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MS Flight - Flying Hawaii, Approaches and Landings.

May 05 2012 02:02 PM | This article has been viewed 11667 times.
submitted by: Robert W

 

Review by Ray Marshall (Raymar)

 
This is going to be a short and sweet review.  Actually, it is not a review in the normal sense, it is more of an overview of a new and unique approach to having some real fun playing with airplanes - simulated airplanes that is.
 
 
   
   
 
 
Flying Hawaii is a bundle of saved games for Microsoft Flight from the team at Perfect Flight.  Microsoft has made it crystal clear that it is not ready for any 3rd party add-ons for its new baby.  Let’s all hope they are not offended by someone making these saved freeflight files available.
 
First and foremost, there is most likely something for everyone in this package.  I personally like to fly approaches. Any and all approaches, any weather, day, night, easy, difficult, many times over and over until I get it right.  I also enjoy just punching holes in the clouds and hanging a left turn on a Sunday afternoon to see what’s around the bend.  And yes, I enjoy doing dumb things, like landing the Stearman on a pier or placing the ICON A5 in near Earth orbit to capture a few high altitude aerocache awards.
 
What is an AeroCache?
 
 
   
 
 
Do you remember Geocaching, the high tech hide and seek game, using handheld GPS’ to find a hidden treasure about 15 years ago? Same theme, just mostly airborne now, and using airplanes to get close and occasionally walking the rest of the way.  In Microsoft Flight you either fly your aircraft into a big floating yellow A with 3 triangles slowly spinning around it or walk close enough to touch it.  What do you get for your efforts?  Some points.  Depending on how hard it is, more points for the black diamonds (hard), fewer points for the baby (easy) slopes.  A big part of the hunt is learning about new places, things, facts, etc. using Bing or Google to search for hints.
 
Let’s assume that you do not have Microsoft Flight for some reason.  I really don’t care what that reason might be.  If you don’t have it and don’t plan to install it, then you can stop reading right now and move on to other things that interest you. Should you wish to install the totally free program then you can go  http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/ and download it.  There is enough content to give you a good feel for what Microsoft sees as the immediate future of flight simulation. Free Manual here https://microsoftfli...ndbook/
 
 
   
 
 
The free part is fun, but is limited to the big island of Hawaii, all it’s airports and hiding spots and two airplanes.  For $20.00 you can add the Hawaiian Adventure Package. This instantly gives you access to the full chain of islands and all 34 airports, plus a really nice VAN’s RV-6 aircraft.  Now you have three aircraft for your Hawaiian adventures – The trusty old Boeing Yellow Stearman bi-plane from the 1930s, the new ICON A5 seaplane that looks like an airborne jet ski, from the free package and the nifty VAN’s RV-6.  Quite a collection.
 
 
   
 
 
If you think this may be a strange assortment, wait until you see the optional airplanes.  The Maule M-7 260 Orion (tail wheeler), A6M2 Japanese Zero from World War II and the veritable North American P-51 fighter. These last two are the talk of the forums lately as they have no cockpit or panel. Yep, just the shell of an airplane with working external flight controls including retractable landing gear and flaps. There is nothing in the cockpit that you can push or pull or turn or even view. Now who in their right mind would pay $7.00 or $10.00 for such a thing?  Well, for one, I bought the P-51 Mustang and think I got a good deal.  Sure, I had much rather have a full working airplane inside and out, but it is not available just yet.
 
So what is the big fuss about?  I gather it is something along the lines of the difference between a flight sim pilot and a gamer in so many words. I must have a little of both in my genes as I thoroughly enjoy my most complex add-ons in FSX and I also enjoy looking at the tail of the Mustang buzzing the H1 elevated highway weaving through the mountains on Oahu.  I would venture to state that it all boils down to what blows up your skirt or catches your fancy.
 
