nealmac

Choosing where to go from/to

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When I first load up P3D what's the first thing I always do? Well I'll tell you. The first thing I do is ask myself where am I going to fly from/to today. And I usually waste about 10 minutes before concluding....I'll fly from to and from airport that I've covered a million times before.

 

So how do you ladies and gents decide what airports you're gonna fly from and to? What factors play a part in making such important decisions? 

 

EDIT: In hindsight, I probably should have put this in Hangar Chat, as it's not just limited to P3D, so if a moderator wants to move it that would be cool.

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Flying for a VA helps with those choices.  Also, a planner (I use Flight Sim Commander) lets me see where I'm starting and, based on how far I want to fly, what airports are nearby.

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Hi Neal,

First stop is AWC Weather - to get a quick global snapshot of weather - so I can figure out what kind of weather I want...

http://www.aviationweather.gov/

 

One of the best things I've found to aid this process is using Alex's - Little Navmap - as the program databases all those airports that you have addon scenery for - and can display only those "improved" airports in your sim... So - given - I can't fly to default - period - as GA guy I do utilize the ORBX Freeware Improved Airports all the time and their are literally hundreds to choose from... If you're more particular - you could database and display only those you have true payware for which would narrow the selection process even more...

https://albar965.github.io/littlenavmap.html

littlenavmap_tooltip.jpg

 

Final stop is FltPlan.com - as I want real world routing and I use their fully functional EFB on my iPad (FltPlan GO) which includes geo-referenced approach plates and taxi diagrams... Also connects to FSX, P3D, and XP...

https://fltplan.com/

 

FltPlanApproachPlatesonMap_Large.png

 

It's a process - but it's so routine I can do it pretty quickly...

 

Regards,

Scott

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I only fly to and from payware airports. I have saved  all their locations in google maps. I load google maps and based on my aircraft " preference of the day" and the displayed airports I choose a citypair..

 

b rdgs / Dick

=

 

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16 minutes ago, ricka47 said:

Flying for a VA helps with those choices. 

+1

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I'm a member of the Virtual International Flying Club ( VIFC ). They have missions where after you fly the airports you receive an award. When I'm not doing that and want to pick my own flights I'll go to Google Earth and get a detailed view along with the basic weather. Google Earth also shows the regions that were bought from Orbx.

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As above stated VAs are the best option.   Some VA's will have set routes, some give you the freedom to fly wherever.   Some VA's have limited aircraft, some have too many.   Some have checkrides, some don't.  Some VAs require flying on VATSIM, but most don't.  You just have to find the one that best fits your interests.  

I fly with 3 different VAs:   

One has freedom of routes and tons of aircraft.  But that probably doesn't help your issue. 

Another has realistic Euros flights, limited aircraft, has Tours which are like a set schedule of 10-20 flights visiting destinations, Flying club (single engine) flights, codeshare and a couple regionals like Nordic flights and New Zealand.  And a really good community of pilots helping each other.  

Another one is a major carrier VA so it has its realistic flight schedule including codeshares and regionals.

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Since I virtually only fly online I base that decision on the availability of ATC

 

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Cheers guys. Due to current personal circumstances flying online is a bit of a chore. But in the near future, joining a VA is definitely something I'll be doing.

 

@Scott, thanks for your infomative post but I think you may have picked me up wrong. I wasn't looking for advice for flight planning. I was wondering what makes people decided to fly to and from certain airports.

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Hi Neil,

Oh - sorry - visualizing all my improved airports is what I use Little Navmap for... The process is how I pick my departure and destination...

Regards,
Scott

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I almost always fly from the last place I landed to another airport about 1+ hours away, using either Skyvector or Plan G3 to select and then make a flight plan. Many times I use Orbx Free airports or Orbx FTX regions to fly to. 

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Real world interest in a flying region usually guide my choices.  Whether it's P3D or XP11, I like to fly in mountainous regions with interesting topological feature, the PNW, Alaska, the Alps, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado are my favorite air spaces.  I also like to fly cargo in Asia and Australia as well.  However, my biggest criterion is flight time, the airport pair must be within 2 hrs because that's all I can afford.

