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About Cactus521

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    Member - 5,000+

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    Flying (of course), travel

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About Me

  • About Me
    I am a Software Test Engineer, living with my family in the Phoenix Metro Area. I've had some flight instruction in Light Sport and Trikes, but my main flying experience has been as a passenger, from personal and corporate travel since 1966.

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  1. There is something majestic about taking off from SFO to LAX, two big urban areas, but completely different vibes, with LA being the center of show business and SF (Courtesy the old bands like Jefferson Starship, Pablo Cruise, The Doobie Brothers, Journey, and Norton Buffalo) was the center of classic rock. I used to live in the Napa Valley, north of SFO, and when I was traveling on my vacations or working as a road warrior, I flew in and out of that airport about 100 times. Then I moved to Phoenix, still a road warrior, and have flown Phoenix almost as much, but not quite. No other airports compare in my activity in them, although there are scattered airports in Europe I have flown into over the decades, with London, Frankfurt and Vienna getting the most attention. I tripped thru Japan just once, lovely Narita, on my way to and from Guam. So more or less my arc around the world was circumnavigation, but I did not travel south of the equator, but came close in Venezuela and Guam. I love flying because it can take you to exotic destinations, out of your universe, and into another. It is a joy to be immersed in new customs, new religions, and new politics. If I had the money I would visit North Korea in honor of my father who fought there, so there might be no more war some day. Then aviation and space travel can be used for what it is meant for--bringing our world and universe, at least our solar system and those them Martians together. 🙂 John
  2. Cactus521

    All I Want for Christmas is...

    Carenado Falcon 50 when it is released.... I do not buy much payware, usually every other payday or so, keeps the hobby fresh. I do not buy scenery payware at all, for me it is the flying, especially hand flying approaches in crosswinds in Xplane11 and P3D. I love general aviation aircraft, I buy aircraft that fill niches based on their speed and their propulsion so when I want to fly low and slow I can, or in the flight levels, or somewhere in between. I love photo scenery, I made the Colorado photo scenery here in Avsim's library and I have a ton of MSE scenery covering the US Southwest. Add-ons and holiday wish lists are what our hobby is all about, they have kept it alive and have kept Austin and Lockheed Martin in business, as well as the newcomer sims that support add-ons. For business software I use the free Open Office for my business projects and verifying my taxes. It's a good program and saves the expense of Microsoft Office, although as an instructor I can get that for free if I needed it. The best part of our hobby is having so much to wish for, knowing it is there, knowing I have years of add-ons waiting for me. John
  3. Cactus521

