Friday, March 12, 2010

Lake Van Monster

Pretty much every country has its mysterious creature, the Yeti in the Himalayas, Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch) in Northern America, El Chupacabra in Mexico and the Loch Ness monster in Scotland are probably among the most famous.

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.


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.

Take-off, 21R

My preplanned SID was KUBER1B which required heading straight to the ANK NDB first then turning to waypoint KUBER. The airspace looked free, however, so I executed a direct-to to my initial fix and then joined the UG8 airway.

Breaking out of the clouds

Not much to say about cruise flight flying over central Anatolia. I saw a lot of white below which should be accurate on FS's part since this is a snowy region this time of the year. The strong tailwind was very welcome. I don't want to even think about the return leg, uugghhh!

On a side note, I also flew over the recently earthquake stricken city of Elazig so as we say here, "Buyuk gecmis olsun" to fellow simmers (if any) from that beautiful city.

Over Elazig

I started my descent around 125NM from Van just before waypoint BAYIR which incidentally means "slope" in Turkish. How is that for a coincidence...

The weather at LTCI was favoring a visual 21 approach via BEYAZ1N arrival which is tricky since there is no chart for it. There are 2 VOR DME approaches, clearly for runway 03 but nothing for 21. I wonder how it's done in real life, maybe Turkish Airlines only uses runway 03 for landings.

Anyway, I did a circle-to-land on runway 21 staying well on the northern side of the airport due to terrain but still flying close to high peaks.

Autobrake 2, flaps 40, spoiler armed and landing lights on as I was established for runway 21. My manual final approach very tidy. The PMDG is a joy to hand fly.

Short final for visual 21

Flaps 40 landings are tricky and this was no exception, I landed quite firmly, around 400 FPM and bounced back in the air a bit. CRAP!

Following a backtrack on the runway I entered the simple apron area of Ferit Melen airport which incidentally is named after an ex-priminister. I'm not a big fan of naming airports after politicians, in LTCI's case I would prefer something like "Monster Airport", but that's just me...

Welcome to Ferit Melen Airport

I can't decide between Europe or the Middle East, hmmm... Austria sounds nice, though...

Oh, and before I end this review, I would like to say thanks and good job to fellow Turkish simmer Hikmet Cercevik for this nice freeware rendition of LTCI.

Thank you for viewing, come again, watch your step.


  1. OK, I love this post due to the fact I learneded something(as Homer SImpson would say)

    Does the Lake Van monster have a name other than Lake Van Monster?

    Both the take off and short final shots are awesome.

    And I agree an airport named "Ogo Pogo International" would be much cooler!

  2. Thanks!

    Speaking of Homer Simpson, there is an episode in which he's a bigfoot, walking around in the woods. It's hilarious.

    Well, as far as I know, it's just called the "monster", a dinasaur like animal with a long neck similar to the one at Loch Ness.