to next, so any place can be expected.
Thanks for viewing
Thursday, March 25, 2010
This review is dedicated to my good buddy Murat.
It wasn't easy doing this short hop. I was able to complete the flight on my third attempt, the 2 others ending in OOM errors and cursing, due to a memory leak caused by some downtown Calgary scenery. We'll just have to do without the skyscrapers.
Flying previously fictitious flights, I was looking forward this time on doing a real world one. Westjet 257 is a daily scheduled flight from Calgary to Kelowna operated with 737-700s.
The short route of 250NM or so which took 57 minutes gate to gate was:
CANOP V304 YNY
At the gate D48 with the fellas in a snowy Calgary
Gate D48 also happens to be the real world gate from which this aircraft departs.
The weather was snowny at Calgary, as you can see in the above shot, winds were 171 at 10 knots with a half mile visibility, celiling 300 overcast and -5C. The landings must have interesting this morning in Calgary. The winds were in favor of a runway 16 take-off on a Calgary 2 departure which is basically vectors to fix.
I was quite light for this flight, only 100 passengers and a light cargo load, GW was approximately 115K lbs with a fuel load of 10K lbs.
Traffic was moderate at CYYC, mostly company aircraft with a couple of Air Canada flights, but also 1 or 2 US carriers.
Luckily the Westjet terminal is close to runway 16 so the taxi time was short. Long taxis can be amusing doing some spotting but I was in a bit of rush today.
Waiting for take-off clearance
Take-off and climbout was quite smooth despite the heavy clouds and snow, which only cleared above 12000 feet. Being light, I reached my cruise altitude, FL320 in no time. Good, only a few minutes to get the drinks and snacks served!
Cruise flight was mildly bumpy.
Note the low cruise speed, I was playing around with the cost indexes on the ground, I've assumed Westjet uses low figures on this flight.
During my flights I was keep an atlas close by to see what mountain, lake, city, etc I'm flying over. The mountains in the above shot should be the Purcell and Selkirk mountain ranges between Calgary and Kelowna. I hadn't heard of those before, FS can be very informative.
Descending into Kelowna, that must be the Okanagan
Just before the T/D, FS cleared me to runway 34, I promptly asked for the RNAV A arrival, which happens to be in the FS stock database, via waypoint GRASE.
Murat is somewhere down there
Weather in Kelowna was calm winds with 9NM visibility and no clouds below 20000 feet. There was a bit of haze to make the approach more interesting.
RNAV 34 approach is extremely fun, the charts state that you should be at 4100 feet at waypoint ELSEN after which you turn left to land. I was in landing configuration at ELSEN which made the task easier, it was a joy to handfly this procedure.
Also, from what my friend Al tells me, this approach is liked by Westjet pilots, too. I couldn't agree more, guys,... Hehe
Short final RNAV 34
I was stabilized at 500 feet and landed perfectly although I might have descended a bit steeply earlier. Flaps 40 might have been a better idea...
For some reason, GA thrust didn't engage, I probably missed something...
Bye bye, have a nice stay in Kelowna...
As I taxied in, 2 company aircraft were departing, I couldn't get where to, though. You can see one of them in the background above.
If Kelowna is as beautiful in real life as in FS, then I'm not surprised my pal loves that place. I admired the hills surrounding the airport coming in for landing.
My next flight will be in the Middle-East, I haven't been there since I got back from my service.
Thanks for viewing
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Ryanair flies into and out of Liverpool as well as Trieste, however I couldn't find a flight between the 2 cities. Oh well, let's just say this is a charter flight.
Flight FR558 flew the following route of 850NM at a cruise altitude of 36000 feet:
TIBRO UP125 VIW UL608 TGO UM150 KRH UZ210 LIRSU UL608 DENUT UL610 GILDA UM14 STOAT UL613 MOGLI UP6 LESTA
Weather at Trieste was calm winds with scattered clouds at 1000 and broken at 5000. The temperature was 12C degrees.
LIPQ runway operations seem to favor 09 so I closed the reciprocal end to prevent any bad FS surprises.
There are a few departure routes at Trieste for this runway, I went for TIBRO 5D which requires a nice right turn at 600 feet. This can be done by the autopilot in HDG mode or LNAV but I chose to stick to the realistic way and flew the turn manually.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
DHL flight 72, obviously fictitious, took the following route for this evening trip at a cruise altitude of FL380:
LONSA UQ11 ODVIN UP31 BALIT G805 KUNER UP31 VIBUG UM736 LAKOL UL603 CHIEM UP995 ARNOS UP125 TIBRO
The 1000NM or so flight took me over the Baltic Sea, Poland, East Germany and Austria after which I entered Italian airspace. Block time was 2 hours 32 minutes, not bad for this route thanks to the tailwinds.
Take-off weight was a hair under 200K lbs with a fuel load of 28.5K lbs. Some might ask why I'm using pounds instead of tonnes which is more common in Europe. Well, this is always how I calculated my weights in FS ever since the begining and being used to the figures now, I like to keep it that way.
Weather at Talinn was just like it was during my arrival a few days ago, it was lightly snowing with winds 165 at 10, visibility 4 miles, clouds 1200 scattered, ceiling 3700 overcast. The temperature was a chilly 0C degrees.
After doing the usual stuff, punching in the necessary data in the FMC and going through the start-up process, I taxied to the active behind a TNT 733. I missed its destination though, somewhere in Belgium perhaps...? Traffic was pretty calm this evening at EETN.
Like I probably mentioned many times before, I prefer night flights because of the atmosphere created by the cockpit and runway lights. It makes you miss on the scenic bit of FS though, no doubt.
Getting ready to go, runway 08
Although the clouds were pretty dense, my initial climbout was smooth and I broke out of the clouds at around 8000 feet.
I didn't bother to fly an instrument departure for this one and directly headed to my initial fix and joined the UP31 airway.
Cruising over Poland
Cruise flight was uneventful and while the PSS flew impeccably on autopilot, I went over my route on my high altitude Jepp charts (thanks, Al!). Using real world material with FS really makes this hobby more authentic, if you see what I mean.
LIPQ seems to favor runway 09 arrivals so I preplanned a TIBRO1B STAR to the ILS 09. LIPQ weather was winds 360 at 2, clouds 3000 scattered and ceiling 7000 broken and 2 miles visibility. Perfect!
TIBRO 1B Arrival
AI traffic was sparse and there was no turbulence during approach, everthing was nice and smooth.
Downwind for runway 09
The runway lights came into view at 3 and half miles so I disengaged the A/P and hand flew the glideslope from there.
Either the localizer is slightly offset at this airport or there was an error in the af2 file because I was lined up slightly to the left. You can notice this on the PFD in the below shot. I should give this a look.
Fortunately, this time I was able to engage GA thrust at glideslope capture.
Very short final for the ILS 09
My landing wasn't bad but I touched down a tad late due to gusts at 200 feet which took me by suprise.
I slowed down easily with autobrakes 2 and reversers.
Runway vacated, heading to our stand
This freeware LIPQ 2009 scenery with custom ground textures looks really neat despite the darkness, I'll set my departure from here next time so I can get a better look.
Thanks for viewing
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Flight DHL 71 was from EDDK to EETN following the following route at a cruise altitude of FL380 :
PODIP Y867 WRB UM864 KOLJA UM611 LOGNA UQ33 SULUN
As you might know, Cologne Bonn is an important cargo hub and DHL also operates there. Whether DHL flies to Talinn is unknown to me so I made up the flight number. Something I do very often in flight sim.
Take-off weight was just a hair over 201K lbs with a fuel load of over 25K lbs, more than enough for this 800NM flight.