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Over the part few months, I've compiled a 270 line spreadsheet with all real world United flights flying to and from payware scenery with aircraft that either are available or will be available. When I want to fly, I just look at it then find one that fits the time frame that I have. My general cadence is short haul, long haul, short haul, long haul, etc. it works great for someone who only flies for one airline at a time, though I am looking at making a Southwest one as I already have a ton of their destinations in scenery.

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55 minutes ago, nealmac said:

@Scott, thanks for your infomative post but I think you may have picked me up wrong. I wasn't looking for advice for flight planning. I was wondering what makes people decided to fly to and from certain airports.

I basically do what Scott does (except I use windy.com to check the weather). This is both decisionmaking and flight planning for me - the tools I use to decide where to fly are also the tools I use to plan my flight. I use windy.com to decide which general geographical area to fly in and how I want fly (VFR or IFR depending on conditions and what I'm in the mood for), and I use LittleNavMap to check what addon airports I have in that area, and decide my departure and destination based on that, and what I'm in the mood for (big airports/small airstrips/somewhere in the mountains/somewhere near the cost). All of that is decisionmaking, and when I've decided my aircraft/departure/destination I just continue using LittleNavMap to plan my exact route.

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11 minutes ago, swiesma said:

I will never join a VA. This is a hobby, not a job :-)

They add to your hobby....a lot.

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10 minutes ago, swiesma said:

I will never join a VA. This is a hobby, not a job :-)

Some (like the one that I'm in now (Worldwide Virtual) let you fly where you want and when you want.  You can also fly tours or other assigned flights.  But, basically, there are very few rules which makes it much more fun.

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2 hours ago, nealmac said:

So how do you ladies and gents decide what airports you're gonna fly from and to? What factors play a part in making such important decisions?

Well, although you say it is a chore, I would consider online flying at VATSIM or IVAO as this is the most realistic experience that you can bring into your home. It has nothing to do with VA that have their own rules.

So for online flying picking up airports depends on ATC coverage:

VATSIM: http://www.vattastic.com/

IVAO: https://webeye.ivao.aero/

For offline flying you are more flexible. You can do training circuits at a demanding airport or just fly from one airport to an other that is 1+ hour away. Next time you start from there and then again fly to the next approriate one. This way you can explore a country or continent very well.

Very often, I choose an airport just because I have a great airport scenery of it.

 

 

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I tend to let the most lucrative jobs/missions in Air Hauler 2 make the decision, since the objective of that is to make money and expand your airline company, but a secondary objective is to make you fly to new places too. That is in fact the main reason I bought the original Air Hauler program, or as Captain Kirk would say: 'to explore strange new worlds' lol.

In doing that, I use FSDT's XPOI Geographical VFR/IFR tool, which as you probably know, overlays markers in the flight sim world for points of interest, town names, nav aids etc, and links to wikipedia in the sim so I can read about things as I fly to new places. It's also interesting to find out where exactly the beacons and nav aids etc which one becomes familiar with are actually situated, for example, for years I'd been flying around in flight sim using the TABLY waypoint in FMCs for departures from EGCC and EGGP, but it was only when I got XPOI that I  learned where that waypoint actually was on the ground (not that far from where I live).

Thus it's very educational, for example, yesterday I was flying in P3D over Paris, where I have a hub in Air Hauler at Le Bourget, and I passed over my photorealistic terrain of the Ile de Francais and specifically, the Père Lachaise Cemetery, which as most people know, is notable for being the place where many famous people were buried, including Jim Morrison, Frederick Chopin, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Rossini, Maria Callas etc, etc. But the cemetery was originally not a preferred place to be buried because it is quite far out from the centre of Paris, because of that, it is famous for having literally marketed itself as the place to be buried for Parisians, which its administrators accomplished very successfully by deliberately organising the transfer of the remains of a few famous people at the time when Paris was clearing its cemeteries owing to a shortage of burial space and because of the risk to health from drainage issues which led them to open the Catacombs (also a cool place to visit if you are ever in Paris), thus Jean de La Fontaine and Moliere's remains were reloacted to Père Lachaise deliberately to attract people to choose to be buried alongside those famous people.

