Monday, April 26, 2010

Business Trip

It wasn't my business trip, it was my father's. Working as a contractor for an Italian tyre company (you can surely guess the brand!) my dad travels to Milan a few times per year. I thought I might do one of these flights for the blog.

After doing 2 flights with the Aeroworx B200, I was already missing my 737NG so this route came as a perfect excuse to fly her. Flight TK 1873 is the daily morning flight from Istanbul to Milan, Malpensa operated by Turkish Airlines. 737s serve this route, at least they used to a couple of months ago. Block time was 2 hours and 30 minutes.

I didn't want to get stuck in the usual morning traffic at LTBA so I hurried up on the pre-flight and was lucky to take-off without waiting. There were a few other company flights coming and going. Traffic was much lighter than I had expected.

I've set the runways as in real life with 18R/36L for take-offs and the parallel 18L/36R for landings. 06/24 is landing only but I closed it completely since it's undergoing maintenance right now. My setting seems to work well, as far as FS standards go of course.

Ready to go, 36L

I used the archive weather of Active Sky for the first time, excellent feature I must say.

Turkish Technic hangars to our right

Departure weather was winds 027 at 12 with broken clouds at 11400 and scattered at 15100. The temperature was 13C. I took off from 36L and continued on the Fener1K SID.

Climbing out of Istanbul

Around 10000 feet I reached the clouds and ran into moderate turbulence, I think this is pretty accurate to Active Sky's credit because Istanbul is very windy since a couple of days.

I wasn't in front of the screen for the most part of cruise flight so no screen shots for that stage of the trip. The flight took me over Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, over the Adriatic into Italy.

FS ATC was pretty accurate on the descent instructions and the initial one came at about the same time as the FMC T/D, I love it when FS ATC works realistically, relatively speaking of course.

Descending into Milan

I was cleared to 35R, just as I had planned per the weather forecast and proceeded on the SRN1K arrival which takes you on a downwind leg for the runway 35R. 35L is the departure-only runway in my LIMC scenery configuration, speaking of which, I love ISD's freeware sceneries which are exceptionnally well done.

Over the SRN VOR

Malpensa weather was calm winds with clouds 4000 scattered and light rain, 16C. The rain came just as I dropped below 4000 feet and went on for a couple of minutes. The visibility was poor so I engaged the second A/P just in case I had to do a CAT3 approach. ATIS was reporting good visibility but you never know with FS. Further down the glide slope the rain and clouds cleared off so I went manual at the 1000' callout.

Short final 35R

My landing was quite well thanks to the calm winds and I vacated the runway as fast as possible to make way for the Cargo Lux 747F coming in behind me.

The details in this scenery are just marvellous. For the record, ISD's LIRF scenery is very well done too.

On our way to stand G10

The taxi to the stand was quite long so I took the opportunity to do some spotting at LIMC. Plenty of wide-bodies such as Air China, Delta, DHL to name a few, along with the usual European single-aisles.

"Hope to see you again, bye bye"

My next flight will include Vienna, whether it will be the departure or arrival airport is not determined yet.

Thanks for viewing

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The last visitor country as of yesterday on the blog was the Principality of Andorra. As you might know, Andorra is a very small nation hidden in the Pyrennes mountains which incidentally is a tax haven.

I set up a short flight from Toulouse (LFBO) to LESU which seems to be Andorra's only airport. The runway length at LESU is around 4400 ft, perfect for the B200. A direct route from LFBO to LESU is very short, only 37 or so NM. I decided to do some sight seeing over the Pyrennes so I set a longer route over Lourdes and Pamplona turning back to Andorra, the total distance now at around 280NM, good enough. Block time was 1hour and 30 minutes.

Ready to go, 32R

Traffic was sparse at LFBO this Saturday morning, this isn't an extremely busy airport anyway. I taxied swiftly from the GA area to 32R and took off without holding. Weather was winds 313 at 5, visibility 6 miles and clouds 800 scattered, 2000 broken. Temperature was 13C. I was surprised to see such a low temperature at Toulouse. During the years I was there at this time of the year it would be much warmer around mid 20s with sunny skies, making it impossible to concentrate on the upcoming end term exams!

