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About MM

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  • Birthday 08/25/1948

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    Chapel Hill, NC, USA

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  1. Roger, this is going to be fun. A stunningly beautiful valley and then the spectacular high country in Yosemite. In the Super Cub, the initial Low and Slow will become, as we climb, Higher and Slooooower. A wonderful time for all.
  2. 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."
  3. Thanks for the opportunity to fly over and salute the Wallace Monument, in effect a Scottish national "hall of fame" near Stirling Castle. It was here that the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297) made William Wallace a hero for his clever tactics that allowed an outnumbered Scottish army of infantry and archers to defeat an English invasion force led by mounted knights. Later, Wallace was betrayed, captured, and sent to London where was "tried" for treason in 1305. Wallace was taken ... to the Tower of London, then stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to the Elms at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered—strangled by hanging, but released while he was still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burned before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His preserved head (dipped in tar) was placed on a pike atop London Bridge. (Wikipedia) And just south of the Wallace Monument at Stirling was fought the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) in which Robert the Bruce daringly attacked and defeated a much larger English invasion army and made Scotland independent. The fate of Wallace does not seem to have frightened the Scots into subservience. Over the subsequent seven centuries, of course, there may have been some ups-and-downs in English-Scottish relations. It must be satisfying to have planned our flight to acknowledge these great moments in Scottish history. Or not ... 😎
  4. Kruger National Park. Suggested Extra Airport. I'm going to suggest that we consider adding in an extra airport toward the end of our day...to be used if we have extra time or people just want a bit more to do. This airport is labeled Othawa [FAOL] in our database and locally known as Ulusaba airstrip. With a long hard runway, suitable for a King Air, it serves the exquisite Ulusaba Lodges. The exclusive "Richard Branson" Ulusaba Safari Lodge and Ulusaba Rock Lodge are frequently listed among the very best world-wide vacation destinations. These are wonderfully luxurious accommodations that share the famous Sabi Sands Game Preserve with a handful other lodges. The game drives provide a chance to see things you might not otherwise experience. Just the sort of place that might suit our highly-refined tastes... From this Ulusaba airstrip video you can see the steep hillside on which the Ulusaba Rock Lodge is perched (not in sim). Additionally, landing at Othawa/Ulusaba [FAOL] will provide the pilot a good chance of spotting one of the Big Five. If we choose this option, we shall insert the landing between the Olifants Camp Airstrip [AW77] and Suzuka [FASZ]. The airstrip is located 33nm southeast (242°) of Olifants Camp and about 16nm northwest of Suzuka. This extra leg should add about 10 minutes to our day. The augmented flightplan is available here.
  5. Bonus Film Segments Some more videos for those with the time. Living with Lions – South Africa's Kruger National Park – BBC. (1:10:27) Better resolution here: Nature Documentary. (50:42) In the 1990s and the turn of the century, acclaimed filmmaker Jurgen Jozefowicz visited various parts of the Park and eventually won the trust of a pride of lions over an eight year period. He literally lived with the lions. This 2015 documentary chronicles the return of Jurgen Jozefowicz to revisit some of his old haunts and recalls some of his great film memories. If this idea strikes your fancy, take a look at some great footage. Kruger National Park SD 1998 – Travel Channel 24. (31:10) Good old-fashioned travel documentary. Highly edited, glossy, and informative introduction to the Park and its tourism facilities. Note segments on the Sukuza, Satara, Olifants, and Letaba camps. Difference between the Kruger Park and Private Reserves. (5:27) Good comparison that gives a feel of the two types of experiences. Thorny Bush Game Lodge. Big Five Challenge. (6:22) Promotional "you are there" video of taking on the challenge of finding the Big Five. Landing at Thornybush Game Lodge. (1:31) Old grainy color video. Still, the real thing. Kruger National Park from above. (1:39) Brief crisp view of wildlife from a drone perspective. Flying in Kruger Park With SANParks Air Wing. (4:12) Dangerous and critical anti-poaching operations over the park. Along with scientific and park management operations. Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. (5:10) Promotional film of the airport and the local sights. Worth a look. The Gods Must Be Crazy trailer. (1:58) (For the final scene at God's Window, the "edge of the earth", see the clip at 1:42.)