Now, I've actually visited Père Lachaise Cemetery in real life, it's fascinating to look around it and really quite moving to see some of the monuments to political groups such as the Communards and numerous resistance fighters from WW2 etc, and so I'm pretty familiar with the place, I even had a nice picnic there once enjoying cheese, bread and wine with a girlfiend lol (not as weird as it sounds, lots of people do, especially near the tomb of Héloïse, which is famous for lovelorn singles leaving letters at the crypt in the hope of finding true love). But when I flew over it in the sim, I checked out the wikipedia link about Oscar Wilde's tomb which popped up in P3D and read all about the trouble Jacob Epstein had when sculpting Wilde's tomb, largely because of the controversy over Wilde's sexuality, but also because of the slightly (for the time) sexually overt nature of the sculpting. Apparently he had to bribe the police guards in the cemetery to allow him to continue working on it.

This is one of the cool things about flying around to new places in the sim and having that wealth of fascinating information become available to you courtesy of a couple of add-ons, Air Hauler and XPOI.

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30 minutes ago, Nyxx said:

They add to your hobby....a lot.

Not for me :-) I guess it's up to everyones choice, but for me, what I read about them - I don't need / want them :-)

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30 minutes ago, Cargostorm said:

Well, although you say it is a chore, I would consider online flying at VATSIM or IVAO as this is the most realistic experience that you can bring into your home. It has nothing to do with VA that have their own rules.

So for online flying picking up airports depends on ATC coverage:

VATSIM: http://www.vattastic.com/

IVAO: https://webeye.ivao.aero/

For offline flying you are more flexible. You can do training circuits at a demanding airport or just fly from one airport to an other that is 1+ hour away. Next time you start from there and then again fly to the next approriate one. This way you can explore a country or continent very well.

Very often, I choose an airport just because I have a great airport scenery of it.

 

 

Sorry Chris, when I said it's a chore I didn't mean it like that. I meant that I'm temporarily living somewhere that only has a poor WiFi connection at the point of my simming PC. I'm hoping to be in my new place before Christmas, on my own, with no one to annoy me lol. I didn't mean to sound like I thought flying online is a chore at all. In fact, getting on Vatsim and IVAO is something I'm looking forward to.

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I fly GA almost exclusively. FSEconomy has directed me to a bunch of airports I would never have selected myself. Some have been hidden gems either because of the surrounding terrain, or maybe a challenging approach, or simply thanks to ORBX's touch. I don't remember what the exact airport was now, but I landed some place in northern California and was greeted with a couple of horses running around just outside of the airport boundary.  In the river beside Santa Paula in SoCal, there was a family of duck swimming around. Nice touches :)

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1 hour ago, swiesma said:

I will never join a VA. This is a hobby, not a job :-)

Then you totally miss the point of a VA.  Its no different then being here.  You're a member of the community and those in the VA help you technically, will fly with you, talk to you about FS and many are real world pilots amazingly.   Usually the only requirement is one flight a month.  Which isn't too hard even with kids, job, etc.  

It adds to the realism for some in the rank structure and most have great tracking ACARs that will track routes, time, fuel, passengers, cargo, landing rate, etc.  

Is it for everyone?  No.   But there are dozens of types of VAs and its not hard to find one that fits the bill.  

And if you don't like it then you just quit.  

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There have been some excellent ways of making a flight selection posted here.

The group I fly with always fly on VATSIM, so ATC coverage plays a part in our flight selection, but does not dominate our decision for a few reasons.

1. Airport Scenery (Payware or High Quality Freeware)

NOTE:  This is less of a selection criteria for us since the release of REX World Wide Airports HD, which convert default airport textures to custom and customizable HD textures.  We will simply download an updated AFCAD so the terminals, taxiways and runways are updated and that's it!

2. ATC Coverage.  If there isn't ATC Coverage then we'll look to see if we're flying into a VATSIM HotSpot (an area that usually has coverage or where we know that controllers often monitor the airspace offline and will login to provide service when they see inbound aircraft).

3.  Weather.  As pilots we do everything we can to avoid bad weather, but as flight simmers we seek it out!  Crazy, but we love it!!!!

4. Challenging Arrivals and Approaches, or just extremely unique landscapes and city buildings.

 

 


 

 

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