Depart: Mohammad V International Airport, Casablanca, Morocco (GMMN)
Arrive: Menara Airport, Marrakesh, Morocco (GMMX)
Aircraft: Douglas DC-3 (Leading Edge Simulations / X-Aviation) *
Flight Plan: GMMN BRC MAK GMMX
Distance: 112 nm
Since this evening's flight will take us away from Casablanca, I immediately thought of
Well, turns out there's no decent Lockheed Electra available for X-Plane. It also turns out that, owing to the Axis occupation of North Africa in 1942 (and the Allies' impending invasion thereof), the movie's departure scene was not filmed in Casablanca, Morocco, but Van Nuys, California. Furthermore, in the movie, Ilsa Lund and Victor Laszlo are headed for Portugal in order to secure passage to the US. The best I can manage is an evening departure from Casablanca in good weather to Marrakesh, flying a DC-3 with a Portuguese livery. Oh, well.
We'll be departing to the north before turning southwest for Marrakesh. I've included the VORs BRC and MAK as navaids to and from our airports; with night coming on, these will help us to not lose our way in the dark.
As the sun nears the horizon, I start up the DC-3's big, radial engines. It may not be the bare metal Model 18 I had wanted for this flight, but the DC-3 in its TAP colors does look rather handsome in the dying light.
We taxi down to the end of the runway. A thin layer of low-hanging clouds covers the airfield.
I gradually open the throttles and the tail comes off the ground as we pick up speed.
Here we go! I retract the landing gear as we leave Casablanca beneath us.
Once we've gained a little speed and altitude, I begin our turn south. We'll fly south toward BRC until we pass it, then make for Marrakesh to the southwest. As we continue to climb, we slip above the scant cloud layer. The recent betas have really improved the visual behavior when passing through clouds: the white screen of death is no more! Instead, the wispy clouds seem to pass around and envelop the cockpit as we ascend. I find it to be a very immersive and realistic sensation.
As we pass near our VOR, the needle on the radio magnetic indicator begins to spin around; that's my signal to begin turning to the south-southwest. Casablanca begins to disappear into the evening haze and we're treated to a beautiful sunset.
Yeah, I know: I took a lot of screenshots of this trip. I do enjoy dusk and night flying in X-Plane!
Even though the ground becomes harder to see in the twilight, we're able to easily make out the A7 below due to the favorable atmospheric conditions. We can easily follow the lights and our radio signal all the way to Marrakesh.
After miles and miles of inky darkness, the brilliant lights of Marrakesh appear on the horizon (and as the fourth largest city in Morocco, there are a fair few of them to illuminate the landscape below). I fly out to the west of the city to line up with the runway. You can make out Menara Airport as the brighter spot on the south side of the city. The Atlas Mountains lie to the south, but we'll have to wait until morning to get a good look at them.
This is only the second time I've flown the DC-3 so I'm still trying to get the hang of landing this bird. Touchdown is a bit bouncy, but we arrive safely in Marrakesh nevertheless!
Next leg: Menara Airport, Marrakesh, Morocco (GMMX) to Ouarzazate Airport, Ouarzazate, Morocco (GMMZ)