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About MM

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  • Birthday 08/25/1948

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  1. NOTAM. New update today, Wednesday. Might take a little longer to get going.
  2. Journey to Castile. LECO-LECU. For Saturday, May 7, 2022 Michael MacKuen This afternoon we journey from A Coruña on the remote northwest coast of Spain to Madrid, the center of Castilian Spain. We shall visit the mountains of Galicia and Northern Portugal, pass over the plains of Castile and Leon, and then cross the Sierra Guadarrama to get a taste of Madrid, the country's economic and cultural capital. We begin in Galicia's most dynamic city A Coruña [LECO] and fly over the rugged country to Vigo [LEVX]. While these are the most prosperous industrial and commercial centers in Galicia, they did not begin to grow their economies until the last fifty years – after the post-Franco opening to Europe. The local terrain is such that each airport is built on high ground a fair ways from each city center. Then we fly south into Northern Portugal's main city Braga [LPBR]. The airfield hosts a flying club. More interesting, it is surrounded by the Circuito Vasco Sameiro which hosts national racing events and once held a running of the European Touring Car Cup. We take off toward the east. First we visit the small Aerodromo de Cabeceiras de Basto [LPCA]. The short 969 ft strip is perched on a mountain ridge with rising terrain on each end of the runway. For our fast aircraft, the situation indicates a (cautious) touch-and-go or (more likely) a low-pass. We proceed over the mountains to the relatively remote regional capital and its nearby airport Bragança [LPBG] which hosts regular commuter flights to Lisbon. The next leg takes us over green mountains to the dry plains of Castile. This north-central region of the peninsula was, in the Middle Ages, the powerful Kingdom that eventually united with Aragon and vanquished the Moors to create the Spanish state. (Castile, or in Spanish Castilla, is the land of the fortress castles.) We fly toward the regional capital Valladolid over a land of bountiful grain fields and vineyards. And we stop at the local General Aviation field Matilla de los Caños [LETC] which has a charming bar and restaurant. We then depart to the southeast, continuing over the agricultural lands, to stop at Fuentemilanos [LEFM], another welcoming GA airfield. (You might like a video of a Bonanza pilot visiting these fields.) On our last segment, we climb to cross over the Sierra Guadarrama and then descend to the Colmenar Viego VOR [CNR] to line up for our quick 25-mile-long excursion over central Madrid. Pick a good altitude (say 3,000-3,500 or 4,000 MSL for safety: the local ground is 2,000-2,400). Fly low-and-slow. Starting with the more prosperous north side of the city, we shall pass the Four Towers [CTBA] which are 4 of Europe's 10 tallest buildings. This is the financial district. A mile further along is the Porto de Europa [EURO] whose angled towers are worth a close look – though take care of the Caja de Madrid Obelisk. We continue to fly down the Paseo Castellanos, the long north-south tree-lined boulevard that forms the spine of central Madrid. We pass the Bernabeu [REAL], the football stadium of Real Madrid – perhaps the most successful professional football club of the last 75 years. We proceed over a number of museums, government ministries, banks, embassies, hotels and so forth. Notably, near the end we fly over the Prado [PRADO]. Featuring both the Spanish greats and many other European masters, this is one of the world's greatest art museums. Nearby are other famous art museums including the Reina Sofia [SOFIA] which houses 20th century art; it emphasizes Picasso, Dali, Miro and other Iberian artists. Here we turn west passing near Atletico's famous Calderon Stadium [CALD] (now demolished but grand in MFS) to turn north over the Royal Palace [PALAC]. The Palace is built on the site of the original fortress castle of Madrid. It now hosts state ceremonies – and is a much-visited tourist magnet. There are many sights nearby, including the Cathedral just opposite the Palace. Also the Teatro Real opera house, the Basilica de San Francisco, and the Plaza España on which stands a monument to Cervantes. We loop around to the northeast passing the massive government "New Ministries" buildings and the Natural Sciences Museum [WP1]. And then southeast to Las Ventas [TOROS] which is the largest bullfighting ring in Spain (there are two larger in the Americas) and possibly the most famous in the world. The infirmary includes two complete operating theaters. Curling back, we pass the WiZenk professional basketball arena and cross over El Retiro [RETIR], the large and beautiful city park. We then press on to complete our journey at Cuatro Vientos [LECU]. Spain's oldest airfield was opened for civilian use in the 1970s. Although the Air Force maintains a base on the north side (including a fine air museum), the field is now almost completely civilian in character. It is Spain's largest and busiest General Aviation airport. We park at the largest tower. (The smaller one nearby is decommissioned. A third, a bit to the east, has been closed and is now a museum.) Documentation The flightplan(s) can be found here. (There are two nearly identical flightplans. One has a couple more minor waypoints and more labeling for the Madrid circuit; the other is cleaner. A matter of taste.) NOTAM. The last part of the trip includes a loop over the excellent photogrammetry of Madrid. Great to see but a load on slower computers. Aircraft This is a general aviation flight of 372nm with six landings. We shall want aircraft that can "fast cruise" at 175-180kts. Perhaps a single such as the Beech Bonanza or Mooney Ovation; perhaps a light twin such as the Beech Baron or Piper Seneca. I shall choose the Cessna 414A (by Flysimware) in the current N414K livery by TiAr. Additional Scenery All the airports are in the default simulator. I recommend some excellent packages but they are not necessary. Recommended: Braga Airfield [LPBR] (SimEdge). Detail with the race circuit around the perimeter. Barganca [LPBG] (SVicente). Well rendered airport in a pretty setting. Matilla de los Canos [LETC] (AirHispania). Atmospheric local field. Fuentemilanos [LEFM] (AirHispania). Another atmospheric local field. Madrid Cuatro Vientos [LECU] AvalDesign. Lots of hand-made detail at an important airport. AirHispania Libraries. You will need these libraries for LETC and LEFM. Temporarily, you can download the entire package here. [434mb] The Beautiful Model of the World has a good payware rendition of Vigo [LEVX]. (This is available at Simmarket. But the "cost-effective" BMW membership is not presently available due to the current international crisis.) The default is pretty good. Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 3:00 pm local for May 7, 2022. We typically prefer real weather. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, May 7, 2022. 1800 UTC Where: AVSIM RTWR Teamspeak - Casual Flights Channel Teamspeak Server Address: ts.teamavsim.com 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). Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  3. Replicated at A Coruna [LECO] (336ft MSL). Exact cockpit sequence, with altitude alerter set at 2,000ft, armed, AP Roll/Pit, HDG (activates VS), then roll vertical speed. Sequence is 100, 200, 300, 400, -500, -400, -300, -200,-100, 000, 100, 200, 300, 400, -500 ... (Several other variations on this order do not seem to produce the strange result.)
  4. Thanks, David. (Would be nice to have a more elegant solution from Tiberiu.)
  5. Please, does anyone know how to "turn off" the TDS GTN? Thanks.
  6. This is a matter of taste, of course. For those simmers who prefer to seeing a runway under their wheels: you might enjoy the eye candy provided by timot75 in his portrayal of LFTH. (The joint-use airport is missing in the sim, possibly due to its military component.) See Norm's link above.
  7. Interesting. JustOkayPilot's rendering appears based on the current terminal. Odog means to capture the terminal after the long-planned improvements are completed in 2022. However, it does look like the Odog terminal is darker than ideal, perhaps due to the opaque windows. Here is an artist's rendering of what the new terminal will look like in late 2022.
  8. Josh, here's another airport for Wyoming trip. West Yellowstone KWYS, Windhover. Looks pretty good.
  9. NOTAMS. Just to get in the mood, here is a snappy tune that you can dance to. Appalachian Spring conducted by Aaron Copland. (A few minutes will do the job.) Second, the mountain forecast today is for overcast skies, 20-25kts winds, and freezing temperatures.
  10. Not to mention the White Squirrels of Brevard! 😎
  11. The Piedmont to the Blue Ridge Mountains. KRDU-24A. For Saturday, April 9, 2022 Michael MacKuen For a flight through North Carolina, we begin in the rolling hills of the Piedmont and head west to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our route takes us to see the campuses of Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest. And we see one of the first race tracks that made NASCAR famous. Once in the mountains, we shall follow a section of the splendid Blue Ridge Parkway. And we shall delight in several interesting airfields. If all goes well, we can return to Asheville and enjoy its craft breweries and NC barbecue. We begin at the TAC Air and Signature FBOs at Raleigh Durham [KRDU] airport, locally known as "RDU". The FBOs are adjacent to Rwy 23L and the apron is often jam-packed with GA aircraft, large and small. We head northwest to pass over the Research Triangle Park [RTP], the famous 1950s state-sponsored area for commercial research companies. And then we visit two world-class research universities, Duke [DUKE] and North Carolina [UNC]. Note Duke's famous Chapel and classic Gothic architecture. The campus at UNC is older and more eclectic in design. The yellow office building (marked by the waypoint) is where I work. We land at Chapel Hill Horace Williams [KIGX]. This university airport closed in 2018 but it remains largely intact. The MFS model is really very good. (Of course, KIGX will not be in an updated airport database.) Maybe we'll get some Shrimp 'n Grits for breakfast. Next we fly to Greensboro Piedmont Triad [KGSO]. This is a mid-sized commercial passenger field with a substantial GA presence. More notable are the number of aviation-related companies that have moved here. It sites the mid-Atlantic hub for Fedex at the north end of the airport. And it hosts HAECO Americas, the U.S. base for the large scale aircraft maintenance and conversion company (that originated in Hong Kong) – on the southeast side of Rwy 23L/05R. Further, KSGO is the home of HondaJet's US operations along the northeast side of Rwy 23L/05R. And it will be the location for Boom Supersonic's first full-scale manufacturing plant. Then we hop over to Winston-Salem for a low-pass over Wake Forest University [WAKE], a prestigious private university with a classic campus. Flying further west, we land at Wilkes County [KUKF]. Notably, before we land we circle over the North Wilkes Speedway [SPEED], one of the 1940s "birthplaces of NASCAR." At that time, this was real moonshine country and it spawned some very fast drivers... We then fly up into the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the greater Appalachians. The first stop is Ashe County [KGEV], a pretty hilltop airport with a comfortably long runway. Then we proceed to the popular Elk River [NC06] airport/golf resort – as special guests of the membership. The nearby mountainous terrain can be difficult to manage. But the field is frequented by light business jets and turboprop aircraft, so no real worries. The trick is to plan a careful curving approach through the valleys to land on Rwy 12. (And take off on Rwy 30.) After departing, we fly toward and then around the peaks of Grandfather Mountain [GRAND] to take a look at an extended stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway was initiated in the 1930s as a way to connect Virginia's Shenandoah National Park with North Carolina's Smokey Mountains National Park via a scenic byway. Stan Abbott, the landscape architect in charge, designed a drive with a varied tempo of mountains, ridges and valleys in an explicit attempt to create a scenic symphony ... "a rhythm of the road." Construction was largely finished in the 1960s but the final stretch, along the south face of Grandfather Mountain, was not completed until 1983. The Linn Cove Viaduct [LINN1 and LINN2] carries the Parkway along the mountainside as a "highway in the air" – essentially two miles of winding aerial superstructure that allows the route to pass along the mountain with only a minimal impact on the geologically fragile environment. We continue along the Blue Ridge Parkway, some parts of which run through gently rolling highlands and others parts are perched right on dramatic ridgelines. Near Little Switzerland, we land on Rwy 10 at Strawberry Ridge [STR]. This is a short grass field on a steep upslope and will demand careful speed management. (It has been used as a training site for pilots going to fly the hillside strips of Papua New Guinea. This sort of work will be familiar to us.) [Note that this airfield is NOT in the default MFS database. It is a real airstrip and the addon scenery is good – it looks much like the films of real-world landings there. You will want to download it.] We depart to the south and curl along a dramatic section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turning to the north into Mount Mitchell State Park, we climb up to see the visitor center near the peak. Mount Mitchell [MITCH] is the tallest mountain in eastern North America (at 6,684 ft). We proceed to land at Mountain Air Airport [2NC0], the highest runway east of the Rockies. This is a golf club with an air-minded membership. Perhaps more spicey than Elk River, Mountain Air requires special care to handle the upsloping runway built on a mountaintop setting. The community asks pilots to follow stringent safety procedures before visiting. (Here is a older 1995 instructional video, The Joy of Flying At the Top. Recommended if you have the time.) Beware of the turbulent winds and, especially, the wicked mountain downdrafts. Then south to pass over Asheville [ASHVL], a now booming city whose modern amenities reflect a tradition of mountain resorts. We shall pass over the famous Biltmore Estate [BILT], built as a summer house for George Washington Vanderbilt in the 1890s. The iconic Gilded Age mansion is the largest privately-owned house in the United States. It is now operated as a profitable museum and tourist attraction with 1.4 million visitors a year. (Hard for me to admit this, but a visit here is well worth your time.) We land at Asheville Regional [KAVL]. This is a small commercial field with lots of GA traffic. The final leg of our day heads west and up onto the Great Balsams (of the Blue Ridge Mountains). Here we again pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway, now twisting along over the high ridges with plenty of spectacular vistas. From Devil's Courthouse [DEVIL], one can see four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. We follow this stretch for about 20 miles before breaking off at the Richard Balsam Overlook [BALSM], the highest point on the Parkway. We descend into Jackson County Airport [24A]. This is a well-maintained hilltop airport that presents us with a beautiful setting at which to end our journey. Highly recommended is a return to Asheville to sample an evening of North Carolina barbecue and craft beers. (Asheville has 21 craft breweries to go along with the east coast facilities for the national brands New Belgium and Sierra Nevada.) Documentation The flightplan(s) can be found here. Alternate Routing. Included is a second "No Drama" flightplan that replaces Strawberry Ridge [STR] with Avery County [7A8]. The latter lacks the short-field challenge of Strawberry Ridge. The main geographic routing is much the same across the two flightplans. A matter of taste. Aircraft This is a general aviation flight. Its length is 296nm with nine landings. We shall want aircraft that can "fast cruise" at 150-160kts. I shall choose the Bonanza G36TN (by Asobo with Rob Young's Turbo Normalized flight model). This in a livery by Crispy136 for the (real world) N134BB. Additional Scenery Most but not all airports are in the default simulator. If nothing else, you will need to download Strawberry Ridge [STR]. Recommended: Raleigh Durham [KRDU] (GhostbusterJeffrey) and KRDU Taxi & Lighting (BaptistDeacon). These two work together to generate an "ok" freeware version of the airport with custom-made depictions of the terminals and decent "stock" portrayals of the main buildings and garages at the airport. Chapel Hill Horace Williams [KIGX] (Demant). This airport is now closed, but the scenery package provides an excellent rendition of its condition in 2015, three years before it was shut down. Greensboro Piedmont Triad [KGSO] (BaptistDeacon). Wilkes County [KUKF] (StudioCD). Note North Wilkesboro Speedway, birthplace of NASCAR. Ashe County [KGEV] (BaptistDeacon). Elk River (Banner Elk) [NC06] (Windhover). Very good custom work. Strawberry Ridge [STR] (SkyborneVisions). Some handcrafted parts. This is a real grass field but is not in the default simulator. Mountain Air (Burnsville) [2NC0] (Windhover). Very good custom work. Asheville [KAVL] (mangosprout). Started as update to current runway & taxiway locations. Now with improvements in the airside facilities. Jackson County (Sylva) [24A] (Windhover). Good custom work on small hilltop airport. Temporarily, you can download the entire package here. [471mb] There are payware airports for Raleigh-Durham KRDU, Elk River [NC06], Mountain Air [2NC0] and Asheville [KAVL]. I have the FeelThere KRDU and it is better than the freeware rendering. I'll use it because ... it is my home commercial airport. But this is not state-of-the-art work. None of the remainder are especially highly-rated. Other than KRDU, I shall be running the freeware packages. Time and Weather For takeoff on Saturday, set the simulator at 8:00 am local for April 9, 2022. We typically prefer real weather. This is a scenic flight in the mountains, so some adjustments might be required. Multiplayer Particulars Date and time: Saturday, April 9, 2022. 1800 UTC Where: AVSIM RTWR Teamspeak - Casual Flights Channel Teamspeak Server Address: ts.teamavsim.com 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). Your courtesy will save others a lot of time and effort. Thanks!
  12. Steve, this is the one from the "GotFriends" group. One of the guys, Jonx, did a freeware version earlier. But this one has been rebuilt to a reasonably high standard, along with "Got Gravel" type of improvements to the flight model. Bry gave the link above.
  13. In addition to the TDS GTNXi, the Edgley Optica can optionally use the PMS GTN750. The default is the standard GNS530. There are two versions of the PMS GTN750 and GotFriends have two addons that integrate one or the other into the Optica. PMS GNT750 Standard. https://flightsim.to/file/29699/ea-7-edgley-optica-gtn750-replacement-package PMS GTN750 WTT. https://flightsim.to/file/29660/ea-7-edgley-optica-gtn750-wtt-replacement-package Note that these two are functionally different. The main advantage of the "Standard" version of the PMS GTN750 is that it reads custom waypoints from the flightplan. This would be important if you have a flightplan that has a bunch of custom waypoints – as we commonly do in our Saturday excursions. (Or, for that matter, if we have 220 waypoints as included in one of our special Wednesday tours! 😉 )
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