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About MM

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  • Birthday 08/25/1948

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  1. NOTAMS. There are some spotty storms along the Florida coast. We can adjust if necessary. Josh's NZ weather set seems a good option.
  2. Slightly off topic: With the GotFriends release of the F4F Wildcat, we have been thinking about the role of Naval Aviation during WWII. We’ll be visiting the USS Yorktown (CV10) when we pass over Charleston. Our event reminded me of the absolutely terrific WWII film The Fighting Lady. This hour long documentary was done by William Wyler (in 1944) and is one of the very best “you are there” pieces made during the war. If interested, you can see it at the Internet Archive here: The Fighting Lady. Or (restored) on YouTube The Fighting Lady.
  3. Atlantic Coast Barrier Islands. Marshes, Beaches, and a Cape For Saturday, September 30, 2023 Michael MacKuen We continue our journey along the Southeastern Coast of the United States. We shall visit Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Cape Canaveral all the while enjoying the subtle beauty of the grassy wetlands and windswept beaches of the Atlantic coastline. The VAB and a Falcon Heavy at LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center We begin in South Carolina at Mount Pleasant’s East Cooper [KLRO]. We fly over wetlands to the upscale Isle of Palms [IOP] and continue along over more modest Sulivan’s Island into Charleston Harbor to get a look at legendary Fort Sumter [SUMTR]. We turn to see the city of Charleston, starting with “The Battery” [BATRY] – an impressive residential part of the city with an enforced historic architecture. We pass over the truly attractive downtown, rebuilt to preservation society standards, and the Charleston Market [MARKT]. Charleston’s residents and visitors are blessed with a wonderfully dynamic restaurant scene. Next over the Cooper River to the modern Ravenel Bridge [BRAV]. We get a look at Patriot’s Point and the historic aircraft carrier USS Yorktown [YORK]. We proceed south over the harbor and low-lying wetlands to glance at Morris Island Lighthouse [LMORI] and then land at Charleston Executive [KJZI]. On departure we swing south over Kiawah’s Ocean Course [OCEAN], one of the nation’s top 25 golf courses with a special sandy and windy seaside ambiance. It is on the rotation for major tournaments. Then along the beaches, terrific golf courses (two more in the Top 200), and the splendid facilities of Kiawah Island [KIAWA], an upscale house and condominium resort with an emphasis on natural beauty. We continue along the South Carolina Sea Islands to the Hunting Island Lighthouse [LHUNT] and fly over the marshes just south of the town of Beaufort SC (and the Beaufort MCAS). We land at Hilton Head [KHXD], where we can park among the Gulfstreams. Hilton Head is a large and very busy vacation island (with a summer population of 150,000). When it developed in the 1950s, the community established standards that have maintained a low-lying green environmental ambiance. So while there are plenty of people on the island, the feel is one of relative serenity. That said, this is not a bargain spot: almost 70 percent of the island lies within gated communities. When we leave, we fly over the older town’s homes [TOWN] and then over the large scale Sea Pines resort (the southwestern quarter of the island) and the Harbour Town Golf Course [HART], the more famous of the island’s two top-200-rated courses. Then a quick diversion over Savannah [SVANA], Georgia’s first capital city with a large historic district of cobblestone streets, squares, parks, and notable buildings. The busy docks on the Savannah River are significant: the ports of Charleston and Savannah are each ranked in the US Top-Ten. We then proceed over a number of low-lying islands many of which are marked as wildlife refuges. We land at St. Simons Island [KSSI], one of Georgia’s “Golden Isles.” The northern two-thirds is mainly forest and wildlife preserve while southern portion is a town of permanent residents which attracts thousands of seasonal tourists. (The local forest of live oaks was cut to build much of the early US Navy.) We continue south along the Sea Islands and, just after the Florida border, pass over Ameilia Island [AMELA]. This too is a resort island with marshes, beaches and golf courses. (By one ranking, the top three US “vacation islands” are Hilton Head, Kiawah Island, and Amelia Island.) We continue onward to Jacksonville Executive [KCRG]. This is a busy GA field with 400-500 operations a day. (If we approach from the west, you can examine the Dames Point Bridge.) We depart for the Florida coast. The first turning point is over the TPC Sawgrass [TPSAW] which hosts The Players Championship, now a “major” golf tournament. (If you look closely, you can see the signature 17th hole “island green” [TPC17] – a feature which has been copied many times over. We continue along the coast to St. Augustine, first established by the Spanish in 1565 and the oldest sustained European settlement in North America. We can note the Castillo de San Marcos [CSM], the city’s early-modern 17th century Spanish fort which survived 250 years of contestation. Just beyond is historic St. Augustine. (The fort and old town are a tourist magnet.) A jog to the left brings us to Anastasia Island and St. Augustine Lighthouse [LSTAG] – which has been restored and continues to operate as an historic monument. Flying further southward, we turn at Daytona Beach [DAYBE] which has become an iconic national “beach town”. This is now the stereotypic “Spring Break” destination for young people who want to have fun. And it is also the site where NASCAR was founded and now locates its headquarters. (Bill France came here in the 1930s and sponsored the Daytona Beach races, on the hard-packed beach, which became the springboard for the extended national stock car series.) On turning for the airport, we can see the Daytona International Speedway [SPEED] which hosts NASCAR’s premier main event. We land at Daytona Beach International [KDAB] which sites the main campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (You can see the buildings and training fleet along the flightline at the northeast corner of the main crossing runways.) Then to the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island and the US Space Force Launch Station at Cape Canaveral. We land at the Space Shuttle Landing Facility [KTTS]. Then we fly low-and-slow to see the enormous Vehicle Assembly Building [VAB]. The Apollo and Shuttle Saturn launch vehicles were put together and tested here before being rolled out to Launch Complexes 39A and 39B [LC39A and LC39B]. Nowadays, LC-39B is assigned to NASA’s Space Launch System which is used in the Artemis program for manned trips to the Moon and Mars. LC-39A is leased to SpaceX and its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy systems (a Falcon Heavy is depicted on the launch platform). And it will be the location for SpaceX’s much larger Starship launch vehicle. (Progress on the heavy lift vehicles, the NASA SLS and the SpaceX Starship, has been slower than hoped.) We circle back to see the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. You can see a Space Shuttle launch vehicle similar to that of Atlantis in 2010 (look here and longer here). And nearby, if you look closely, you can see the Rocket Garden with historic instances of those vocative names Redstone, Atlas, Titan, Delta and Saturn. We cross the Banana River to Cape Canaveral to see the SpaceX Landing Zone [SPACX] which depicts two Falcon boosters having landed. (Of the current Falcon 9, 201 out of 206 launches have landed successfully. Almost all have been reused. Here all boosters from a Falcon Heavy are recovered.) We turn to see the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse [LCANA] which protected sailing ships from the dangerous shoals of the prominent Cape. Having the classic lighthouse here provides a nice juxtaposition of the old and the new on Cape Canaveral. And then we pass a number of mothballed sites to see Lauch Complex-5 [LC5] and a displayed Mercury-Redstone combination in which Alan Shepard became the first American in space (1961). That long ago? We immediately turn over Port Canaveral [PORTC] which is a significant working cargo port and the largest cruise ship embarkation point in the world. We follow the narrow island south, past Cocoa Beach, and land at Patrick Space Force Base [KCOF]. A reception for our General Aviation flight has been arranged at the DOT’s classic facility just southeast of the main crossing runways, south of the threshold of Rwy 29. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft We need to cover about 360nm and so require something that will “fast cruise” at about 180 kts. Some of our faster singles, including the Beech Bonanza and Mooney Ovation, will do the job. Light twins such as the Piper Seneca, C310, C414, Beech Baron, and Diamond DA62 will be fine. The TBM will be faster than needed. I’ll take the Bonanza (and will have to push the throttle). You should fly whatever you like. Additional Scenery These are not necessary for the flight. They do add some color and some are just excellent quality freeware scenery. Thanks to these authors. Charleston Ravenel Bridge. michelvp Charleston Water Fix. Mistercoffee1 Charleston Morris Island Lighthouse. michelvp Beaufort Marshes. PhilUSA Beaufort Hunting Island Lighthouse. PhilUSA Hilton Head [KHXD]. BullfrogSim Saint Simons Island [KSSI]. glman22 Jacksonville Dames Point Bridge. michelvp Jacksonville Executive [KCRG]. despamods St. Augustine Lighthouse. KingJ02 Daytona Beach [KDAB]. Art Poole Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. PhilUSA Kennedy Space Center. Acktu Kennedy Shuttle Landing Facility [KTTS]. Michail71 Kennedy Space Center Merritt Island Water Fix. Michail71 Temporarily, you can download a scenery package here. 176 MB. Optional. Available is a more up-to-date photogrammetry package for the Daytona Speedway. This is better than the default photogrammetry and recommended. However, it is a fairly large download and not included in the package. Daytona Speedway. Kjpwv. In addition, a good-looking payware Daytona package by BMW is available at ORBX. A side note for custom seasonal foliage packages. The Fall Colors have not yet begun in this region: stick with Summer. Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 2:00 pm local for September 30, 2023. We prefer real weather. (Florida thunderstorms are predicted.) Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, September 30, 2023. 1800 UTC AVSIM Discord Server: https://discord.gg/K5Vy6UxWNm - AVSIM GROUP EVENTS-SAT. COM3 Microsoft Flight Simulator Multiplayer: United States East server. If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Please be kind enough to enter the title exactly as it stands in the title=”xxx” line of the aircraft.cfg file. Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  4. Told a friend that I was to host a session on North Carolina's Outer Banks. He insisted that I take his 1963 "Carolina Blue" version of the Comanche. As they say in these parts, "If God is not a Tar Heel, then why is the sky Carolina Blue?" Then they smile at their friends from Wake, NC State and Duke. This livery is by Waffler11 and available in his Classic Six Pack here: https://flightsim.to/file/58313/a2a-comanche-classic-pack or as a single paint here.