I think I've improved now with the B200, I was tidier with the controls and procedures after take-off. Practice makes perfect. I also watched a couple of King Air videos on youtube to see how things are done in real life, they were very useful.

Climbing out of LFBO

After take-off I climbed on the runway heading was a couple of minutes and then turned left to the TBO VOR and engaged the A/P.

Too cloudy to see anything down there

Cruise at 10000 feet flight was calm, I went through mild turbulence a few times but nothing worthy of noting here. Fortunately the clouds cleared up 45 minutes into the flight and I was able to enjoy the view all the while having breakfast.

Turning over Pamplona

I went for the analogue panel version this time and I think I liked it better. I admit the EFIS configuration is very cool but I found it easier to navigate with the more simple Sperry analogue. I might stick to this one on my future flights with the B200.

It's not going to be easy with those clouds!

As I approached LESU, the clouds started building up again and made me plan for a possible divert to LFBO in case I couldn't see the runway. I planned on doing 3 passes and if the runway wouldn't come in sight, I would head back to LFBO. I had the fuel so it wouldn't be a problem doing the extra 37NM.

As I descended the flight became very exciting passing closely to the mountains, luckily the runway came in sight on my first pass. I looked around to spot a valley into which I could make the approach to runway 04.

Arrival weather was calm winds and good visibility with a temperature of 14C.

Short final runway 04

My approach was good, nice and tidy but my landing was mediocre. I touched down late and right of the centerline. I think I was too fast on the Vref. Anyway, I was able to stop using the brakes and reversers.

Once again, I was amazed how easy and fun it is to handfly this aircraft. Aeroworx has really done an excellent job here. Trim and throttle response is very good, not that I know anything about the real world B200 mind you, I mean in the FS world.

My next flight is most likely LTBA-LIMC with the TK 738W, I'll tell you why in the review itself.

Thanks for viewing

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beechcraft Super King Air

This was my first flight with my new airplane, the Super King Air B200 by Aeroworx. I wasn't very much a turbo prop simmer and I was initially looking for a twin-engine GA airplane for scenic flights and for trips around the more exotic spots of the globe. Fellow simmer and good friend Al came up with his great advice, as always, and recommended the Aeroworx B200. Al and I share the same interest in systems-depth as far as add-on aircraft go so I went forward and got the B200 without a doubt.

Just as I had predicted, this baby turned out to be a "complete" aircraft with many systems simulated. I fooled around in the cockpit for a few hours reading the manual at the same time to get an idea on how to do an initial flight with her. After a couple of touch and go's on a familiarization flight I decided I knew enough (or almost!) to take her for a full trip.

In real life it takes weeks of training to get a pilot rated for a certain type, in FS, we simmers tend to do this in a few hours and impatiently hop in and try to fly. I say "try" because in my case the first flights are full of mistakes and are very sloppy. This one was no exception, I even forgot to turn on my recognition lights!

Most of my mishaps were due to the reason that I don't have many hours in turbo props so all the prop related procedures are new to me, such as autofeather, prop sync, condition levers and so forth. Checklists are extremely useful in this situation but after the relatively easy steps in airliner jets, this one proved to be a handful with all the feathering and syncing, not to mention keeping an eye on the engine dials.

Taxing to the active, the panel is beautiful

Actually, I fly GA aircraft from the VC but I wanted to check out the 2D panel in this one first, it's also easier to learn in the 2d panel in my opinion.

To give some information on the flight, it was from LEMG to GMMN. Casablanca because from now on I will fly to/from the latest visitor country on my blog, the idea belongs to my supportive girlfriend, by the way. (Thanks Honey!)

Departure weather was nice, clear skies, 19C and winds blowing from the East, few clouds at 2000 and scattered at 7000.

After take-off I proceeded to my initial waypoint, the TTN VOR. For the record this was a VOR to VOR flight. Block time of this 250NM trip was 1 hour and 40 min.

Enjoying the Mediterranean view

Climbout was uneventful, or it seemed so because I was trying to go through the climb checklist all the while keeping an eye on navigation and on the annunciator panel. The B200 climbed easily to today's cruise altitude of FL200.

Note the slightly deflected aileron

The Aeroworx B200 panel has magnificent bitmaps and looking around is very fun, the panel is also very easy on resources so great job in that field too.

I didn't pay much attention to the weather enroute so I hit a storm over GMTN, the aircraft was thrown around pretty bad and my airspeed indicator went dead. Oh, shit! I forgot to turn on the pitot!

The turbulent air was over in a couple of minutes and the airspeed indicator came back when I switched on the pitot heat.

Thunderstorm over GMTN

On a side note, if you've flown over this part of Morocco you might have come across the annoying automated weather report which airs in on the same frequency as Casablanca Center, making it impossible to contact ATC Ughh!!

Downwind for the ILS 35L

Arrival weather was winds 315 at 15, 23C with clouds scattered at 5000. I came over the CBA VOR, followed the outbound radial 175 and then at 22 DME I turned left to intercept the localizer for the runway 35L per the published approach at GMMN.

Not surprisingly, my approach was sloppy, not very smooth because I was trying to complete the the approach and landing checklists. Not knowing where the various buttons and switches are didn't help either!

Short final

Handflying this B200 is a joy and she is very easy, the trim feels exceptionnally well for an FS aircraft, I loved every second of it. My landing was quite good too, I just touched down a bit right of the centerline but I have to say, the winds were pretty tricky.

I loved the F/O callouts too.

On the ramp, I made it, phew!

I'm not much of an external model buff in Flightsim but this one is really cool. I'm glad I took Al's advice and got this aircraft, it's absolutely beautiful and a real joy to fly whether with the A/P or manually. I still have a lot to master as far as the systems go and it will take some time for me to get proficient on this B200, but it's huge fun and you will probably be seeing her a lot on my blog, especially in that UN livery which is the icing on the cake, perfect for flying in South America or Africa.

Thanks for viewing

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Holiday Flight

I had absolutely no idea about where to fly this morning. I sat in front of my computer for 30 minutes or so browsing this airline site (Al sent me the link, btw) to find a route for my Saturday afternoon flight, really nothing seemed appealing. I first thought of EHAM - LTBS with Transavia but then EDDH - LTBS seemed better with TUI because my PMDG Transavia livery is an old one and I was too lazy to look up the new repaint.

As you might know, Dalaman is a famous holiday destination (along with Antalya) in Turkey which attracts many tourists from Europe, especially Germany hence the flight from Hamburg.

Flight X3 115 is a real world flight number but the actual flight will be starting on June 14th per the Tui website.

Also, as you aviation buffs probably know, the volcanic ash cloud has suspended all the flights over Europe right know for obvious reasons but in the perfect world of FS, of course, everything is fine and there are no canceled flights.

EDDH weather was clear skies and winds blowing from the Southwest with 8C calling for a runway 23 departure following the Amluh 4B SID. Traffic was dense, many German operators coming and going. Just as I was getting ready to get my IFR clearance I heard "1662" over the net. Turkish Airlines 1662 is one of the daily flights from Hamburg to Istanbul. I looked left and right to catch a glimpse of it and just to my right I saw the distinctive red tail as the 321 was pushing back. It's always a pleasure to see our national carrier not only in real life but in FS as well.

Turkish 1662 to Istanbul pushing back

After a bumpy initial climb I continued on my route which took me over the Czech Rep., Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece after which I entered Turkish airspace and started my descent just after passing the city of Izmir.

LH 4791 coming in

My flight has quite loaded, packed full with tourists on their way to the various resorts around Dalaman. My GW was around 150K resulting in a long take-off roll to hit the necessary rotation speed.


As soon as I reached my cruise altitude of 36000 feet and got the handoff to the next center (which I didn't contact) I let the aircraft fly by itself while I kept myself occupied with online COD MW2, completing the various challenges for the online profile. Talk about awesome IFE!

Just as I flew over the IMR VOR, I got the initial descending instructions by the ATC which seemed correct according to the FMC so I followed them. After a while on the KEKIK 1G star I got my clearance to the ILS 01 via the DAL VOR, just as I had initially planned.