  6. Kruger National Park (Scheduled for May 2, 2020) We fly over the northern Drakensberg Escarpment and then over the southern half of Kruger National Park. We shall enjoy the area's dramatic terrain and its grand bushland vistas. We begin at the fairly new (2003) Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport [FAKN]. This is the major airport that connects other SA cities with the Kruger National Park. At the southern end of the runway, the terminal building is intriguing as it is the largest thatch roofed building on the continent. That said, it is entirely modern in its facilities. [To start, you might choose GA parking 5-13.] Our first stop is the Elandshoogte [AW05] which has two grass strips (07 and 14) of modest dimensions. Located in the lush Sappi forests, it is used by firefighters to control blazes in the mountains. We then head north past the Kwena Dam to land at Lydenburg [FALL], a former Boer gold mining town and now South Africa's "fly-fishing capital." Turning east, we pass over the Long Tom Pass and descend into the forestry town Sabie [AW04] to land at the interestingly situated airfield there. The town has recently developed a special tourism appeal, most notably for adventurous mountain bikers. (The Noon to Moon is a 10-hour endurance relay race that includes 3 hours of night riding.) Then north climbing up to God's Window [WINDOW] from which one can see the steep walls of the escarpment drop down through the clouds to the Lowveld that stretches out into the distance. (This was the location of the closing scene in the remarkable 1980 film "The Gods Must Be Crazy.") We shall enter the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve and descend into the Blyde River Canyon itself. (How low you fly is the decision of the PIC.) We pass the Three Rondavels [3ROND] (grass topped rocks that resemble the traditional rondavels, the typical indigenous houses). We turn at the Blyde River Dam [DAM] and fly out of the canyon over the Swadini resort [SWADN]. Blyde River Canyon is one of the larger canyons on Earth, the second largest in Africa, and perhaps the largest "green" canyon. This is a well-developed tourist attraction. See the drone aerial video Blyde River Canyon South Africa. We land at the Thornybush Game Lodge [FATB], a sixty-year-old five star private game reserve. The facilities provide luxury amenities to complement expert tracker-led game drives and ranger-guided walking tours. While private, the bushland has a fenceless border with Kruger National Park and features the same sort of bush wildlife to be enjoyed by the Lodge's visitors. We depart north flying over several of those game reserves to land at Phalaborwa [FAPH]. The name is ancient Sotho for "better than the south" – a reference to the then fever-ridden areas to the south. Historically a small-scale tribal iron and copper mining area, the modern town was founded in 1951 after phosphate was discovered by Foskor, who currently operate the phosphate mines here. The Palabora Mining company rose from those origins and mines mainly copper, plus iron ore and uranium. Their open pit mine [PIT] is 2000 meters in diameter, one of the world's largest holes in the ground. The town is also a tourist spot, again mostly for those visiting the game preserves as well as Kruger National Park whose Phalaborwa Gate [PGATE] is a half-mile east of the airport. One mile further south, you can play a round at the Hans Merensky Golf Estate [GOLF]. Founded in 1967 as the place "where golf meets African wildlife," it was once one of South Africa's premier courses. While the playing conditions have declined due to local droughts and a lack of reinvestment, recent efforts have brought back some of the classic exotic experience. In any case, for many golfers it is exhilarating to play on a course that you share with wild animals – including elephants, giraffes, monkeys, and baboons on the fairways and hippos in the water hazards – although some caution is advised. This is truly entertaining golf in the wild. Finally, we get an extended look at Kruger National Park. Parts have been protected since 1898 when it became clear that the wildlife were endangered. In 1902 James Stevenson-Hamilton became the first warden and over his forty year tenure was able to protect the wildlife from imminent demise at the hands of professional hunters. As part of the process, all native tribes were removed from the park. Even today, the Park's wildlife, especially the Rhinoceros, are under constant threat posed by organized professional poachers from Mozambique. For us this is an opportunity to see the Big Five (in our imagination). The term was coined by