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Leg 23 — Kunming Changshui (ZPPP) to Macau (VMMC)


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[A couple of preliminary comments....
 
In my first draft of this account I kept breaking off to mention aspects of flying China's (metric) implementation of RVSM, since it’s something which may be unfamiliar to simmers who don't fly for a VA (or online). But doing that rather fragmented the narrative, so in the end I removed those explanations and instead put together a composite document incorporating details of RVSM worldwide, along with some downloaded material that I have found to be helpful. So if you're interested in the implementation of RVSM in your simming, this document might be useful for you, and you can download it from here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jkodctjka1s2eew/RVSM%20pack.zip?dl=0  (it will be available for download until the end of June 2015).
 
But even with the RVSM explanations removed, I have to admit that the description which follows turned out to be more about the details of the flight itself than anything else. So since Mutley's Hangar seems to be populated much more by GA flyers than hard-line big iron procedural types like me, it could be that you feel that this particular account of Brian's Charter is even less interesting than the previous ones — my apologies if that should be the case, and hence I thought it only fair to warn you about that possibility before you began to read.]
 
 
 
 
On the early morning taxi ride from the hotel to the airport I typically spend the time musing about the flight ahead: the weather, the terrain, the potential snags, the cargo (or the pax), the slot time, and other details. But today was different: I was being driven to Changshui International Airport, which is around 15 miles (or rather 25 km — I need to switch into metric mode) outside Kunming City, in the Yunnan Province of the People’s Republic of China. My interest is being heightened by the fact that this will be my first experience of a take-off from the airport, which opened just under three years ago (replacing Kunming Wujiaba International), and has its sights set on becoming a hub for traffic from Europe and North America en route to Southeast Asia.
 
 
01-KunmingChangshui-pretty-900x427px_zps
 
 
Whilst the airport is undoubtedly visually splendid from the outside, I have a feeling that it's still some way from fulfilling its ambitions to become a hub airport for western traffic, although it has already made its way into the world's top 100 airports. At this relatively early hour, the temperature was already approaching 20°C, however a warmer day still was forecast for later on. (Kunming likes to be known as 'the City of Eternal Spring' in view of its benevolent climate, with flowers that are in bloom all year long — and its history goes back more than 2,400 years, since it was the gateway to the celebrated Silk Road trade route).
 
As I made myself comfortable to plan the flight, though, I needed to concentrate on the job in hand since both the take-off and the subsequent landing would each provide their own challenges.
Thinking first about the take-off, the key factor is that Changshui is high, in fact seriously high. Mention of high airports normally puts one in mind of places such as Denver, Johannesburg, or Salt Lake City, but Changshui is significantly higher than all of them at nearly 7,000 ft up, which brings a set of interesting problems to solve when it comes to the take-off and subsequent climb.
 
For the benefit of those who need a brief explanation of that statement, allow me to explain that at roughly a mile and a half up from sea level, the air is significantly thinner. This means that a jet engine won't develop as much thrust as it would lower down (fewer air molecules to spit out of the back), added to which there will be correspondingly less lift under the wings to help us get airborne and to climb away — so much so that there is a school of thought which holds that flaps aren’t too helpful at these altitudes since they add more drag than they provide extra lift (although the jury’s still out on that one, as far as I’m concerned).
 
 
But with less available thrust from the engines, the take-off run obviously becomes significantly longer than usual, so if possible I’ll be opting for the longer of Changshui's two runways, which has a TORA (take-off run available) of 14,764 ft (or 4,500 metres, in the local currency). Yes, that’s longer than Heathrow — for the reasons which I’ve just mentioned.
 
Here’s the airport chart: unless the wind direction suddenly changes I reckon I’ll be looking to take off from rwy 22....
 
 
02-Kunming-Changshui-airport-chart-647x9
 
 
Because of the elevation, then, this could well be one occasion when I will abandon the idea of using any sort of derated or assumed temperature take-off, and go for full power — well, as much power as I can squeeze out of my four massive Rolls Royce engines in the thin air of Kunming City, anyway. The graphs and software will inform my decision as I complete the planning process....
 
