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I decided to go for it and plot a flight up to Massachusetts in the MV-22, there's a Coast Guard base up there on the Cape that I could justify a military flight to. While it's listed on the sectional as Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station (KFMH), it actually services Otis Air National Guard base, so in the simulator it's called Otis ANG. I plotted a simple VOR to VOR route that took me out along Long Island before turning northeast to vector in to KFMH. Studying the weather along the route I decided that a 15,000 foot cruise altitude would be best.


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As I pre-flighted and set my Nav radios, I contacted McGuire Departure to get clearance through to Otis. They cleared me to 13,000 feet along runway heading. I then tuned to Ground for my taxi instructions and held short of Runway 6. Tower cleared me for take off and I was on my way. When I switched to external spot view to take a picture I realized I had forgotten to raise my landing gear. You can tell how good I am at using a simple thing like a "checklist". Okay, guilty as charged. Then, as I passed through 10,000 feet, I noticed my airspeed indicator read 0, which meant ice had gotten into my pitot tube - so I turned the heater on and that fixed it. Switch the carb heat on too for good measure. Enroute over Sandy Hook, NJ I started flying straight into some clouds so I radioed NY Approach for permission to take it up to 17,000. They told me to go to 15,000, expecting 17,000 (which meant that my request would eventually be fully approved). So I skimmed the clouds for a bit before climbing all the way up to 17,000 - which put me right below a layer of Cirrus, but in clear air. At one point I let my attention drift and climbed to 18,000, but corrected back to 17,000 before ATC took note of it. The MV-22 cruises very nice, I didn't feel any need to use the autopilot after getting it trimmed out. The winds were gusty, which made for constant course corrections, but I don't mind being hands on so much. ATC vectored me a few times but for the most part left me alone to my own navigation. Passing over the end of Long Island they dropped me down to 5,000 feet and informed me to expect a Runway 5 visual approach. Three vectors later and I was lined up with the runway 5 miles out at 2,100 feet, which put me into a pretty steep glide slope. I aimed short of the threshold (trees made me lengthen the approach a little) and started tilting up the rotors at around 500 feet, which ballooned me up to 700 but I was ready for it and reduced throttle to keep me in a descent after the initial "bounce". Final approach brought me almost halfway down the runway but I managed to set her down intact - although I may have loosened a few bolts in the process!


I have two new complaints about the MV-22 after this flight. First, the radio tuning sucks. I can select the radio stack on the MFD but my normal selector buttons on the joystick don't highlight any of the frequencies for me to change. Having to use the mouse, the +/- hotspots are stacked vertically, not horizontally. So to change a frequency I have to have the mouse cursor slightly higher or lower than the number to do so. Problem is the COM 1/2 and NAV 1/2 frequencies are stacked so close it feels like a pixel between them. So it's very difficult to decrease the frequency without instead increasing the frequency below it. Even worse when you're maneuvering and the relative head motion effect moves the panel under your cursor. So basically if you're at 110.15 and have to go to 114.05, the easiest way is just to advance .15 up through .95 and around again to .05 instead of just down a few short changes.


Secondly, it appears you can't modify the payload of the aircraft. No options show up in the menu and the payload field of the loadout screen only shows 0lbs.


As neat as the MV-22 is, it's really no fun unless you can put its VSTOL capabilities to good use. It's more unfortunate that it's not truly VTOL capable like a helicopter. The real thing is, so that's another thing wrong with this aircraft. We'll see if I like it any better after a flight back to McGuire.


Once I taxied and parked at Otis, I hopped into a USCG Agusta helicopter to cruise around the shore of Cape Cod Bay for a while until dusk fully set in and close out VFR operations. As with my prior flight in the Agusta, the horrible resolution of the main flight display makes it annoying to fly since you can barely read the altimeter and airspeed, and your heading is only displayed on the lower flight screen's ADF dial. That's hard to read too, and you need to be looking down to see it. Otherwise still a sweet ride - put her right down on the threshold of the runway returning to Otis light as a feather - so responsive for such a large helicopter.


So I also forgot to save my flight after switching off all the Agusta systems. It's a new habit I have to get into that I should have gotten into from the beginning - saving my flight at the end so I can quickly restart from my last position. I also need to get better at using checklists - it's just hard when the checklist for your aircraft is more like notes than items to follow, another small failing of the MV-22 product.

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