"Keep a Journal: How else are you going to get a good look at who you were?"

Monday, April 02, 2007

Come "fly" with me!

Check it out: the Sport Star simulator.

I'm pretty sure this version is a beta...with the final version going to Evektor aircraft as a promotional tool.

Flies pretty much like Microsoft Flightsim v.10. But only the one aircraft...

Now, typical of a "real" aircraft response; if you put a total newbie behind the stick, it will crash in no time flat.

With that in mind, how do you suppose I did?

I took to it like a duck to water.

I've always been an aviation buff. I've been reading about planes and flying since I was a little boy. First time I ever got to apply all this knowledge I've accumulated.

Mind you, the old saying is true; "Flying is easy...it's the landing that's the difficult part."

This led to a series of phone conversations with my Father. My Father, by the way, is a pilot, AND an ex-CAF fighter pilot, AND an ex-instructor...there is no-one I would trust more behind the controls of an aircraft. The first conversation went something like; "this may sound like an unusual question, but is it better to land into the wind, or with the wind behind you?" Other conversations followed, like; "how high up should you be when you turn onto the final?"

I eventually got the landings down. I also made a rather disconcerting discovery about the simulated aircraft: it lacks the wing flaps of the real plane. You can land this aircraft without flaps, but it's tricky...come in too high or too fast and you can either plant the prop on the tarmac, or overshoot the runway entirely. Come in too "low 'n slow", and you can end up stalling the aircraft over the runway and coming down rather hard and sudden-like...in the real plane, this is hard on the landing gear. Without flaps, the ideal landing speed is just over the stall speed, it can be tricky keeping the aircraft straight and level...bleed off too much airspeed, and you can find it difficult to keep the nose up without stalling...too much airspeed, and the plane will just "float" over the runway, and overshoot.

Hmmm. I make it sound much more complicated than it actually is...

The simulator has two different camera placements. One is in the cockpit, right up in front of the instrument panel -- the gyro compass, attitude indicator, airspeed, altimeter, and engine RPM gauge all work, by the way -- and the other camera view is just above and behind the tail of the aircraft. As you can't see much from the cockpit view (unless you pan the camera around -- unwise since the mouse you're using to pan the camera is also what you use to move the control stick), I refer to the "in cockpit" view as IFR flying. The view from behind the tail would be VFR flying. I am presently working on mastering IFR.

Man, do I ever want to buy my own plane.

If this is my midlife crisis...well, I can think of worse things to get obsessed over. After all, I've already done the "Italian Sports Car" thing...

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