Talking of which, let’s start to think about the trip itself. With today's loading (it’s a pretty short trip for a 744, which means that even with plenty of cargo I’ll nonetheless be carrying a lot less fuel than usual) I would normally be thinking of a cruise altitude of, say, FL390 if I could get it, but of course the whole trip will be flown in Chinese airspace, which means that I have to work in metres. Furthermore, the Chinese implementation of RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minima, if we need to be formal about it) kicks in between 8,900 metres and 12,500 metres, so since I’m travelling eastbound I will probably be shooting for 11,900 metres (39,100 ft) as my crz alt. Since for reasons of efficiency and fuel economy all jet aircraft want to cruise at high altitudes, RVSM allows ATC to pack more aircraft into those high altitudes by quite literally halving the vertical separation between them, from 2,000 to 1,000 feet. Or make that 300 metres, in China.
 
 
03-flight%20map%20v2_zpskbdfyur7.jpg
 
 
My intended route, which concludes with a pleasantly scenic run along the coast towards my destination, is shown above. Given Hong Kong’s proximity to Macau, HK becomes a fairly obvious choice for my alternate, so I am planning for that (I always put my diversion route into the RTE 2 section of the FMC, to avoid last-minute button pushing in the event that a diversion is required).
 
Working in metres feels a little odd to someone like me who operates internally in feet, but on a 744 simply pushing a button adds the figure in metres above the normal PFD indications, both for the current altitude and also for the altitude selected on the MCP (see pic), so no sums are required and I’ll probably not need to mention the metres thing again except in passing — unless, perhaps, to point out that in the event that a diversion is required I will have been receiving ATC clearances in metres from the Guangzhou FIR, but when I contact the Hong Kong FIR they will be giving me clearances in feet. It’s just something to be aware of from the outset (I don’t know about you, but I always like to avoid too many surprises when I’m flying...).
 
 
04-Metres-displayed-154x314px_zps5kfiiyb
 
 
We’ll be landing at Macau, which I have to confess is one of my favourite airports in this part of the world, not least because of the interesting runway and taxy arrangements. Here’s an overview pic for those unfamiliar with the airport’s layout:
 
 
05-Macau-overview-800x503px_zpshaebmqg6.
 
 
As you can see, the runway is built on a strip of reclaimed land, so it’s completely surrounded by sea. Not the best time to overshoot, then.... Also, to get from the runway to the airport itself or vice versa, you have to taxy along one of the two causeways —
 
 
06-Macau-taxy-900x429px_zpsakyipd2s.jpg
 
 
— again, straightforward enough (although it might feel a little strange, the first time you have to do it). So all in all, this one has the makings of a seriously fun trip.
 
Another reason for my interest in Macau is its fairly complex approach — but I’ll come back to that once we’re in the cruise, since it’s now time to get the show on the road. My First Officer on this occasion is a member of the team whom you haven’t previously met — Geoff Swanson. Whilst my other F/O, Ken Hobbs, is taciturn, Geoff is a wisecrack and wind-up merchant; although the banter drops away completely once he’s in the right-hand seat. Well, until we’re between ToC and ToD, that is.
 
So as he approached I gave him a mock-serious glare, growling “You do realise you’re twenty minutes late?”. But evidently the genial side of Geoff was slightly in abeyance, since he then regaled me with the way in which he had had to fight his way through the press of people in the terminal. Looking at the crumpled state of his normally immaculate uniform I could see what he meant. Perhaps this wasn’t the moment to reveal that I had — oh completely accidentally, of course — forgotten to tell him about the hidden crew entrance (I can be a wind-up merchant too, when I try). But as he began to cool down (still muttering something about the stupidity of the prat being proportional to the size of the hat it was wearing) I decided that it might be a better idea to give him the location of the crew entrance when he was firmly strapped into his seat in the cockpit.
 