    As Easy as easyJet

    Great pics, great scenery, great livery! John
  4. I loved the DC-10 and L1011, and the widebody 767 that followed because of its window/aisle seating in coach. On my transatlantic and transpacific hops I have flown the 747-200, DC-10, 767, 747-400 and DC8-63. The DC8-63 was the first aircraft I crossed the Atlantic in, and it took off at a very steep rate of climb, and could reverse two of its engines to slow down in flight. It crossed the Atlantic at only 29,000 feet, lower than my 747-400 flight last year which hit 39,000 feet on the return home. 767 flights even went higher, over 40K feet, such as on my first 767 flight from SFO to Dulles in 1987, about six months before I went on the Europe flight shown in these pics. John
  5. I got to fly Pan Am, just once, three years after I took these pictures in an Airbus Widebody, on my way from Caracas to JFK, so also a continent to continent hop. I flew Venezuela's now defunct but high quality service airline Avensa on the way down from JFK to Caracas, which also flew out of Pan Am's terminal, then they flew me and my colleague, still a good friend today, onto Margarita Island off the coast of Venezuela which was my departure point for a weekend visit to Angel Falls on an Avensa puddle jumper, a Cessna 401. My client in Venezuela was entitled to at least eight hours' work from me and my colleague, but after five hours or so he would say "You're on my island, you're to have a good time" and he would take us exploring several days like that. He was my client's IT manager, and I found out he was cooking the books, when I caught him at it I just told him what not to do, not to get caught, and that it was none of my business, to which he replied "I like you Americans, you are different". Now nearly thirty years later we remain good friends, he gave me the confidence I needed to succeed as I was and to continue as a traveling business systems instructor for another ten years. John
  6. It's been more than a decade since I last flew in and out of DFW from Phoenix. I love the layout of the airport and terminal to terminal transportation but for layovers one has to be so careful, because of flight delays I recommend at least a planned two to three hour layover. I have had to run thru DFW to catch a flight once, landing next to my seatmate going home to SFO out of breath and near exhaustion, and hungry from the expenditure of energy past all those great smelling pizza places.... Hmm Hmm.... Dallas is a good place for plane spotting, so is Phoenix Sky Harbor if you are in term 3 or 4, you just go to the top of the parking garages and you have a great view of the airport activity. Baltimore has a good observation lounge, SFO used to have a great observation deck but now the top of their parking garage is about it, and the view of the runways are blocked. I stayed overnight at the DFW hotel but was outraged to see that they charged businessmen in their restaurant for business conversation, even though I was alone and not on business I traveled a lot for business and often had pre planning discussions with my traveling colleagues on layovers in airport restaurants. Otherwise it was a nice hotel, a great place to rest, I was going up there to evaluate an Ercoupe housed north of Dallas. Sadly it did not have a strong enough engine to climb well with a passenger aboard, otherwise it was a good aircraft, strange turning it with the yoke. The stupid rental car agent back at Dallas claimed I had hail damage, they tried the hail damage scam, when I pointed out that I could not have possibly driven in bad weather on that fairly clear day. Alas, that was my last memory of DFW, although even in my hometown Phoenix car rental agents have tried to use the "windshield star" scam on me. I remember returning a car rental on a flight out to Phoenix from SFO and getting a call from a "Collections Agent" two months later demanding $500 because I did not fall for their collision damage waiver. I told them it was an illegal collections call and never heard from the thugs again. Unbeknownst to them I studied law in college, including contract law, before switching my major to Social Science. I reminded them of that before hanging up. In Phoenix I helped some seniors from an auto dealer scam, the "wrong vin on the contract" scam, by simply calling "Channel 12 for Action" on their behalf at my Mom's request. Those of us who have been surrounded by aviation all are lives know scams, and how to live outside of them and live safely. John
  7. What I like about Xplane11 over other sims is its ability to model low and slow, or the Space Shuttle high over the earth. Went for low and slow again near the AZ Cardinals arena... John
  8. On my way to and from Europe in 1987, scans I made of 35mm pics taken with a Canon Sure Shot. Among the pics you can see DFW on our way back from Frankfurt, the beautiful US Southwest desert, the Sierras, Frankfurt Airport, and images over Scotland in the winter time. John
  9. These real images are from the usual soup you see east of the Mississippi River, where you can hardly see thirty miles into the distance. I have flown far and wife over our wonderful continent, upwards to 300 days a year, and only would have two handfuls of the crystal clear skies we beg of our sims.... These pics are the average, what I've seen as a passenger and what I have seen as a flight student, and as a trike pilot.... John
  10. Love this route, due to the variation in scenery...
  11. Cactus521

    Its well

    Great set and location!
  12. Cactus521

    Good sim day....

