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KWWD to KPHL

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Gaiiden

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Another great flight this morning. The actual weather was, once again, not very preferable so although I used the real-world time for my flight, I simply set the weather to Fair just like last time so that I could enjoy the focus of this flight, which was the VFR scenery. Someday I’ll want to battle my way from one airport to another through a raging snowstorm or torrential thunder shower, but for now I would like to cruise easy and enjoy the scenery. All you hyper realism junkies take a hike.

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So you may notice that I started this flight off at the airport I landed at in my last flight. I'm going to continue to do this. Despite having the power to pop up at any airport in the world and take off from there, I've decided to make things more interesting - if I want to go someplace, I have to get there by actually flying there. This serves two purposes. First, it means that I can't go very far right now, since I don't have much radio navigation experience and I'm stuck in a rather slow aircraft. But this is good, because I still have lots of scenery to explore right here in the tri-state area. Second, it helps motivate me to learn more in order to reach places I can't get to at this time. I'll need to get my Instrument Rating so I can handle longer flights in varying conditions, I'll have to get comfortable flying faster planes so I can travel farther quicker, and I'll have to gain more flying hours overall to achieve this.

So, for today's flight I checked out the Southeastern-most limits of my current VFR scenery library in this region, which is the bottom of New Jersey and Northeastern segment of Delaware. Since I'm from Middletown, I decided it would be cool to fly over Middletown, DE. To get there, since I don't know the land anywhere well enough to fly there by sight, I had to set myself up to bounce from VOR to VOR. The flight plan to get there called for takeoff from KWWD, intercepting the 330° radial outbound from Sea Isle VOR, tracking that to KMIV, turning due West to intercept the 330º radial outbound from the Smyrna VOR, and track that until I intercepted the 30° radial inbound to the Dupont VOR. At the intersection of these last two radials is Middletown, DE.

Once I flew over Middletown, I continued to track the Dupont VOR which brought me to KILG, where I contacted the tower and got clearance to do a touch and go on Runway 1. After the T&G I flew the pattern (thanks, Colin, for the suggestion!) and did another Runway 1 T&G before vectoring out along the Delaware River to head towards KPHL. I contacted Philly Approach to be mindful of traffic until I was closer to the airport then contacted the tower for landing instructions. They slotted me in behind a Learjet 45 and I made a direct approach to Runway 9R. Upon landing and clearing the runway, I switched over to Ground and of course received taxi instructions I couldn't even begin to remember. Thankfully FSX has a progressive taxi feature which gives me arrows to follow. On VATSIM I would have had Ground do the progressive for me, though they probably wouldn't have been happy I didn't do my homework and had an APD of the airport ready.

Couple of minor mistakes on this flight. First, I seem to not know how to read an altimeter, and I belatedly realize (looking at the screenshots) that I was cruising at 1500 feet instead of the 2500 feet I filed in my flight plan. I did ascend to proper altitude after my final departure from KILG though. Second, I set my OBS incorrectly for the Dupont VOR and barely fixed it in time. I was supposed to track in the 30º radial, so I of course set the OBS to "30" on my NAV2 gauge. Ooops. "30" is actually 300º! I should have set it to "3", which I did just as I was intercepting the radial. Third, on my traffic pattern around KILG, I executed the base turn to final too late and rolled out to the right of the runway and was too high and had to cut throttle to idle in order to descend in time. Oh and I still taxi like a drunk driver.

I will, however, pat myself on the back for making three successful visual approaches without the help of any glide slope indicators. Both runways I landed on (landed on one twice) didn't sport any fancy VASI or PAPI indicators, which was a first for me. I almost, almost came down short of the runway at KPHL and I'm pretty sure I was below the slope on all three approaches, but I didn't crash. I'll give myself another pat for successful use of Navaids on this flight to get me where I wanted to go.

Next flight will be back up into Central Jersey. I'll touch and go at Trenton and then fly back out to KBLM. I might be in a different plane as well.

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