Now Microsoft Flight has a few advantages over FSX.  One big one that appeals to me is the fast load time and very high frame rate. It has all the scenery and airports already installed so there is nothing more you can add at this time.  It does have some limitations if you are a detailed FSX fiddler or tweaker.  Not much tweaking available for MS Flight.  Some rough edges can be smoothed with an increase or decrease of a number or a fraction of a number, but nothing to write home about.  Maybe a simple tweak to an xml file here and there or an adjustment to an eye point setting.  FSX has its many advantages also but that is way beyond the scope of this review.  Why don’t we just use them both as the urge hits us.
 
On the downside, the Microsoft Flight area is mostly void of movement and life.  No traffic on the highways, no boats in the beautiful water, no air traffic and chatter around the airports.  It is a good thing the scenery is interesting.  There are jobs posted around the airports.  These are mostly cargo runs carrying loads of monkeys, bananas, baseballs and an occasional hamburger or an emergency medical flight. You need to purchase the Maule if you get interested in Jobs and Missions.  The Icon is small but does land on the water and the RV-6 only has one passenger seat and is more like a sports car.
 
 
   
 
 
Free Flight is one of the choices.  You pick your plane and paint scheme, add some fuel while in the hangar or at certain airports, choose to start on the ground or in the air and go fly.  You can venture out past the state lines but the resolution is so poor that it is not even worth a look.
 
Another source of fun and entertainment is the Missions and Challenges.  You need to fork out a few more clams to purchase the optional Maule if you want to venture into the missions.  Most are cargo related, a few are more along the passenger related payloads.  These passengers rate you as a pilot so you don’t want to be too gruff with them and whatever you do, don’t get lost and try for ‘smooth’ landings for the higher satisfaction ratings.
 
 
   
 
 
The Challenges are indeed challenging and has levels of achievements similar to the Bronze, Silver and Gold from the Olympics.  You will learn that if it is really entertaining, you will not want to complete it right away, but, keep coming back and trying to improve you technique and final score.  You will be required to demonstrate your flying skills by dodging some huge balloons and you will have a mandatory check ride in the ICON seaplane.  Then after your demonstrated flying skills are deemed satisfactory you are free to choose your flights, training, challenges, hunts, etc.
 
That is a very brief overview of Microsoft flight.  Check our forums and use Bing or Google for more information.
 
Hawaii – the Aloha State
 
Hawaii is comprised of a chain of 132 islands. We usually think of the eight main islands when we think of Hawaii. This is not surprising as the other 124 islands only total about 3 square miles in land area.  It has absolutely gorgeous beaches, lush mountains, tons of golf courses and a gazillion hotels and resorts. It’s the most popular state for movie makers.  The big island is named Hawaii and has some really large active volcanoes, two large airports and several smaller asphalt or oil packed airports or strips. Moving from Hawaii to the west we find Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai as a cluster of smaller islands with golf courses and hotels everywhere, then on to Oahu, the island with the most of everything.  Most big airports, most military airports, Honolulu International, Dillingham general aviation airport, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki beach, Diamond Head crater, and several mega resorts plus a group of large chemical plants.  Tourists seem to be attracted to Oahu and Maui more than any of the other islands.  Further west is Kauai with its own share of waterfalls and golf courses and multiple airports,  including Barking Sands along the western shore and finally, the nearby island of Niihau with no airport at all.
 
The Hawaiian language makes good use of vowels.  Maybe King Kamehameha influenced the language somehow.  His full name is Kalani Paiea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiikui Kamehameha o Iolani i Kaiwikapu kaui Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea. Can you imagine the King in the 1st grade? Teacher:  OK, Kame, your turn, spell your name for the class.
 
Don’t forget all those pineapples, Kona coffee, beautiful leis, luaus, Scuba diving, surfing, fishing, whale watching and of course, world class golf.
 
This brief description is not meant to slight any one island or brag about another. As with most any subject, if you would like more detail, Bing and Google are your friends.
This background is necessary to understand what Flying Hawaii can do for you provided you have Microsoft Flight installed and have purchased the Hawaiian Adventure Package.
 
 
   
   
 
 
A week or so ago, this announcement was posted on our new Avsim.com page.
 