big-game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. This includes the African elephant, the black rhinoceros (critically endangered), the Cape buffalo (the most dangerous to hunters), the lion, and the African leopard (the most difficult to hunt because of their nocturnal and secretive nature). Perhaps the most famous film clip of Big Five action is the legendary 2004 video Battle at Kruger. If you have seen this, it is worth another look. If you have not seen this, stop and watch it. We turn at Letaba Rest Camp [LETABA], on a bend in the Letaba River, which is rated the second most attractive of the park's camps. The Elephant Hall honors "the Magnificent Seven" tusker elephants whose majestic ivory made them famous (and targets for poachers). We continue southeast to land at the dirt airstrip for Olifants Camp [AW77] where a driver will take us to the restaurant for brunch. Olifants (OLIFAN) is noted for its majestic hilltop views of elephants and hippos in the Olifants River and the rolling plains of the Lowveld below. We depart to pass over Satara Camp (SATARA) which is rated as best for seeing the Big Five. (For some film of the local residents' daily life, see gamedrive from Satara to Skukuza.) Then we land at Skukuza (FASZ), the Park's primary camp and the site of the Park's headquarters. On the Sabie River, Skukuza is the largest and most popular camp, a full village really, and is right in the heart of Big Five territory – animals can be seen from the deck of the restaurants. The name Skukuza ("to sweep") was given to game warden James Stevenson-Hamilton by the local Tsonga people as he was popularly feted for "sweeping" the land of poachers and other criminals. (Historians now suspect that the term may reflect the local people's resentment of having been swept from their native homeland.) Skukuza airport hosts direct commercial flights to both Cape Town and Johannesburg on a daily basis. In addition, South African National Parks operates the SANParks Air Wing of four helicopters here to assist with anti-Rhino poaching and conduct other wildlife operations from the sky. On the way southward, note the waypoint [BATTLE] which marks the location of the Battle at Kruger – not so very far from the entirely civilized Skukuza camp. (Just fly past the waypoint, as there is no representation of the pond near which the event took place.) To finish our journey, we land back at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport [FAKN]. Park in front of the terminal. From here you can make good homeward connections to Europe and North America. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft The route is 301nm. This will require a fast single or a light twin capable of about 150kts. Our favorites might include a Cherokee, Comanche, C182, C185, C208, C310, C337, Bellanca Viking, Aero Commander 500, or Kodiak. Of course, you should fly whatever you like. I shall take an old favorite, the A2A Comanche in the ZS-WBM livery. Scenery The flight looks best with the payware Orbx African Landclass & Mesh scenery package. In order to have all the airports you will need to install two scenery packages, one from Aeroworx and the second a Kruger National Park collection from Aeroworx. If you don't have the Orbx package, you might want to use the South Africa landclass from Aeroworx. And if you have no mesh, you might like the Aeroworx mesh for the region. [If you flew last week, you need add only the Kruger National Park collection.] Watch your email inbox for details. Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, please set the simulator at 7:00am local for January 4, 2020. (For this landscape, we do not want orange autumn leaves. We intentionally use summer textures.) We shall prefer to fly real weather. If necessary, a good alternate weather would be January 4, 2020 at 7:00am local, 0500 UTC. Particulars Date and time: May 2, 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!
  7. Cape Town Long Form Videos Here are some longer form videos for those with plenty of time. Cape Town, Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula, South Africa in 4K Ultra HD. (10:21) Crisp and sometimes stunning imagery. Cape Town and Surroundings HD – South Africa Travel Chanel 24. (36:45) Leisurely old-style travel documentary. Beautiful Cape Town, Beaches, Cape Peninsula, Cape Winelands and More 2020. (3:16) More richly-colored music video than documentary. Cape Town South Africa Cinematic Drone Shots. (7:38) Splendid drone video with some spectacular images. Drone. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Cape Town Winelands 2018. (13:08) More relaxed amateur views of touring the Winelands. (I found it charming, but tastes do vary.)
