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TonyB

Pilot Diary - Part I 7/30/04

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Dear Diary,Today I flew out of my home airport, KMGM, for the first time since 2002. What with flying around the world and visiting all of the scenic wonders there are to see, I haven't had the chance to spread my wings around the old stomping grounds for a while; but I just couldn't pass up my opportunity to try out the new Learjet 45 that everybody's been talking about lately.This afternoon, I bummed a ride to the airport with my old friend, Joe Slew. I was surprised that he took the old Mobile Highway instead of the "new" cut-through off I-65 (I think they built it back in '95) which makes the commute much faster. Once we got on Highway 80, I realized why Joe took the long way... the cut-through wasn't there! That's strange - but now that I think of it - the new road wasn't there in 2002 either. I'll bet the Catoma Creek must have overflowed and washed it out; the creek does seem to be a lot closer to the highway these days! I tried to ask Joe about it, but he isn't very talkative and only responds to short conversational questions like "Y","Q","A","8","1", and the like.When we finally reached the airport - I was amazed! It was like a whole new airport... for better or worse. The first thing I noticed was that the control tower was much taller. I'm sure the controllers like that a lot better than the short, stubby excuse for a tower they had two years ago! The airport authority has also "splurged" and installed some new taxiway signs! Well it's about time! At least that 10% sales tax I'm paying is going toward one worthy cause. Hmmm, I wonder why they moved the rotating beacon? Oh well, no big deal - it's not hurting anything and pilots who don't fly in and out of here all the time won't even notice it. In fact, I kind of like the new location - it seems to be much more visible from the air than it used to be. As I looked across the runway, I noticed that a new housing development had sprung up in the hay field south of the airport property. I thought to myself, "Now it really takes a sucker to buy a brand new house a quarter of a mile from an active runway - but with interest rates so low... I guess it beats living in a trailer." I'll bet the Autogen Construction Company has something to do with that new subdivision. Autogen has created more structures in less time than any other contractor in the history of the world. Man, I wish I'd bought some of their stock when they first went public back in 2002 - then I might be able to afford a 52" flat-screen monitor for my flight-sim computer back home. At the rate Autogen's going... our world is going to look like Coruscant by 2006 (for those non-Star Wars people 'peeking' into my diary; Coruscant is a planet composed entirely of a city). But that's not being fair, Autogen is actually a very environmentally-conscious corporation - they probably plant as many trees as they erect buildings - and they plant some very attractive trees! The only other change I noticed on the south side was something that looked like a grain elevator adjacent to the new homes. I don't know why in the world they would put something like that there - but it is not my place to question Autogen... at least they didn't build it on the runway like some idiot in Telluride did! Besides, I heard Autogen recently elected Bill Gates as their chairman-of-the-board... now that's impressive!On the north side of the field, things were much more familiar. Yeah, the old Chevron where I used to fill up after a flight has been replaced by a fast-food "Chicken-Barn"; but the airport taxiways and ramps are still where they've always been. The city has also added some much needed street lighting and exit signs along the highway(although they all read CRASAN - which I personally feel is way too close to CRASHIN' to put near an airport - but that's just me)... tax dollars at work once again.After all my "sightseeing", I finally made it to the FBO. I worked here as a fuel-man before getting a "real" job and was anxious to check it out; but much to my surprise, the ramp was completely empty when I arrived. I asked the guy behind the desk, "What's the deal - where are all the airplanes?!?!" He told me to walk over to the Guard ramp. "The Guard ramp?!?! You mean the Air National Guard Ramp? They have F-16's over there - they don't allow GA aircraft anywhere near...." Then it dawned on me - the F-16's had been deployed to the Middle-East... something about weapons of mass-destruction (seems pretty insignificant compared to rumors of a new computer flight simulator being released - but the government has always had its priorities mixed up). Anyway, I figure the military must be parking GA aircraft over there so the ramp doesn't get "dry-rot" or some other unforseen malady resulting from non-use. I thanked the guy behind the desk for his invaluable insight on local aircraft parking habits, relieved him of his outdated navigational charts, and proceeded on-foot to the Guard Ramp.After dazzling the MP with my amazing arguments about why rudder-pedals are better than a twisty-joystick (and showing him some bootleg pilot certificates Joe obtained illegally from a dark Mafia figure - I can't remember the name... diallolo, dillolo, 'dial-me-if-you can't see solid clouds below you'... something like that), I was able to convince the guard to let me in. As an aside, a solid layer of clouds that is below you is called an "undercast", if you're going to incessantly complain about something - at least get the terminology right!O.K., I managed to gather my cool, stepped onto the ramp, and there she was.... Perfect lines; supple, creamy skin; perfectly sculpted legs (all three of them); and a pair of engine intakes that would make a grown man deviate from his assigned altitude in a heartbeat. I took several deep breaths and checked my zipper before I dared walk up to her. She was amazing - she looked as good as any of the models PSS, FSD, Flight1, or RealAir had published. But as my brain began to turn to mush, I forced myself to ask the question - does she really perform as good as she looks? Slowly, I regained my wits and I remembered how awesome my Pentium III 800 looked 3 years ago - now it would only look attractive to someone living in those houses over by the grain elevator. Is this new Lear (and the technology behind her) going to be a temporary infatuation - or is it worthy of commitment? I guess I'll know more after I fly her....To be continued (maybe)***For those who haven't figured it out, this diary is actually my own light-hearted "review" of FS2004. I love this new version and I thought it might be good to provide an alternative to all the doom-and-gloom posts that will materialize over the next few weeks. Flight Simulator is far from perfect - but if one puts things in perspective; it can be a heck of a lot of fun. Like I said - I LOVE this new version... but I'm also not afraid to point out faults. So far, I just haven't found a lot complain about (unless you count the stuff in the diary - which is primariliy meant to be a bit "over-stated"). If you like this approach, let me know - I'll continue the series; if you don't, let me know - it won't take long before the diary fades into oblivion.Enjoy,Marc

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Hi Marc,It is a fun read. Looking forward to the next episode.Tony

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i love it...when's the next episode coming?regards

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You know there comes a time when someone does something so simple, yet so entertaining.This is awesome keep it up, almost makes me wish I was there! :)

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Thanks guys,The next installment should be ready in about a day. Thought I'd wait for forum traffic to die down which it finally seems to be doing. Stay tuned...Marc

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