 
   
 
 
I was just thinking, when you misspell the following words in a product announcement, it may be time to have a chat with your Proof Editor.
 
Dowload
Hawaian’s (3)
Aerochache
Micrtosoft
 
First, I don’t see this as an expansion of anything, especially Microsoft Flight.  I do see it as a timely and exceptionally well conceived collection of saved files that will most definitely entertain you for days and weeks to come.  If you can overlook the misspelled words and the hackneyed English you will gain a little insight into what it is all about.
 
Most of these saved situations could  be assembled by anyone fairly well versed in flight simulation with a tremendous amount of free time on their hands and full knowledge of all types of approaches and landings; a good, well balanced knowledge of the history of Hawaii and a few years experience as a tour guide on Maui and Oahu. Maybe a couple of terms as a resident geography teacher in Hawaii would help.  It would be beneficial if you also had maybe 10 years experience assembling approach type add-ons for airports around the world.  You would also need some coding skills to decipher the files to find the undocumented Delta and to solve the Curvature of the Earth aerocaches.  Then finally you would have to find someone to write a custom installer to automatically place the 150+ files in the proper location.
 
Or as an alternate, you could purchase the DVD or download the files for near instant use.  You would then have access to an online data bank with every airport in Hawaii listed with Names and ICAO codes, elevations, all necessary frequencies, runway numbers, lengths, and surface types. As previously mentioned, you will have free access to training videos to learn all about ILS approaches and VOR navigation.
 
I don’t have an exact count as the product is not yet complete as I write this, but, there are about 90 approaches than you can fly and then easily change with a click or two to increase or decrease the difficulty level by changing the weather or day to night or dusk or dawn with reduced visibility.  There are about 25 saved files that will put you at the proper altitude, heading and position to enjoy many of Hawaii’s great sights and points of interest.  And finally, there are 20 files that will enable you to capture or find some of the more difficult aerocaches and advance to higher levels in Microsoft Flight.
 
A bonus file is the Delta flying object that looks a lot like the old Star Trek emblem worn by Captain Kirk, Spock and Bones. As a special bonus to our Avsim review readers that read to the end we have a link that will enable you to capture at least three high value awards in the Curvature of the Earth aerocaches.  Click on this link and download the named file.  This will place you in an airplane positioned so you can capture the 80,000 foot Round Earth award, then burst through the sound barrier gaining the supersonic award, and finally grab the Thin Air award as you pass through Fl500.  All on the same flight if you are good and a little lucky.
 
 
   
 
 
When I mention approaches and landings, I am referring to a casual, ho-hum approach and landing, a Visual approach and landing, a VOR, VHF Omni-Range navigational aid approach and landing or the big one – the ILS, instrument Landing System approach and landing.
If you already know all about these, the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of each, all the better.  If not, you can go to this site for a comprehensive training session and come away much smarter and more able to enjoy this add on.
 
 
   
 

In order to fly instrument  approaches (ILS and VOR) you need to know the

      basic rules of the  instrumental flight, how to use the basic panel layout
      and how to tune the  radios and read instruments.

     

You can see a complete  tutorial about ILS approach and VOR Navigation

        on our website at www.fs2000.org

     

ILS  Approach Tutorial Video

      ils-approach-part-1

     

VOR  Navigation Tutorial Video

    vor-navigation-tutorial-part-i

 
A necessary addition to having a planned approach and landing is to have the accompanying maps, charts, diagrams, frequencies and approach plates.  The automatic installer will create a Charts folder and place all these items in pdf or jpg format there for you.  These are all available as free items on the world wide web, if you search long enough and hard enough.  To save you that effort, electronic sectional charts for the Hawaiian Islands are included along with airport and taxi diagrams for the major airports and each and every approach for all airports that have published approaches.  Whew.
 
Next comes the conditions - good weather, bad weather, threatening weather, limited visibility, thunderstorms, high winds, cross winds, day, night, rain, and some combination of many of these.
Don’t forget the equipment failures that happen in the real world and can be easily simulated by simply turning off a radio or changing to an incorrect frequency.
 
