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Flight Log – Crank it up!

June 21st, 2011 · 1 Comment · Gaming

This past Saturday I finally took the time to overclock my i5 2500K CPU to 4.5GHz, which is an extra 1.2GHz past stock speed. I started off by trying the auto-overclock button that’s on my motherboard, but after rebooting the computer and entering Windows, things locked up almost immediately. So I turned to the trusty Google and dug up an article on bit-tech.net that had specific instructions for overclocking my CPU on my motherboard. Sweet! I plugged in the numbers and changed around the settings and booted back into Windows at 4.5GHz and experienced the same lock up problems. Finally I just set the base clock to 1000 and the multiplier to 45, keeping all the voltages at Auto settings but still enabling/disabling what they told me to in the article. (Except I had to ignore their suggestion in the article to set my SATA mode to ACHI, as that would cause Windows to BSOD and reset the computer while it was loading. I left it set to IDE). This ended up working, although I think leaving the voltages at Auto allowed the Intel SpeedStep tech to stay active even though I specifically disabled it in the EFI, because the TurboBoost desktop widget remained active and my core voltage/CPU speed according to CPU-Z was still varying – although under load (like when FSX is running) it stayed pinned at 4.5GHz.

I also tried pushing my graphic card memory and GPU speeds up a notch to their max but that caused FSX to crash. Oh well.

This all ended up taking me about 4 hours to finally configure correctly so by the time I was all set up ready to fly it was close to 6pm. No worries, though I figured I wouldn’t be able to complete my whole flight plan today. Here’s the plan, by the way. Since I didn’t plan this flight to depart at a certain time, I didn’t fill out any weather information. I gathered that info from ATIS reports while in the air and just did a forecast to make sure no storms were moving into the area later this evening.

The first leg started off at KBLM and saw me hopping back into the good ol’ 172 to put-put up the Hudson so I could check out the performance of the overclock around the very-tasking Manhattan X scenery with scenery set to Very Dense, water at 2x and ATC traffic running (no boat or vehicle traffic though). This was just like the last northern Hudson trip I took in the V35B so I copied and pasted that route info from the previous flight plan with some minor tweaks as I decided to just fly straight up to Sandy Hook Bay rather than fly out to the coast first and over the Hook itself. Going past Manhattan my frames still dropped to around 11-13 but the main noticeable improvement was the fact that ground textures loaded in time for me to fly over them and be crisp rather than still blurry. As low as I am in this area (1200′) this is nice to have now. Plus with ATC still running, before I was down into the 9-10FPS range and would have to disable it to fly around the area in a plane or heli. I forgot to run completely through my SFRA exit checklist and left my landing light on as I cruised towards my VOR waypoint. No real biggie making yourself more visible though 😛

I climbed to cruise altitude as planned once I passed the Tappan Zee Bridge and turned towards my VOR waypoint, which brought me to the Delaware River I could follow back south. I was paying close attention to the river features to keep track of my location on the charts so I wouldn’t overshoot NJ09 but then off in the distance I spotted the huge cooling stacks of a power plant that I knew was right by it and knew I wasn’t going to miss it. As I was turning to make for the stacks, I spotted a landing light shining right at me off to my 2 o’ clock and immediately banked hard left as another aircraft went zooming by what seemed less than half a mile off to my right. I don’t recall ever getting a traffic alert from ATC as I was tuned in for flight following. Go figure! More controllers sleeping on the job, no doubt. After finishing avoiding traffic and orienting myself towards the stacks, I tuned to KABE ATIS and got the winds, then flew over the field to double-check the sock and make sure the field was clear. Circled around in a right pattern for Runway 25 and put her down nice and gentle.

After a taxi back, I was airborne once again although I almost forgot to hold my nose wheel up as I accelerated so I came a bit too close to the trees at the other end of the runway on my climb out. This second leg was just long enough to satisfy my 60nm distance rule and was a simple VOR hop. I like approaching KBLM from the Robbinsville VOR as it sets you up perfectly for a downwind pattern entry to Runway 32. Tuning into the KBLM ATIS I found the winds were calm so I set up for a left Runway 32 pattern since that runway had the glideslope indicators. I heard another craft call approach for R32 from 8 miles out and decided to take a long downwind to slot in behind him. Then less than a minute later another aircraft called approach to KBLM from 7 miles out – to Runway 14!! Do the compass math, that’s the opposite end of Runway 32 – planes were landing at the same time on both ends of the runway! So I knew one of them would fly a missed approach and continued to fly out towards the coast to get behind the guy I heard call approach first. I spotted his lights and flew out past him then turned around towards the runway and announced my position. To my chagrin, I announced 8 miles out while the guy I originally heard call said he was 3 miles out – I had overshot him and slotted behind another aircraft. *le sigh*. I made a new rule – if I’m about to enter the pattern and someone calls more than 3 miles out, I go in for the landing – unless it’s a jet. Then I’ll give myself 5 miles. Anyhow, I dogged the craft I had slotted behind all the way down, landing just before he announced clear of the runway. I tried to scoot off quickly but another aircraft on approach for the opposite Runway 14 had to abort his landing. Ah well. I taxied back to my hangar and shut down.

