MM

San Francisco Bay: Flight Unlimited II Redux

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San Francisco Bay: Flight Unlimited II Redux


For 2019-03-02
MM

Today we fly over the San Francisco Bay Area in light general aviation aircraft. This is a tribute to the classic Flight Unlimited II, the 1997 flight simulator developed by Looking Glass Studios. Marked by state-of-the-art fluid flight dynamics and an ATC controlled airspace of 600 AI aircraft in the Bay Area, it seemed to be something special. You might enjoy a look at the cockpit experience of Flight Unlimited II (from about 8:37 in this longer video).

We depart from Half Moon Bay (KHAF), the default starting position for FU II. After a late lunch at the 3-Zero Café, we head south into the Santa Cruz Mountains and land at the private field at Bonny Doon Village (CL77). The community, up in the Redwood hills over Santa Cruz, provides a quiet secluded haven for its residents. (Perhaps the most notable was Robert Heinlein, the great science fiction writer.) The small well-maintained airport uses Rwy 30 for arrivals and Rwy 12 for departures on account of the local terrain. (In 1992, John Travolta considered purchasing the field but determined that the runway would not handle his intended aircraft.)


HangarOne_1.jpg?dl=1

Next, a bit of fun. We head over the mountains northward past Cupertino, Mountain View and Silicon Valley proper (Both Apple Park and the Googleplex would be visible were they rendered.) We visit the classic Moffett Field (KNUQ) for a low fly-through of the historic Hangar One located just west of Rwy 32L. (This is not a full-stop landing, at least not intentionally so. Pilots might ascertain that they have crash detection off.) Hangar One, built for Naval airships in the 1930s, remains one of the worlds largest freestanding structures. The building remained busy until investigators discovered that the outer cover was leaking toxic chemicals into the ground water. The Navy closed the facility and stripped the external surfaces in 2012, leaving the grid framework intact. After years of negotiations, a local company named Google recently agreed to pay $1.6 billion to restore Hangar One and manage Moffett Field for 60 years. Happily, through the miracles of flight simulation, we can currently enjoy the hangar as the Navy intended it ... as an airmanship challenge.

After the educational visit, we continue 4nm to land at Palo Alto (KPAO). Despite its small footprint and short narrow runway, this is one of the top 100 busiest General Aviation airports in the U.S. as it hosts a clientele from Stanford and Silicon Valley. When flying northward to KPAO, we can enjoy the lovely Baylands Nature Preserve under our wings.

We depart to the northeast over the huge brown, green and pink quilt of the Bay's salt ponds. Passing over Fremont and the foothills above, we land at Livermore (KLVK). On the east side of town lies Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the partner with Los Alamos National Laboratory in developing nuclear weapons technology for the U.S. In recent years, the laboratories have branched out into other fields, especially focusing on energy technologies as well as atmospheric and climate science. We take off and proceed north through the arid Diablo Range foothills to Contra Costa County's Buchanan Field (KCCR), fifty years ago the sixteenth busiest airport in the United States and now in the top 100 of General Aviation. Buchanan is currently under threat because Concord has grown right around the airfield and local real estate developers covet the land.

We depart over Suisun Bay and then over Travis Air Force Base and the rich flat farmlands of the Sacramento Valley to University (previously 0O5, now KEDU), the airport of the University of California, Davis. This is the high-tech agricultural campus of the UC system – the FBO at the airfield is the Cal Aggie Flying Farmers. Davis itself is now a "Birkenstock" town integrated with a modern research university. This is America's Platinum Level Bicycle City – where the promotion of ecologically-friendly bikes became a driving force in local politics.