 
07-Changshui-pax-620x394px_zpskmo1e5eg.j
 
 
Together we reviewed the calculations for take-off (I had decided to exercise Captain’s discretion and opt for a full power take-off, even though in view of our loading it wasn't essential to do so: I would be flying the leg since Geoff had flown the previous one, and anyway he wasn’t too familiar with Macau), and moved on to look at the met reports — it was forecast to be 24°C outside at take-off time — and we also reviewed the route (as depicted earlier) which would take us from the Kunming FIR to the Guangzhou FIR prior to our landing. Here’s a map showing the various Chinese Flight Information Regions: as you can see, once away from the vicinity of Kunming City we will spend the majority of the trip being controlled by the Guangzhou FIR.
 
 
08-Chinese-FIRs-743x580px_zpsenw4amxr.jp
 
 
After I had checked my flight bag (yes, the baton was safely stowed in the secret compartment alongside my sonic screwdriver) we headed out to the aircraft.
 
Owing to the size of the terminal it was quite a long walk, since on landing we had been directed to gate 140 rather than some anonymous cargo area, and gate 140 is situated at the extreme end of one of the golden “wings” which comprise the terminal’s roof.
 
 
09-Gate-140-top-down-791x571px_zpse0wauc
 
 
Once on board, Geoff got on with the important business of the cockpit prep (with some priority being given to starting the APU and turning on the packs to begin to cool the cockpit down), whilst I did the walk-around and met up with CJ, my Load Master, who had been superintending the taking on board of a fairly heavy consignment of machine parts — and had been less than happy about the way in which the operation had been conducted. But then, anything less than the highest RAF standards would always be a disappointment to him, and I could be sure that by this point he would have everything safely stowed and firmly chained down for the duration of the trip — but I checked, anyway. (When we’re carrying pax, I often think that CJ would prefer it if we could chain them down, too).
 
Back in the cockpit, our departure slot time was approaching, so Geoff and I methodically completed the cockpit preparation work and the checklists. Well within the deadline, Geoff called for startup and push clearance: I was secretly relieved that he was on the radios for this trip, since TBH I sometimes find Chinese ATC a little difficult to understand. It also transpired that we would indeed be able to use runway 22 for our departure, so there would be no problem with lifting off, even if the subsequent climb would need some care until we were able to accelerate to a reasonable speed. The pushback truck arrived promptly and the pushback process began, while we started the engines.
 
 
10-Pushing-back-from-gate-140-900x371px_
 
 
By the time the truck had done its work and detached itself from the nosewheel, we were ready for Geoff to request taxy clearance.
 
 
11-Departure-of-pushback-truck-900x421px
 
 
And following a leisurely taxy out (no queues here!)....
 
 
12-ZPPP-taxy-out-900x484px_zps82juokde.j
 
 
....we received clearance to enter the runway....
 
 
13%20Chungshai-take-off-with-tx_zpstxirw
 
....and finally, to take off.
 
 
It was reassuring to hear the engines working harder than usual as we thundered down the runway, even though the resulting acceleration was more consistent with a fully-laden departure from EGLL to KSFO than the serious oomph which you would normally experience when taking off with a relatively small amount of fuel on board. So as I eased the aircraft into the air I was watching the flap limiting speeds with even more than my usual close attention, as you can imagine.
 
 
14%20ZPPP-gear-retracted-with-tx_zpssgip
 
 
Our speed built up very gradually, and hence the flaps were brought in at a slower rate than usual, until finally we were heading for the initial waypoints on our way to Macau.
 
 
15-Initial-waypoints-348x368px_zpsnzghqv
 

Here's a 3-minute vid of the take-off from Changshui:
 


 
 

With a projected total flight time of less than an hour and a half, once we were at 11,900 metres the cruise was going to be an unusually short one for a 744 (apart from the occasions when the Mutley’s ATWC is involved, that is, since those trips are apt to be distinctly shorter than normal, as well as taking me to some.... unusual runways for an aircraft of this size)....
 
 
16-Serenely-cruising-at-11900-metres-900
 
 
Anyway, I did promise to let you know why I find the approach into Macau to be especially interesting. Perhaps the most convincing way to begin would be to simply show you part of the rather busy approach plate:
 
 
17-VMMC-ILS-rwy-34-844x935px_zpsoxiu54qq
 
 
OK, now be honest — were you looking at that chart for less than ten minutes? Because if so, then (I promise you) you missed something important! This is a good example of a complex approach, and if you were about to fly it then you really would have to study that plate for some time before you could be sure that you completely understood all the information you need to know about.
 