All these factors come together and interact to attempt to keep you from making that perfect landing or finding that special aerocache or lighthouse or fishing spot.
 
Sampling of the charts folder
 
 
   
 
 
Perfect Flight Flying Hawaii Approaches and Landings has 3 major groups or type of files.
o    MFA files  – Microsoft Flight Approach files. You can fly ILS, VOR, and Visual approaches with a basic clearance delivery.
o    MAC files – Microsoft Aerocache files.  These files will place you in a position to better locate some of the more difficult to find aerocaches.
o    MFF files  – Microsoft Free Flight files.  These are scenic points of interest throughout the island chain for the more casual flights.
 
The file name will give you a brief description of the adventure or approach.  A link to a special server will hold more detail and specific instructions along with any needed data such as frequencies or courses, radials to track or intercept and altitude clearances.
 
I am not going to examine each and every file but, I will tell you that I have flown most of them and found everyone an enjoyable adventure. I have already started modifying some to make them easier for me and others to make more difficult.  I came up with one of my own using the P-51 Mustang today and will tell you enough to give it a try.
 
 
   
   
 

The P-51 is my aircraft of choice for this short flight.  Takeoff from Runway 22 PHNG, Kaneohe Bay  climb to 800 feet,  gear and flaps up,  set power for 80%.  Pick up H1 the elevated  dual highway that disappears into the mountain. Judging your distance perfectly  perform a Military Power climb to barely clear the mountain top (~2000’).  Immediately reduce power to 60% and descend to fly along the path of the  roadway slightly above the empty highway or slightly below at times.  Make a straight-in approach to NPS Ford  Island,  landing on runway 22, full  flaps, no power.

 
The User Manual is intentionally brief as most of the data and instructions reside on a server as the Help Desk.  As always, there is more than one method to do most anything on a computer.  The simple method of loading a saved file in Microsoft Flight is to select Load Free Flight, double click your file name of choice.  Use the slider on the right to move between pages.  You can change airplanes or change weather conditions or time of day or date by clicking on Flight Conditions.
 
You may wish to sample several adventures to get a feel for your capabilities and start with some of the simpler or less complicated approaches or aerocache hunts.  In this case, I have a shortcut for you. Select any file using the Load Free Flight feature, briefly check it out, see which plane is selected, the weather, time and season, etc., and then press the ESC key.  Now click the Load Free Flight button and double click on your next selection, or high light and click on the Load button at the bottom of the page.  You can walk thru dozens of situations in a few minutes.
 
Let’s take a look at the full package.
 
 
   
   
   
 
 
Seven pages of saved files for your pleasure.  Notice the file type identifier is the first three characters in each case.  MFA, MAC, or MFF. (Approaches, Aerocaches, or Free Flight)
 
I will highlight one of each.
 
MFF - WEST LOCH
 
 
   
   
 
 
Explore the West Loch area. The West Loch Disaster was a previously secret WWII maritime accident which led to the death of 163 men at the US Naval Base at Pearl harbor in Hawaii on 21 May 1944.
 
MFA - HILO INTERNATIONAL RWY 08 VOR (DUSK)
 
 
   
   
 
 
Fly heading 030 and begin your descent to 2500 feet.
When you intercept the 080 degrees radial you are aligned with the runway.
HILO (ITO) VOR  freq. 116.90
You are cleared to land to Hilo International, RWY 08.
 
Microsoft Aerocaches (MAC)
 
Here is the list of all flights which help you to get some difficult Aerocaches in Microsoft Flight.  Each flight puts your aircraft in the correct location, altitude and direction to get the respective aerocache.  The flight name is the same as the respective Aerocache in Microsoft Flight.
 
 
   
   
 
 
   
   
 
 
Details of an ILS approach at night in low and threatening weather
 
I picked one of the approaches at random to show some of the steps for those that will not take the time to watch the training videos.  I am flying the ILS _35 at night into Lihue, PHLI.  This one is setup to intercept the 349 degree radial inbound to Runway 35 with deteriorating weather at night. Screenshots are below.
 