We head west, diverting over Monticello Dam (MDAM) and its famously deadly spillway, to cross the artificial Lake Berryessa and land at Angwin-Parrett Field (2O3), perched on a beautiful ridge overlooking the Napa Valley. The field is owned by Pacific Union College, a small liberal arts institution founded by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

After departing, we turn south along the legendary wine country of the Napa Valley – passing over the vineyards of some of California's world-class vintners. The first waypoint (KRUG) represents the historic Krug winery, now operated by the Mondavi family, and the nearly-as-old Beringer vineyards and production facility. These wineries and others, as well as the town of St. Helena beyond, are superbly depicted by photoreal images and specially placed objects – worth a closer look. The next two waypoints (STAG and CDV) merely mark the locations of Stags' Head and Clos Du Val wineries whose Cabernets helped validate the quality of California wines. (Note the norm-shattering 1976 "Judgment of Paris" with an analysis here.) We turn over downtown Napa (NAPA) and head southwest over San Pablo Bay and its National Wildlife Refuge. We land at San Rafael (CA35), formerly Smith Ranch Airport. While small and underserviced (no FBO), this remains a popular base in Marin County due to its proximity to a well-funded clientele.

Then south toward The City. Marked on the flightplan is one of the main cantilever spans for the San Rafael Bridge (SRB) – where height above water is greatest. We pass over Treasure Island (TI), an artificial landfill between San Francisco and Oakland. Built as a World's Fair site in the 1930s, it was originally intended as a location for San Francisco's second airport but with WWII it became a Naval Station. For aviation, its interesting role was as the San Francisco base for Pan American's pre-War trans-Pacific Clipper Service, a glorious if brief moment in the history of global air transport.

Then in a quick sequence is a waypoint for enjoying lower superstructure of the Bay Bridge (BAYB) and then one for Oracle Park (BPARK), the home of the San Francisco Giants, and McCovey Cove where baseballs go to get wet and retrieved by local boaters.

The final waypoint marks the surface of the San Mateo Bridge (SMB). Here you want to land east of the waypoint due to surface anomalies westward. (This may not work for everyone.) This last excursion is entirely optional as we may be running short of time and the bridge is not certified for nighttime operations.

We land at San Carlos (KSQL), the busy general aviation airport closest to the city. Many aviation businesses are located here. Just west of the north end of Rwy 30 is the Hiller Aviation Museum. And for our purposes, one attraction lies at the parking tarmac on the northeast side of Rwy 30... the Sky Kitchen. A great place for a quick bite before we head out on the town. One reviewer writes, "The Sky Kitchen endures as a high quality, basically hidden gem of a diner tucked away in the building next to the runway at San Carlos airport."

Aircraft
The route is 241nm. We shall be flying "low-and-slow" in light general aviation aircraft. You probably want something that fast-cruises somewhere between 120-140kts so that you may leisurely enjoy the scenery and also complete the journey in the allotted time. Good choices might include the Piper Cherokee, Ryan Navion, C182 Skylane or C185 Skywagon. While more speedy than the design anticipates, faster singles like the Mooney, Comanche, Bonanza, Cardinal, or Vans will be fine but you may have to hold back on the throttle or wait at each stop for others to finish their legs. (RTWR pilots will not readily comprehend “modulating the throttle.”) Please fly what you like.

Scenery
This route showcases the impressive San Francisco Bay Area scenery by Orbx in its Northern California regional package. Although you might miss many of the special details, things should be fine with the Orbx basic packages: FTX Global, North America Landclass, and Vector.

In addition, you might enjoy the Orbx airport sceneries for Half Moon Bay (KHAF) and San Carlos (KSQL) as well as Turbulent Designs' freeware for Angwin-Parrett (2O3). But these are by no means necessary.

Flightplan
The flightplan is available here. (GTN users might look at the Little Nav Map rendition of the *.pln to identify the named waypoints. Also, note that University, formerly 0O5, is now KEDU in the Garmin database.)

Simulator Date and Weather
For departure, please set your simulator time for 2:30pm Local (2230 UTC). We shall fly real weather if possible. If we are socked-in, we shall choose Saturday, February 23 at 2000 UTC.