    I've flown TWA and US Airways to Frankfurt, loved the US Airways flight because it was on a 767 which just had window and aisle seats, no middle seats, and I had a row to myself going and a good, but smoking companion going home, from a three week business trip in Bologna Italy in 95 right after I married. Spent my birthday in Europe in '95, flew home, then had to fly to San Diego the very next day on another WAN installation and training session for my client, a UNIX install vs. the Novell Install I had just done in Bologna. My San Diego client took such pity on my jet lag, they gave me a VIP ticket to a Michael McDonald concert the night I arrived, I watched the concert from the VIP deck with free drinks and his family and his band's family, it was very cool. I was about to go down into the general seating and they said no sir, you are up there! I was floored, like a first class upgrade at the expense of my client who owned the arena as well as their Holiday Inn Hotel. Then they suggested I fly my wife to San Diego feeling I'd work better with her there by my side, they said they would take good care of her while I worked. So I flew her Southwest to Phoenix the next day and my client spared no expense making her happy, she said it was the best vacation she ever had had to that point. I was quite the road warrior that May/June, going from Bologna Italy,visiting Venice twice, via Frankfurt, Pittsburgh, and Philly, then Phoenix, a lot of cities with P's in them, then on to San Diego, Across the Atlantic and back then on to the Pacific. It is just the way my business had me travel, I was a salaried employee, and if I was not on the road at home, they were losing money on me, so I traveled and traveled and traveled until my daughter was born and I nearly missed her first Christmas. After missing her first New Years, Y2K, when they worked me like a racehorse in Seattle just after I spent three weeks at JFK, I played my deck of cards and became a WAN manager months later, with some travel but much less travel, only a few weeks out of the year vs. 51 weeks. John
  13. Cactus521

    Good sim day....

    It is always a good sim day when I can enjoy the two sims that don't have CTD's, Xplane11 and P3DV4.4. I enjoyed two real time flights today, a 30 minute flight from SFO to Reno in the Carenado Citation 550 and a two hour plus flight from Vegas to Phoenix in the Xplane11 172. The scenery on both flights is varied, farmland, city and desert and mountains, I love flying to a destination with different scenery than where I took off, although Phoenix and Vegas resemble each other more than Frisco and Reno. In real life I always loved flying from Phoenix to Orlando, or the shorter Phoenix to Puerto Vallarta flight, due to the way the scenery goes from desert to tropical on such flights. Phoenix to London last year was a blast, going from desert to United Kingdom and Irish Farmland, over icy Canada and the Atlantic iceburgs, flowing even in late may. I remember on the way home looking down on Hudson Bay and the ice, then the Rockies and the snow, as the Rockies gave way to New Mexican and Phoenix desert. It is a crazy feeling, stepping into an airport terminal a continent away and not stepping outside until you have crossed the Pacific, or Atlantic, and a large chunk of your home country. I have always sailed thru customs for some reason, in Mexico I get move to the front of the line because my in law Dagoberto works the airport customs in Zacatecas Mexico, much to the anger of the other passengers, but it is cool being a US VIP when clearing foreign customs there, which I have a few times. Returning to the US, or traveling into Canada I always get special treatment since technically I am a dual national. But in Europe I join the queue like everyone else, same was true of Japan and South America. How does one get a free first class upgrade? Just be empathetic to the gate agent, if you see him or her having a rough time with a previous passenger, give them your empathy, tell them you are early for your flight, to take a breather, not to rush. I have been upgraded to first class with no airline miles many times just trying to comfort the gate agent and make him or her have a sincere smile. John
  14. Cool video about a PPC pilot preparing for a cross country flight, climbing to near the flight levels under FAR 103....
  15. Cactus521

    Transatlantic before Charles Lindburgh

    Yep, I am puzzled too by it. The demo gives away the best parts of the ship so why would people want to buy the game, and it seems like the game might still be some years away. I've come to believe that they are trying to attract investors with the demo, like some devs do they get the customer to fund the project then give nothing back to the customer when the project is finished. At least with the MSFS betas those of us who tested received the product for free, In my case Microsoft came to my PC club in Napa in 1993 and gave me a copy of Visual Basic, which was used to create the Avsim file program "Landclass Assistant" way back when. That is why I made it a free program, because Microsoft gave me Visual Basic for free, and now I have Visual Studio for free but no more ideas for programs, I am back to the "Hello World Stage" lol which I do in VB, Java, C# and C++ just for the heck of looking at code and saying to myself "I did that?" 😉 John