After swiftly going through the preflight procedures, I got my IFR clearance and started my pushback for a taxi to 32R. Weather at EDDK was rainy, winds 282 at 13 with 4 mile visibility and a low cloud ceiling of 1500 feet. The forecast for EETN was announcing snow and thunderstorms, I kept my fingers crossed for it to stay that way.
Pushing back from company stand
EDDK was pretty busy this afternoon with Lufthansa, German Wings and Tui aircraft coming and going.
Just as I prepared for taxi, another aircraft was departing for Punta Raisi. I hadn't heard of that place before and was highly intrigued. A quick search revealed Punta Raisi was Palermo, Italy. Nice!
I had a few problems with the taxing process, "mexican standoffs" to be more precise. Either this was my fault taking a wrong turn at some point or a faulty AF2 file.
Rotate, runway 32R
After a smooth and steep initial climb, I selected VNAV and LNAV and continued on my preplanned departure route.
Passing PODIP and the WRB VOR, I joined the UM864 airway which took me over Germany and the Baltic sea.
Over Ronne on the Island of Bornholm
You can notice in the above shot the strong returns on my left, a cool feature of this aircraft.
The sun was setting as I started my descent. At this point I re-checked the weather at EETN which didn't seem to have changed and was snowny with thunderstorms. The wx radar confirmed this as I entered into the magenta returns, a big no-no in real life but no problem in FS. I was seeing lightning all around me as turbulence bounced the 757 around. Very fun.
Passing 10000, I turned on the anti-icing and the engine starters to CON and continued my approach to EETN.
Weather at Talinn just prior to turning base was winds 305 at 5, visibility 4 miles in light snow with broken clouds at 1200. Temperature was an icy -5C.
For some reason TO/GA thrust didn't engage on final so I had to select CON thrust instead. I must have missed something...?
Conditions permitting, I went for an autoland which I hadn't done in a long time. All you do is monitor the instruments for a safe landing.
Final approach runway 26
The PSS 757 handles autolands quite well and this was no exception, as the front gear made contact with the ground, I disengaged the A/P and slowed the aircraft down. Note the strong returns on the wx radar.
Taxing to the cargo stand
Following a short taxi, I parked at the cargo stand and shut down at exactly 2 and half hours and started to snow, much to the dismay of the ground crew!
DHL 71 is in the house
Winter seems to be at full swing at EETN, not something I'm very fond of. I have had enough of the cold season for this year.
All in all an uneventful Sunday flying except for the storms.
I recently found a nice Cuba scenery at Avsim and might do some VFR flying over there for my next flight. I bet the weather is better over there, too, sounds very appealing...
Thanks for viewing
Friday, March 12, 2010
Situated geographically in the center of the world and always the mystery-lover, Turkey has one, too. It's called the Lake Van Monster and just like its foreign buddies, it's extremely shy and only appears in fuzzy images or on very low resolution videos, usually with a "What the fuck...!" expression and as if getting ready to flipping the bird. I say these fellows should be left alone! I bet they wonder what all the fuss is about! As far as they're concerned, they're just ordinary creatures going on with their lives... I guess.
Anyway, having nothing to do with subject above, I'm continuing on my domestic flights, this time from the capital city of Ankara to the far eastern city of Van. Flight TK988 is a real world one, operated by Anadolu Jet 737s, TK's low cost company based in Ankara.
The East bound route took me roughly over the cities of Kirikkale, Elazig and Mus.
KUBER UG8 EZS UG81 BEYAZ
Cruise altitude was FL350 with a take-off weight of 135 300 lbs on this 500 or so NM flight.
Reading the NOTAM for LTAC I found out that one of the parallel runways, 03R-21L was closed due to maintenance so just the same, I closed it in the AF2 file, leaving only 03L-21R for both landings and take-offs. Esenboga is not as dense traffic wise as Ataturk so no problem.
Weather at LTAC was winds 226 at 14 with clouds 3500 scattered, 10000 broken and 14C. Enroute winds aloft were looking to be in my favour with strong winds blowing from the Southwest, cool!