  8. Cape Town and Environs This is a sightseeing flight in light aircraft. We aim to enjoy one of the world's most beautiful urban settings. Departing from Cape Town International, the route takes us through the Cape Winelands to the east, then back over Table Mountain to circle over the City. It heads south down the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope before returning to Cape Town International. At Cape Town International [FACT], we begin our morning at the FBO for ExecuJet Cape Town (parking Gates 49-51 at the southern end of the main runway) and fly to Fisantekraal [FAFK], a former Air Force Base and now the favorite flight school training airfield in the Cape Town area. After a brief stop we hop northward to the dirt strip at Diemerskraal Airfield [FADI]. This is a farmstead in the northern Winelands with accommodations for organized festivities, including weddings. The friendly folks at Whip-Air Aviation are willing to service our aircraft. We head south over Paarl [PAARL] which, with 191,000 people, is the second largest city in the region. This is the commercial capital of the Cape Winelands and the headquarters of the area's major wine and fruit companies. Just to the west lies Paarl Rock, a huge granite formation which is sometimes compared with Australia's Uluru for its dramatic prominence. (This is now a Mecca for rock climbers. For many years it was ignored as the sheer faces proved impossible for casual climbers. With modern techniques, the difficult, dangerous, and beautiful routes now attract the best climbers of today.) Turning east, we follow the N1 highway which ultimately leads to Johannesburg. We climb over the Drakenstein Range (under which runs the Huguenot Tunnel) through the Du Toitskloof Pass and then on to Worcester Airfield [FAWC]. Surrounded by mountains, the local area became famous for its orchards and vineyards, and especially for its brandy. The airfield hosts both the Worcester Flying Club (with a Zenith!) and the Cape Gliding Club (in action here). Turning South, we skirt the massive Stettyn's mountain range to reach the Threewaterskloof dam and reservoir [3WATR]. The Western Cape water supply system depends primarily on rainfall and the Threewaterskloof is the key to its success. It was the severe lack of rain in 2017-2018 and reservoir's drop to critical levels that caused the dangerous water shortages of that summer. While saved by rainfall, it looks to take several years before the Threewaterskloof will reach full capacity. Curling back northwest, we cross over the Hottentots Holland mountains into Franschhoek [FRANK] (the French Corner), the valley into which 200 Huguenots fled religious persecution in the late seventeenth century. The French families established farms and then vineyards. In the last thirty years, this once sleepy valley has boomed to become the "food and wine capital" of South Africa. We land at Stellenbosch [FASH]. This was the second "city" of South Africa and after its seventeenth century founding it soon became the first home of the South African wine industry. It remains a primary center for viticulture and viticulture research. The Mediterranean climate and range of light sandy soils prove ideal for the cultivation of interesting fine wines. And the historic Stellenbosch wine route offers 150 tasting rooms in its role as a successful wine tourism magnet. The Stellenbosch Flying Club has fostered local training and private aviation. In fact, its bar and restaurant have become a regional favorite. (You can see the facility at midfield.) A good spot for Saturday morning fly-in breakfast. We take off and head west over the international airport to approach Table Mountain, the iconic landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town. Some breath-taking views here. It is likely illegal, surely unwise, and practicably impossible to attempt at touch-and-go or to land on the rocky flat-topped mountain. (If you approach slowly and look closely at the flightplan, you will see Table Mountain waypoints [TM_1 TM_2] that mark the spot where this activity would be illegal, unwise, and impossible.) We continue on to descend over Table Bay to land at Robben Island [AX78]. This was a prison island until 1996 at the end of apartheid. Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner here for 18 of his 27 years in captivity. He was later awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace and elected president of South Africa. (Two other political prisoners of Robben Island have since been elected president.) As a living museum, Robben Island is now a World Heritage Site and popular tourist destination. Returning to the mainland, passing the Cal-Tex refinery [CALTX], we land at Ysterplaat Air Force Base [FAYP]. The 100-year-old airfield was long the center of the South African Air Force's maritime patrols along the Atlantic (think Avro Shackletons and now helicopters). While threatened by budget restrictions, the base continues in operation. The SAAF Museum remains at Ysterplaat and hosts Saturday morning tours. Taking off to the south and curling along the waterfront, we get a closer look at Cape Town and its harbor. Near the railroad station, you might notice the "Castle of Good Hope" [CASTL], an exquisitely restored Dutch fort from the founding days. And out at Green Point [GREEN], you can see the (old) Cape Town Stadium. We travel down the western side of the Cape Peninsula, passing over the Cape Town suburbs of Hout Bay [HOUT] and Kommetjie [KOMTJ]. Then along the wild coast lines of the protected Cape Peninsula National Park. We (optionally) land at Maclear Beach [MB1-MB2] to enjoy the sights at the Cape of Good Hope. ([This is a low-and-slow non-airport landing. You should give this a try before Saturday's flight because the details of approach and landing will depend on the combination of landclass and mesh that you are using. Multiple tests of different configurations indicated there was always a flat spot of beach or nearby grass that allows a safe landing.] Then back into the air, we round the Cape of Good Hope [HOPE] and the more striking Cape Point [POINT] to turn northwards. We proceed up the rugged coastline on False Bay (so named because sailors from the east often mistook this for Table Bay a bit further along). We pass over Boulders Beach [BOLDR], home to a colony of the endangered African penguin. And then Simon's Town Naval Base [NAVY] which is now used by the South African Navy but was more famous historically as the Royal Navy's key station at this globally strategic location. We pass by Fish Hoek [FISH], a touristy suburb. Finally, we land back at Cape Town International (FACT) and gather at the ExecuJet FBO for our morning barbeque. "The Cape Peninsula is one of the world's most beautiful areas, and flying around it should be on the bucket list of any aviator." To get a feel for the real thing, you might glance quickly at the long uncut Flying a Cessna around the Cape Peninsula (1:14:06). Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft The route is 222nm. We shall slow down and enjoy GA aircraft with modest speeds, say of 110-120kts. Favorites might include a Zenith, Scout, C170, C172, C182, Navion, Cherokee or a Comanche. Of course, you should fly whatever you like. I shall take the A2A Cessna 172 in the colors of VH-SRK. Scenery The flight looks best with the payware Orbx African Landclass & Mesh scenery package. In order to have all the airports you will need to install two scenery packages, one from Aeroworx and the second a collection from Jacques Botha and Frits Beyer and Simon Smeiman. If you don't have the Orbx package, you might want to use the South Africa landclass from Aeroworx. And you if you have no mesh, you might like the Aeroworx mesh for the region. Watch your email inbox for details. Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 6:30am local. We prefer to fly real weather. If necessary, a good alternate weather would be April 18, 2020 at 6:30am local, 0430 UTC. Particulars Date and time: April 25, 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!