When the screen comes up the RV-6 is around 2,000 feet and climbing with the Vertical ROC pegged out on a heading of 070 with the radios and instruments set for the ILS.  I recommend you make small corrections, one at a time, provided you are not in a critical attitude.  In this case I just lowered the nose a little and waited for the ROC to decrease.  If you overcorrect just make smaller elevator adjustments until you are closer to straight and level or a shallow climb or descent.  In my setup I have to short cycle my Saitek throttle once to get it in sync with the new loaded game.
 
You can bring up the Map display to get a visual on your position in relation to the planned approach. I observed that when I return from the Map to the flight I am in a steep climb again.  I don’t know what is causing that situation, but be ready for it and correct your attitude immediately.  It may be that my yoke is not yet calibrated for MS Flight.  The calibration is slightly different from FSX.
 
 
   
 
 
   
 
 
As I approach the inbound radial I want to plan a smooth coordinated turn to the left of about 80 degrees to the new heading of 349 degrees.  If the localizer needle is not centered then make a small correction toward the needle until it is almost centered then return to the published heading of 349 degrees. The glide slope needle has been pegged out in the up position since the approach started.  This means I am flying below the glide slope and can either choose to climb to intercept the glide slope or continue with level flight until I intercept it near the Initial Approach Fix (IAF)
 
This is a good time to get your power and speed set for the descent.  I am not very familiar with the RV-6 but I know it bleeds airspeed rather slowly and has good flap response.  I bring the power back to 20% or so and add one notch of flaps or about 10 degrees. My take on the age-old argument of whether to use power for altitude control and pitch for airspeed or vice versa is this: I use power to maintain the rate of descent and pitch to maintain my airspeed on the glide slope.  This works for me, but naturally, use whatever method you like.  I like to make small corrections.  If it is not enough or too much, then make another small correction. Try not to overcorrect and start a cycle of chasing the needles. You always fly toward the needles.  In the real world, I use a slightly higher airspeed for approaches in these small aircraft so I don’t hold up other traffic.
 
Look outside often to see if you can see the runway lights or tonight, see anything at all.  As you approach the glide slope from below the horizontal needle will start to move downward, your target is to keep this needle level throughout the approach.  You can fly it almost to the runway, then forget the instruments and make your normal smooth landing right down the centerline. I add flaps all along the glide slope until I have full flaps and 80 knots indicated over the threshold.  I slowly reduce power to zero and start a very slow flare.  I just hold the touchdown attitude while in ground effect and let the airspeed bleed off.  If I timed it correctly both wheels touch silently or with just a very sweet sound.  I hold the nose wheel a few inches above the concrete until it drops on its own.
 
This may not be totally correct for simulation approaches but it works for me and it is enjoyable.  A few thoughts.  Pause the game very soon after the file loads.  Use this time to check all instruments, radio frequencies, selected headings, altitude, airspeed, power settings, check points, intercept angles, etc.  Use Map to see where you are in relation to your planned position.  Think ahead to the next heading and whether it is a left or right turn.  Don’t try to change altitude or redial an instrument while in a turn at night.
 
I like to limit my climbs and descents to 700 FPM and I try to keep my airspeed within 10 knots or so of my planned airspeed.  Learn to constantly scan the instrument panel.  Don’t stare at any one instrument, keep scanning. After you can make the approach, study the ‘missed’ approach procedures and try that a few times.  Maybe keep changing the weather to make it worse or better.  I enjoy breaking out of the overcast and having to strain to see the runway lights.
 
You should think your way through the approach and make some notes before you open the file to fly.  You should review all headings, altitudes, elevations, turns, distance to outer marker or IAF, runway width and length and type of lighting.  You can use the table from the approach plate to check time, distance and speed.  This is found just below the airport diagram in the approach plate.  While there, check the elevation at the touchdown zone.
 
