Depart: Angads Airport, Oujda, Morocco (GMFO)
Arrive: Es Senia Airport, Oran, Algeria (DAOO)
Aircraft: Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB (ND Art & Technology) *
Flight Plan: GMFO DAOO
Distance: 81.9 nm
I've had a great time flying around Morocco and taking in its varied and beautiful landscape, but today's leg will take us over the border into Algeria. Once again, this will be brand new territory for me and I'm looking forward to exploring it!
The flight will be pretty straight forward: I'll be departing Angads Airport from runway 06 and fly in pretty much a straight line to the northeast until we reach Oran in Algeria.
The plane I've chosen for today is the Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk IB, but it has been painted to resemble the Mk XIIB JS327, which participated in Operation Torch. The actual aircraft was forced to crash land on a beach to the northeast of Oran; given our troubled landing in Oujda, I'm hoping that by selecting this livery I'm not dooming myself to an involuntary littoral landing.
I decide to cruise at 7,000 ft and the Hurricane's powerful engine propels the craft to altitude in no time. Within moments I've passed over the Moroccan-Algerian border and can spy the Tell Atlas Mountains below.
It's not long into the flight that I begin to notice a problem. I'm flying to the northeast but I keep seeing the coast line on the horizon where I know there should only be more mountains. I double check the compass (which is very small and difficult to see in the Hurricane's cramped cockpit) to make sure I'm heading in the right direction.
Turns out this is a bug with the aircraft's implementation of the reflective gunsight. The reticule itself (which I have turned off--no gunnery today!) seems to be projected onto a transparent plane in front of the cockpit, but the transparency of this plane doesn't play nicely with X-Plane 10's atmospheric scattering and reveals part the terrain through the haze, thus creating the 'mirage' of an ever-shifting coastline. Also, strangely enough the gunsight plane casts a shadow, which places the cockpit in constant darkness. You can hopefully get an idea of what I'm talking about in the image below.
The weird visual effects caused by the gunsight prove to be very disorienting and make it difficult to enjoy the flight. At this point I'm ready to be back on the ground. I open the throttle and push the engine toward its redline, hoping to make it to Oran as quickly as possible. Finally, I see the Sebkha d'Oran ahead, a long salt lake just southwest of the city. (You can also see another visual artifact caused by looking through the arc of the prop, beyond which the atmospheric effects are not rendered.)
I overfly the lake and fly along its north shore, which leads straight to Es Senia Airport. I drop the gear and flaps and gently descend toward the runway. While this aircraft has been giving me some trouble, I'm pleased to see that Oran, the second largest city in Algeria with a population of about three-quarters of a million inhabitants, is well represented with plenty of dense autogen.
Phew! Not a bad landing, despite the constant crosswind coming off of the Mediterranean. As I rollout down the runway, I can just make out Mount Murdjadjo looming out of the haze, upon which is the old Spanish fort of Santa Cruz. That seems like a neat place to visit to get a commanding view of the city and the port below. Welcome to Oran!
I had had grand visions of flying across this part of North Africa in the Hurricane (especially the tropicalized variant), but owing to the graphical glitches that I'm getting, I'm afraid I'll have to confine it to the hangar until I can figure out a fix. Bear in mind that this aircraft was originally designed for X-Plane 9, so perhaps I was overly optimistic in expecting it to work flawlessly in X-Plane 10. It's a real shame since there aren't very many high-fidelity warbirds available for the platform. Ah, well... caveat emptor!
Next leg: Es Senia Airport, Oran, Algeria (DAOO) to Chlef International Airport, Chlef, Algeria (DAOI)