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Flight Log – Flying Home

March 14th, 2011 · No Comments · Gaming

It was nice to stretch my virtual wings again for the first time in two weeks and also finally make a trip back to Monmouth-Executive Airport (KBLM) which is the airfield nearest to my house and thus my “home field”. Since KBLM is only 13.3nm away from my last destination (3N6 Old Bridge) and my personal trip rules specify ranges of at least 60nm, I had to come up with a round-about path of travel to get there. I decided to simply VOR navigate around the NYC Bravo airspace (yea, I’ve conformed to convention and have stopped calling it “Class B”) and then punch right through it north to south using the Hudson River Special Flight Rules Area. That brought the trip up to a nice 138.7nm (estimated).

Here is the flight plan for this trip.

Although my departure time called for 6:30, I got home late from Boston (I was at PAX East this weekend) and had to scramble to get the sim and controls set up – I wasn’t even ready to taxi until 6:35. Then I made it to the runway hold short and was going through my Before Takeoff checklist and one of the items on there was to check fuel levels, which I did and noticed that I was below 1/4 tank from my last flight. D’oh!! So I had to taxi back to the parking area to refuel, which means I didn’t end up departing until 6:56pm. On the plus side, one of the things I haven’t mentioned much in my flight logs is how sucky I am at taxiing. I usually end up going to fast and over-correcting on the rudder pedals for propeller torque. Well, taxiing to and then from and then to the runway at 3N6 today for some reason I was able to finally manage the throttle properly to keep my speed manageable and it didn’t look like a drunk person was behind the controls.

So this was a pretty straightforward flight, consisting of elements I have done time and time again in earlier flights. Climb out from 3N6 and establishing cruise altitude/trim all went smoothly, at the same time I turned on course and dialed in the OBI needle for the first VOR. This doesn’t sound like much but it’s quite a feat of multitasking for me still. The air was pretty turbulent so I was bumping around a bit – it doesn’t help that I’m not packing a lot of extra weight besides fuel, which is actually one of the reasons I top off my tanks for each flight besides just not having to worry about running out. There weren’t any serious up/down drafts however, just chop. I tuned into NY Approach for flight following for a while but then just decided to rely on my eyeballs and the fact that aircraft are extremely easy to see at night time (in FSX).

After the VOR hopping I transitioned to the VFR segment of the flight down the Hudson River. Again, no problems besides dealing with frames in the high single digits as I flew past the city. Need. New. CPU. My graphics card (ATI 5870) can handle it but my processor (Intel E6600) is a bit laggy, even when its overclocked. I have my eyes on a Sandy Bridge. I usually just disable AI traffic, but I wanted to ensure I had some planes ready to arrive at KBLM when I got there, so I left it running and just dealt with the choppy frames. Luckily it’s hard seeing the ground textures at night so the fact that they barely loaded wasn’t a big issue.

Arriving at KBLM a Piper Archer announced 12nm out on final for Runway 32 (all AI aircraft fly straight in approaches) so I entered 45-degrees into the downwind leg and waited until she passed me and announced 3nm out before turning base and final to queue up behind her. I was about 2nm out myself when she announced clear of the runway and I made my final descent in to land. Again, frames were an issue here. I did such a great job adding all sorts of bells and whistles to this airport because it’s my home airport that my frame rates nose dive near single digits when I’m viewing the bulk of the airport. However I managed to at least stay on the runway and not crash. I taxied off and on the way to a hangar (there are 7 open) I had to wait for more arriving traffic so I could cross the runway – love it when FSX feels so “alive” like that.

Other than missing the fuel check before taxiing, this flight was entirely routine. I did run a bit long on my base leg and had to hook it back to line up with the runway properly for landing, but that was the biggest gaffe of the flight. I even arrived within 5 minutes (adjusted time for delayed departure) of my Estimated Time of Arrival, which I think is pretty good considering the distance covered.

Plus flying at night is always a totally different experience, and a great way to practice some IFR techniques in VFR conditions.

This week I return to developing some new airports. I’m going to try and run a heli shuttle to/from the city to get some more time in the Dodo next weekend before visiting some of the new fields in the Cessna.

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