I had arrived at 8:44 so by the time I was in the helicopter ready to head back down to N81 and pick up the V35B it was fully dark. I decided to head out anyways since the weather was still nice but after I got up I saw that the cloud cieling was too low for me to fly over the McGuire A-220 alert area, which meant I would have to take a much longer route along the coast and cut in over Atlantic City thanks to a restricted flight area between ACY airspace and the A-220 zone. I tried climbing up over the clouds but they were very tall – I got the chopper to around 11,000 feet before giving up and heading back down to land at KBLM. Funny thing is if I could have waited a little while to 10pm the alert area rules would have been suspended, but that was too late for me since I was pretty tired by then.

The next day, Sunday, I sat back down to continue the flight. I took off in the heli from KBLM with a cloud base higher than 12,000′ so there were no problems transitioning over the A-220 flight area. I cruised at 100kts all the way down with no major issues during the flight. Just tuned into McGuire Approach for flight following until I was below 2500′ descending to the airport when I switched over to the CTAF. I landed in the fuel area to top off the tanks, then decided to hover taxi over to a parking spot next to the hangar. Once again, the blasted hover taxi doomed me. I made it to the parking spot ok but as I was futzing around to land I mistakenly pulled back on the collective instead of forward to land and ended up overtorqueing the rotor and spinning myself out of control into the ground. BOOM!!! 🙁

I reloaded into the V35B since I that was my next leg anyways. I taxied over to the sock to decide which runway to take off from, then taxied down to Runway 3 and departed. I climbed to FL060 to fly over the Philly Bravo airspace on my route but as I opened the ATC window a way into my cruise to answer a traffic alert for my flight following I noticed the option to ask for a Bravo transition was listed, and that’s only there if you’re in Bravo airspace. I checked the charts and sure enough, Philly Class B extends up to 7000′ (FL070). What the hell was I on when I planned for FL060 to get over Bravo airspace? Eeesh. So I requested and received my Bravo clearance and continued on. Then on descent to N87 I dialed up KTTN ATIS for a weather report but afterwards pressed the wrong key and ended up asking for Class D transition clearance. So then I had to get it and cancel it so I could return to the N87 CTAF and announce my landing intentions – by this time I was only 3 miles away from the airport. Luckily no other traffic was in the air at the time and I flew my left pattern and landed on Runway 11.

Here was supposed to be the end of my flight, but it was still early in the evening and I was wanting more, so I taxied back to depart and headed back to KBLM, although I had originally planned to go to KLDJ. I flew via the Robbinsville VOR again and approached KBLM with calm winds and traffic still flowing in both ends of the runway. I decided to fly straight in to Runway 14 to beat out another aircraft on approach. After landing (the second time today without a nasty scraping noise, I might add) I was taxiing off to my hangar and almost ran into a learjet taxiing to Runway 14. I had to slew my craft out of the way to avoid a crash. I had thought they were taking off Runway 32 but apparently not! I made it back the rest of the way to the hangar avoiding some more traffic but doing so without slewing my craft.

Finally I hopped back into the Bell (different livery) and choppered up to Manhattan via the GSP and then Route Verrazano to land at KJRB. After an uneventful landing there I flew over the city north to Central Park then out over the Hudson to approach and land at KJRA. My first attempt seemed good – descended to a hover almost right over the pad but then spent 2-3 minutes futzing around and finally hauling back on the cyclic to circle around and try again amidst much obscenities. Second time though I nailed the landing. I thought for sure that first time I was crashing into a fence or lightpole – damn it was ugly. Just when you think you have the hang of this damn chopper… anywhoo, I departed KJRA and flew Route Hudson south to Route Newark and then Route Linden to land on the money, first try and actually soft as a feather, at KLDJ as the sun was kissing the horizon.

I’m very pleased with the overclock performance, and have saved the EFI settings so I can switch back to default and run stock speeds when I’m not using FSX and then with a reboot reload the settings and crank it back up for flying on weekends.

Also I’ve decided Flight Recorder isn’t good for taking photos later. It doesn’t save flight time of day or weather data, so I can recreate my flight path but not the actual conditions of the flight itself, which is disappointing. Oh well, will just return to snapping photos as I fly although it’s not like I take pictures of a lot of new stuff these days 😉

That’s going to change though. I’ve suspended airport development to take a break so with no new fields to fly to, instead this weekend I’m going to try out some of the freeware aircraft that’s been sitting on my hard drive for over a year untouched. Variety!!

Finally, I went back through my Flight Log posts and removed all the flickr gallery images and replaced them with embedded slide shows. Duh. Why the hell didn’t I think of that originally??

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