Depart: Rabat-Salé Airport, Rabat, Morocco (GMME)
Arrive: Mohammed V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco (GMMN)
Flight Plan: GMME GMMN
Distance: 58.5 nm
Leg 13 is just a short jaunt down the Moroccan coast to fair Casablanca. For today's trip I'll be flying the Caudron C.635 Simoun, a French-built aircraft used variously throughout the 1930s as a mail plane, liaison aircraft, and long-distance tourer. Because of it's historical associations with long-range, exploratory flights, I expect I'll be flying the Simoun a fair bit throughout this tour.
The X-Plane version on the C.635 comes as a freeware package (see above) with the C.630, a number of liveries, and some fantastic documentation of the aircraft's technical specifications, flight manual, history, and even some vintage photographs and newspaper articles about the Simoun's participation in long-distance raids and races. The modeling inside and out is beautifully done and the plane flies like a dream. Clearly the Simoun is a labor of love and I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in old-school aircraft.
We depart Rabat just after 1400 zulu. There's a 10 kt crosswind blowing out of the northwest which makes taxi and takeoff in a tail-dragger a little tricky. Nevertheless, we get into the air after a few moments and I begin a large, banking 180 degree turn to the southwest.
We settle into cruise at about 1200 m (approx. 4000 ft). Even though the C.635 is relatively low-powered (with its 220 hp engine), it can still get moving pretty quickly in cruise. We zip over the Moroccan coast at around 250 km/h (135 kts). Below us is our first landmark: the small canyon of the Oued Cherrat.
A few moments later and we can spot the port of Mohammedia and its seawall that stretches out into the Atlantic. Off on the horizon we can just make out Casablanca.
As we overfly Casablanca, I begin the turn south to the airport, which lies outside the city. Although Casablanca is the most populous city of Morocco with over 4 million inhabitants, you wouldn't know it by looking at it in X-Plane. One of the shortcomings of the OSM (Open Street Map) data that X-Plane uses to generate its plausible world is that the results are only as good as the base data and that anywhere that's not North America or Europe is notoriously incomplete in this respect. I thought of using World2Xplane to generate scenery of Casablanca using the most current data, but there's not much to go off of here. You can actually improve X-Plane by adding to OSM; if you're interested, take a stab at it!
We fly south to the airfield and line up with 35R. The scenery I'm using for GMMN was actually created for X-Plane 8, but it was so well built at the time that I think it still holds up today. All that's missing is HDR lighting, really.
As we pass over the runway threshold I cut the 'gaz' and begin the flare, looking for a nice three-point landing.
Close, but no cigar! Welcome to Casablanca!
Next Leg: Mohammad V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco (GMMN) to Menara Airport, Marrakesh, Morocco (GMMX)