After setting up the FMC, I got cleared to runway 21R to which I taxied quite cautiously as I'm not very familiar with this airport.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
My quick flight is a domestic one, flight TK294 from Istanbul to the famous holiday resort of Bodrum, which incidentally is a real world flight operated by this very aircraft. Also, Bodrum is liked to be called the Turkish Rivieria by some. The review's title comes from a song which is about some dude falling in love for the first time in the "Rivieria", very typical for any Turkish youngster. For your information, I'm not much of a fan myself of Bodrum, I find it to be overly crowded and trashy. The beaches aren't all that cool either.
Anyway, the 1 hour and 27 minute trip took me over Biga and the city of Izmir into Bodrum. The weather at LTBA was hectic, winds 337 at 18, 2 mile visibility in light rain, 5C with ceiling 300 overcast. Textbook IFR conditions.
For those interested in real world ops, runway 06-24 is now closed for maintenance and extension and will remain so for another 3 months. I did the same and closed it in the afcad file which resulted in the dense traffic getting even denser and increasing the go-arounds. It was sort of rush hour at LTBA and I was number 5 for take-off. Not suprisingly, I had a 20 minute delay.
My take-off weight was around 132K lbs, the fuel load being 12.5K lbs.
Taxing to the active at a busy evening at LTBA
While I was in queue waiting for my turn, I did some spotting. The ATC didn't stop and it was even nearly impossible to contact it, every attempt resulting in that distinct annoying sound every simmer knows all too well. Listening to the others were fun though, plenty of Turkish Airlines flights coming and going with the odd foreign carrier. So typical of Istanbul Ataturk.
Typical view for holding point 36R at LTBA
Being relatively light, the 800 raced down 36R and easily reached rotation speed, I didn't derate the thrust since it was rainy conditions. I remember reading somewhere that derated thrust isn't used on wet runways, I might be wrong though, I should check that again.
Right after take-off instead of following the BIG1K SID I executed direct-to to the BIG VOR, a common procedure in LTBA departures.
I broke out of the clouds at 8000 feet and powerfully climbed to my cruise altitude of FL300.
Cruise flight was quite short and following FS ATC this time instead of VNAV, I started my descent just over the city of Izmir, initially to FL180 which was followed by 11000 and 6000 feet. This time the ATC was spot on and everything went perfectly.
The mild turbulence that commenced over Izmir continued all the way down. The wind direction was changing constantly down to 500 feet which made the approach a bit difficult yet very fun.
Racetrack ILS 29
At waypoint AKBUK I entered the AKBUK1S STAR which basically takes you straight ahead to the BDR VOR.
On a side note, the sid/star file I used was done by Alon Barnea and recreates superbly the racetrack ILS pattern for runway 29. You can get it on the Navdata website.
The approach for the ILS 29 requires caution as the surrounding mountains are as high as 4000 feet so you have to pay attention the altitudes marked on the chart at various DMEs.
4 red my ass, the glideslope looks good enough
My landing was a bit firm, probably due to the winds which weren't very stable, LTFE ATIS read winds 237 at 4 with clear skies and 14C. I must say it again but I love ASV6.5. I planned my arrival according to the info on the Active radar and it was extremely accurate. So was the Nav log as far as the winds aloft were concerned. Great stuff.
Some spotter obviously here to pick up someone from my flight behind the fence
By the way, if you haven't been able to see my recent Australian flight which I added yesterday, you can find it here
Where to next? I have no idea, maybe a GA flight, maybe a 757 one, I truly have no idea... We'll see...
Thanks for viewing
Monday, March 8, 2010
The world is a huge place, no, really it is. One of the best things about FS is that it gives a huge amount of freedom and you can go wherever you desire, no boundries, no visas, no conflicts, nothing...
