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Flight Log – Lakeshore Erie

June 1st, 2021 · 1 Comment · 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

Andrew and I flew this trip last Sunday, weather was looking great for departure from 0G0 and loading into the sim we were indeed greeted with calm winds and clear skies. There was an attempt to dump our Community folder except for the aircraft liveries to see if that would make a difference in me being able to see Andrew’s aircraft correctly but the Cessna 172 would still load up with a default livery and legs sticking out the bottom. But Andrew has always been able to see me properly so hopefully it’s just the 172 that has the problem. After the confusion of the last flight I prompted for a pre-flight briefing and Andrew went through the flight plan and said he understood it all.

We departed straight out to the west and leveled off at FL15 to stay under the Charlie airspace around KBUF. Making for the river and keeping the TV towers to our right kept us out of the Delta airspace around KIAG as well. As we flew I got bounced up 100′ by an updraft and Andrew reported the same shortly afterwards as he was following close behind. That was nice, to see that we were being affected by the same weather given how iffy real-world weather has treated us in the past despite conditions that look similar out the cockpit window.

Following the Niagara River took us past the city of Buffalo and we picked up the shoreline of Lake Erie to continue onward, climbing up to FL25 after passing the wind farms and clearing out from beneath the KBUF Charlie airspace. The decision to climb to 2,500′ was actually in adherence to VFR airway rules where an aircraft heading west-bound should cruise at even-numbered altitudes plus 500′. Up until now I had completely forgotten about this little VFR rule (I think it’s more of a guideline actually) but in watching a YouTube video about using VATSIM the pilot mentioned it and I was like “ooohh yeaaaa”.

As we are cruising along the lake shore, getting bounced up and down a bit, I am fiddling with my CDI gauge because for some reason I can’t get it to come alive despite being tuned to the proper frequency. I listed to the Morse code and confirmed I was tuned to the right station and it took me waaaay longer than I would ever want to admit to realize that I was tuned to a DME not a VOR. It even says it right there in the flight plan. DME!! So of course my CDI wouldn’t be working /facepalm. However something good did come of this mistake – as I was pushing buttons on my cockpit radio stack trying to get my CDI to work I selected “DME” and discovered that the frequency display would then cycle to distance and back every few seconds. Neat! I did not realized the C152 had a DME and was using the iPad radio app’s DME all this time.

We were tuned to the Dunkirk DME so that we would be able to pass within 4nm of the airport at Dunkirk to ensure we flew over top of the approach to Runway 15 (I checked the approach charts), which came in from out over the lake. Up until we approached Dunkirk, Andrew had done a great job staying on my wing but he gradually ended up drifting out over the water – not sure what’s up with that but he likes being further from the shore I guess to get a better look out his side window? Anyways he came swerving back in towards land and we got relatively close together again but once past Dunkirk he drifted back out over the water. Hey, to each their own. One of the reasons I stick to shore is for “realism” in wanting to be able to make land in the case of an engine failure, although sim failures aren’t really well done yet so I always have them disabled for now.

We caught up to each other again as we descended from FL25 to FL15 to fly under the approach into Runway 02 for KERI, I actually got a bit ahead of him thanks to being able to fly faster while descending. We made sure to be at 1,500′ by the time we crossed the peninsula sticking out into the lake from the city of Erie then took a bearing of 280° to take us out over the water, which would also keep us clear of KERI’s Delta airspace. Using the Erie VOR we would know that passing radial 197 would mean heading straight for shore would still keep us out of the Delta airspace.

It was a nice exercise in VOR flying but really the whole thing was stupidly unnecessary. I was just talking about staying close to shore in the event of engine failure and now we are flying way out over the water at only 1,500′ – which is also an altitude for east-bound VFR flights. Weather was clear, it would have been much easier to just climb to FL45 which would adhere to west-bound altitude and take us above the KERI Delta airspace. So, same result.

Passing Erie was also the point where we should have decided whether to continue on or head for our alternate airport 8G2 and we just both continued on without thought to conditions ahead. Will have to remember next time we have a planned alternate to include in the flight plan the point at which we should check ahead for weather at our destination and decide whether to continue onward or not.

By the time we reached FL25 again after returning to shore Andrew was ahead of me and I told him to go on and push it for some more separation in our approach to Cleveland since we would be dealing with ATC as our destination was a towered airport for once. I’ve generally been avoiding towered airfields but in this case the Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL) is just too scenic to pass up. When we finally entered into Cleveland Center airspace the only option in the ATC window was to request flight following since neither of us had a flight plan filed, so we ignored Center and just waited until we could contact KBKL Tower for approach instructions.

Upon contacting the tower Andrew was given clearance to fly straight in to land on Runway 24R, and as with calls out on the CTAF the ATC conversation between Andrew and the tower was not communicated to me, which is something about multiplayer flight I find really annoying considering how much work MS put into multiplayer and how well it works to fly with other people. So I contacted the tower after Andrew told me he got clearance and was also given the same approach and landing clearance to Rwy24R, with no mention that I would be following traffic even, I mean – what suckage 🙁 Then I had the brilliant idea to take a closer look at the ATC menu and realized yup – I can request another runway! So I requested 24L and was cleared to land. Unfortunately by now Andrew and I were too far apart for there to be any hope of me catching up in time for us to do a simultaneous landing a la KSFO, but we will have another opportunity on the next flight…

Coming in to land I had a soft touchdown although it was a bit close to being more of an “average” one. I flew into the ground and didn’t really get a good flare, touched down earlier than I intended, thinking I was still higher off the ground. As before we got bogus wind reports from ATIS and ATC but the landing analyzer output did report wind conditions that matched the current weather report on SkyVector. That’s another thing I hope changes if we decide to start using VATSIM moving forward.

Because the airport is rather iconic there was a payware version available as well as a freeware version. I went ahead and bought the payware version from the in-game MSFS marketplace and although I initially had some troubles getting Steam to add funds to my wallet when I tried again a few hours later the transaction went through and I was able to download and install it no problem. The payware does up the buildings nicer than the freeware and more extensively, including some that the freeware does not, but for whatever reason the actual airport itself was not touched! Taxiway signs were still generic, the windsocks were improperly placed, the slope lighting was wrong… seriously? Never buying from MSFS SceneryBuilders again that’s for sure. I still have to see if I can create a custom airport to make these edits and have it supersede the payware one, that should keep the custom buildings, at least.

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