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Flight Log – Ferry Services

January 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Gaming

So the conundrum with today’s flight was – how do I get my Cessna back? I left it up at 4N1 when I took the helicopter down to Manhattan. I suppose I could just chopper it back up there and grab it, but that’s not really exciting. Instead I decided to do a good deed while I was at it and went looking around for anyone that needed a plane ferried up to Greenwood Lake. Sure enough, a pilot wanted his plane to end up at 4N1 for him so I was happy to oblige. Before heading down to the airport the plane was based at, I decided to take the helicopter for a spin around the city.

Here is the log for my flight today.

I stopped off at KJRA, 3N6 and then came back to KJRB where I started. All three times I managed to approach and land without spending a lot of time in hover fudging around for the perfect orientation. It was very rewarding to pretty much nail each approach. I felt very in control of the helicopter during all the landings. Sure, there really wasn’t any wind to speak of but even still I found my performance way better than when I first came into the city on my last flight and had to practically pull myself out of the water. After the three happy landings I headed south along the New Jersey Turnpike for my final destination at Flying W Airport (N14). In planning this trip, I found the the NJT took me within 7 miles of where I wanted to go and kept me out of any airspaces – including the Military Operations Area around McGuire AFB. Very convenient! So that was an easy road to follow, and throughout the trip I managed to stay +/- 100′ of my 1000′ cruise altitude. I also pushed the helicopter to its limits and tore down there at 120kts (never exceed speed is 130kts). When I hit Inductotherm (3NJ6) I simply turned South and there was Flying W. After circling to make sure there was no traffic, I put her down right in front of the main terminal. 4th perfect landing in a row! Yes, I must be getting better.

Once I shut down the helicopter, I transitioned over to the aircraft I was going to fly up to Greenwood Lake, a Mooney Bravo. This turbo-powered single-engine aircraft is a beast compared to my regular Cessna, and you could hear it as soon as the engine started up. What a roar this sucker has! Funny enough, and I just realized this as I checked back for the log entry, but the last time I flew a Mooney Bravo it was also a trip up to Greenwood Lake, but from Philadelphia Int’l rather than Flying W. Have a look back at that entry to see 4N1 as it used to be before I added some custom scenery. Pretty bland, it was!

Anywhoo, after I started up the Mooney and re-familiarized myself with the layout of the cockpit instruments and controls, I made my first of two mistakes today and taxied out to the wrong runway. *sigh*. So I actually had to taxi back along the runway to get back onto the taxiway to continue the rest of the way to the other end of the runway. Luckily there was no traffic, but by the time I reached the end of the runway I was supposed to be on, a Maule announced himself on final 8 miles out. Since I still had to go over the pre-takeoff checklist and look over the takeoff and climb checklists, I decided to wait him out. As he announced 2 miles out another aircraft came on the channel and announced 10 miles out. So once the Maule passed me I taxied into position on the runway and started my takeoff roll as soon as he announced he was clear so I could get out of there before the other plane got there. I did, and soon I was climbing out for 5000′ and dodging through the stacked airliners headed for Philadelphia.

Cruising at 5000′ at 160kts I blew through the navaids and in no time was starting my descent 10nm out from the Sparta VOR – so roughly 20nm out from the airport. I found that the Bravo had surprisingly similar descent characteristics as the Cessna. Reducing throttle to 50% let me drop at a 1000’/min rate without overspeeding. I descended down below pattern altitude and had to climb back up – so I guess I really made three mistakes today and this was my second. Once at pattern altitude I turned downwind for Runway 24. I was very happy there was little to no wind because I would have hated to take on that 5.25° glide slope for Runway 6 in this plane. The snout on the Bravo is so big that I literally have to jack up my seat (eyepoint view) in order to see the runway as I make my final approach. I gave myself a long final approach and remembered to lower my landing gear (yay check lists!). I thought I was going to sink into the trees on short final but I made it over and then stalled out – which is good before landing but you want to be more like 5 feet above the ground than 50 when it happens. So yea. WHUMP!! Luckily my undercarriage remained intact and I was able to taxi to parking and shut down without any problems.

A couple more mistakes now become apparent in hindsight. Third mistake – not fully completing the checklist. For example I forgot to switch on my landing lights. Fourth mistake – not keeping an eye on all my gauges – I was supposed to be watching the engine head temperature because I had my cowl flaps closed as per the descent check list – luckily nothing overheated readily since it was so cold out. Fifth mistake – I didn’t pay full attention to traffic on the radio. A plane (can’t even remember what kind) departed just as I landed and I have no idea whether it cleared the runway before I touched down or not – had it still been on the runway I should have declared a go-around. Last thing you want is to assume the plane is actually going to take off and have it stop on the runway due to some systems/engine failure and then BOOM!

But on the other hand I flew the plane, didn’t crash and made it down okay. So, not too bad. Just things to keep in mind.

I like the Mooney a bit more now, but it’s still too brawny of a plane for my needs right now, which is puttering around between airports that aren’t more than 60-75nm apart at the most. The Mooney is best for if I wanted to travel from like, Delaware to Massachusetts. So I was happy to hand her over intact to the owner and climb back into my trusty 172 for the remainder of today’s flight.

After an uneventful departure from Greenwood Lake, it was a very short trip south to the private airfield of Hilltop (JY43), which is being constructed by an associate of mine. The cool thing about this airport is that the runway is textured straight onto the ground from actual high-resolution satellite imagery, so this means two things – 1) it looks exactly like the actual runway and not like every other runway in FSX and 2) it’s on the terrain meaning that if the runway is sloped in real life (like this one is) it will be so in the sim. So, landing from the west and taking off to the east (which you are supposed to do at the real airport) means you’re landing uphill to reduce your roll and taking off downhill to increase your speed. Pretty cool. Plus, how fucking awesome must it be to have an airfield in your backyard? And to have a mansion literally atop a mountain with no obstruction whatesover for 360°? Yea. Awesome.

So after stopping to check out Hilltop (will be up soon on!) it was back to the skies for a longer but still short hop to Aeroflex-Andover (12N). After locating the airport with the help of the Sparta VOR, I decided to not bother with the full pattern and just set myself to enter left base for Runway 21. Listening to the radio produced no other arriving/departing traffic so I lined her up and took her in. I have no idea why I took her in so fast, but just before touchdown I realized my speed was still like 80kts and so I bounced on landing and came back down halfway down the runway. Then I was slow on the brakes and skidded off the end of the runway trying to make the last taxiway. So, sixth and final mistake of the day – but who’s counting??

All in all it was a great flight, and since I was home alone for this one, I turned my speakers up as high as they could go. Whhooaaa. The subwoofer was vibrating so much my joystick/throttle HOTAS actually slid off the flat top after a while. In the helicopter and the planes the bass vibration from the subwoofer really sold the immersiveness of being inside an aircraft because you could feel the engine now. It was pretty awesome. I might have to do it when people are home and just turn it down when they finally complain 😛

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