  5. Had the "stuck on updates" at 1800 UTC and it is now ok at 1914 UTC.
  6. The Outer Banks Revisited OBX Redux For Wednesday, September 20, 2023 Michael MacKuen Today we shall revisit North Carolina’s Outer Banks. (The initials “OBX” are often used as a shorthand for the “Outer Banks”.) These low-lying barrier islands cover most of North Carolina’s coast from Virginia to South Carolina. The islands appeared when the last ice age receded and the ocean’s level rose. While the islands have done much to protect the populated coastline, their baren nature and susceptibility to the Atlantic’s storms have made them inhospitable to dense human habitation. Only in the last quarter of the twentieth century have they attracted enough tourists for the economy to flourish. Today we shall fly North to South and visit the Wright Brothers First Flight Memorial, the three primary capes of the Outer Banks, three famous lighthouses, and enjoy miles and miles of beautiful white sand beaches. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse We begin at Virginia Beach [42VA], the grass strip of the Military Aviation Museum that restores military aircraft from WWI and WWII. It may have the world’s largest collection of flying instances of such aircraft. (If you have the scenery and dependencies installed, it is worth a closer look before takeoff.) We leave and fly southeast over Back Bay and into North Carolina along the edge of Currituck Sound and onto the Outer Banks. Here, in the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, live one of three herds of the Banker [BANKR] horses (or “ponies”) – the other herds are on Ocracoke Island and the Shackleford Banks. These are the feral remnants of Spanish horses who were (probably) left on the islands during shipwrecks of the sixteenth century. They once roamed freely on the islands and served as a source of income for islanders who would capture and sell them on the mainland. But over time, for their own safety from encroaching human populations and to protect the fragile ecosystem, they have been moved into managed reserves. We fly south along the beaches passing Corolla [CORA] (pronounced kuh-RAH-la) which until the 1990s was largely remote and only sparsely populated. The relative isolation attracted many vacationers – to the point that is now becoming crowded. (As Yogi Berra once observed of popular Manhattan nightclub Toots Shor’s, “It’s so crowded that no one goes there anymore.”) We proceed past Kitty Hawk to Kill Devil Hills and the Wright Brothers National Memorial. We might circle the monument and take a look at the historic flightpath of the first aircraft and the neighboring museum. We then land at First Flight [KFFA]. This site is worth a few minutes' time. At the ramp, you can catch a glimpse of the Memorial set against the eastern sky. And, at the threshold of Rwy 21, take a look at the museum, reconstructed camp buildings, and the measured flights of the early Wright Flyer. (December 17, 1903 flights: Orville 120ft, Wilbur 175ft, Orville 200ft, Wilbur 852ft. The last remained aloft for 59 seconds!) Next we cross a few miles of Albemarle Sound to Roanoke Island [ROAN], one of the earliest North American settlement areas for Europeans. This is also the site of the Roanoke Festival which each summer evening presents a pageant that recounts the “Lost Colony’s” founding and its mysterious disappearance. Then back along “The Bridge” to Nags Head and southward along the unspoiled beaches, maritime forests, and wildlife areas of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore starting with Bodie Island and Pea Island [PEAIS]. This is a barren and beautiful area. As we move south, we encounter the communities of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo [SALVO] which are constituted of summer houses to which weeklong visitors flock. We reach the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse [LHAT] which is certainly worth a close look. This was the US government’s main coastal lighthouse (at 200 feet) intended to protect shipping at the Diamond Shoals, a critical area on the East Coast. Here the cool Labrador Current meets the warm Gulf Stream to create oceanic turbulence. The result is that the sand mountains below the sea are moved about in uncertain ways to create dangerous and often invisible sandbanks out in deep ocean waters. For four hundred years, these particular waters were especially heavily travelled as this was a good spot for ships to use the Gulfstream “highway” to Europe. Over the centuries, especially during stormy weather, the Outer Banks shoals have caused more than 5,000 shipwrecks in “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.” (In 1999 the lighthouse had to be moved 2,900ft due to natural island movement, an instructive story in many ways.) We land at Billy Mitchell Airport [KHSE]. Next is Ocracoke Island. It is here that the Banker ponies first became nationally famous as tourists would bring their stories home. The reserve Pony Pen [PONY] now protects the horses by giving them their own fenced-off land. We circle over Ocracoke Lighthouse [LOCRA] before landing at Ocracoke Island [W95]. (I would highly recommend the National Park Service Lighthouse Experiences – scroll down to the video clips of the “Ranger Alisa tours” of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and, especially charming, the Ocracoke Light Station.) We head south along the Core Banks and the wild Cape Lookout National Seashore to find the Cape Lookout Lighthouse [LOOK]. Again, a quick circle to examine the distinctive “Day Mark” of black diamonds on the white tower. Then west over the Shackleford Banks [SHACK] which host the third herd of feral Banker horses. We land at Beaufort Smith [KMRH]. Beaufort is a small (and quaint) port town that sites a handful of government and university maritime research centers. Then southwest along the island beaches, including Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, and North Topsail Beach [NTOP]. We stop briefly at Holly Ridge/Topsail Island [N21]. And we continue to the very popular (and bustling) Wrightsville Beach [WRIT] before landing at Wilmington [KILM], a commercial airport and large GA facility. When we leave, we pass over downtown Wilmington and cross the river to visit the museum battleship USS North Carolina [USSNC]. We follow the widening estuary of the Cape Fear River to Cape Fear [FEAR] and the environmentally conscious Bald Head Island tourist/retirement community – which substitutes golf carts for motorized vehicles. This is the location of the lovely restored historic lighthouse Old Baldy [BALDY] ... not modelled. The name “Cape Fear” was earned by the 30 miles of Frying Pan Shoals hidden under the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. We land at Brunswick County [KSUT], (recently renamed Cape Fear Jetport). On departure, we fly along the barrier islands Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, and finally Sunset Beach [SUNST] before crossing the border into South Carolina and reaching our final destination North Myrtle Beach Grand Strand [KCRE]. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft We need to cover about 300nm so require something that will “fast cruise” at about 160 kts. Many of our favorite singles will do the job including the Turbo Arrow, Comanche, C182T/C182RG Skylane, C208 Caravan, Mooney Ovation and Bonanza. Light twins such as the Seneca, C310, C414, Baron, and Diamond DA62 will be just fine. I’ll take the Comanche. You should fly whatever you like. Additional Scenery These are not necessary for the flight. They do add some color and some are just excellent quality freeware scenery. Thanks to these authors. Virginia Beach Military Aviation Museum [42VA]. i9Simulations Ocracoke Lighthouse. michelvp Ocracoke Island [W95]. IanBrettCooper Cape Lookout Lighthouse. MazerMart Beaufort Michael J Smith [KMRH]. MazerMart Wilmington International [KILM]. trynaeat USS North Carolina Museum. i9Simulations North Myrtle Beach Grand Strand [KCRE]. BaptistDeacon Temporarily, you can download a scenery package here. 851 MB. (To economize on downloads, pick the lighthouses and KCRE.) Optional. In addition, if you already have Totof33120’s Vintage Aircraft collector library V 2, you should activate it. (At the Military Aircraft Museum, you will see a Corsair, BF109, P-51, Spitfire, Texan, Jenny, P-40 and Storch. This is a 790MB file, so if you are not especially interested in vintage aircraft you might ignore it.) A side note for custom seasonal foliage packages. The Fall Colors have not yet begun in this region: stick with Summer. Time and Weather For takeoff on Wednesday, set the simulator at 7:30 am local for September 20, 2023. We prefer real weather. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Wednesday, September 20, 2023. 1800 UTC AVSIM Discord Server: https://discord.gg/K5Vy6UxWNm - AVSIM GROUP EVENTS-WED. COM2 Microsoft Flight Simulator Multiplayer: United States East server. If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the Wednesday multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Please be kind enough to enter the title exactly as it stands in the title=”xxx” line of the aircraft.cfg file. Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  7. Iguazu Falls and the Power of Moving Water For Saturday, September 9, 2023 Michael MacKuen Today we shall take a look at the Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s breathtaking wonders. We shall more-or-less trace the path of the Iguazu River as it works its way from the coastal mountains near Curitiba to its junction with the Paraná River. This junction is the Three Frontiers region where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay intersect. We shall fly fast twins or turboprops from Curitiba to the Three Frontiers region and then switch to Cessna 152s for the final sightseeing tour of Iguazu Falls. Iguazu Falls with the Devil’s Throat on the left and the double-deckers to the right We start from Curitiba Bacacheri [SBBI] which was an Air Force Base for fifty years until 1980 when it became primarily a general aviation field. Curitiba, at 3.7 million, is the largest city in Brazil’s south and is a modern high-quality-of-life metropolitan area. The Iguazu River forms a few miles to the east and runs just south of the airport and then to the southwest. We fly parallel to the meandering course to Tres Barras [SSTB] for a quick stop. Then west, joining up with the Iguazu and turning to the old city airport Uniao da Vitória [SSUV]. The small city was located at the Iguazu River shallows where in the 19th century the cattlemen of the south could ford the river and drive their herds north to the markets of the center, notably Curitiba. (It was in 1915 from Uniao da Vitória that Lt. Ricardo Kirk conducted Brazil’s first air warfare operations in the Contestado War. He was killed in a bad weather flight and has since been honored as the father of the Brazilian Air Force.) We continue over the Iguazu as it broadens into a lake. We land at Foz Do Areia [SSFA] which is located high above the mouth of the Areia River. On departure, we can see the Foz Do Areia [AERIA] dam and hydroelectric power plant, finished in 1980. This is the most upstream dam and it generates 1,676 MW of electric power. We continue along the river to the Salto Segredo [SGRED] dam and hydroelectric plant (1991) and then the Salto Santiago [SANTI] dam and plant [1979). We turn north to land at Salto Santiago Airport [SSLS] which has a long dirt runway perched on a plateau above the water. We continue and pass over the Salto Osório [OSORO] dam and plant (1979). These four hydroelectric plants generate about 5,500 MW. We pivot northwest over rolling hills of agricultural land to Cascavel [SBCA]. This is a relatively new city which began in the 1930s when the region started to attract Poles, Germans, Italians and Ukrainians for logging, farming and raising livestock. By the 1990s, the city became an industrial and service center. Thus, in fifty years, the small local town became the largest city in western Paraná and one of the most significant economic centers in southern Brazil. Heading west, we turn over the wide Paraná River and land at Itaipu International Airport [SGIB] in Paraguay. Here we switch aircraft. Our sponsors have provided a fleet of Cessna 152 airplanes which we are free to use for sightseeing purposes. First we hop quickly to the east to see the enormous Itaipu [ITAPU] dam and hydroelectric plant. The Paraná River is South America’s second longest, after the Amazon, and the world’s eighth longest overall. Draining water from Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and southern Brazil, it runs 3,000 miles though this area and then downstream to form the River Plata and empty into the Atlantic Ocean. The Itaipu Dam was built in 1984 to harness the river’s power. This is the third largest hydroelectric dam in the world and produces the second-most electricity, surpassed only the by China’s Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. The installed capacity is 14,000 MW. The power is shared between Paraguay and Brazil – but the Paraguay portion is beyond need and it is sold on to Brazil. (Paraguay is technically the world’s largest international seller of electric power.) The Itaipu Dam supplies about 15% of Brazil’s demand. Traveling south from Itaipu we see on the left (east) Brazil’s Foz do Igauçu, a tourist city whose facilities are highly-rated by international visitors. On the right is Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este which is a commercial city and one of the largest free-trade zones in the world. In 1957 the new city was built in dense jungle to give Paraguay a viable connection to Brazil. After the completion of the Friendship Bridge [FREND] in 1965, the city grew quickly through immigration with sizeable Chinese, Arab, Indian and Korean populations. While the city has developed agribusiness and industrial sectors, the main engine for growth is trade with Brazil that takes advantage of legal tax-free transactions and a substantial black market for smuggling, cocaine trafficking, and money laundering. Both Foz do Igauçu and Ciudad del Este have large modern districts of high-rise hotels, office buildings, and commercial establishments. The population of the Triple Frontier (including some smaller cities) is about one million in total. After passing the very busy Friendship Bridge [FREND] we come to the junction of the Paraná and the Iguazu rivers. This is the point where the Three Frontiers [3FRON] meet with Paraguay to the west and Brazil and Argentina to the east separated by the Iguazu River. We turn east and proceed upriver on the Iguazu to pass the Fraternity Bridge [FRAT] (formally Tancredo Neves bridge) which connects Brazil and Argentina. We land at the commercial tourist airport Foz do Igauçu [SBFI]. After a moment’s time, we proceed south along the high banks of the Iguazu River. This heavily forested land is a small part of Brazil’s massive Igauçu National Park – created in 1939 with the special support of famous aviator Santos Dumont. On the right is the smaller (but substantial) Iguazú National Park of Argentina. We come to Iguazu Falls (Portuguese: Cataratas do Iguaçu; Spanish: Cataratas del Iguazú). On the left you can see the Hotel Belmond Das Cataratas just before we reach the Devil’s Throat [DEVIL] , a horseshoe shaped canyon whose massive waterfalls and constant roar will stun visitors who venture close to the water. Then we roll back to see the extended row of double-decker falls to the north and west of the Devil’s Throat. It is worthwhile to circle the Falls a couple of times to take in the breadth of the entire complex ... perhaps one circuit at 1,000 ft to see the overall size and shape, and than another down “low-and-wet” to experience the raw power. The array of 27 waterfalls is often acclaimed a one of the world’s natural wonders. Once satisfied, we land at Argentina’s Cataratas del Iguazú [SARI]. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. (Note that there are three subfolders: (1) Complete Flightplan SBBI-SARI; (2) Flightplan SBBI-SGIB; (3) Flightplan SGIB-SARI.) Aircraft In the first phase of the flight we need to cover about 360nm and so require something that will “fast cruise” at about 200kts. A fast twin or turboprop will do the job. Popular options might include the C414 Chancelor, TBM 930, Pilatus PC-12, and the Beech King Air 350. I shall take the Black Square KA350. In the next phase we shall turn our focus to the Cessna 152, the most flown of the Asobo aircraft. Nowadays it is much improved with the WBSim/JPLogistics addon. As a flight group, we have not featured the C152 ... and this is a good time to do so. For the last 26nm in the Three Frontiers region, we will shift to C152s for a low-and-slow tour of the area and the Iguazu Falls themselves. (The default C152 will be fine but I would recommend the WBSim-JPLogistics modification version. Go to the WBSim/JPS Logistics Discord here: https://discord.com/invite/uhkUppvZ2U. Then look for official-download tab along the left. Or temporarily you can download it here. With a tablet, the WBSim C152 can activate an autopilot and the PMS GTN750. You can even add a TDS GTN750Xi with this Ryan Butterworth file.) The default paints offer minimal choice. A good option would be to download the “Default and JPL/WBSim 152 Well-Loved Vintage Livery Pack” by Waffler11. This provides 8 colorful old-style well-worn liveries for both the default Asobo C152 and also for the 3 versions of the JPL/WBSim C152. Plenty of fun choices here for everyone. I’ll take a green one. In both phases, please fly what you like. Additional Scenery Essential for this flight. It contains the falls and dam which are not in default Asobo. Itaipu Dam and Iguazu Falls. FSoares. 483MB These are not necessary for the flight. They do add some color and detail. Curitiba Bacacheri [SBBI]. Lucassg Foz Do Iguacu SBFI. timot75 Cataratas del Iguazu SARI. RWY13AR Temporarily, you can download a freeware scenery package here. 610 MB. FSoares has a more polished payware release of Igauzu Falls available on the Marketplace. And there is a decent-looking payware SARI also at the Marketplace. (Apparently they are incompatible.) Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 8:00 am local for September 9, 2023. We prefer real weather. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, September 9, 2023. 1800 UTC AVSIM Discord Server: https://discord.gg/K5Vy6UxWNm - AVSIM GROUP EVENTS-SAT. COM3 Microsoft Flight Simulator Multiplayer: United States East server. If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Please be kind enough to enter the title exactly as it stands in the title=”xxx” line of the aircraft.cfg file. Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  8. For what it is worth, here are three extra optional bush strips for today’s flight. Available temporarily here. And another version of the Kronzky Bush Strips that cuts out two airports that conflict with the Orbx Deadly Three. Available here.
  9. Jets Over Sand and Sea For Saturday, September 2, 2023 Michael MacKuen The United States Navy, along with its junior partner the USAF, would like to invite you to a fast tour of the American Southwest in Nevada and California. You are encouraged to fly Navy jets, Air Force jets, American or European jets, civilian jets, or whatever you like. We commence from Nellis AFB [KLSV]. Since the 1950s, Nellis has been the Air Force center for fighter jet training, and since the 1970s it has conducted a Fighter Weapons School to improve tactics for the changing combat environment. (The Navy view is that this was an imitation of the Navy’s path-breaking and eminently successful Top Gun program.) As we prepare for our mission, we can enjoy the busy air base as it prepares for Red Flag training exercises that include pilots from the US Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and numerous NATO allies. Navy F-35C on the floor of Death Valley. Over the Sand and ... Under the Sea On departure, some pilots may take a look at the Las Vegas Strip. Then north over the restricted airspace of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) for a visit to the USAF facility Homey Airport [KXTA]. This is more commonly known as Groom Lake (after the nearby salt flat) or Area 51. Also, informally, Dreamland and Paradise Ranch. This facility is thought to support the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. It was acquired in 1955 primarily for flight testing the Lockheed U-2. It was clearly involved with developing the A-12 (precursor to the SR71) and F-117. In the late 1960s, Groom Lake tested the MiG-17 and MiG-21 head-to-head with the F-4 and concluded that pilot tactics and skill were decisive and the equipment was not – results that indirectly led to the Top Gun program. While much has become known, the facility has remained officially Top Secret since its founding. (Despite the secrecy, some people also understand that Area 51 reverse engineered crashed alien spacecraft and had joint meetings with extraterrestrials. And it developed a Mach 5 spy plane as well as weather control and time travel and teleportation technology. Not to mention a transcontinental underground railroad system and a disappearing airport rooted in alien technology.) Our brief visit will reveal no secrets. We take off for the southwest to begin the low-flying segment of our trip. After passing the mountains we descend into Death Valley [DV]. Some pilots may wish to see how fast their particular aircraft can fly while below sea level. With an outside temperature a bit higher than a standard day, the speed of sound at sea level is approximately 670kts. Other pilots may prefer to admire the natural majesty of the scene. We land at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake [KNID]. This is the Western Mojave and, as it happens, the Navy controls a great deal of this desert landscape. The Station’s two ranges and the main site cover an area the size of Rhode Island and the restricted and controlled airspace makes up 12 per cent of California’s total airspace. The installation was created in 1935 as a rockets and weapons test and evaluation site by a combination of Navy officers and Caltech scientists. Among the weapons developed here is the AIM-9 Sidewinder, the most used and copied air-to-air missile in the world. We continue our low-flying exercise by heading up into the Sierra Nevada. Pilots should fly at a safe low altitude and avoid taking undue risks. The ground crews at the end have been asked to remove any vegetation from the aircraft and to report any excessive clusters of branches, pine cones, bramble, and grass. We fly southwest and then west into the Isabella-Walker Pass [WALKR] to Isabella Lake [LISAB]. Then north up the “mighty” Kern River [KERNR]. This begins as a canyon and then continues a mostly south-north course as a steep valley just to the west of the Sierra Crest. Just after The Needles [NEEDS], the Kern River takes a sharp right turn [RTURN] and then back to the left [LTURN] before