I hadn't done a flight in Australia for my blog and thought it was about time. I had a good Australian friend when I was a kid, Alastair, we used to drink Oranginas and watch American Ninja. I regret not remembering where he was from, I'd say from Melbourne but I'm not sure. So, if you've grown to be a simmer and you're reading this by some chance, Hello buddy!
Also, back in 2007, my girlfriend went to Sydney to visit a friend of hers and got me a neat Qantas 747 model aircraft which sits proudly on a shelf just above my computer. Looking at it I thought "why not?" I had the cool Qantas livery for my NG and the charts anyway.
I flew the real-world flight which is QF982 and operated by this type of aircraft. The 1088NM route was computed by Vroute as the following:
AS T11 ROM G326 BN
My take-off weight was 144K lbs, well within the limits of this 737-800W.
By the way, I got fed up with the blind spots of the default FS weather engine and got Active Sky. Going through the features I felt like an idiot for not getting it earlier. Now I don't have to worry about the ATIS reading " Visibility greater than 20 miles" when the actual one is CAT3 conditions... Cool!
Take-off checklist complete, ready to go, runway 12
Weather at Alice Springs was winds 150 at 7 and CAVOK conditions, calling for a runway 12 take-off on a PULOL1 departure which is pretty much straight out to waypoint PULOL.
The initial climb was a bit bumpy, due to hot weather I assume and the mild turbulence continued all the way to Brisbane. I saw a lot of clouds beneath me so I guess the Outback was rainy today.
Cruising at FL340
Active Sky has a neat feature called Active radar which enables you to keep track of your enroute and destination weather, perfect for planning your arrival route and runway.
Once cleared for my cruise altitude of 34000 feet, I did what I do on most of my flights, eat, it was a morning flight so I had breakfast all the while enjoying the view below and listening to aircraft over the net.
The winds at YBBN were favoring a runway 01 landing, 359 at 5 with few clouds at 2500 and scattered at 5600 so I planned a Glenn4 arrival continuing on an ILS 01 approach via waypoint GLENN.
On the Glenn4 arrival
The approach into Brisbane was fairly bumpy which suits me fine since it adds to the feeling of flying. I absolutely loved the Active sky cloud formations, much, much better that default and freeware stuff.
YBBN was having a busy afternoon with lots of Virgin Blue flights coming and going. I was third for landing and kept my distance with the fellow in front of me who not suprisingly had to go around.
Final, runway 01
Going manual at the 1000 callout, my landing wasn't textbook stuff but wasn't bad either, I think I touched down a tad late, not a problem though, as runway 01 is quite long and you have plenty of tarmac to slow down the NG.
After quickly vacating the runway for the AI behind me I slowly taxied to my gate doing some spotting. I finished my flight at 2 hours and 35 minutes, exactly the same time stated on the Qantas website. This scenery is the freeware VOZ version and is quite well done.
Thank you for flying Qantas
Where to next, the question obviously stands... I might return back to Europe and try out a couple of small airports on which Al gave me the heads up. I might as well do a domestic flight in Turkey as I don't have to worry about weather problems anymore. Hmm...
Before I wrap up this review, make sure you take a look at Al's latest review which is an excellent FS-real world comparison.
Thanks for viewing
Monday, March 1, 2010
There are tons of places where I could have done my GA flying but I chose to do it where I ended my last flight, Manchester. I didn't plan any itinerary, I just decided to head straight out and do some touch and go's on the surrounding smaller airports with the aide of the FS Garmin GPS. I quite like the stock GPS and find it useful for this type of flying.
After going through the brief checklist, I started my 182, which feels like starting a car after the complexe start up of jet airliners.
I fell in behind a Swiss 146 and a BA 319 on my way to 05L. The weather at EGCC was calm winds, 3 mile visibility and clouds at a ceiling of 2500. The low visibility worried me a little because FS ATC won't clear VFR flights in these conditions, luckily though all went well. Mind you, I would have took off unauthorized anyway, it's not something I haven't done before in flight sim...
On my way to the active, 05L