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Ken Pryor

Post Number 1

Pretty fancy title there, right? I figure it gets right to the point, so what the heck. I'll try to come up with some more colorful post titles in the future.

 

I'm just getting back into flight simulator after taking a bit of a hiatus, so of course the first place I go is Avsim. Avsim was the first FS related site I ever signed up for and I'm glad it's still around and going strong. I learned of the opportunity to have a member blog and decided to join in the fun, so to speak. I love to write and run a couple other blogs, including the Forensic 4cast award winning Digital Forensics Blog, as well as a new blog called No More Fraud!. My renewed love for flight sim gave me the incentive to start posting to this blog. I want to thank Tom Allensworth and the entire Avsim crew for making this and all the other great resources available to us.

 

I use both FSX and FS9 and have spent way too much money adding on to both. I bought the PMDG 737TNG for FS9 a few years back and was kinda scared off from it once I started trying to master it. As I return to FS, one of my main goals is to learn to fly it and other complex aircraft. I've made several offline flights with it so far, flying the tutorial flights from Capt Mike Ray's outstanding book and I can say, without the slightest bit of pride, that I suck at flying this thing. Oh sure, I can program the FMC, start the engines and get it off the ground, but that's where my capabilities seem to fall off.

 

I decided to skip the tutorial flights tonight and try something different. I went to Flightaware this evening and found routing from St. Louis to Reagan National in DC. I loaded up the FMC, pushed back and started my engines. I then taxied to runway 29 as directed by the MS ATC and proceeded to wait for approximately 273 million AI planes to land so I could finally get cleared for takeoff (note to self, turn down the AI next time). I finally got airborne and everything was going just swimmingly until about 80 or so miles from my destination. This was when the ATC decide to vector me every direction except in the direction of Reagan National (note to self, ignore the ATC). At one point, I didn't descend fast enough to suit the ATC so they canceled my IFR and dumped me off on my own.

 

Ok, no problem. Probably better off working on my own anyway. So, I program new waypoints in to the FMC to get me going in the right direction and things seem to be going well again. However, I still haven't mastered landing this dang thing and sure enough, a few mile from the runway things go haywire. I came in low, maybe too low and the autopilot gave up trying to help me. It grabbed a parachute and off it went I guess.

 

At this point, I'm scrambling to keep the thing airborne and going in the right direction and finding that I've gotten way too slow. Don't sink! If I ever hear that again it will be too soon. Glide Slope! I'm going nuts trying to keep it in the air, adding power, adjusting flaps and praying to Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration for enough power to make the runway. Fortunately, I managed to make it, though the passenger cabin will have to be professionally cleaned.

 

So, I have yet to figure out how to land this aircraft with the autopilot still on my side. I also still haven't gotten the hang of speed and flap management. I either come in way too fast or way too slow. Frustrating, but it's all fun at the same time.

 

That's it for this time. I hope you enjoyed reading about my most recent misadventure. Feel free to comment.

 

KP

Ken Pryor

After reporting last night that I just can't seem to autoland the PMDG 737NG for FS9, tonight everything just went right.

 

I got tired of flying the same old SEA rwy 34R to PAE and back to SEA 16L tutorial flight in the great Mike Ray book, Flying the Boeing 700 Series for Home PC Flight Simulators, so I planned out my own flight from STL runway 30L out to the west, circled around to the north and back east to the VLA VOR, then back south and west to land on STL 30R. I may have touched down a tad fast, but not too bad. Overall, I'm very pleased with how it all went.

 

So, what did I do differently? First, I realized I was punching in the wrong info in the CDU with regards to the gross weight. Dumb mistake, but I was telling the FMC the plane was considerably lighter than it actually was. Next, I did a much better job of getting lower and slower than I usually do.

 

What else did I learn tonight? Glad you asked. I learned to trust the CDU display when it said you don't have enough fuel. Turns out a simple typo when typing in intersection names makes a big difference. As in, wattr and watrr make a difference of about 1500 miles.

 

I'm glad I finally made a successful flight from start to finish. Now, I'm going for a glass of wattr (or was that watrr?).

Ken Pryor

This is a repost of a post I made in the FSX forum here at Avsim.

 

I have always found it fascinating to learn about aviation accidents. I don't want the ghoulish details, but the actual cause of a crash and what led up to it is interesting. We all hate when they happen, but they do happen and if we can learn from what happened to others, then...

 

Anyway, I was always a fan of the crash analysis that Jonathan Stern did for Computer Pilot magazine. I found my copy of CP from March, 2008 today and re-read about the crash of N400WX, a Columbia 400. This aircraft crashed while trying to land in lousy weather at KRMN, Stafford Regional. I decided to try to make the landing myself in similar weather conditions on FSX tonight.

 

I don't have a Columbia 400, so I just used the Flight 1 Cessna 172 for my flight. I set the weather conditions using ActiveSky Next as follows:

 

KRMN 042318Z 33006KT 1 1/4SM BR -RA OVC005 05/03 A2995. Basically, it was flying in the soup or darn close to it.

 

I used the FSX ATC for IFR guidance and they cut me loose on approach, telling me to switch to advisory. I decided to hand fly the whole approach and if this had been real life, there would have been a great deal of vomit flying around the interior. Yes, my hand flying trying to stay on the localizer path was bad...very bad. Needle chasing at its finest.

 

I did manage to see the runway just before reaching the DH, so I continued the approach and landed safely. I can safely say, however, had this been real life, I would have not fared well.

 

It was an interesting exercise and I plan to try some others from time to time. I wondered if any of you do the same kind of thing.

Ken Pryor

A Good Flight

I made my first online flight with the PMDG 737-800 (for FS9) tonight. I have been working towards proficiency with this aircraft for a while now and I hadn't trusted myself to make an online flight with it till tonight. It turned out being a great flight, despite the lack of any ATC coverage in my area on VATSIM tonight.

 

I had taken almost a week off from FS, which is a long time when trying to learn a new aircraft but most things came back to me pretty quickly. I started at KSTL and flew to KDCA. Programming the FMC went without any problems at all. Likewise, taxi, takeoff and cruise were great. I was apprehensive about the landing, given the difficulties I've had with getting landings just right. Not to worry, though. This one couldn't have gone any better.

 

This was a very enjoyable flight and I look very forward to the next one.

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