resuming the norward course. Another 20nm and we shall want to climb to an altitude of 12,500ft at the Kings-Kern Divide [12500]. Then a sharp descent of about 4,000ft to the South Fork of the Kings River [KINGS] into a long canyon that will make for good low-flying practice. We proceed about 40nm to the artificially-dammed Pine Flat Lake [PFLAT] and turn southwest. After the Kern-Kings River run, we head for NAS Lemoore [KNLC]. Lemoore is the Navy’s largest Master Jet base and the center of West Coast strike fighter operations with four carrier wings “home-ported” here. It is home to sixteen F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadrons – the mainstay of the fleet. In addition, it hosts three F-35C squadrons – the likely future of the Navy’s combat wings. There are two parallel runways with the operational base located in between. When landing, pick 14L or 32L and take the last high speed exit and then taxi right across the base to position for takeoff on the other runway. Lots to see. Next is Vandenberg Space Force Base [KVBG]. As we approach the base, we can see the beautiful Guadeloupe Dunes [DUNES], a National Wildlife Refuge. Vandenberg AFB was built in the 1950s as a ballistic missile base which could launch rockets over the Pacific without endangering civilian populations. This was the site for the development and testing of the Thor, Atlas, Titan and Minuteman programs. In addition, over the years Vandenberg launched satellites of almost every purpose using a variety of boosters. And Vandenberg developed Space Launch Complex-6 [SLC6] or “Slick Six for the Space Shuttle program – though the Challenger disaster put an end to that. Since then the base has launched a number of heavier lift vehicles including the Delta and Atlas programs. In the last decade, SpaceX has successfully used SLC-4 [SLC4] for their now-regular Falcon launches and recoveries. And the company has recently acquired use of SLC-6 for both additional Falcon operations and the development of the super-heavy-lift Starship. After a quick look we continue to NAS Point Mugu [KNTD] which was for decades the Navy’s primary test center for missile development. These include air-to-air, air-to-surface, and surface-to-surface missiles. It now hosts the Pacific Fleet’s four EC-2C Hawkeye squadrons as well as a number of logistical support aircraft. In addition, the annual Point Mugu Air Show has been a great success. This year’s fiftieth anniversary show (2023) included the rare joint appearance of the Navy and Air Force display teams, the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. Then south off the Los Angeles coastline toward the San Diego area. First we execute a low pass over MCAS Miramar [KNKX]. You may request permission for “a fly-by” from the tower. Miramar (or Mitscher Field) was best known as the Navy Fighter Weapons School or Top Gun training program. In the 1960s it was thought that air-to-air missiles made dogfighting skills obsolete. But the results of the first air campaigns in Vietnam (and the test results of air-to-air combat with captured MiGs at Groom Lake), convinced the Navy to create a special training program for elite pilots that would emphasize Advanced Combat Maneuvers (ACM) and Weapon System mastery. It was hoped that if enough squadrons had “Top Gun” graduates who could teach their mates, then the overall performance of pilots would improve. It did improve – dramatically. (The first years of the program were run on a shoestring, with borrowed equipment and a stolen trailer as a classroom. The early instructors’ talent and determination prevailed and the program proved its worth.) In its day, Miramar was nicknamed “Fightertown USA”. However, in 1996 the NFWS moved to NAS Fallon near Reno in western Nevada. After the low pass, we turn south to land at NAS North Island [KNZY] (Halsey Field). The inclusive Naval Base Coronado is the home port of several aircraft carriers (two nowadays) and is the largest aerospace complex in the Navy. The CO Naval Air Forces and the CO Pacific Fleet Air Forces are headquartered here. Started in 1911, North Island became the home for West Coast Naval aviation during the 1930s and especially during World War II when it hosted over a dozen aircraft carriers. Today, San Diego, Coronado and North Island remain the center of the US Navy on the West Coast. We take off and curl around to see two carriers. And immediately in front of us the magnificent Coronado Bridge which simply begs for some close scrutiny. (Before agreeing to the bridge, the Navy required that it clear 200ft to enable the Pacific Fleet to exit San Diego harbor.) We turn east, over the San Diego suburbs and then the mountainous Cleveland National Forest with its chaparral canyons, arroyos, and high desert dotted with oak and conifer forests. Then we pass over the Imperial Valley’s arid Domelands. A few minutes later we land at our final destination Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro [KNJK]. The base temporarily hosts squadrons who work on aerial gunnery and bombing on the Imperial Valley ranges. Better known to the public, El Centro is the winter home of the Navy’s premier demonstration team the Blue Angels. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft We need to cover about 840nm so require something that will “fast cruise” at about 420kts. Most of our favorite military fighters and trainers will do the job including the Lockheed F/TF-104G Starfighter, Gruman F-14 A/B Tomcat, Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet, Lockheed F‑35 II, Hawker Hunter, Leonardo M-346, BAe Hawk, Boeing T-45 and Aermacchi MB-339. Those who prefer civilian aircraft might like a B-737 or a business jet such as the Cessna CJ-4 or Cessna Longitude, Honda Jet or Cirrus Vision. (All pilots will want to be aware of our aircraft mix and make accommodations.) Playing along with the US Navy theme, I shall fly the IndiaFoxtEcho Lockheed F-35C in the US Navy VFA-97 livery (a stock livery). This flying is designed for military jets, but you should fly whatever you like. Additional Scenery These are not necessary for the flight. They do add some color and some are just excellent quality freeware scenery. Nellis AFB Red Flag [KLSV]. nickb007 Homey Airport [KXTA]. superspud China Lake NAWS [KNID]. nickb007 Lemoore NAS [KNLC]. groovyy Vandenberg AFB [KVBG]. Mountainair North Island NAS [KNZY]. julysfire El Centro NAF [KNJK]. Mountainair Coronado Bridge San Diego. TheWhiteArcades US Navy San Diego. FreakyD Temporarily, you can download a scenery package here. 476 MB. In addition, if you have them already you might want to activate: UK2000 Common library (Free from MS Marketplace), DCDesigns F/A-18C (Freeware), Carrier Ops USS Enterprise (photosbykev), RAF Coningsby (Imccar26), the MSFS TopGun and of course the MSFS USA World Updates. (All these for extra scenery bits such as military buildings and parked aircraft on the ramp.) Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 3:00 pm local for September 2, 2023. We prefer real weather. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, September 2, 2023. 1800 UTC AVSIM Discord Server: https://discord.gg/K5Vy6UxWNm - AVSIM GROUP EVENTS-SAT. COM3 Microsoft Flight Simulator Multiplayer: United States East server. If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Please be kind enough to enter the title exactly as it stands in the title=”xxx” line of the aircraft.cfg file. Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  10. In the original posting, the address for the US Navy Groton scenery (FreakyD) was incorrect. I have fixed the posting above. Sorry. (The correct address is https://flightsim.to/file/6333/us-navy-groton-ct .) Thanks to Gunter and Jeff.
  11. Simsbury – Return from the Cape For Saturday, August 26, 2023 Today we fly “home” to Simsbury from a summer vacation on Cape Cod. While we shall take our time to see a number of lighthouses, bridges, and even a “castle” ... flying will be faster than driving on an August weekend. We need to get back from the Cape to finish work on the _____. [Please fill in the blank with: Aerostar, V-Tail, Skylane, T-6, Mustang, ...] We begin at Provincetown [KVPC] noting nearby Race Point Lighthouse [LRACE] and pass the Pilgrim Monument in the town itself. In the 19th century, Provincetown was a booming fishing and whaling port. But as that industry waned, the town started to attract artists and summer tourists. By the end of the twentieth century it had added counter-culture types as well as a substantial LBGT community. The year-round population is about 4,000 while the summer crowd can number 60,000. Cape Cod Airfield with its long and colorful history We soon reach the Highland Light [LHIGH] whose quarters have been transformed into a museum. The light was authorized by George Washington and the current lighthouse is the tallest and oldest on the Cape. We turn south along the spectacular beaches and cliffs of the Cape Code National Seashore. We can see the site of the Wellfleet Marconi Wireless Station [MARC] that in 1903 became the first US station to communicate with Europe and then with the ships at sea. (After 15 years, the beach cliffs that supported the station’s four 210ft masts were being lost to erosion and the operation was moved south to Chatham. Today the original site is largely barren.) Further on is the picturesque Nauset Light [LNASET], a restored working lighthouse. (The image is the iconic logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips.] Just beyond lies Coast Guard Beach [CGB], ranked 10th in the US by “Dr Beach”. We turn southwest to land at Chatham Municipal [KCQX]. The long-operational (1920-1995) ship-to-shore Marconi Wireless station stands a thousand yards north of the airfield. Chatham is now a tourist town whose 7,000 population more than quadruples during the season. It has a quaint downtown with summertime outdoor concerts and the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod League. (The latter is a summer baseball league for the country’s best college players.) We depart and pass the Chatham Lighthouse [LCHAT] which remains an active Coast Guard operation. Then the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and the decommissioned deep-red cast iron Monomoy Point Light [LMONO]. We land at Nantucket Memorial [KACK]. From the 17th to the 19th century, Nantucket was the heart of the American whaling industry – the main characters of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick were Nantuckers. By 1850 the industry had moved to New Bedford and Nantucket became under-developed and isolated. However, by the mid-twentieth century the island had become a summer colony for wealthy New Englanders and it remains tremendously popular today. (The average family home is more than $2.3 million.) West is Martha’s Vineyard [KMVY] – known locally as “the Vineyard.” Like Nantucket, the decline of whaling was followed by economic stagnation. And similarly, the island also became a summer colony for New England families (including famously the Kennedys). Coupled with growing tourism, the island’s prosperity continues into the present. On both Nantucket and the Vineyard, a majority of summer visitors have long ties with the island and have formed local communities of families who have known each other for years. These are summer folk. The year-round residents are less well-off and are challenged by the costs of living on the islands. We return to the mainland’s Hyannis and its airport Cape Cod Gateway Airport [KHYA]. (Before 2021, Barnstable Airport.) This is the main airport on the Cape and is the headquarters of Cape Air/Nantucket Air who operate services that connect Cape Cod with Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and all three with Boston and New York. (The fleet is comprised of 68 Cessna 402s – which are slowly being replaced with the Tecnam P2012.) Hyannis is the largest of Cape Cod’s towns and is the commercial center with an historic downtown, a major mall, and the largest hospital. It is the headquarters of Cape Cod Chips. We fly north four miles to the windswept Sandy Neck Light [LNECK]. Built in 1825, it served for more than 100 years – it was discontinued but later rebuilt and restarted in 2007. We turn southwest for 5 miles to Cape Cod Airfield [2B1], a grass strip with a long and colorful history that includes military service, flight training, a drinking club, an auto racecourse, an equestrian stable, skywriting, sail planes, hot air balloons, and the installation of a windmill office building. Nowadays it hosts local GA pilots, a flying school, and a number of vintage aircraft. We go northwest to visit the Sagamore Bridge [BSAGA[ and Bourne Bridge [BBORN] which span the Cape Cod Canal. On a Summer day, traffic will be backed up with lines of vacationers entering and leaving the Cape. One might want to provide aviation-themed entertainment for the tourists. We proceed to land at New Bedford [KEWB], just a mile north of the city. New Bedford was a successful hard-working whaling and then fishing port right through the 19th and 20th centuries. It is now facing an economic transition. We pass Newport, home to the great houses from the Gilded Age. The most famous is The Breakers, the Vanderbilt family’s 70-room “summer cottage.” And then over Beavertail Lighthouse which, since 1749, has marked the entrance to Narragansett Bay. We fly along the coast over Rhode Island and into Connecticut where we land at New London-Groton [KGON]. We turn up the Thames River to see the General Dynamics Electric Boat operation which has long been the US primary builder of submarines. We transit the railroad bridge and the I-95 bridges and, further north, we get a look at the US Navy New London Submarine Base that includes the Nautilus (now a museum) and a number of active duty submarines. We turn west and land at Goodspeed [42B] which is a beautiful little strip along the river with a view of the East Haddam Swing Bridge. We go on to the interesting little airport Chester [KNSC] which rests on a small plateau. These two charmers were given a national audience by a Matt Guthmiller video Epic Short Runway on the River. We proceed to New Haven Tweed [KHVN] which hosts a small commercial operation along with a large GA facility. Then, on departure, we fly over Yale University [YALE] , one of America’s elite education and research institutions. Then northward over inland Connecticut to look at Castle Craig [CRAIG], located on the East Peak of the Hanging Hills at 976 feet ASL. The stone tower, along with the surrounding park, was donated by a local industrialist who had travelled in Europe. We land at Robertson Field [4B8], built in 1911 and the state’s oldest airfield. It has been modernized in the 21st century and now handles helicopters and business jets along with normal private aviation. Our final destination is Simsbury Airport [4B9]. Operated by the local flying club this smallish field hosts the Simsbury Fly-In on the third Saturday each September. Originally a small country town, Simsbury is a comfortable bedroom community for metropolitan Hartford. Among the town’s successes is a small company that has recently released a simulated vintage Piper Commanche – which we celebrate with this flight. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft We need to cover about 290nm so require something that will “fast cruise” at about 150kts. All of our favorite "quick" General Aviation aircraft will handle the task. A Bonanza, C182 Skylane, C208 Caravan, Kodiak, P.149 or Piper Arrow will be just fine. (Even the light twins will do the job – but you probably do not need the extra speed.) I'll fly the A2A Piper Comanche in the N7510P livery by Tim Scharnhop. (The theme of the day indicates a Comanche, but you should fly whatever you like.) Additional Scenery These are not necessary for the flight. They do add some color and some are just excellent quality freeware scenery. Provincetown & Race Point Lighthouse [KPVC]. MazerMart Chatham [KCQX]. MazerMart Nantucket Memorial [KACK].H2Air Martha’s Vineyard [KMVY]. H2Air & ProFlight Cape Cod Gateway [KHYA]. Windhover Cape Cod Airfield & 5 Lightouses [2B1]. MazerMart New Bedford & Cape Cod Bridges [KEWB]. MazerMart Goodspeed [42B]. Rustydatsun77 Goodspeed East Haddam Swing Bridge. michaelvp Chester [KSNC]. Rustydatsun77 New Haven Tweed [KHVN]. Ghosh9691 Meriden Markham [KMMK]. Larry19447 Robertson Airfield [4B8]. Windhover Simsbury [4B9]. Larry19447 Groton City. Rustydatsun77 (OK photogrammetry. Not too large) US Navy Groton. FreakyD (Submarines including Nautilus) Temporarily, you can download a scenery package here. 1.3 GB (Large size. If you need to minimize downloads, you might focus on our final destination Simsbury [4B9]. And maybe Cape Cod Airfield [2B1} for the lighthouses.) There are good payware scenery packages for Martha’s Vineyard, Chester, and New Haven Tweed. Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 7:30 am local for August 26, 2023. We prefer real weather. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, August 26, 2023. 1800 UTC AVSIM Discord Server: https://discord.gg/K5Vy6UxWNm - AVSIM GROUP EVENTS-SAT. COM3 Microsoft Flight Simulator Multiplayer: United States East server. If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Please be kind enough to enter the title exactly as it stands in the title=”xxx” line of the aircraft.cfg file. Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  12. Andrey. Glad to hear that you are safe and continuing to work. Best wishes to you personally. Mike
  13. Thanks Bert. The file had disappeared. It is now there and the link works properly.
  14. Slovenia – Castles and the Adriatic For Saturday, August 12, 2023 We return to Slovenia to enjoy its castles. This is a small country with a rich heritage. We begin at Portorož on the Adriatic and fly inland to enjoy the many historic sites. At the end of the day, we return to the Adriatic to finish on the nearby Croatian coastal islands We leave from Portorož [LIPZ], a spa and seaside resort city. We skirt by the grand old hotels to fly over the peninsular town Piran [PIRAN] to glance at its harbor, medieval architecture, public square, and St. George’s Church. This had been an Italian town until the midcentury foibe massacres and the Istrian exodus. It is now one of Slovenia’s main tourist attractions. We turn eastward over Koper, Slovenia’s main commercial port – important for both cruise ships and container cargos. Then, running along the border with Italy and Trieste to the north, we see the ruins of Socerb Castle which stood as a clifftop fortress to command the Gulf of Trieste below. We land on the grass trip at Postojna [LJPO]. A close look at Predjama Castle in its spectacular setting Just north lies Predjama Castle. This Renaissance structure was built within a 400 ft cave mouth –making it the largest cave castle in the world. Originally of Gothic style, it was sited under the rocky stone arch to make access difficult. Its most famous occupant was Erasmus Lueger of the 15th century who, in Vienna, managed to displease the Emperor Frederick III on a matter of personal honor. He returned home, aligned with legendary Hungarian King Matthias, and began attacking Imperial estates and towns. He used the family castle as his base. Eventually, the Empire struck back and eliminated Erasmus. (During the year-long siege, Erasmus built a secret tunnel through the cave to the surface above to bring in supplies.) After the castle was destroyed, it was rebuilt and served as a residence for four hundred years. We continue on to the national capital Ljubljana to circle over the hilltop Ljubljana Castle. Originally a medieval fortress, it has since seen service as a arsenal, barracks, and prison – and now it is a museum and site for civic events. Clustered near the castle are the old streets of the city, within which are the cathedral, public market, and Congress Square. We continue northward over Ljubljana University and the Storzice Stadium sports complex before we land at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport [LJLJ], the nation’s primary international airport. Next we head southwest to Skofja Loka Castle. The medieval town and castle are well-preserved and are now seen as monuments to Slovenian culture. We turn north, passing over Brdo Castle – an estate that is now used for governmental diplomatic functions. A few minutes later, we circle over Lake Bled with its iconic island-sited Church of the Assumption and cliffside Bled Castle. This is Slovenia’s oldest castle – it is over a thousand years-old. And from the nineteenth century, this beautiful setting has been a very popular tourist attraction and remains at the top of most visitors’ lists. We land at nearby Lesce-Bled [LJBL]. (From here, experienced glider pilots can use the proximate mountain ridges for early morning thermals that allow them to fly as far away as Germany, France and Switzerland.) Climbing, we fly east over the Kamnik–Savinja Alps and the Karawanks to the easternmost peak Mount St. Ursula [URSULA] on which we can see St. Ursula Church and a mountaintop inn, not to mention the TV Tower. Great views in every direction for miles around. A quick descent brings us to Sostanj Airport [LJSO] – whose terrain mandates landing on Rwy 33 and departure on Rwy 15. We takeoff to the south, passing over the Sostanj power plant whose two new-coal-fired and two gas-turbine plants supply about one third of Slovenia’s energy. We cross over the Savinja and Šalek Valley and land at the hillside grass strip at Zagorie Ob Savi [LJZA], operated by the local aeroclub. This is a short field surrounded by high terrain – it asks for attention on landing and departure. Sensible pilots may prefer to execute a touch-and-go. Next we head east along the Sava River Valley. (Flying the gorge can be entertaining, but take care of the power lines.) The first historic site is the hilltop Sevnica Castle which was owned for centuries by the Archdiocese of Salzburg and then by many families. It fell into disrepair after WWII but has recently been resurrected as a museum. Continuing on the Sava, next is Rajhenburg Castle which has roots from the 9th century although most of the current structure dates to around 1600. It was plundered and burned by the Ottomans in 1476 and then survived peasant attacks in 1515, 1573 and 1583. To the west, along the Krka River is Otočec Castle, Slovenia’s only “island-castle.” The walls date from the 13th century and the river forms a sort of moat. Otočec Castle has been converted into a successful highly-rated luxury hotel and restaurant. Following the river, we land at Novo Mesto [LJNM], home of the local aeroclub. Note that the long wide grass runway is some distance from the hangars and clubhouse. We turn south to visit a newly-established aeroclub Metlika Airfield [LJCR], this with a shorter runway. Heading southwest, we pick up the steep valley of the Kolpa/Kupa River [KUPA] which defines the Slovenia-Croatia border in this region. We see Kostel Castle perched on top of a steep hill above the river. In the fifteenth century, a smaller castle was expanded into a formidable fortress, with thick high walls and five defensive towers. Located on a central access route, it became an important bastion against repeated Ottoman invasions. It resisted until 1578 when the garrison accepted from the Ottomans supposed refugees – who then betrayed Kostel by opening the gates that night. The Ottoman forces captured and killed the inhabitants of the castle and depopulated the surrounding region. We enter Croatia, cross over the mountains of Gorski Kotar, and descend into Grobnicko Polje Airport [LDRG]. The airfield is located next to the Autodrom Grobnik which has hosted a number of international motorcycle and auto races over the years. LDRG had been the main Rijeka airport but by the 1960s it became apparent that the local terrain made it unsuitable for large airliners and the commercial operation was moved down the coast. Currently, there are plans to enhance the facility to accommodate mid-sized charter flights into the region. A quick flight takes us down the Rjecina River Gorge past the impressive newish Rjecina Bridge to visit Trsat Castle. The castle is built on a Roman fortress and for centuries it controlled access to the town and river. Then, after being abandoned, it was rebuilt in the nineteenth century as a family residence. A minute further along is the old city of Rijeka and its busy harbor. At the turn into the 20th century, Hapsburg-governed Rijeka was a bustling multi-ethnic city of Italians, Croatians, and other nationalities. However, two world wars and decades of ethnic violence led to a loss of half its population. As Croatia’s deep-water port, it regained success in maritime transport, shipbuilding, and manufacturing. However, since the 1990s the local industry has struggled to remain competitive and the economy is in a stage of transition. We continue past the container port, a power plant and a refinery, to the double-span Krk Bridge (inspectable) and land at Rijeka Airport [LDRI] on Krk Island. This is an international airport that mainly serves seasonal charter flights connecting with northern Europe. Just to the west of the airport is a petro-chemical facility and a new Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) port and pipeline terminal. The latter started operations in 2021 and has since doubled in size – to supply Croatia and southern Central Europe with a more dependable supply of natural gas. Finally, we fly south over Krk Island (the largest and most populated Adriatic island) and past the ancient pre-Roman town of Krk. We continue over Cres Island and then on to the next island Lošinj which is a popular tourist destination for Italian, Slovenian, and German visitors – and increasingly for those from former Eastern Bloc countries. (Recently, powerful Russian oligarchs have invested in properties on the island – to the concern of locals.) We land at Lošinj [LDLO] which is a comfortable general aviation airport built in 1985 for recreational flying and now accommodates fly-in tourism including business jets. Lošinj is known for its mild climate, natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, and a low-key atmosphere ideal for unwinding after a long flight. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft We need to cover about 300nm so require something that will “fast cruise” at about 150kts. Four of the landings are on grass “aeroclub” airfields, but only LJZA will pose a challenge (and a touch-and-go would be appropriate). All of our favorite "quick" General Aviation aircraft will handle the task. A Bonanza, C182 Skylane, C208 Caravan, Kodiak, P.149 or Piper Arrow will be just fine. (Even the light twins will do the job – but you probably do not need the extra speed.) I'll fly the A2A Piper Comanche in the N7510P livery by Tim Scharnhop. Additional Scenery Portoroz [LJPZ]. Troglodytus Postojna [LIPO]. Neptune Ljubljana [LJLJ]. Spiki Lesce Bled [LJBL]. Neptune Sostanj [LJSO] and thermal power plant. Neptune Slovenj Gradec [LJSG] and Mt. St. Ursula. Neptune Novo Mesto [LJNM]. Neptune Metlika [LJCR]. Neptune Losinj [LDLO]. Filip13CRO Temporarily, you can download a scenery package here. 987 MB Two of our airports (LJZA and LDRI) are good quality additions from World Update 14. While most of our POIs are provided by WU 14, a few POIs stem from the freeware projects. And the details of Ljubljana are a product of the new photogrammetry of World Update 14. In addition, there is a highly-acclaimed payware version of Ljubljana [LJLJ] from a small Slovenian developer Scenic Routes. The quality is excellent but under-appreciated in our event. [Simmarket & MSFS Marketplace at about $17.] Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 2:00 pm local for August 12, 2023. We prefer real weather. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, August 12, 2023. 1800 UTC AVSIM Discord Server: https://discord.gg/K5Vy6UxWNm - AVSIM GROUP EVENTS-SAT. COM3 Microsoft Flight Simulator Multiplayer: United States East server. If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Please be kind enough to enter the title exactly as it stands in the title=”xxx” line of the aircraft.cfg file. Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  15. Norway’s Fjords Revisited For Saturday, August 5, 2023 We shall take advantage of the summer weather and revisit the fjords of Western Norway. We begin at Stord and fly over the rugged terrain that is streaked with stunningly beautiful fjords some of which invite up-close viewing. We end our day off the coast at historic Ålesund. Descending into the Nærøyfjord, among the world’s premier natural heritage sites We depart from Stord Sorstokken [ENSO]. Most of Norway’s airports were built in the 1970s-1980s as the government wanted to create a modern transportation infrastructure in a country of mountains and coastal islands. For many towns, this meant finding slivers of land on which they built small regional airports. It took longer to upgrade the road network – that often required new tunnels and bridges. After takeoff, we head south to “inspect” the newish twenty-year-old Stord Bridge [STORB] which is part of the Triangle Link connecting these islands to the mainland via bridges and tunnels. We cross over the mouth of the Hardangerfjord (Norway’s second largest) to visit two narrow fjords, Åkrafjorden and Sørfjorden, which skirt the Folgefonna glacier and Folgefonna National Park. We then turn into the Hardangerfjord and take a look at the Hardanger Bridge, Norway's longest suspension bridge. Just completed in 2013, the bridge is unusual in that it connects at either end two tunnels that allow the east-west highway connection from Oslo to Bergen to pass through this rugged countryside. We turn north to Voss and land at Voss Bømoen [ENBM]. This is of special interest to the AVSIM Racing Team as Voss is the home of Jan Tillung (Gazer75) who was a central member of the team in its early years. Late one night (perhaps while the baton was crossing the vast Pacific), he described the beautiful view from the top of the aerial tramway that stood over his city. Mamu’s “ski lifts” addon does a good job representing the new Voss Gondol on Mt Hangur [HNGUR] just west of the town. (Optional diversion.) This is an attractive rural area with mountains and river valleys. We fly cross-country to ease down into the spectacular Nærøyfjord [NEROY] with its narrow passage between high walls that help focus the pilot’s concentration. (One can appreciate the scene that the National Geographic Society rated, along with the Geirangerfjord, as the world’s number one natural heritage site.) We turn out into the Aurlandsfjord and then the Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. We land at Sogndal Haukåsen Airport [ENSG], perched on a ledge high above the waters below. This is a regional airport. In the 1960s, the national government adopted Widerøe’s proposal for a network of STOL airports connected to a few jet-capable primary airports. These would be cheaper to build and operate but would require substantial subsidies over time because the traffic would not pay the costs. (Currently, these subsidies are on the order of $50 - $100 per passenger.) In the end, this scheme proved beneficial to the rural populations on the coasts and allowed them to thrive. In Western Norway, five regional airports Sogndal, Førde, Florø, Sandane and Hovden were built in the early 1970s. They were originally served by DHC-6 Twin Otters, then DHC-7s, and now Dash 8-100 aircraft. Typically, these flights connect to Oslo, Bergen and Ålesund. We climb and fly over high terrain to Førde Bringeland [ENBL], some 10 miles south of the important commercial, industrial and administrative town. (The original regional airport was built in the town itself, but the site proved unsuitable and another airport had to be constructed in the 1980s.) The new airport has relatively good weather and operates a full-scale instrument landing system so critical in Norway’s climate. We proceed out to the coast to land at Florø [ENFL]. The large town has traditional strengths in fishing and in shipbuilding. In addition, since the discovery of North Sea oil, the town has been a supply base for the industry. The Florø airport is by far the busiest of the country’s regional airports. It serves a number of helicopter operations out to the North Sea oil platforms as well as an RNoAF helicopter search and rescue squadron. And it provides the petroleum industry good connections with the larger centers at Bergen and Oslo. We turn east over the high Ålfotbreen Glacier [AFBNG] to Sandane Anda [ENSD], some six miles north of Sandane town, a small commercial and administrative center. The airport straddles the Anda peninsula between the Nordfjorden and Gloppefjorden, with both runways close to steep hillsides which dive into the fjords. Just west of Runway 08 is a 1000 ft high mountain ridge which necessitates a sharp turn on final approach. To a greater degree than other regional airports, the Anda location has been plagued by severe winds and turbulence and thus has experienced frequent closures due to weather. The lengthened runway and full-time ILS system have mitigated the problem. (That said, the national government is considering a closure here for both economic and safety reasons.) Next we fly west along the Nordfjorden and turn north over the ridges and smaller fjords to reach Hovden Ørsta–Volda Airport [ENOV], midway between the towns of Ørsta and Volda. Prior to construction, people had to travel by road and ferry two-to-three hours to Ålesund in order to fly to Bergen or Oslo. The improvement almost proved short-lived as the passenger traffic from Østa and Volda proved inadequate. However, with the new twenty-first century construction of nearby road tunnels, the catchment area of the airport almost doubled. Nowadays, it is fairly busy and successful regional airport. We leave to the east, through the Sunnmøre Alps, to follow the Hjorundfjord (perhaps the most beautiful of the not-packed-with-tourists fjords) out to the North Sea. We fly low over historic Ålesund [ALSND] that not long ago was dominated by Norway’s primary fishing port. The fishing fleet remains but over the last half-century the port has come to service the North Sea oil industry and the old shipyards are now refocused on maintaining the industry’s supply-shipping fleet. In addition, the city has become a cultural and tourist center: the Hurtigruten cruise ships arrive twice a day. While scattered over several islands, this is a good-sized population center of about 67,000. Our final destination is Ålesund Vigro [ENAL], a busy international airport with jet service to cities in Norway and elsewhere in Europe. Documentation The flightplan can be found here. Aircraft We want to fly fairly low to appreciate the scale of the fjords. We need to cover about 300nm so require something that will cruise at about 150kts. Most of our favorite "quick" General Aviation aircraft will be just fine. I'll fly the A2A Piper Comanche in the N7510P livery by Tim Scharnhop. Additional Scenery Stord Sorstokken [ENSO]. Foxbat20 Trekantsambandet Bridges. Aleksander911 Voss Bomoen [ENBM]. AugustinWinther Sogndal Haukasan [ENSG]. AugustinWinther Floro [ENFL]. Jantorre Sandane Anda [ENSD]. AugustinWinther Hovden Orsta-Volda [ENOV]. frkristi Alesund Vigra [ENAL]. Artogsta Voss Bomoen is required (it is not in the default database). The rest are both recommended and optional. You can download a scenery package here. (This package includes Førde ENBL.) In addition, Orbx has good payware renditions of Alesund Vigra, Sogndal and Sadane. (If you use these, take care to avoid duplications.) Finally, you might like the excellent new photogrammetry addon for Alesund City by KenMo. (This is 2.6 GB and so is not for everyone.) Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 3:00 pm local for August 5, 2023. We prefer real weather. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, August 5, 2023. 1800 UTC AVSIM Discord Server: https://discord.gg/K5Vy6UxWNm - AVSIM GROUP EVENTS-SAT. COM3 Microsoft Flight Simulator Multiplayer: United States East server. If you want to help others enjoy the multiplayer experience, don't forget to enter your aircraft details on the multiplayer spreadsheet (linked here). Please be kind enough to enter the title exactly as it stands in the title=”xxx” line of the aircraft.cfg file. Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
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