I was going to show the full approach sequence but it was so time consuming to capture all the screens and continue to fly the approach.  I didn’t want to turn this review in to a tutorial for ILS approaches.  The end result was I made it to the runway and landed.  Fun stuff.  Give it a try.  Nothing is more rewarding than looking down the centerline of the runway when you break out of the soup.
 
 
   
 
 
 
   
 
 
This package is loaded with innovative, easy to find and use information and files.  The online Help Desk is going to be a real time saver.
 
 
   
   
   
 
 
   
   
 
 
You can easily step thru the hierarchy to have everything you need to perform your flight and approach.  This required a lot of work by the Perfect Flight team.  I am amazed at how much they have packed into this initial release.
 
 
   
   
 
 
   
   
 
 
This is the first package for any flight simulator that I have seen that has this much supporting documentation so well organized and convenient to use. Just click, click, click.
 
 
   
 
 
I used a beta version for this review and made numerous comments and recommendations to Perfect Flight.  Practically all of my comments have been included so now I have a special fondness for this initial release. I hope Marco was able to include a last minute update and use feet rather than meters for the runway data and to use RWY as the abbreviation rather than RWN.  Picky, picky.
 
Conclusion
 
You have to overlook an occasional misspelled word or incorrect grammar at times, but, the real meat of the package is its contents and presentation.  Here it really shines as a useful, timely and just simply fun add-on for Flight.  It is nothing more than a collection of various approaches, a group of saved files to show off the beautiful Hawaiian Islands in their entire splendor, and the keys to solving many of the more difficult aerocache hunts. But, the way it is packaged with the online Help Desk and so much additional documentation such as the Hawaiian Islands sectional charts, all approach plates, aerial views, airport data charts, etc.
 
The simplicity of the package makes it unique.  Most flight simmers seem to want some assistance or direction.  Heck, we all can’t be creative enough to figure this stuff out. The automatic installer should create the necessary folders and place the files in the correct locations.   All we have to do is load a saved file and we are ready to fly the approach of our choice, find that elusive aerocache or just take the wife and kids out sight-seeing in Hawaii.
 
 
   
   
 
 
With a price of around $13.00 (9.99 Euros) for the download you can expect to pay less than a dime per prepared situation or saved file.  What else can you do with a dime nowadays other than use it for a ball marker on the golf course?   I recommend you grab it and start having some fun.  Let’s all start Flying Hawaii. If you choose to use your dime as a ball marker, I recommend Kapalua Golf Course on Maui.
 
Hawaii Adventure Pack aircraft
 
   
 
 
Optional Microsoft Flight aircraft
 
   
 


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5 Comments

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Robert Dunn 2
May 05 2012 09:04 PM
Thank you, Mr. Marshall. I enjoyed the review and I am sold on this offering. It seems, with your testimony, well worth the cost. About half way down in your chapter entitled "Hawaii – the Aloha State" you mentioned this:

"As a special bonus to our Avsim review readers that read to the end we have a link that will enable you to capture at least three high value awards in the Curvature of the Earth aerocaches. Click on this link and download the named file."

I did not find such a link and I don't know where I might be going wrong here.

ps- I enjoyed the Plantation course at Kapalua on September 20th, 2001. I still have the ball markers the kind folks there provided. I had the course almost all to myself as tourism had all but dried up after the Twin Towers.
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http://www.fs2000.or...c_details/34260

Special link for Curvature of the Earth aerocache assistance. Thanks for reading the review.

Ray
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Did you say "short" review? :))
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quadraspleen
May 07 2012 06:17 AM
Wow. Great review that has actually pricked my interest in something that I thought I wouldn't be interested in! Exactly what a good review should do. Well done, Ray
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ïnteresting review, maybe for the gamer to decide going a step ahead, fear for the real flightsimmer less interesting as they are more individualistic and like to think and decide
themselve what plane to use and where to go in this nice world - they hate to be restricted
to a few Islands how nice and clean they are. Still maintaining the FSX flight SIMULATOR, anyway review was great..
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