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Delta Airlines 777-200LR KMSP to RJAA PART 1 (Warning: Big Pictures!)

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Hi folks.  As alluded to in my last diary, OMDB to KATL part 2, I have taken on a slightly shorter route this time, flying somewhere new for a change.  I was considering a run to Europe or Australia, but as I have only been to East Asia only once before in FSX, I decided to visit Japan.  This is a real route served by Delta on the LR, as Flight 621.  Having been to Tokyo as a PMDG United 747 back in 2011, shortly before the devastating tsunami, I wanted to see how this flight compares to the 747 route I flew from KORD in January 2011. 


Delta Flight 621 from KMSP(Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport) to RJAA (Narita International Airport) is a 11 hour 36 minute flight according to the Flightaware record of the flight I simulated:

Departure time is scheduled for 3:00pm Minneapolis time, and arrival into Tokyo is expected to be 4:38pm local Tokyo time.  SID is the MSP6 from runway 12R, STAR is the Daisy RNAV to runway 34L.  Cost Index is 60, and Flaps 15 is the norm for aircraft with my level of payload an fuel and the short 9988ft runway.  Without access to a proper takeoff calculator, I use full fixed takeoff thrust and a guesstimate of 38 degrees assumed temp for a slight derate. 


After receiving the paperwork from the dispatch team at PFPX, I study the expected weather and flight path to see if ETOPS is necessary.    Because I am always at least 60 minutes away from a suitable diversion airfield, the nomination of ETOPS alternate airports and planning is not necessary.  Winds are mostly crosswinds/tailwinds for the first half of the route, shifting to a slight headwind later in the flight.   I learn that this is not like a traditional oceanic crossing over the Atlantic where the crew has to contend with strong headwinds from the jetstream.   After some careful planning and research of the expected route, I proceed to the waiting aircraft.



Here, I receive the paperwork from dispatch.  I have all the figures I need for fuel/payload planning in an easy to read format, and I determine that I am within takeoff and landing weight limits.  This is a Delta specific PFPX OFP, it even includes the exact reserve fuel figure I need to plug into the FMC! 


This is the route plotted on the PFPX world map.  As we can see, this route will take us on a northwest trajectory over the U.S./Canadian border passing Winnipeg, the Northwest Territories, Central Alaska, over the Bering Sea and finally along the eastern shoreline of Japan.  If you look closely, you will see a series of circles following my entire path.  If there was a break in any of those circles, I would be required to file the route as an ETOPS flightplan and plan for any potential diversions to an airport no further than 120 minutes from my position over any area where a break in the circles occurs.   This is not the best explanation, but that is the basic theory of ETOPS planning in PFPX.   With the 777LR, an understanding of ETOPS procedures is mandatory.


At gate G4 at KMSP, and you can see this is one of Delta Airlines' main hubs.  Lots of Embraer EMB-170/175s operated by Delta's regional subsidiaries, Compass Airlines and Shuttle America, are seen at Terminal G.  This particular concourse is where International flights operate.   Please note this is the default scenery, but I am using an enhanced AFCAD by noted freeware scenery contributor Jim Viles, which can be found in the AVSIM library.


After an on time pushback, I proceed along taxiway B to one of the three runways utilized for departures, 12R.  Notice the lineup to runway 12L on my right.   FSX AI is not very smart, and with arrival traffic as far away as 8 NM from touchdown, ATC forces the departure traffic to wait.  Not very realistic, but what can you do.....


I follow company traffic, a Delta A330 on it's way to EHAM. 


Parking brake set on the taxiway, I patiently wait as number 2 for departure, while a Sun Country 737-800 arrives.  This small low cost airline is headquartered in Minneapolis and serves a wide variety of destinations from the remote Humphrey terminal between runway 12R and 17.


As the Sun Country 737 flares above the piano keys, the famous Mall of America is seen just slightly right of center in the frame. 


The Amsterdam bound flight roaring down the runway, I am instructed by ATC to line up and wait so I proceed with the before takeoff checklist. 


Takeoff thrust is applied and I begin the takeoff roll.  Time is 3:29pm, about 21 minutes after engine startup.




Passing over the intricate layout of nearby roads and highways and river situated to the south of the airport.


Lakes aplenty here in the Twin City area.  I am instructed to maintain 090 degrees and to climb to 12,000ft.  In the distance is the skyline of one of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis.


St. Paul Downtown Holman Field is seen just off my wingtip, as I make the sharp turn north to follow ATC vectors of 360 degrees awaiting clearance to the first VOR waypoint, BRD.  The other "twin", St. Paul, is a stone throw away from Holman Field.


Passing 18,000ft, the transition altitude in the United States, I set the altimeter setting to STD and shut off the external lights (landing, runway turnoff, and wing), flying parallel to Interstate 35.


Near the U.S./Canadian border, below is the Red Lake.


After some time of flying over nothing but lakes and flatland, the bustling city of Winnipeg greets me, as I am now in Canadian airspace.


At the initial cruise level of FL320, with a nice 40 kt tailwind and a nice variety of clouds to keep me company, approaching the YQD VOR in Manitoba Canada.


A land of many lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan lies beneath in this shot.


Enjoying the view of the sun, which I'm chasing on this westward bound route.


A nice solid overcast, that once elusive treat that I am able to enjoy more frequently because of improvements in my weather program, Active Sky 2012.



This is part 1 of a 2 part series.   On the following post, I will continue in the cruise on to the decent and arrival into Narita International. 


See you then.

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