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(Scheduled for May 16, 2020)

We fly over Lesotho and along the Drakensberg Escarpment featuring challenging approaches and landings at numerous high altitude short airstrips.

We begin at the Moshoeshoe I International Aiport [FXMM] serving Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho. The airport is named in honor of Moshoeshoe I, king of Lesotho in the 1850s The airport has an elevation of 5,348 feet above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 04/22 measuring 10,499 ft × 148 ft and 11/29 measuring 3,314 ft × 75 ft.

Our first stop is the Semonkong Airport [FXSM] at an elevation of 7200 ft and a 2625 ft long runway.  The next stop is Qacha’s Nek [FXQN] at an elevation of 6100 ft and 2461 ft runway.   It’s another short 23 mile leg to Sehonghong [FXSH] at 6500 ft elevation and a longish 3415 runway.  The route takes a detour over the Drakensberg Escarpment and into South Africa with views of the Sani pass before landing Ladysmith [FALY] in South Africa.  Leaving Ladysmith we detour slightly to take in the Royal Natal National Park and Tugela Falls then past the Afriski resort before turning to land at Letseng [FXLT] at an elevation of 10,400 ft, runway length 3782 ft.    The next landing is a short 19 mile leg and landing at Mokhotlong [FXMK] 7200 ft elevation, runway length 2625 ft.  The route continues to Katse [FXKA] at an elevation of 7000 ft, runway length 3281 ft.   Departing to the north for a longish (67nm.) leg to Bethleham [FABM] in the eastern Free State province of South Africa.  

 The route is 381 miles.

The flightplan and Pilots Guide can be found here.

Keen eyed readers will have noted that Lesotho’s airstrips are high and short.  I have planned this route with the DC-6 in mind.  Utilizing reverse pitch will be helpful in achieving safe landings.  From the PMDG DC-6 POH handbook, page 175:

“Reverse pitch, when properly used, can increase the safety and utility of the airplane on the ground by making available an additional positive braking system and simplifying landings on ice-covered runways. However, engine cooling must be considered in another light during reverse-pitch operation.”

It is worth reading the entire Propeller Reversing section of the POH handbook and maybe a practice landing.    Video of reverse pitch landing: DC-6 Landing North of Pretoria on a Private Strip. Dec 4 2010

I will be flying the DC-6 V5-NCG. 


If the DC-6 is not in your hanger, you may want to choose an aircraft that can cruise at 200 knts and handle short fields.  PC-12 or King Air should work.  As always you are free to fly what you like.


The flight looks best with the payware Orbx African Landclass & Mesh scenery package.  All of the airstrips are in the scenery but there are two optional freeware airports FXMM & FABM that are an improvement over the sparse defaults.  They are here.

Date and time: May 16, 2020. 1800 UTC
Where: AVSIM RTWR Teamspeak - Casual Flights Channel
Teamspeak Server Address: ts.teamavsim.com
Cross-Platform Multiplayer: JoinFS. Latest version is 
here. (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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There is a new freeware package for ORBX Africa available. It includes a 76m Mesh and photoreal areas. It is a bit strange since the Mesh and the photoreal areas had been advertized for the Open LandClas Africa produkt already. 



Gunter Schneider

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Jeff, thanks for the great route. You have chosen some scenery that is both beautiful and dramatic: in particular the grand beauty of the Drakensberg escarpment is awesome. And you included plenty of high altitude short field landings to encourage our skills development. Further, for a couple of these airports, the local terrain environment will enhance the training entertainment experience. Nice work.

Great to see the video of the Empress of Suva showing off several maneuvers and short landing techniques. "Never land long when you can land short. ... but be sure to clean the branches out of the wheel wells before servicing." Makes us appreciate just what we are attempting to do. Finally, "Let's go shoot some hoops."

--Mike MacKuen


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