Lovely view into Dalaman

The approach was rather bumpy into LTBS, ATIS read surface winds 194 at 5 with clear skies and 24C, beautiful spring weather at Dalaman. Actually, I was a bit disapointed that runway 19 wasn't in use, it has a challenging VOR DME approach.

Short final runway 01

My landing was OK but I wasn't quite good at handflying the approach this time, as you can see in the above shot. I came in a tad too high and touched down a bit late but slowed down without any problems on autobrakes 2 and no reversers. Flaring is definitely trickier with flaps 40.

Have a nice holiday

To be honest I wasn't all that excited about this route, it was just an ordinary one... My girlfriend came up with a great idea for setting up my future flights. She told me that I should fly to or from the newest visitor country on my blog. Hmm... Not a bad idea, not bad at all...

Danke shoen for viewing

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fly Balaton with Royal Air Maroc

There are many liveries that come with the PSS 757 and of course many more that you can find on various simming sites. Looking back, I realize that rarely I've flown the passenger version of this add-on. I thought I'd get into one of the airlines I haven't flown with before for this review.

I don't suppose Royal Air Marco uses 757s anymore, I don't seem to remember coming across them on spotter sites. Maybe they operated them in the past. However, I find that the national Moroccan livey looks cool on the 757. Also, if you're curious about the title, Fly Balaton is the name of the airport at Sarmellek, Hungary.

Flight AT477, not a real life flight obviously, was from GMMN to LHSM. The 3 and a half hour journey took me over Spain, Palma de Mallorca, Sardinia, Italy and Croatia over which I entered Hungarian airspace.

I can't say I really enjoyed the view during the flight as I didn't sit in front of the screen, I caught a few glimpses of nice coastal views as I occasionnally came to check that everthing was OK.

Lining up on 17L

Traffic was moderate at Casablanca this Sunday afternoon, mainly company aircraft coming from various cities of Europe with the occasionnal foreign carrier such as Air France and Alitalia.

Weather at GMMN was a cloudy 17C with winds blowing from the southwest and a cloud ceiling of 1600. As you clearly see from the shot above I took off in a towards the south.

I followed the AGL2D departure and joinded the G5 airway at waypoint Agdal.


Nothing to note about the climb, maybe just the initial turn towards the north at 1500 feet which produced a nice view of the Casablancan countryside for the folks sitting on left side of the aircraft. Seats A,B and C that is.

For me the most interesting part was the Strait of Gibraltar, which came into view on my right side a few minutes into the flight.

The Strait of Gibraltar

Cruising over the Mediterranean, note the step climb indicator on the ND

Not much to note about the cruise flight, either. Oh, yes, I'll mention the S/C to FL400 from FL360. The PSS 757 simulates this feature quite well. The winds aloft were in my favor, too.

The T/D computed by the FMS came earlier than ATC instructions so I descended in VNAV. Around FL200 ATC cleared me to runway 34 and told me to descend to 11000 feet. I continued with the FS altitude instructions as they seemed reasonable. As opposed to the real world, FMS' get the priority in FS, ATC comes second for me but I do like to use it if it's accurate.

Inbound on the ZAG VOR

Runway 34 has no ILS, just an NDB approach which was interesting and fun as I usually do ILS approaches. There was also an RNAV approach but I chose the NDB anyway.

I actually didn't fly the whole approach with the circle to land to save time, let's say the conditions being VMC and with ATC vectors I only flew the base leg.

Tracking the runway course while keeping and eye on the ADF, the clouds are lovely in the sunset

Weather at Sarmellek was winds 060 at 5, 10C with few clouds at 4000 and broken 6000.

No nasty FS surprises so the visilibity was good for this NDB approach. My manual approach was quite good. 2 reds, 2 whites all the way.

Short final for the "NDB 34"

Another good landing this time, the sun was just setting as I came in which made for a beautiful atmosphere during my final approach.

LHSM is a small airport served by Lufthansa and Hamburg Int (I think) in real life. I don't know if 757s actually land here.

This freeware scenery by Hungarian flightsim developpers very well done. I loved the custom taxiway and runway textures.

Shot by one of the regular spotters at Balaton

Again, no plans for the next one. We'll see...

Thanks for viewing