Where & When
Date and time: Saturday March 2, 2019. 1900 UTC.
Where: AVSIM RTWR Teamspeak - Casual Flights Channel
Teamspeak Server Address: ts.teamavsim.com
Cross-Platform Multiplayer: JoinFS. (FSX, FSX-SE, and P3D).

If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!

 

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3 hours ago, MM said:

RTWR pilots will not readily comprehend “modulating the throttle.”

What does modulating mean? 😂

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2 hours ago, spokes2112 said:

What does modulating mean? 😂

FULL FORWARD!

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      I had both Flight Unlimited II and Fly II.  For the time period that they came out, the graphics on both were nothing less than amazing, esp. the cockpits on Flight U.  The scenery graphics were not so amazing: I forget which of the sims, but some of the scenery of a city looked like a nuclear wasteland.  Too bad Looking Glass did not continue with flight simulation - whose knows where it would have led to in later years...

     BTW, I started this little hobby on MS Flight Sim I someone had given me on a floppy disc, and then went on to MS FS  II, also on a floppy.  Played it at work on a true IBM brand PC that cost about $5000 in 1985 (30 MB hard drive - 540 kb of RAM).

Edited by overspeed3

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Something to think about? Courtesy of Josh...
Since NoCal is a full fat region I tried a flight from 0O5 to 2O3 without vector. (No AEC files were found for the planned airports)
Looked great and no appreciable pauses - 2 pauses, both less than 1 second.
Yesterday did the same flight with vector on - 1/2 dozen pauses, 2 of which were 5+ seconds in duration, others were > 1 second.
Unless I'm going to miss something drastic involved with the flight, vector is staying off. Any comments on this?
As Volkswagen once said - "Your mileage may vary." 😂 

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Text / Tracking

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Roman, same experience here. If one has the Full Fat Northern California region, the Vector files beg to be disabled.
Ditto thanks to Josh.

(Also, one might consider downshifting the simulator's autogen sliders. While we shall not fly directly over downtown San Francisco or Oakland, we shall be within sight of the cities' massive number of buildings. As you say, Roman, YMMV)

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(Saturday at 1730 UTC)
The current weather in the Bay Area is Overcast at 2000 with rain and fog and limited visibility. Might get slightly better in a few hours, might not. In any case, we shall consider the possibility of flying in sunshine with high clouds...by reverting our weather to Saturday, February 23, 2019, at 2000 UTC.

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Bonny Doon Squeeze Play

 I was watching HighMike approach Bonny Doon in the Commander 114 in spot view when I noticed Nick approaching at the same speed on a slightly offset course setting up what I am calling the Donny Boon Squeeze Play.

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Oh dear! Somebody's going to be on a fizzer! :ohmy:

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Nice shots, Jeff. How do you like your ultra wide monitor? I got one for my P3Dv4 rig, and I'm very pleased with it. My previous rig had dual graphics cards and four monitors, but I used to take a huge frame rate hit with three VC views. With the ultra wide I get almost the effect of three VC views but without costing any FPS which is a much better deal.

 

I used to fly PMDG tubeliners with virtually no display features and frames rates in the low teens which was pretty sad, ha ha.

 

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1 hour ago, Highmike said:

Nice shots, Jeff. How do you like your ultra wide monitor?

I don't have an ultra wide monitor.  I just cropped the screenshot into that aspect ratio.

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Better late than never 😓
Mike, thanks for the flight! One for the books!
Here are some screenshots and an action collage. Took a while sorting and collating well over 130 captures..
Joining "SSA" (screen shooters anonymous) for some well needed therapy. 😂

NOTAMS:

  1. Under no circumstances may you show this to the FAA or ANY government agency!
  2. Wash your hands after viewing these. The photos have been tainted with a nasty a__ stomach bug :kusut: 

P.S. Frank was in the yellow Navion A, quite a good substitution for a Meyers I must say - they look very much the same. Everyone else should be in the proper type and/or N-number.

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Very nice shots Roman! I hope you could get rid of that stomach bug by now!

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