Blade Edge

Computer software | Video production | My life in general

Blade Edge games header

Flight Log – A Full Day

August 22nd, 2020 · No Comments · Gaming


Click the above image for the gallery on flickr cause the embed options all suck. Also all images are captioned with additional information not always included below

This was all done yesterday.

I was unable to get up early enough to beat the sunrise but that was okay I had already gotten a sunrise flight in and today wasn’t going to be much different weather-wise, at least to start with. So I hopped back into the C152 that I had left at KWWD and got ready for departure. The flight I had planned was to head south across the Delaware Bay and down the coast of DE/MD/VA, around the tip and back up overland. I was mostly flying seat-of-the-pants with no real planning other than to just have SkyVector open on the side monitor and reference it as needed to get where I wanted to go. It worked out well enough given that I had no major air spaces to deal with. I’m still working my way back into full-on proper-procedures flying so pre-flight planning remains a bit lacking.

The trip down the coast went well, weather was great, I was able to track my progress on the VFR charts and the only airspace I had to be concerned about was the Wallops Flight Facility (KWAL), which had no problems granting me clearance through. I did make the mistake of improperly remembering how high you are supposed to stay over areas marked as parks, nature refuges, etc – I thought it was 1,200′ or above but afterwards when I remembered where on the chart to look for the info I re-learned it was actually 2,000′. Like I said, slowly getting back into it.

The plan to continue south from Wallops around the tip of Virginia was cut short by IRL responsibilities coming up soon that morning so I came about to fly back north along the inland side of the waterways and land at Ocean City Municipal (KOXB). It had an interesting approach because there’s a state park area right in front of the runway I chose to land on, so I hugged the opposite coast and approached at a 45° angle until short final lining up with the runway. When I was taxiing to parking I noticed one spot had a marshal standing there with wands at the ready and was like – wait would this work? Sure enough as I approached she began giving me directions into the parking stand! It was just a normal-looking GA parking stand I’m not sure why a marshal was there but it was cool nonetheless.

I got back home a little while later and fired up the sim again to continue back to KWWD. Weather was still great, departed to the northwest and did my inland overflight, picking out the highways that were shown on the VFR charts without too much trouble. Whatever trouble I had was simply due to the amount of detail on the ground rather than any problems with it. In older sims it was much easier to pick out major roadways cutting across the generic base landscape! Yes there was noticeable blurriness a long ways out, especially if you zoom in your view, but near enough where it matters ground detail is very sharp.

The flight back to KWWD was again planned to be a bit longer and travel more into northern DE but I started to get anxious as the fuel gauges approached 1/4 tank still over DE (I should have adjusted to full tank on start but left it at default 1/2 tank) so I cut straight east towards Cape May before reaching Dover AFB. I took one last look for the Cape May light house since I looked in the wrong spot on my initial flight down but yea it was still not there. Entered the pattern, flew a proper left-hand pattern as designated for the runway (instead of right-hand like I did on my initial flight down) and parked at KWWD until later in the day.

In between this and the next flight for the day, I got busy hunting down a serious issue – the sim was not just stuttering at times it was completely locking up for several seconds. In fact when I finally landed at KWWD the game clock, as shown on my instrument panel, was a few minutes behind the real world time (interesting that it never synced back up despite the pauses). I was fearing that the sim was finally starting to behave in a way I’ve seen others complain about, despite being problem-free until now. My first suspect was the scenery cache, since I only had it set to 10GB and my data usage was 12GB+ so maybe there was an issue with making room for new scenery to stream in while flying. I fiddled with the data settings a bit but it wasn’t until after I exited the sim and went about my normal business and the hangups still happened that I realized it was something else.

I pulled up my task monitor and kept it open as I continued working on other things for a while before the next hangup came and… nothing. No obvious culprit, CPU spike, RAM spike… WTF? So I kept watching and finally on the next hang I saw a huge CPU jump from my backup service. Why? Well once I thought about it I realized oh shit – it’s trying to backup my windows/user/appData folder where MSFS2020 is installed by default. Generally this folder holds basic information that doesn’t take up much space so I just have the whole folder selected by default – now it’s host to a nearly 200GB MSFS2020 install!! So when I completely killed my backup service the hang ups also ceased.

Problem solved, I hopped back into the cockpit later in the day with my friend Andrew also signing on in his C172, which I helped him repaint red so it looked just like the aircraft his father used to own, which he spent some time flying as well. This flight I had planned out in detail since we would both be on the same route and thus would want a good idea ahead of time where we were going and what would be done along the way. Like our previous flight together I setup a group for us but this time also set for real-world weather, traffic and other players then we launched into the sim – although being in a group doesn’t let you pull members into the same airfield automatically. In fact it turned out being in a group was the worst idea for anything unless when you want to restrict the game to just that group of players – Andrew had trouble seeing me and didn’t even get the real-world weather I was set to.

Unfortunately we couldn’t really take the time to restart since I wanted to make sure we made it up to 12N by the “golden hour” at sunset for some pretty visuals, which the game delivered. En-route the atmospherics were amazing as well with the cloud layers also posing a bit of challenge for me to stay VFR. At one point I was actually a bit “VFR on top” an unable to see the ground for a little while before finding a hole to descend through. On a whole the trip went as planned although there was a moment where I wasn’t sure I was still following the DE River and then turning east to dead-reckon my way to the airport almost got me lost with less than 1/4 tank of fuel and no idea what to do for an alternate. Also some ATC issues as after squawking my transponder code to the KPHL approach for bravo airspace transit they never acknowledged radar contact and I was not given any other options in the ATC window.

Since Andrew couldn’t see me he had traveled well ahead in his faster C172 and made it to 12N long enough before me to try the approach and totally fail on landing, not realizing just how short the runway was and plowing off the end into the water. Looks like I’m not the only one who has to work on his flight planning! He was able to reload, take off, and was in the process of making a second landing attempt by the time I finally reached the airport. I flew a long downwind while he landed (successfully this time) before turning base onto final to make my own attempt. I wasn’t sure of the wind conditions, because this airport doesn’t have a weather station radio, and a flyover of the field failed to show a windsock. Really MSFS2020? Okay fine, but Andrew made it down okay and my plane was smaller and lighter so I was confident in my approach and rolled out with plenty of runway to spare.

With the sun setting, we had few VFR options if we wanted to continue flying so the decision was made to head back east to the NYC metro area, which is lit up with enough VFR references at night finding our way would not be a problem! Grabbing sight of Rt. 80 shortly after taking off to the south led us straight to where we needed to be to turn south and follow the Raritan River to the Turnpike to the Parkway to Rt. 35… it was all so easy for us NJ residents to pick our way along via roadways being so accurately lit up. We did not group up on this flight and were able to do some formation flying a good deal of the way back to KBLM. Check out the video.

MSFS2020 has all of the big things well implemented, but there are still a lot of little things that need working out which is why I’m keeping my flights as simple as possible for now because that means I’m running up against far fewer game issues than people trying to fly IFR or some of the more complex aircraft. In fact I haven’t even used the 152’s basic radio navigation capabilities yet nor do I plan to for a while still.

Tags: ········

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment