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About Me

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  1. ...OK...Let me clarify right away a couple of points (1) First, it's a very (very) small country, but it's indeed a (sovereign and independent) country (2) Second, mountains are not the only things there, this small country is steeped with incredible history and rich culture (a unique amalgamation of the cultures from Italy, France, and Spain). I'm speaking of "Andorra", the "13 miles x 13 miles" landlocked country, sandwiched between France and Spain, in the thickest of the eastern Pyrenees mountains. With an average elevation over 6,500 ft, all of Andorra is truly mountainous...a mountain lover's paradise...πŸ™‚...Now, I've to travel from here 1,000 miles west to Denver to really see mountains of 10,000 ft or higher...while the highest point of my own state, near Galena, Illinois, at 1,200 ft, does not qualify...πŸ™‚...yes, just as the Wiki says, I recall it being a "gentle" hill...and..."Mound" is its befitting name...Oh well... I've heard of Andorra before, and to be honest, though I've flown over this part of the Pyrenees, especially high above "Andorra" many times, virtually of course (in the SIMs - past and present), I've never thought of looking closely into this (tiny) tract of a country. When I'd once posted about bits of my experience with the (MSFS) World Update for Spain and Portugal, I had come across the honorable and specific mention of "Andorra" in the description of that Update. So, I wished to explore the Geography of Andorra for this post. The high and beautiful peaks of Andorra, and its land dissected by (exactly) "three" Y-shaped valleys, dotted with charming villages and parishes, I read, would stun even the most seasoned travelers. However, I also read that not many travelers find their way into Andorra, and those who do, could boast about visiting a gem that most don't even know about. Andora does not have an international airport of its own, so, you go there by bus or car from either France or Spain. The primary (and nearest) serving airport, also my jumping point for this (aerial) exploration, is LESU, Andorra–La Seu d'Urgell Airport, not surprisingly (also) nestled within the mountains, but located in Spain. So, I take off from Rwy 03 of LESU, northward, (gingerly and expertly...πŸ™‚...) guiding my V-Tail Bonanza along the narrow valleys...climbing slowly and steadily upward into the dense mountains reaching elevations of 10,000 ft... sometimes feeling as if I could just reach out and touch the mountains...πŸ™‚... Please find this collection of pictures...from Andorra...a special country and place on earth...geographically, historically, and culturally... (along with these images of my trusty (V35) Bonanza that helped me discover it...) ...! Thanks for viewing...!
  2. In my previous post, I'd shown (via an ATR 72), the Delta colors of its livery previous to the current livery. Here are 10 pictures of the Delta A310 that I came across, in 2 other Delta liveries. Delta that has now a significant Airbus component in its fleet (ranging the spectrum from A220 to A350XWB), had introduced Airbus into its fold for the first time, via the A310 type. The A310 flew in Delta colors for the first time in 1991. However, this twinjet would fly for Delta for only short 4 years. Please find below: 9 pictures of Delta's "3D widget" current livery (lifting off in rain and cloud) 1 picture of Delta's classic "Dark nose" (Cheatline) original livery (shining in the morning light, on the ground) Thanks for viewing...!!
  3. I'd recently posted bits about TWA and United. The United post was about an upcoming (domestic) flight of mine where I am, as of now, scheduled to travel, to my pleasant surprise, on the (old gold) 757-300 (I didn't know United still operates the 757). I'd also noted on my post that though that would be my first 757 flight with United, I do recall having flown domestically on Delta's 757s on a few occasions. I looked up just now the 757 fleet of United and Delta. United has 61 757s in its current fleet (plus 99 historic), while Delta has 125 in its current fleet (plus 80 historic), both massive operators of the type, in the world. Anyway, United has been my major international carrier (exclusively flown on their 777s), but I've flown with Delta only domestically. Though, Delta has an extensive international network too, because of my allegiance to Star Alliance (vs. Delta's SkyTeam), I never got to fly internationally with Delta. One 757 flight of Delta, however, I especially recall, from Chicago to Atlanta (or maybe Miami) because of a curious coincidence. At the Gate, I got upgraded, in the last minute, to the Business Class. As I settled down on my comfortable seat, in the front section of a/c, being served refreshments while still on the ground, and feeling a bit guilty as I watched the economy pax (myself been a veteran of that status...πŸ™‚...) squeezing through with luggage and children in tow, a gentleman showed up and took the seat right next to mine. After we took off, we exchanged a bit of pleasant chitchat, and he was curious that I was reading an aviation magazine (it would have been likely either "Airliner" or "Airways"). We did touch on the subjects of aviation and aircraft. After we landed in our destination, just as I was saying goodbye, and "nice to meet you", he said with a smile, "Now, I need to pilot this plane from here to San Juan in a couple of hours..."...πŸ™‚...then shook my hands and walked out. So, I was talking with a Pilot of the same 757, I was on...! At least he was polite enough throughout our conversation...not pointing out any mistaken observations I might have made...πŸ™‚... Delta is the oldest operating airline in the U.S. I also recall when I flew once on one of their DC9s, and within weeks afterwards, read in the news that they would be retiring all their DC9s (Delta's last DC9 flight was on January 6, 2014; Delta was the first (and also the last) U.S. airline to fly the venerable DC9), so, I was probably on one of the last DC9s in U.S....in fact, coming to think of it, that DC9's engine noise was a bit abnormal compared to what I am used to as pax...πŸ™‚...(it sounded tired like the a/c surely looked forward to retirement...πŸ™‚...). Though Delta (Air Lines; two words) originated in Georgia, and is currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, (its main hub), it is named after the so-called "Mississippi Delta" region of the U.S. Of course, around there is also the massive Mississippi River "Delta", which I've visited in RW (and virtually here). The airline was born serving as a crop-dusting company (first such in U.S.) to become one of the 3 largest airlines in U.S. Having visited so many rivers in the MSFS lately...πŸ™‚..., and having seen many "Deltas", the so-called triangular landform near the mouth of a River, the "Delta" name has always greatly appealed to me. Delta's first ever flight, back on June 17, 1929, was from Dallas, Texas, Delta's hub till 2004, to Jackson, Mississippi. The Travel Air S-6000 took five hours to make the historic 427-miles flight, while making two 2 intermediate stops, including one for lunch (no food service on board). That was also the first ever air service between Dallas (KDFW) and Jackson (KJAN). In contrast, on the FlightAware, today, for just Thu/Fri of this week, I spotted 11+ flights between these 2 cities. Please find below this Delta ATR 72 (Delta's ATRs stopped flying in 2008) in Delta's "colors-in-motion" livery (prior to the current "3d-widget" livery), flying here between the same 2 cities. On this route, there are no snow-capped mountains...πŸ™‚...to show. So, these are basically the flatlands of Texas and the lowlands of Mississippi Bayou, the most significant landmark is the mighty Mississippi River that I've overflown on my way (the river looking "shapelessly flat" and "docile" in my shot #s 8-10). I've (RW) visited this River and the Bayou country on several occasions... (not counting my favorite Hallmark Bayou country romantics that I've also seen more than once...πŸ™‚...) ... This ATR was a delight to fly from take-off to touch-down (no blemishes found) ...certainly one of the best (MS/Asobo/Hans Hartmann) turboprop commercial planes for us virtual flyers. And, of course, many of us might also remember Hans Hartmann's "trendsetting" F1 ATR from the glory days of (FSX) SIM...πŸ™‚...I found, still around here, the Avsim post from "November 2004". The Title says, "Flight1 ATR RELEASED !!!..." (note capitalization)"...followed by "30"...Yes, thirty..."!" Exclamation marks, if I counted right...πŸ™‚...Oh well...only 20 years have passed since...for the better in our SIMs... Thanks for viewing my set of ATR pictures. Hope you enjoy. Happy flying...!
  4. In my previous post, I'd travelled the (legendary...πŸ™‚...) coast-to-coast route, symbolizing Canada's first ever Atlantic-to-Pacific (overland) flight, from Halifax to Vancouver. I had overflown (in a B748) high above, the vast (so-called) Central Plains of Canada, nearly 1,000 miles across the region west of Winnipeg, aiming myself (I mean requesting my FMS) directly to the apex of the highest of the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson. You might also recall that one of the significant segments of that coast-to-coast (original) flight was between the cities of Winnipeg and Calgary. So, once you get to Calgary, only then you would have to face the high Rockies to further west. In this (central) plains region, however, the elevation is not high (~4,000 ft or less). For example, to get an idea of the gently rising ground westward, Winnipeg (CYWG), my ORIG, is at 800 ft, Saskatoon (CYXE) in the middle is at 1,600 ft, and Calgary (CYYC), my DEST, is at 3,600 ft. For this post, I have flown here from Winnipeg to Calgary, over these plains and prairies, at ~3,000 ft. This flight reminded me strikingly of a long (virtual) flight I'd posted about, mimicking a RW drive of mine, across the Texas Plains, from Austin (elevation 500 ft) to El Paso (elevation 3,700 ft), across similarly sloping ground to the west. Now both these regions are basically flatlands, and to some extent featureless and repetitive. Nonetheless, from the Texas Plains experiment, it was clear to me that there are certainly (interesting) things you can do and places you can visit along the route (which I had done during my a RW trip), only if you're on the ground driving (vs. in the air). I am quite sure the same applies to the route I've flown here today between Winnipeg to Calgary. Now, one of the most fascinating facts about Manitoba (Winnipeg being its capital city) is that there are more than 100,000 lakes around there, including Lake Winnipeg, the largest one. As bodies of water, lakes are always great fun IRL to visit, with their simmering calm surface, a source of peaceful feelings...πŸ™‚...less boisterous than rivers and oceans, and less complex to visit on a daily basis e.g., maybe small lakes, nearabout where you live. There is one in a local park that I often visit. During these summer months, my day does not seem to be complete without catching sight of the Mama and Papa goose leading their baby geese either out of (or into) this lake...πŸ™‚...or the many colorful species of (Illinois) birds that appear, seemingly from nowhere, around these lakes (today I caught sight of a bird, red around the neck, and also red under the black wings which I noticed only when it flew away...it made my day...). Imagine having thousands of lakes around your city, so, you can visit one new one every day of your life. Anyway, having also visited all the 5 Greak Lakes up north near the Canada-U.S. border (amazing vast bodies of water that look and act like oceans), naturally I wished to fly over the lakes on my route, here, by diverting slightly northward after lifting off from Winnipeg airport. Lake Winnipeg is to the northeast of the city, and two others nearby, Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis, are to the northwest of the city (see my flightdeck closeup (MAPs) shot #7 and the shot #s 8-12, including one shot of my PC-12 and its shadow directly on top of Lake Winnipeg). BTW, I wonder why Winnipeg is not one of the Great Lakes (apparently, one reason being "Eutrophication"...a new word I learned today...πŸ™‚...). On my route, I also crossed many rivers (both Winnipeg and Calgary are situated near the confluence of rivers, and I have special affinity for such cities) e.g., here, notably the (serpentine) Assiniboine River (see shot #4) near Winnipeg, and Bow River (See shot #s 15-18) that passes by Calgary. In between, there was not much to see (shot #s 5-6) ...no mountains...πŸ™‚...except that as I was flying merrily along this monotonous terrain, the avionics of my PC-12 abruptly (rather unceremoniously) went dark on me, without a warning, and I could not recover it. That's why you see an eerily identical looking...πŸ™‚...TBM-930 (except for the PC-12's T-tail) in my later set of images, arriving in Calgary. [I wish I could say that the (stock) landmass textures, here, are well-rendered in the SIM, but it did not appear so, seemingly, inferior (in my Xbox case) e.g., to the beautiful experience I'd in the southwest England regions (also flatlands), from my many recent virtual visits there. Nonetheless, these regions around the Manitoba Lakes, would be wonderful to visit in RW. They are densely forested, which fact and other general topography, you can hopefully infer from my set of pictures below. Thanks for viewing. Hope you enjoy...!
  5. I just booked a flight with United, not online (but via a very nice UA Agent...good to talk to humans rather than computers...once in a while...πŸ™‚...), from my hometown Chicago Airport (the one in O'Hare, aka: ORD) to Orlando (MCO), to be flown in about a month's time. This is at the invitation of a local family in Florida. I would be hosted and chauffeured, so, I just need to still get a one (or two) day pass for the Disney World. I have not been there in ages, and wild rides for myself being now things of long past...maybe a leisurely stroll in the Epcot Center is what I'm most looking forward to. I have some fond memories of my decade-and-half ago visit to Epcot, such as sampling food (and brew) at the street-side cafes and kiosks, there, from countries around the world...World Cuisine...πŸ™‚...maybe not, but food was certainly better than I'd expected...Oh well...we'll see... When I settled in Chicago 25+ years ago, you might guess that FS2000 was about getting released...πŸ™‚... So, I recall routinely setting up virtual flights out of KORD in the mundane (SIM) aircraft of the day and considering myself sufficiently knowledgeable (pilotage included) about aviation. The old adage, "A little learning is a dangerous thing" perfectly applied to me...πŸ™‚...but my intentions were honest. The first thing that had struck me about KORD is the Airport ID (ORD), which stands for "Old Orchard". Indeed, O'Hare sits on an old apple orchard, and was called "Orchard Field Airport", been also the site of a former Douglas factory of WW-II military aircraft. In 1949, it took its current (O'Hare) name, by which we all know it now, but the original ID (ORD) was retained. United and O'Hare have been intertwined though history. Currently, United is headquartered in the local Willis Tower in downtown Chicago (formerly called "Sears Tower"; always liked this former name before it got renamed after the London-based insurance broker...πŸ™‚...). Today, I was looking in this Forum at vbazillio's post "Milwaukee General...Sandwich", and that's what I recall at O'Hare as a frequent traveler. Chicago is one busy airport for sure (I just read in Wiki, "As of 2023, O'Hare is considered the world's most connected airport."). Having often travelled domestically and internationally from this Hub, I would sometimes strain to look back through my cabin window (best when you're taxiing perpendicular to the runway) to catch sight of the "ducklings following the mamas"...πŸ™‚...or vice versa. How about a smaller CRJ "sandwiched" between a 777 and a 350 or even a 380...? Anyway, this post mimics my upcoming (United) flight (ORD-MCO). I see that United would give me a 737 MAX 9 for the departing leg, and believe it or not, a 757-300 for the return leg. I didn't even know United still operates the (old gem) 757s. Their (current) fleet actually shows up with 61 total 757s (40 -200s and 21 -300s). So, more than the 737 MAX, I am looking forward to experiencing the "stretched" pencil-liner (757-300), the "longest single-aisle twinjet ever built". I've flown in Delta's 757s in the past, but never with United. BTW, we really need a 757 in our SIM (instead of umpteen more 737s and 320s... with due respect for these stalwarts...πŸ™‚...) ...truly miss the 757s/767s from the past SIMS (CS: Are you listening...?). FlightAware shows the (ORD-MCO) route for yesterday's (completed) flight UAL2042 as follows: (CMSKY CARYN CYBIL PXV HITMN ACORI DEEDA GRNCH5). Now, I neither have a 737 MAX 9 nor a 757-300 in my SIM, so, I've set up a flight with a United A320 instead, (roughly) following the above (RW) route. So, here we go. Please find, below, 2 distinct liveries of United (both interesting and nostalgic): First 4 pictures of the good-looking United "Friend Ship" (note, two words) heritage (1972-1974) livery A320 lifting off from ORD, and then the rest of the pictures of the famous "Battleship Gray" (1993-1998) livery (people said, it had a "dark" and "sinister" look...πŸ™‚...but I like this one a lot), also on an A320, touching down into MCO's Runway 17R, in the dusk light... Hope you enjoy...! Thanks for viewing...!
  6. It's always lot more fascinating to be roaming (and exploring) in foreign countries, from the comfort of our virtual world. I am no stranger to digging deep into aviation themes centered in distant lands and rooted in distant memories, visited IRL or not...! Sometimes, we have maybe visited places nearby there, but wish to find more about places we never got to visit. In my pastime here, in my past SIMs, I've posted about Canadian themes and Airlines (e.g., CP Air comes distinctly to mind) and bits and pieces of their history. Here is a story, I have been meaning to do since the FSX days, but never got to it. To be honest, my (RW) exposure to the (neighbor) country up north...πŸ™‚...has been limited to regions near about the border, such as (brief or transit) visits to the cities Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal/QuΓ©bec City on the eastern side, and Vancouver/Calgary on the west. While I was recently on my TWA post and that airline's (pioneering) coast-to-coast (passenger) service, I recalled the same for Canada, the (very) first trans-Canada flight, coast-to-coast, sea-to-sea, that had occurred more than a century ago, which is equally interesting and adventurous. So, here we go. However, my set of pictures below with an Air Canada B747-8, is a merely symbolic, in the sense that it starts out Halifax and ends at Vancouver, same as that for the landmark first ever Atlantic-to-Pacific Canadian flight, back in 1920. And I have been meaning to fly the 748 for some time, since I recall the type well from RW, been likely among the first commercial travelers of the 747-8I (Intercontinental), when the launch customer Lufthansa had introduced the type on the Chicago-Frankfurt route. Lufthansa had (silently) switched its earlier 744s/340s by the 748s, and on my first encounter, I would not notice the difference until after I was seated in the cabin, and then looked into the backseat pamphlet (and observed the "-8" instead of the normal "-400" that I was expecting to see...πŸ™‚...). So, the year was 1920, but preparations for this (coast-to-coast) trip had begun much earlier, in fact, right after the end of WW-I, when the (Canadian) aviators had returned from the War, and were eager get back into the air, in peace-time missions, with whatever a/c they can get their hands on. On October 7, 1920 (note the approaching winter season up north; will play a role later), at 8am in the morning, the trip started from Halifax, Nova Scotia (located on the edge of Canada's Atlantic Coast). The aircraft chosen was a Fairey III seaplane (originally) designed for the 1919 trans-Atlantic Race. Of course, without the precious (and customary) cargo of a Mayoral letter, in this case, from the Mayor of Halifax to the Mayor of Vancouver, the flight would not be considered official...πŸ™‚... The flight ran into serious problems on the first leg itself. In turbulent weather over the Bay of Fundy, hardly 150 miles away, the Fairey's engine cowling got ripped off, striking the external fuel pump, dousing the pilot in fuel, and the a/c was damaged beyond repair. A Curtiss flying boat was called up for emergency help, and the crew took off next morning, in a F.3 flying boat, headed for Ottawa, and onwards to Sault Ste. Marie. It's heartening to note (now) that I've visited both Ottawa and Sault Ste. Marie (this latter city has 2 versions, one American and another Canadian, straddling the border, both of which I've visited). The next stops, flown in a DH.9A, would be Winnipeg and Calgary, the latter city, I've also visited, though, I wish I were aware of these facts when I had visited these places... The last leg, from Calgary to Vancouver, would prove the most difficult one, you can guess why...the formidable Canadian Rockies (the so-called Northern Rockies) standing tall on their path (see my shot #s 8-12). With approaching winter, the crew ran into heavy snowstorms and fog, and were repelled back by the Rockies, multiple times. For my flight here, while I (intentionally) looked for and flew over the highest of the Canadian Rockies, British Columbia's Mount Robson (see shot #s 9-12), in my modern 747-8...πŸ™‚..., they had to look for low-altitude mountain passes in the high Rockies of British Columbia. It took 3 different mountain passes (Rogers Pass, Eagle Pass, and Coquihalla Pass) to finally make it through the Rockies. Finally, on the morning of Oct. 17, the crew landed in Richmond, BC, after 10.5 elapsed days, 49 hours of flight time, 3,355 miles, and use of 5 different a/c. There, the crew were greeted by the Mayor of Vancouver, and the precious Mayoral letter was duly handed over. They would eventually fly on to their final (but impromptu) destination, Vancouver, BC, but not before murky weather would play a final twist by forcing them first to land in Friday Harbor, WA, briefly on the American soil. This first trans-Canada flight would be always remembered as a testament to the courage and persistence of the aviators involved, and as a significant milestone in the history of Canadian aviation, that would be the trailblazer of better things to come...in Canadian aviation... Please find this collection of images, below, as I also fly here the same ~3000 miles (though at 2X SIM rate...forced by an obligation to pick up later some life-sustaining grocery in conflict with my flight...πŸ™‚...), from Halifax International Airport (CYHZ) to Vancouver Internation Airport (CYVR), finally touching down safely on the ILS Runway 26L (see my concluding images) ...about 60 miles from where a Curtiss HS-2L had landed (actually in the township of Esquimalt at the southern tip of Vancouver Island), back on Oct. 21, 1920...thus, ending the epic (coast-to-coast) adventure flight from Halifax and Vancouver... Thanks for viewing...! Hope you enjoy...!
  7. Whenever I see a Lockheed Constellation (as in a member post here this week), or hear about this a/c, I think of one TWA Constellation I had a chance to visit, many years ago, in the Airline History Museum on the campus of the Downtown Airport in Kansas City, Missouri. This particular Constellation (an L-1049 Super Constellation) was apparently saved from imminent scrapping by the local Save-a-Connie, Inc. organization, then moved to the Museum and fully restored by the local volunteers and former TWA employees (TWA was the spirit behind and also the launch customer of the type in 1945). I'd been meaning to visit that Museum since a long time. So, one fine (very) early weekend morning...like this one...πŸ™‚..., I'd got on a trip driving the 500 miles from Chicago to Kansas City. Next morning at the museum, I was the first visitor to show up when the door opened. A former TWA Constellation Crew Member on duty turned out to be my (exclusive) guide, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable and informative visit of this aircraft (inside and outside). I had then sent a little bit of my experience about it to the "Airways" Magazine, which they published in the Reader's Correspondence Section. In the (on-line) Constellation Wiki today, you will find a bit of description about this iconic a/c, "N6937C Star of America was restored to airworthiness by the National Airline History Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. This aircraft was originally built in 1957, stored for several years, and then...restored in 1986 by the Save-a-Connie, Inc. organization..." In this forum, a while ago, pmplayer had posted a set of images of an (MSFS) TWA L-1049. I was struck by coincidence when I'd observed that was the same Constellation which was retorted in this Museum and the one, I'd visited there. Today I wished to look up that Museum on-line, and, unfortunately, found that the Museum has been closed for a year due to various factors. Obviously, the financial, regulatory, and legal logistics of moving and preserving any large aircraft (and especially bringing it to airworthiness condition) is an extremely difficult proposition, to which this iconic specimen has fallen victim to. Anyway, TWA, one of the (memorable and bygone) American airlines of yesteryears that operated for 70 years, was initially headquartered in the same Kansas City Downtown Airport (KMKC), before it moved its hub to Kansas City International Airport, and then to St. Louis. There is also the (main) TWA Museum, on the same Airport campus, that I'd a chance to visit during my trip. TWA was formed as Transcontinental & Western Air, aimed at operating routes from New York City to Los Angeles. In 1946, TWA would officially go "Trans-World" inaugurating service from New York (La Guardia) to Paris (Paris Orly). In 1950, the airline changed its name to Trans World Airlines, by which name it became known worldwide. It was founded in 1930, but its NYC->LA service had already begun a year ago in 1929. It was an interesting (plain-train) combination service. Consider these: 48-hours total time, trains by night (because planes could not be trusted at night...πŸ™‚...) and planes by day, two train rides and nine flight legs, so, 11 boardings (and 11 exits) total. The planes were Ford Trimotors of Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), an airline that would go on to help form TWA later. That (landmark) service had started in the evening of July 7, 1929, when a Pennsylvania Railroad Train left NYC's Pennsylvania Station, for an overnight trip to (my one-time home) Columbus, Ohio (I recall now my TWA 727 flights into Columbus). Then, two Ford Trimotors would be waiting at the airport, in Columbus, Ohio, to take the pax further west... My flight today mimics that famous first-leg of that pioneering coast-to-coast trip, but in the air instead, and in the comfort of a modern A318 Airbus that has no restrictions for flight during day or night...πŸ™‚...TWA had ordered 50 A318s. However, that order never materialized during the final years of its existence. Before the A318 was ready to take to the sky for the first time in 2002, TWA would be acquired by AA in 2001, and this A318 order would be cancelled. Today, as I was looking in my hangar, to fly a TWA jet, I noticed that a repainter has done me a favor by creating this (nostalgic) TWA livery on an A318, that you see below, the livery TWA had introduced in 1995, just years before it ceased to exist. Notice especially the (large) Gold Globe Logo on the front fuselage of this a/c. Hope you enjoy this collection of TWA's final Gold Globe Livery, in the form of an A318 (an a/c which came close but never got to fly for TWA), flying here, from KJFK (New York City) to KCMH (Columbus, OH)...[One very-far-up (enroute) shot of the Appalachian Mountains range included (shot #9) ...around which mountains I've done many (MSFS) VFRs recently...πŸ™‚...otherwise, the route is (mostly) over flatlands...] Thanks for viewing...!
  8. Here is another of my "Getting to know River XYZ..."...πŸ™‚...and bits of Geography Lesson via MSFS (for myself too). I am particularly curious about World Rivers that are not so well-known outside of their countries. I might have heard about them, but always curious to know a bit more. So, here we go. We all know of the famous Nile River of Africa, longest in Africa, and arguably the longest river in the world (running toe-to-toe with the other famous river, Amazon of South America). Nile may have originated near Kenya Border (Lake Victoria) with 11 countries sharing its water, but my subject, here, is the forceful and furious (Kenya's) Tana River that's wholly contained within Kenya. The other motivation for today's post is my wish to fly the (distinctive) V-Tail Beech Bonanza (I recall, I'd purchased both the PA34 Seneca and the V35 Bonanza, as Carenado's SALE items together, a long while ago, but have not got to fly the Bonanza yet). It's ironic, for those of us who have been engaged in this hobby long enough, how many times we keep purchasing the same aircraft, over and over again, often from the same developers...πŸ™‚...e.g., props (like this one) and jetliners (like 7x7/3xx). I do recall from decades ago, when Carenado was allowing its early aircraft to be included free as part of other vendor's scenery products. We now pay top $ for their aircraft...with not that many SALEs...πŸ™‚...Nonetheless, they have stuck around producing a/c that are pleasing to look at...πŸ™‚...for sure. This V-Tail Bonanza, one of my favorites, since my earliest SIM days, has frankly never looked better to me (see below, for close-up shots of it). Now, Tana River is the longest and deepest river of Kenya, and a major contributor to Kenya's sustenance (water, agriculture, hydro-energy, and ecosystem). Here is another curious fact, I found about Tana. The mouth of a River (where the river meets the sea) is typically dictated by the river itself and natural processes. In Tana's case, however, more than a century ago, humans had created a canal on Tana, for containing its natural flow and using it for navigation. The flooded river, instead, cut through to the canal, and found an easier way to the Indian Ocean using the same man-made canal. So, currently, Tana's main course into its mouth is an artificial one, rather than the complex (natural) system of channels and distributaries of its former mouth (which still exists today). See my concluding images of the river's merger with Indian Ocean, and you'll see how there seems to be just one mainstream flow emptying into the sea, radically different from that of e.g. Mississippi or Po, that I'd shown before here. Tana originates in the mountainous range from an elevation of ~11,000 ft, ~85 miles north of Nairobi, near about the region of Mount Kenya (which has named the country after it and is the 2nd highest peak in Africa after Kilimanjaro). The river would then flow for 1,000 kms through Kenya's coastal plains meandering its way to the Indian Ocean. Lately, the river has been running rampant, causing havoc and devastation in Kenya townships. Kenya has two rainy seasons, the major one in Mar-May (about now), and another minor one in Oct-Dec. There are 5 (large) dams constructed along Tana River, and while humans try to contain and leverage the river's power this way, Tana, in recent weeks (and months), fed by torrential rainfall, is bursting through its banks, overflowing multiple of these dams, creating flashfloods and landslides... Here, I explore the (peaceful) sites of Tana's origin and dissolution. First, I've taken the short flight from Nairobi (HKJK) to the river's source in the Aberdare Mountains (until I've spotted its thin trickle emerging from these highland forests, see shot #s 8-12). Next, I've taken off from Mombasa (HKMO), traversing, as the crow flies, the 120 miles, most of it over Indian Ocean, to the mouth of Tana River. See my last 7 pictures, as the Sun is rising in the east, off the Indian Ocean, behind my back, and I've reached the confluence of this river and the sea, and then I'm heading inland up the (single and broad) stream of Tana River... In the final 3 images, my a/c is exactly aligned with the course of the river, with the moon above me...πŸ™‚..., and Tana below. The metallic skin of my (V-Tail) Bonanza is glowing in this morning light...of this speedster a/c that had defined beauty and class more than 50 years ago, its follies and troubles of the 80s, now almost forgotten... Thanks for viewing. Hope you enjoy...!
  9. [This post is partially triggered by Bernd's post about Bella Bella and Port Hardy.] Now, please raise your hands if you like mountains...πŸ™‚...? OK, it is (perfectly) fine if you don't, but I am going to tell you about a mountain curiously named "Stupendous", so, please read on, if you're interested. First, however, I must say that my only (and limited) RW experience with Pacific Northwest (PNW), includes 2 visits to Seattle and a road-trip from Seattle to Vancouver via (a traffic-ridden and congested) Interstate Highway 5 on a (rainy) weekend, plus a day around Vancouver Island, hardly enough time to appreciate the splendor of this region. Maybe, instead of the roadway, I should have tried the ferry service, or even better, the luxurious (air) transport in Bernd's 6-engined (over-sized) flying boat...πŸ™‚... Anyway, the two Bellas of my post here are (1) Bella Bella and (2) Bella Coola. I've lifted off, in my trusty DHC2 Beaver, from the airport (CBBC) in the island village of Bella Bella on the Pacific Coast, flying east (Note: Bernd flew south.) for ~75 miles towards Bella Coola (CYBD), tracking the narrow (and wonderfully scenic) Bella Coola River valley (see my images below). I've not landed in Bella Coola, but instead, have flown on, with Bella Coola River as my companion and guide, to near (and past) Stupendous Mountain towering 9,000 ft above the Bella Coola Valley. BTW, it's around this mountain that Bella Coola River gets its name, been formed by the confluence of two other rivers. It's also the Stupendous Mountain that nurtures Bella Coola River's flow, via (abundant) rainfall runoff and glacier meltwater, from its precipitous sides. About Stupendous Mountain, the original discoverer, (Sir) Alexander Mackenzie, had said more than 2 centuries ago, "Before us appeared a stupendous mountain, whose snow-clad summit was lost in the clouds". Yes, this is exactly how the majestic mountain appeared today to me too...πŸ™‚...in my virtual world. The first ascent of this mountain, in 1937, was by the Munday family of three (Canadian mountaineer Phyllis, her husband Don, and their 16-year-old daughter Edith). It's worth repeating this bit about Phyllis and Don, "Phyllis, born in Sri Lanka, and having moved to BC in 1901, met her future husband in 1918, while on a mountaineering trip...Don lost his footing on a glacial moraine, and was in danger of slipping into a crevasse. Phyllis jumped to help him restore his balance, and in so doing lost hers. Don managed to grab and steady her until she could regain her feet...They married in February 1920, spending their honeymoon in a mountain cabin in Vancouver..." ...And they lived happily ever after...OK...the last bit is my (extra) touch...πŸ™‚...But, indeed, does it not sound better than any fictional (thriller) from Hollywood...? So, here we go. Please find this collection of images from my trip today in the cradle of the coastal region of beautiful British Columbia, and most of all, from around Bella Coola River and Bella Coola valley, a favorite destination of naturalists, artists, photographers, and virtual flyers...like yours truly. This particular PNW region has been my favorite since Orbx introduced PNW to us for the first time, nearly a decade-and-half ago. Today, I found a (surviving) 2010 post (not mine but from an excited member) right here in our Avsim Forum, as follows, "WOW!!! The PNW is my stomping grounds and I have to say this looks incredible. I'm in FS9, but I'll be making the transition to FSX within next 2 weeks (waiting on my computer to arrive) and this will be one of the first add-ons I purchase..."...πŸ™‚...Well...you can change a couple of words in this statement, and it could apply pretty well to us even today, I believe...πŸ™‚... Hope you enjoy these images below, including 3 images of Stupendous Mountain (shot #s 13-15), as I gingerly pass by it...in awe myself...! Thanks for viewing...!
  10. A while ago, while updating my SIM for the World Update with Italy, I had noticed, in the description, an honorable mention of "Malta" (island) scenery been also offered some attention in the same Update. And, lately, I've been roaming over all these (pretty) islands (actually more correctly "archipelagos" which are geographically quite appealing too). The Isles of Scilly certainly comes to mind, consisting of 5 or 6 main islands and numerous (around 140) mostly nameless (unhabitable) rocky outlets...which all together give a distinctive charm to that place, located at the southernmost corner of the greater archipelago that is UK and Great Britain....πŸ™‚...Anyway, I was reminded of Malta today... The island country Malta is also an archipelago, located strategically on the Mediterranean Sea between Europe (Italy) and Africa (Tunisia), both of these latter regions, I've recently explored in the SIM. The Maltese archipelago has a total of exactly 5 islands (out of which Malta and Gozo are the main two, which I've thoroughly toured, interior lands and coastlines, see images below). Then there are two miniscule islands (not name-less but un-inhabited). One of them, Cominotto, which I've simply overflown, is supposedly accessible, I read, for visits as follows, "One popular option to reach this secluded paradise, part of the famous Blue Lagoon, is to take a ferry to the Blue Lagoon and then swim across to Cominotto. However, one must be aware that it could be risky because there are high underwater currents around here... (I see...πŸ™‚...) ...another option is to rent a private charter boat..."...hmm.... this sounds preferable (and more convenient) ...πŸ™‚... Malta island with ~100 sq miles of area and dense population (imagine half-a-million people in a (10 miles x 10 miles) area), is an extremely interesting urban complex infused with rich history, beautiful beaches and colorful landscapes. Though lacking in (extensive) green vegetations and rolling pastures (that I've seen in my recent (virtual) visits to other islands), I was especially struck, here, by the rosy and red hues of its topography and topsoil (many images below). So, here we go as I travel in my (likeable) V-Tail Bonanza personal transport, lifting off northward from Malta International Airport (LMML), for this island tour, and eventually reverting back to the same airport for a landing on its southward Runway 13. Thanks for viewing...! Hope you enjoy...!
  11. OK, I've been hanging around Southwest England a lot lately as a (non-local) awestruck tourist...for several days...discovering the beauty of mountain-less land...πŸ™‚...and prodding a few others here (local and non-local) to do the same....πŸ™‚...I've visited Channel Islands, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall Coast and Newquay Airport...etc... So, before, I finally head back across the 7 Seas to Illinois, USA, I thought I would pay a visit to Lizard Point (also in Cornwall, and often called just "Lizard" by the natives...πŸ™‚...), which is the most southerly point of mainland Great Britain, of course, losing the absolute (southernmost) title by a whisker (only by 4 miles of Celtic Sea) to St Agnes of the Scilly Isles, which I've also visited... Previously, on my way from St Mary's Airport (EGHE) to Newquay Airport (EGHQ), I'd vertically crossed the southernmost coastline of (mainland) England, and, here, I travel horizontally, from West to East, skirting the same coastline, from Land's End Airport (EGHC), all the way to Lizard Point (see my MFD Map shot #2, below, for relative positions of these two locales, across a distance of only about 25 miles). There is no airport at Lizard, the nearest airport being Land's End where I've started from... Of interest and note: Land's End, my ORIG, is the most westerly point of mainland England, again, losing the absolute (westernmost) title narrowly to Corrachadh MΓ²r in the Scottish Highland (by a margin of just about 20 miles). I was reading further a bit: Which is better, the Lizard Point or Land's End...? Lizard Point has just a car park, couple of shops/eateries and the nearby village (Lizard village is half-mile north of the Lizard Point overlook). On the other hand, it says, Land's End has been bought and turned into a sort of theme park. So, the Lizard definitely fits my bill better...πŸ™‚...my younger days of fascination with crowded Theme Parks being things of the past now...πŸ™‚...Well...Nonetheless, both Land's End and Lizard Point are special corners of the Earth. As someone said here, the next stop west across the vast Atlantic Ocean, 2,000+ miles away, is Newfoundland...! So, here we go...please find a collection of 20 pictures, as I fly eastward from Land's End to Lizard Point along the coast (and the cliffs), at altitudes (varying between 500 ft to 2,000 ft) with the setting sun behind me, and in the comfort of my (favorite tourer twin) Dornier 62...πŸ™‚...In my last 4 screenshots except the last one, I've reached Lizard Point (and overhead of it), as also seen on the MFD Map. In the final image, I'm (reluctantly) turning my a/c backwards to trace my route (back) to Land's End airport...with no place to put my aircraft down around there in Lizard... Thanks for viewing. Hope you enjoy.
  12. I have been always fond of the colorful Air Jamaica livery and found this A310 repaint lurking in my hangar. So, I felt like lifting it up today, one more time, for its own old times' sake, into the blue skies, above the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, that it was once so familiar with. I've lifted off Rwy 25 of MKJS (Sangster International Airport; one time Hub of Air Jamaica) and have taken a short loop over the city of Montego Bay, skirting the northern coastlines of Jamaica island. I've finally landed back on Rwy 07. Jamaica's culture was historically heavily influenced by Spanish colonization, and you will notice the print "Spirit of Spanish Town" on both LHS and RHS chins of this aircraft. [The shown Reg. (6Y-JAB) A310-324 had actually started its life with Delta Air Lines, served with Air Jamaica for 5 years, and ended its life with PIA Pakistan International.] Thanks for viewing...! Hope you enjoy...!
  13. This is a follow-up to my previous post on the Isles of Scilly. As I'd mentioned there, I was barely able to take off St Mary's Airport (EHGE)...with a bit of daredevilry that is not well-advised for this Douglas behemoth...πŸ™‚...I don't have yet that STOL capable, sturdy, nimble, and reliable BN-2 at my disposal, which is really the aircraft that is suitable for commuting in these miniscule islands (true in RW too, btw). Anyway, having thoroughly toured the 5 main islands and immensely enjoying the beauty of this place, it dawned on me that I better find a place to land next... (having ruled out the NDB approach back to St. Mary's short runway due to pilot's lack of confidence...πŸ™‚...). So, here, I've headed out, across the sea, towards the mainland with my mind (initially) set for the Land's End Airport (EGHC). Land's End is only about 30 (flying) miles from St Mary's, and I can surely handle it...I thought.... See my 2nd image below, from the cockpit, where I start out by flying over (and bidding fond farewell to) the fast receding "islets" of Scilly, while pondering at the same time, about this disjointed land that was once all together...in the ancient times...12,000 years ago...πŸ™‚...Well...then a change of plan while enroute...!! As the DC-3's (minimal) GPS was (reliably) tracking its route to EGHC, myself imbibing a soothing beverage of my preference...πŸ™‚..., I looked up this EGHC airport some more. I knew beforehand that it has ~2,500 ft runways. However, first of all, I couldn't motivate myself today to tackle an RNAV approach with this DC-3 and its most rudimentary (and a bit finicky too, if you ask me) avionics suite (I'm using here the (stock) Asobo version, un-modded). I perused bits more of on-line discussions about this airport in a British Forum, which outlined the "good", "bad", and "ugly" features of the airport (see below) ...hmm...somehow, I'm reminded, here, of Clint Eastwoods's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"...πŸ™‚...must have watched it at least 3+ times.... Anyway, about EGHC: [The Good] A former VFR-only airport getting IFR procedures is rare and always a good thing. [The Bad] It seems they will charge you (not a concern for me), but the approach will take the aircraft over water and out of glide for quite a bit of time (a valid concern for me). [The Ugly] A truckload of UK-type (can't say the prohibited word here, but it starts with "bull" and has 4 more letters...and spoken like a true British (or even an American), I took this bit seriously here...πŸ™‚...) ...essentially it said that the new IFR procedures at EGHC come with many restrictions and dos and don'ts etc. Thus, dissuaded from EGHC, as I (frantically) looked for an alternative airport, preferably with an ILS approach where I can easily guide my DC-3 down with LOC/GS guidance, I found the Cornwall Airport Newquay (EGHQ) just 35 miles further up along the (Cornish) coastline. I then directed my DC-3 towards Newquay's ILS Runway 30 (see my approach and landing images below). In my 4th shot, below, you'll see me making Landfall near Land's End (the words here have a nice rhythm to it...πŸ™‚...) ...against the rugged coastlines. Land's End is the most westerly point of mainland England, but not the westernmost point of mainland Great Britain, as this title is narrowly taken by a site in the Scottish Highlands. However, the topography of Land's End region is quite striking indeed, with rocky cliffs, rough seas, and delicate pastures and farmlands...all these elements combining together to give this region remarkable (natural) beauty (see my images, shot #s 5-14, aided by decent MSFS rendition, as I overfly this (mountain-free) region in a relaxed manner soaking in the ambience and beauty of this short passage, on my way to Newquay)... Hope you enjoy this collection of images from my trip...! Thanks for viewing...!
  14. First of all, the monumental feat of airmanship while landing the (massive) C-17 on Scilly Isles' EGHE Runway...πŸ™‚...see Andy's post...should be something to seriously reckon with...πŸ™‚... Andy says it took several attempts, but surely, he has nailed it on his final attempt. And, if one can do it once, one will probably be able to repeat it without as much difficulty...being already familiar with the terrain and approach features of this unique airport. Anyway, after viewing that post I felt encouraged to try, for myself, a landing into the other (north) Runway of EGHE (Andy had landed on the west Rwy 27; see the overhead image below (shot #3) of the crisscrossing (09/27 and 14/32) runways). I noticed that Rwy 32 of EGHE allows for an NDB approach. Now, it has been more than 10 years since I last accomplished an NDB approach in the SIM (you see, these are the days of GPS, FMS and EFB...anything less (such as VOR/NDB Navigation) is tantamount to stone age (aviation) technology...πŸ™‚...because these are now obsolete...) ...Moreover, in MSFS, I didn't have a good idea about how to set up for an NDB Approach. Some research indicated that the G1000 allows for tuning to the desired NDB frequency (for St Mary's EGHE Rwy 32, the NDB (ID = STM) frequency is "321.0"). Once tuned, the HSI on the PFD (indeed) displayed the blue ADF Needle with the top arrow "always" pointing towards the NDB ground station (see my 2nd shot, below, where the PFD shows the ADF needle and the MFD shows the NDB station). The published radial to (EGHE) Rwy 32 NDB Approach is "324" degrees. So, if the nose of the aircraft is aligned to 324 degrees, with the blue (top) arrow of the ADF needle pointing straight ahead...then the aircraft is on track towards the threshold of the destination runway. Frankly, I found it a bit tricky...being not used to it..., but it all eventually did work out well enough to make a smooth touchdown on the first attempt (see my landing images). So, please find 20 pictures, as I've lifted off Rwy 14, in the opposite direction, climbed to 1,500 ft, proceeded out over the sea for 10 nms, and then made a U-turn backwards to track the NDB signal of the HSI, while aligning the a/c to 324 degrees heading. I certainly need more practice with such procedures in MSFS, but it was good fun overall, especially approaching (and landing) into such a picturesque (island) airport. Of course, I have preferred to test this procedure with my trusty (and meek) Cessna Skyhawk, but the C-17 (or the C-130) would be the farthest things on my mind for this exercise...πŸ™‚... Thanks for viewing this collection of images from this simple experiment...! Hope you enjoy...!
  15. OK, here is another "Bliss" themed post of mine...πŸ™‚...I recall the last one was "40 miles of Bliss" in a SAS DC-3 over Sweden's hills and pastures, and here it is "20 miles of Bliss" (but no less "blissful") over the beautiful waters of English Channel, flying between two of the major Channel Islands, in a modern TBM-930 turboprop, in the colors of Aurigny Air. Now, locally around Chicago, as the temperatures are warming up for Spring, and the trees are beginning to blossom with delightful flowers and leaves, the birds (and the squirrels) can be easily spotted frolicking around, having emerged out of their long winter hibernation. Yesterday, I noticed an unusual (red-and-yellow colored) bird sitting steady on the tree, and today, while perusing my a/c liveries, I came across the "Puffin" bird...πŸ™‚...If you were to ask me what livery (and logo), I vividly recall from the earliest days of my involvement in this hobby, it would be that of the bright yellow Aurigny Air airplanes, with the (hard-to-forget) Puffin bird image on the tail of their a/c. I am sure all of us have flown, in past SIMs, the BN-2 Islanders and the BN-2 Trislanders, of Aurigny Air (I recall having mastered, I thought, that KLN-90B GPS on the avionics suite of these a/c SIMs along with that tiny moving map...πŸ™‚...) ... Aurigny, the flag-carrier airline of Guernsey (more correctly "Bailiwick of Guernsey"), was among the first operators of the BN2 types, and, in fact, had first introduced the BN-2 a/c over the exact same (short) route (from Alderney (EGJA) to Guernsey (EGJB)), that I'm flying here today. However, for this post, I'm flying in the (better) comfort of a modern TBM-930...πŸ™‚...and no KLN 90 GPS here either, but advanced Garmin Avionics instead... (the livery is fictional because, though Aurigny has since moved on to modern a/c types such as the ATR and Embraer, it doesn't have any TBM in its fleet). Nonetheless, I'm thankful to the repainter for this livery of my affection and nostalgia. I was reading today about this Puffin bird a bit more, "The species have a stocky build, and large beaks that get brightly colored during the breeding season. Their short wings are perfectly adapted for swimming with an intricate flying technique underwater (incredible divers that they are...they can reach depths up to 300 feet in less than 30 secs, while looking for food, their (specially designed) wings pushing forcefully against the water enabling them to swim as fast as 10 miles per hour). Moreover, in the air, they beat their wings rapidly (up to 400 times per minute) flying low over the ocean's surface, in swift flight.... (So, the Puffin birds are amazing specimens of amphibian aviation indeed...πŸ™‚...) ..." Anyway, please find a set of images, as I return near the Normandy Coast that I'd once visited in one of my previous posts, but this time, further into the English Channel, for a flight between Alderney and Guernsey. Right after lift-off and gears-up, I've activated [Dir-To] towards the IAF of ILS/DME Rwy 27 of EGJB (EGJB has a (scenic) seaside 4,800 ft Rwy suitable for most of your aircraft except the big jets...see my approach and landing shots). I've also included a few other images of Guernsey in and around the airport and the island...only 24 sq. miles in area, but it surely packs a punch as a really wonderful place of gorgeous beaches, breathtaking cliffs, and most of all, one can see both sunrise and sunset off the English Channel, on this island (see my images). I also did spot small roads and foot-trails leading to many overlooks to enjoy the magnificent views... (So, it's time to rent one of those picturesque cottages, take out my stowed-away (and folded) Electric Bike from my TBM-930, and head out to one of those seaside corners...looking for those Puffin birds diving deep into the waters nearby...πŸ™‚... getting carried away a bit by the (virtual) beauty of the place...πŸ™‚...Oh well...). In my last image, I've left you with a close-up shot of my TBM-930 tail showing the (logo) artwork of this amazing little bird... Thanks for viewing. Hope you enjoy...!
  16. This post is triggered, by a member suggestion, on my Channel Islands (Aurigny Air) post, to also explore the (charming) Isles of Scilly, just about 40 miles (south and west) of (England's) Land's End. It's to be noted that Lizard Point maybe the most southerly point in mainland Great Britain, but it's St Agnes Island of the Isles of Scilly (which we're visiting today) is the southernmost part of England and the entire United Kingdom, edging out Lizard's Point by barely about 4 miles of oceanic water, further southward. Isles of Scilly, the geography of which I've now a fairly good idea, thanks to the member suggestion, has 5 main islands (see my (superposed) VFR MAP in the on-ground image (shot #1) below, sorry, no nice G1000/G3000 MFD Map here, because I'm flying the DC-3...πŸ™‚...). Out of the 5 main (inhabited) islands, St Agnes is the southernmost on my MAP, and St Mary's (EGHE) is the one with a long enough runway (~2,000 ft). I could barely lift off with my (cumbersome) DC-3 from that runway...so please be aware that this is done by a (non)-professional pilot in a closed (home)-course and is not recommended for RW scenario...πŸ™‚...I have then travelled clockwise in a circle overflying the 5 main islands seen on my VFR MAP. In the Isle of Scilly, there are very few cars...the few belong to the residents. So, intra-island, one uses Bikes, and Electric Bikes (my choice in Guernsey Island...πŸ™‚...), and inter-island, one uses ferry, helicopters, or DHC-6s and BN-2s. From my visit here, what struck me most, are these "islets" (tiny "usually unnamed" pieces of uninhabitable land; see my images) defiantly sticking above the oceanic waters, strewn all around this area (there are 140 such islets in the Isles of Scilly). In fact, Isles of Scilly was once, ~12,000 years ago, part of the mainland England but got detached and then engulfed by the Ocean, which fact is quite evident by occurrence of these trace "islets" that I would observe (later) on my path while heading towards the mainland (Land's End) ...that trip to be in my Part II Post. Please find 20 images below where I've (thoroughly) explored, from above, the unique moods and the splendid beauty of the Isles of Scilly...so near the mainland, yet they seem so pristinely isolated in the endless waters of the Celtic Sea and the wider Atlantic Ocean. Scilly islands (together) may be just one-fourth the area of Guernsey (island) of my previous post, but these islands are equally beautiful and even more interesting in their (cumulative) topographical appeal... Hope you enjoy this collection of pictures from my tour...! [Note: I had actually wished to fly the British Caledonian (BCal) DC-3 for this post, but instead preferred to use a DC-3 equipped with GPS/Autopilot (to reduce pilot workload...πŸ™‚...of this intensive tour), so, I've opted for British United Airways (BUA). Coincidentally, I learned later that BUA, that operated for only 10 years between 1960-1970, would be later bought out by Caledonian Airways to eventually form British Caledonian (BCal)... (I'm fond of these airlines affectionately known as the "Callys".... maybe because of that (Scottish) Rampant Lion logo...complete with protruding tongue and extended claws...πŸ™‚...none on this BUA livery though...still, if you ask me, the (blue-nosed and cheat-lined) BUA DC-3 looks good here...) ...] Please expect to see the images of my concluding portion of the trip from the Isles of Scilly to the Mainland...in my next post... Thanks for viewing...!
  17. This is a topic that has been in mind for some time. While exploring the Apennine Mountain ranges of Italy in the SIM, I'd come across the Po River. Then, in a recent post when I flew the A318 from Lyon to Marseille, south, along the Rhone River valley, it occurred to me that the Po river is also flowing, just across (and over) the Alps...πŸ™‚...on my port side window, originating from the Italian side of the Alps, through the expansive Po Valley, named after it, on its way to its merger with Adriatic Sea, just south of Venice. Rivers always fascinate me...in the real world or in virtual world. When crossing river bridges during road trips, especially during summer months, when I see dry and arid riverbeds of scattered rocks, gravel, and broken tree limbs, I also think how in the rainy season the same bed would be overflowing with water. During one of my longest road trips from Chicago to New Orleans, the Interstate 55 bridge that crosses the mighty Mississippi River near Memphis comes to mind now. A while ago, I'd done a post about the "Brahmaputra River" of the Himalayan origin. I was reading today, due to global climate change, it's now flowing near dry in many places, unthinkable for a river that is known for its astounding flow causing massive floods in its valley during the monsoon months due to seasonal melting of the Himalayan glaciers compounded by torrential rainfall of the north-eastern parts of India. I read about Italy's longest river, the Po, "The Po River drought in 2022 was the worst of the last 2 centuries, most probably triggered by global warming...", with images of an almost dry Po passing through the city of Turin. One of the important Italian cities on the river's course, Turin, is where I've headed for my flight, today, as I then seek out the high altitudes of the Italian Alps, further west, where the river is born. I also read somewhere, "You need to understand the Po to understand Italy....The Po is part of the national psyche." It is the silent witness to Roman history and is even associated with Greek mythology. As I've traversed (virtually) almost its entire course from its origin at Pian del Re of Monte Viso, to the Adriatic Sea (see my images below), the most significant thing that struck me is that it's a playful river, changing its course arbitrarily...and whimsically...with scant respect for the laws of nature...πŸ™‚...also known for often flooding its banks. After it emerges out of the Italian Alps, 30 miles south of Turin, it makes a sharp 90 degrees turn up north, towards the plains, as if already sensing the obstacles of the Apennines of Genoa (still far) but straight ahead. Just north of Turin, it would make another 90 degrees turn heading now eastward, with its mind set all the way towards Venice, its path free from any more mountains, but in the cradle of the two distinct mountain ranges, the Alps on the north and the Apennines on the south. So, here we go, as I start off from Bologna (LIPE), head north to first meet up with Po, then follow it along westward to Turin (LIMF), and then venture up into the Italian Alps (which is not for the faint-of-heart...πŸ™‚...see my shot #s 16-18) ...to find the origin of Po (see shot # 18, for its originating (source) trickle). Of course, tracking this river's journey would be incomplete without a visit also to its delta and mingling point with the Sea. In my last 2 images, I leave you (and myself) suspended in twilight, above the river and its many gleefully branching-out channels, as the river's 400+ miles journey has finally come to an end, as it (seemingly with a sigh of relief...πŸ™‚...) dissolves itself into oblivion, in the endless waters of the Adriatic Sea (and Mediterranean Sea). Thanks for viewing...!
  18. Today, as I opened my Xbox, I caught this Southwest Germany (City) Update glaring me on the face (first item on "FREE" list), with a "NEW" (yellow) sticker on it. Been always interested in Germany scenery (since the Orbx days of Germany South and North, that comes to mind readily), I quickly installed it and gave it a trial... Making use of 2 Cities specifically mentioned in this Update, I've set up a flight, here, from the eastern side of the "Black Forest" of Southwest Germany (someone here is less than 2 hours' drive away from it...πŸ™‚...), from Stuttgart (EDDS), over and across the fascinating "Black Forest" region (named so, because of the dark-green tress, but there are mountains too, see shot #s 5-8), into the wide valley of Rhine River (see shot #s 9-11), to the city of Strasbourg (LFST) in France just across the German-French border. Past this valley, on its western side, is the magnificent Vosges range of mountains that called me...πŸ™‚.... So, before finally landing in Strasbourg, I could not resist meandering a bit into the thick of the Vosges Mountains, which paid good dividends. These mountains seemed very pretty (see shot #s 12-17), especially because I am fond of such (low-level) mountains of <5,000 ft elevation. These mountains with the narrow (green) valleys and hamlets within, reminded me a bit of the Sion Valley of Switzerland (with the Rhone River there), only that, here, these mountains are not as tall...but certainly no less picturesque. See my Garmin MFD image (shot #3) to notice position of EDDS (Stuttgart) with respect to the 2 Yellow/Brown (color) patches indicative of Black Forest at the bottom of MAP, and the Vosges range at the top, separated by the green colored Rhine River valley, in which you may also spot the (thin) blue ribbon of the (famed) river flowing along the valley, serving as the border between the two countries (I've also included a close external image of Rhine river, below, see shot #10). Here is a river, that flows northward, not uncommon, but I always find peculiar. It would flow north out of Germany eventually into Netherlands, and then westward into the North Sea. Quick impression: Beautiful scenery all around and unique terrain features (so, it must be convincingly likewise in RW too). However, in my (Xbox) SIM, I constantly found the (delayed) rendering of the distant mountains a bit disconcerting. Of course, as I approached near, the mountains got rendered reasonably well...So, I'm not sure, if it's due to the nature of scenery, server issue, or just something inherent in my Xbox system... Anyway, it was good fun exploring this region (which I don't recall having done ever before in the SIM). Please find 20 images from my flight today. Thanks for viewing. Hope you enjoy.
  19. How about...if I pilot you today from Hongkong to Bangkok in utmost luxury...πŸ™‚...? No, I don't mean in the (cramped) space of that Cessna Citation Longitude (lingering) in our hangar. Here, I mean, in a full-size aircraft...one that's one-and-half times longer in size than the Longitude, with two powerful (commercial grade) CFM56 Engines capable of delivering 3 times the Thrust, same (0.80+) Mach Speed and a range of up to 5,000 miles...an a/c that could transport you, point-to-point, anywhere on the Globe...πŸ™‚...Oh well...this all sounds like bit of a sales-pitch, but it's not, because these are all facts. However, being a serious simmer, that you're, you'll surely overlook the virtual part of the (actual) transportation. And I left the best part for last. We'll also take a look at the interior of our aircraft (ample pictures included below). LVFR has simulated specifically the A318CJ 'Elite' version, and I read, "This aircraft's private interior is made with the blueprints of a real A318CJ 'Elite.'" So, please examine the interior cabin images, below, and judge for yourself. It looks impressive indeed except, maybe, for the plasticine characters (word borrowed and learned from andy1252...πŸ™‚...). Recently, my teenager was asking...why his Xbox "Games" characters look so vividly real (and life-like) while my MSFS characters (typically) look so questionable...with such minimal mime-like motions...πŸ™‚...there must be a good answer, but I wonder why it's not possible to fix it. When I see our (virtual) crew members (or pax) in the SIM, I'm still (sometimes) reminded of that "Otto" (balloon) character from the movie "Airplane". Anyway, things here are improving for us...I think... So, this typical A318CJ (CJ = (Airbus) Corporate Jet, the likewise Boeing's term is BBJ = "Boeing Business Jet"), has the following cabin sections: Fwd Cabin: Entourage Lounge (I liked this section the best, see the last image of my set of interior screenshots, though I would have preferred the latest issue of "PC Pilot"...πŸ™‚...rather than the "Digital Camera" magazine on the desk) Mid Cabin: VIP Dining Area and Lounge Aft Cabin: Private Office and VIP bedroom Lavatory: 3x (Not shown below...πŸ™‚...but they are there hopefully even in our virtual setup here...) Galley: (Not shown below, but I checked it's there and looked normal to me...) And Misc. Facilities include (to name just a few): 4x 20" TVs, 1x 31" TV in the Private Office (that sounds like a good place to hook up my MSFS2020/Xbox to that 4K TV...πŸ™‚...), and 1x 42" TV in the Executive Lounge Satcom Telecommunications, Swift 64 Internet, and 7x Cordless SAT phones Zonal Temperature and LED/Lighting Controls, and individual Dome lights in all areas Aircraft Safe Box, Video Center with 6x CD player (with surround sound), Bluetooth Printer and Fax Machine With that introduction to our aircraft, please find, below, 20 images of my A318-112 ACJ 'Elite' (RW Reg. B-6186) in the elegant (light-blue) color of Yalian Business Jet (an enterprise based out of China), starting off on a very early (~5:30am) flight from Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH) to (Bangkok's) Suvarnabhumi Airport (VTBS), across ~1,000 miles (takeoff-to-touchdown), mostly flying over-water, just as the resplendent Sun is rising up into the sky, on my port side window, above the shinning blue South China Sea. Thanks for viewing. Hope you enjoy this collection of images...from our flight today...!
  20. Someone had said here that wherever you look in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), there are (endlessly) beautiful locales and vistas to explore and enjoy...even in our virtual world of MSFS. Today, I was looking up a bit around the Castlegar (CYCG) airport of British Columbia, a region I've virtually explored quite a bit previously via the (FSX-Orbx) version of the regional scenery. So, I repeated my excursion in MSFS, and I was not disappointed. BTW, there are a fee (handcrafted) airports here by Gaya, the same folks who had provided the freeware airports, I recall, for the Caribbean Update. I lift off CYCG airport northward (towards and past CZNL (Nelson) Airport) while exploring the (mountainous) nooks and corners (hence "hide & seek" in my title), along the (most scenic) Kootenay River Valley. These are the Kootenay Range of mountains of the Canadian Rockies that you see below in my images. Significantly, Castlegar is situated at the confluence of Kootenay River and Columbia River. The former is one of the major tributaries of the Columbia River, and the latter is the famous river that featured so prominently in the final phase of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and their westward voyage of discovery. It was the Columbia River that had eventually led them to the West Coast and their first sighting of the vast blue waters of the Pacific Ocean (this river that originates from the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, finds its way westward to eventually empty into also the Pacific Ocean in the state of Oregon). Please find a set of images from my trip as I explore the beautiful moods of this place via various lighting conditions of the day. Thanks for viewing...!
  21. OK, you must be already wondering...A318...Denver to London City...Really...πŸ™‚...? Now, the A318 is indeed capable of transatlantic flights but under certain specific conditions. The classic (and probably sole) example of such flights was the British Airways' (premier) A318 service between London City Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport. BA was operating these flights for over a decade. This prestigious business-class flight was given the legendary number "BA1" which was once the flight number reserved solely for Concorde flights between London and New York...the difference was that the new "BA1" flight was operated with a tiny aircraft - the smallest member of the A320 family, the Baby bus A318, safe to say it was the smallest...commercial transatlantic flight of modern times. EGLC to KJFK has a flight distance of ~3,500 miles just within the range (3,600 miles) of the 318, while KDEN to EGLC is ~4,600 miles well out of its range (so, my 318 here would literally...as we say colloquially around here... run-out-of-gas...πŸ™‚...long before it sees London City). EGLC (London City) has a short runway (<5,000 ft), so, for the (London->New York) flight, the (BA) A318 could not be loaded with enough fuel to reach NYC non-stop (though for no fault of the Baby bus...πŸ™‚...). So, it had to first make a re-fueling stop in Shannon, ~60 mins away. However, on the return (New York->London) flight, the A318 was able to take off with a full tank of fuel, fly non-stop, and by the time it arrived in London, it was light enough to land on the short runway of EGLC. A bit more about this (BA) A318 service: Only 32 max business-class seats (actual pax # might be ~20) per flight (each seat convertible to a "lie-flat" bed...so, no kid (or adult as the case maybe) pushing against the back of your (economy) seat...πŸ™‚...). 3 Cabin Crew for ~20 pax. At EGLC, the check-in time was only 15-20 mins (this is surely no Heathrow that I recall...) In Shannon, while the jet was being re-fueled, the pax were pre-cleared for their U.S. immigration and customs, so, when they arrived in JFK, the jet could land as if it had flown (domestically) from e.g., Newark...πŸ™‚...i.e., the pax could simply walk straight out of the airport in <5 minutes. No need to grapple with NY Customs and Immigration lines...! So, what's the catch...? Each flight costed 6,000 GBP or 7,500 USD... (Oh well...time then to look for that sardine class ticket in the BA 777 instead...you know where one filters first the flight availabilities per lowest to highest price order...πŸ™‚... (through bustling and busy Heathrow airport) ...which I've done a couple of times, and the Terminal 5 is nice though which these guys would not get to see on their flight...) Here, I have picked Frontier and Denver, because Frontier was not only the launch customer for the A318 but was also the first to deploy the type into service, with an inaugural flight, 2 decades ago, in 2003, out of its hub Denver. I've picked London City because of the (above) A318 BA service out of EGLC. More significantly, A318 is the largest commercial aircraft certified by EASA for steep approach operations such as into EGLC (Note: The BAe 146/Avro RJ are also permitted into EGLC, but are actually smaller than the A318, and they cannot do non-stop transatlantic flights like the A318). If we equate the A318 to B736, and the A320 to B738, as competitive peers in the same niche, we may note that the 738 first flew in 1997, the 736 just a year later in 1998, while the A320 first flew in 1987 and the 318, 15 years later in 2002. So, A318, in that sense, is the one with most advanced technology of the time, in the entire A320 family. Anyway, please find below a what-if set of images of Frontier's Baby bus lifting off Denver in the morning light, in the livery of a lovable "Fawn" (a young deer in its first year, please see the tail art). Likewise, another of Frontier's Baby bus is touching down into EGLC in the evening light, flying past the London City cityscape (and the scintillant River Thames), in the livery of a bit more ferocious "Elk" (the second largest species within the same deer family, and one of the largest ground mammals in North America, see the tail art). Frontier brand is well-known for painting animals (and birds) on its fuselages and tails. Frontier no longer flies A318, and A318 is no longer in production, nor is BA operating those (unique) A318 (LCY-JFK) flights anymore (suspended since Covid days). So, this is your chance to see the Baby bus 318 landing into London City...thanks to yours truly...πŸ™‚... Hope you enjoy this collection of images (do look when the little deer transforms to a big deer...). Thanks for viewing...!
  22. The A318 and B736, the "chubby baby" versions...πŸ™‚...respectively of Airbus and Boeing, have long been my (personal) favorites, since the earliest days of involvement in the hobby (of course, speaking, here, as an entirely "non-professional" virtual and non-pilot aviator...πŸ™‚...). OK, these 2 favorites of mine have never got the recognition in our hobby as much as the constantly recurring renditions of the (household-known) ever-present everywhere...in the airports and in the sky...the A320 and the B737...πŸ™‚...There are good reasons for it, but that does not detract from my fondness for these two forgotten (baby) heroes... Some of us may recall that, once upon a time, Aerosoft had a (basic) A318/A319 Package long before they came up with their "Professional" upgrades of the same aircraft. That was my first exposure to Airbus in a manner other than the stock A321. Most significantly, the AS version had an (Airbus look-alike) MCDU. So, that was also my first exposure to an Airbus MCDU. Likewise, my (and probably for many) the first Boeing (SIM) FMC introduction had occurred via the iFly rendition of the (freeware) 747 (wonderful for its time), long before iFly (and PMDG) would come up with their payware version of the 747. I recall flying those aircraft i.e., the AS (payware) A318 and the iFly (freeware) B747...almost every other day...well before we would get to see the FSL and PMDG versions of (various) Airbus and Boeing Aircraft. Anyway, I was triggered for the A318 by a member post here, who, I believe, had featured, in this Forum, the LVFR models or had made mention of it. So, I thought yesterday I might revive my love-affair with the baby Airbus...albeit this SIM a/c is not up to the level of sophistication we can expect from the SIM today (it will do still if you like this a/c, especially when it features an EFB, at least capable of importing a SimBrief FPLN, and to boot, a comforting cup of Coffee in the cockpit...πŸ™‚...). I got the (LVFR) A318 to fly along with my (PMDG) 736, which I'm also very fond of. In this post I've flown both...First 5 pictures show the 736 lifting off, and the rest of the pictures are for the 318 from a complete flight (takeoff to touchdown). Hope, from my images below, you can at least visually (i.e., technicalities aside) compare the looks of these two aircraft, originally aimed by their makers for a very small niche market-segment. It's well-known that these two types were not popular (aka: not commercially and operationally successful) ...still they both have their place in history. They are not only the smallest members of their respective lineage, but also the youngest ones with modern avionics that became the standard in the (enormously successful) evolved variants. [Just a side note: A319 came first (1995), and the afterthought "Baby Bus" (A318) actually came 7 years later (2002) ...full "15" years after the A320.] In any case, both are great fun to fly in the SIM, and, most of all, they present a unique look that we are not accustomed to from the common (and often-seen-here) variants of 320 and 737. So, here we go. Please find the 2 groups of images, below, demarcated by a graphical comparative chart showing a set of metrics for these two aircraft (these are un-official relative numbers, for guiding your eyes only; they are not meant to demonstrate relative merits, so, please don't take to heart...πŸ™‚...), but as you may clearly note, these two types are identical in most respects, except that the A318 has a bit greater Thrust and MTOW, and also look-wise, a "chubbier" fuselage width... (look at my images, and see if you agree) ... I've flown the A318 from Lyon Airport (LFLL) to the airport in the city of Marseille (LFML). I've tracked the valley between the two mountain ranges south of Lyon, with the Massif Central on my starboard side and the French Alps on my port side (a couple of pictures of the nearby mountains included). And, within this valley, I could spot my (now-familiar) friendly river, The RhΓ΄ne...do recall having visited its birthplace recently...πŸ™‚...both of us headed south towards our destinations on The Mediterranean Sea... Thanks for viewing...!
  23. I was reading a bit today about Jetstar of Australia and caught sight of the all-orange "#jetstargeneration" special livery. Jetstar, an LCC subsidiary of Qantas, with the slogan "Low fares forever", is all about offering some of the lowest (no-frills) airfares in Australia. On the side of its fuselage (see my images below), it says, in big and bold typeface, "#jetstargeneration". I love "Orange" color in an a/c livery (after "Red", of course, brighter the red, the better...πŸ™‚...) while fully aware that some folks nickname such orange-colored aircraft as "flying carrot"... (in the same spirit as the yellow-colored "flying banana"...Hughes Airwest and Braniff come to mind here) ...Oh well...Orange, Carrot and Banana are all decent (and health-giving) examples of fruits and vegetables... (think, I've been slicing too many of these lately...πŸ™‚...). Anyway, I've been meaning to fly the Jetstar livery for a while. The Jetstar livery reminds me a bit of the other (British) low-cost airline, the EasyJet, another patron of the dashing "Orange" color...so I am not alone in my preference...πŸ™‚... For my short flight today in Australia, I have picked a 50-miles segment straight north leading to the Australian capital city of Canberra. This is a nice route, that I recall having flown (virtually) a few times before in the previous SIMs (with Orbx Australia). Here, I've started out from the town of Cooma, then staying within the valley of this Monaro region, and roughly following the upper 50 miles of the so-named (200 miles-long north-south oriented) Monaro Highway (sound like worth driving in RW) that terminates in Canberra. Having now visited most of the major North American mountains, small and big, both IRL and in virtual World, I can vouch for the fact that there is no substitute for the real thing. The ambience, feel, aura, and dizziness...πŸ™‚...around these places can never be substituted by virtual visits. However, we can certainly get a (good) perception of the terrain and topological features. Same here...from my images below e.g., see shot #s (6-11), you will know how this region (consisting of extensions of the Snowy Mountains range) looks like. This is a valley with picturesque mountains, hills, streams, and undulating plains and meadows...quite pleasant and enjoyable to look around from air, especially when flown at low altitudes (if you wish, please also see my (earlier and separate) post on the Blue Mountains of Australia). I've departed from Rwy 36 (YCOM) and landed on Rwy 35 (YSCB)...for a straight-in landing...! Hope you enjoy this collection of images with a dash of Orange...! Thanks for viewing...!
  24. (This is bit of a follow-up from my earlier post of my brush with the easternmost edge of the Rockies Foothills). Located in the heart of Rockies, the official name of this Coyote Valley is "Kawuneeche Valley" ("Kawuneeche" meaning "Valley of Coyotes" in the native Arapaho language). At the upper corner of this valley, the Colorado River (of Grand Canyon fame) originates as a small stream, from one of the small lakes called "La Poudre Pass Lake". Of course, the Colorado River came into existence first triggered by the melted glaciers from even higher-up altitudes of Rockies, and then formed this lake (pool of water), and next, with its onward flow, carved out this 20-mile-long valley. These are the 20 miles I've flown today for this post. Colorado River would travel further (southward) for nearly 1,500 miles more, through U.S. and Mexico, carving out deep canyons such as in Grand Canyon, to eventually drain into the Gulf of California. I remember its massive power and flow, while visiting the famous Hoover Dam (I recall it was a (tourist bus) visit to the Dam, during one of my trips to Las Vegas). In the "Kawuneeche Valley", Coyotes are known to live. Now, the Coyotes, a species found in Central and North Americas, are not nice animals and known to attack pets and humans. In a local (suburban) park and lake, that I often visit for walks, there are two trails (one more populated and the other not so much). Once, getting curious, I got near the entrance of the other trail, and stopped on my tracks when I noticed the (posted) warning sign, "COYOTES HAVE BEEN SPOTTED IN THIS AREA. KEEP YOUR DOG ON A SHORT LEASH". OK, with or without a dog, I didn't (and will not) wish to venture further into that part of the trail. Anyway, here, for this post and my virtual flight through these ("dangerous") 20 miles in the valley of Coyotes, there is no worry, since first of all, I feel fairly secure ensconced within the comfort of my Pilatus Turbo Porter...πŸ™‚..., and knowing that the worse that can happen is the Xbox App may just unexpectedly (and unceremoniously) close me out of MSFS and terminate my flight...πŸ™‚... For endpoint of this flight, I've chosen the "Long Draw Reservoir", an extended body of water, just 2 miles further northeast of "La Poudre Pass Lake", the source of Colorado River. One thing happened, though, during my flight here...as I was proceeding towards my final destination, the "Long Draw Reservoir" situated at an elevation of 11,100 ft. I suddenly found myself boxed in by the high-rising Rockies mountains nearly on all sides (see my shot #s 7-9 below). Then I spotted the comforting sight of the Colorado River through my port side window (see my shot #s 10-11 and the cockpit view). I immediately knew this guy is coming from around where I'm going...πŸ™‚...and obviously already been following the path of lowest elevation and least resistance...and could help me better than my G1000 Garmin technology...(frankly, when you're already flying in a narrow valley of 11,000 ft elevation with surrounding mountains that are only a few thousand feet higher (such as ~14,000 ft here), using the Garmin MAP and its color codes of elevation, for situational awareness, becomes a bit tricky, at least, for this virtual aviator...πŸ™‚...). True enough, the Colorado River guided me safely first to its source, the Lake, and then I easily found my way forward for another 2 miles to the Reservoir for a successful (but un-authorized...πŸ™‚...) landing...See my concluding pictures...as I now ponder how to get out of this place... Nonetheless, it was a short but exciting discovery flight. I hope you enjoy this collection of images from the valley of Coyotes......! Thanks for viewing...!
  25. First of all, bridges are nice...I really like them a lot (I like rivers too since the bridges span the rivers) ...And don't know why but whenever I think of bridges, as now, I am reminded of that "Simon and Garfunkel" song "Bridge Over Troubled Waters"...πŸ™‚...wonderful lyrics and tune, and an equally wonderful meaning to it... The "big" bridges such as e.g., Golden Gate Bridge, Oakland Bay Bridge (please see my (past) post on San Francisco visit, if you wish), or the Brooklyn Bridge of NYC, or the Tower Bridge of London etc. are all impressive, beautiful and engineering marvels of their times, but here I am pondering about the "smaller" bridges, visited in RW or not. You know, the ones that do not have the sky-scraping Towers or the majestically suspended cables hung high above the deck level, yet these small ones have their own charm and appeal...e.g., a small (arched) bridge, possibly made of stone, over a stream or a small river, and usually covered with moss underneath...meaning it has been around for hundreds of years with stories to tell of its own... Last week, I was standing on one such small bridge in a local park...over a trickling stream of water, and a gentleman standing near, told me, "That trickle of water you see below, meets West branch of DuPage River just over there, and then the West branch meets up with the East branch of DuPage River, at the edge of this park. DuPage River then meets the Des Plaines River which next merges with Kankakee River to form Illinois River which finally meets up with the mighty Mississippi River which eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico nearly 1,000 miles away..." So, that little park-bridge and that trickle of water down below, would now have a new meaning for me every time I see it...πŸ™‚...Next, say, we speak of the Seine River in Paris...this river flows through the city for only about 10 miles, but it has a total of 37 bridges (foot bridges and road bridges) that span the river within the city (i.e. nearly 4 bridges per mile...!). We know well of the big bridges of Paris...such as the famous "Pont Alexandre III"...hmm...I recall recently watching a Hallmark Movie...πŸ™‚...in which this bridge featured in re-joining of two (broken) heart lovers...Oh well... Anyway, most European countries have extremely large number of (historical) bridges. Ireland of my interest here is no exception. I searched for "10 Best Ireland Bridges"...to travel to in the virtual world, and I (randomly) picked three including (1) Thomond Bridge (2) Harry Blaney Bridge. Please note these are not eye-catching "high" structures, when viewed from the air, especially virtually, (as e.g. the Golden Gate Bridge is), so, (virtually) I could only spot the roadway on top of it. However, I'm quite sure these two (listed) bridges are admired and loved by the natives not only because they themselves are "pretty" ground-up, but also being located in beautiful surrounding countryside (See my pictures below, especially shot #s 12-20, past the mountains, leading up to the Harry Blaney Bridge in my last shot). The Thomond Bridge, on the other hand, see my pictures (shot #s 9-11), is in a metropolitan area. Hope you enjoy this collection of pictures...out of Ireland... (MSFS has done a good job here, if you ask me, of the geographical features) ...! Thanks for viewing...!
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