  9. Well, "until next time." Next year we do Perth to Sydney in our Tiger Moths. 😎
  10. Wonderful, Roman. Lots of memories of adventures together, splendid flights ... and a few rough landings. And most important, the terrific camaraderie. 😎
  11. Lukla Warmup in Papua New Guinea We are flying into and around Lukla in the Himalayas this Saturday. Josh suggested that we might "warm up" our Twin Otter skills by revisiting some of our familiar haunts in Papua New Guinea. Nice chance to practice control and handling short vertical airstrips – not to mention practice our aircraft repair skills. Accordingly, here is an event for this coming Wednesday, March 18, 2020. We shall fly from Kokoda [AYKO] to Woitape [WIP]. The route includes the challenging airstrips included in the Orbx Tapini package: Kokoda [AYKO], Asimba [ASB], Yongai [KGH], Kosipe [KSP], Tapini [TAP], Fane [FNE], Ononge [ONB], and Woitape [WIP]. The flightplan is here. (Note that the flightplan starts and ends at Port Moresby Jacksons [AYPY]. We shall ignore the AYPY endpoints: we start at Kokoda and end at Woitape.) Aircraft. This is something like 97nm plus some circling to land as well as to climb over a few ridges. Recommended for the Lukla experience and thus here is the Aerosoft Twin Otter. (If you have the Lukla scenery, you also have received one instance of the Aerosoft Twin Otter.) While the Twin Otter is recommended, you should fly what you like. If it is convenient, you might choose to fly the same aircraft and same livery in both the official Saturday Lukla flight and this PNC warmup event. (Doing so will allow your fellow pilots to have the appropriate aircraft-livery combinations already set up for both events.) You can enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Scenery. We shall need the two Orbx PNC packages, Jacksons and Tapini. Particulars. Date and time: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 1900 UTC. (3pm EDT, 2pm CDT, 1pm MDT, and 12noon PDT.) 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)
  12. Thanks, Ron. Lovely paints with a tiny bit extra for a couple of the interiors. (I am using the tundra version, rather than the wheeled version, and as with Bert, I needed the "stock" texture.cfg file to get the tundra tires to show properly.) Thanks for the piece by Budd Davisson on Tom Rabourn's modifications for N5964. Nice additions.
  13. MM


    If you are looking for a slightly deeper simulation, Captain Obvious would suggest the PMDG DC-6. (If you like, the simulated Flight Engineer takes on much of the systems management.)
  14. Another entry into the oldtimers' Warbirds Airshow. This for the Milviz P-38L. (In the colors of Mac MacDonald's "Putt Putt Maru". Group commander for the 475th from New Guinea to Philippines, 1943-1945. CO when Charles Lindbergh did undercover combat flights with the 475th during 1944.)
  15. Thanks for the lovely flight over the Rhine Valley, Gunter. Lots of sights, including the palaces at Biebrich and Mannheim, the cathedrals at Worms and Speyer, and the marvelous Technik Museum of Speyer, hot and cold nuclear plants, as well as the beautiful snowy Alpine border between Germany and Switzerland. This all gave us a chance to enjoy a bit of playful formation and chase plane flying. You can see some screenshots by downloading the file Flying the Rhine Part 2 here.
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