But I won’t be going into minute detail, just pointing out one or two key aspects. For a start, on the right you will see the conversion chart between metres and feet which you need in order to ensure that you are flying some of the key waypoints correctly (the note underneath about Hong Kong airspace underlines my comment, earlier, about the diversionary airport for our flight, and you’ll see Hong Kong’s location depicted at the top right of the plate). The intricate missed approach procedure, lower left, is also a work of art that you will need to internalise (and, if you’re wise, have prepared in the FMC), not least since missing a runway totally surrounded by sea is not an option, unless perhaps you were contemplating a change of career in any case?
 
And checking out the detail of that chart has meant that the Top of Descent point is coming up very soon, so I need to give the descent briefing (Geoff seems to have forgiven me for my wind-up, but I’m sure he’ll be plotting some suitable retribution). After listening to the briefing he has no questions, and so we settle in to our seats and start to concentrate on the forthcoming descent.
 
As you may have noticed from the map of the route, in the later stages we are running eastwards along the coast heading for Macau, which is a very pleasantly scenic way to approach that airport.
 
 
18-Along-the-coast-900x472px_zpsb7qgcck4
 
 
On this occasion our approach will be via point ROMEO (lower left of the approach chart) before making our way onto the localizer. We will start to descend at 3° just after point PAPA when we are 10.2 DME from MCN and 10.0 DME from MCU (so no prizes for guessing which VORs I will have tuned for the approach, obviously — did you identify both MCN and MCU on the approach plate, incidentally?).
 
Given the excellent weather forecast for today I anticipate disconnecting the autopilot and hand-flying the approach (unless something unforeseen happens to make me change my mind, of course), since despite its enormous size the 744 is a delightfully responsive aircraft to hand-fly [and the PSX simulation of it handles, according to the RW 744 Captains on the Aerowinx forum, just like the real thing].
 
 
So it’s time to request the ATIS for the airport, using the ACARS system:
 
 
19-ATIS-request-900x867px_zpsbfrwmbln.jp
 
 
And soon the response appears on the flight deck printer —
 
 
99-ATIS-printed_zpsc0oirkof.jpg
 
 
The runway at Macau is generously proportioned at 3360 metres (11,024 ft) long, so if I can manage to plant the wheels bang on the marks (see below) then I should have little difficulty in stopping this bird before the runway runs out. Well, normally that would be true, although the forecast hadn’t warned me about that tailwind — however it’s within limits for the aircraft, so I’ll continue with our approach to rwy 34 and add a notch more autobrake. Then (as long as there’s no other aircraft coming across the causeway in the opposite direction) I’ll take taxyway G to the causeway which leads me to the north (Fire Station) end of the airport, and then taxy past the main terminal and onward to the cargo area.
 
 
20-VMMC-airport-layout-900x882px_zpszv3m
 
 
OK, whilst we fly along the coast towards Macau (the cloud is definitely starting to thin as the sun burns it off) let me say something about 747 landing technique. I’ve been flying the 744 almost exclusively for almost 20 years now (originally in PS1, although I have to plead guilty to minor flirtations with PMDG’s 777 and 737 whilst I was awaiting the release of PSX) but it could be that those of you who aren’t familiar with ‘the Queen’ might be interested to hear about one or two aspects of landing a 747-400 that you might not be familiar with.
 
First of all — believe me — in this case, size definitely matters! We’ll be landing something which weighs well over 200 tons at touchdown and is the size of a young department store, which makes a huge difference — often in ways which aren’t immediately obvious. For example, you’re probably used to using the 1,000 foot marks on the runway as your aiming point (which is where you’ll end up if you follow a centred two-bar VASI). But please don’t try using that technique in a 747! If you do, your threshold clearance (i.e. the gap between the main gear and the ground as you pass over the runway threshold) will be a mere 2½ feet, so bye bye boundary fence, approach lighting, and possibly some of your main gear, too. Which is not approved, and will earn you (at best) a frosty interview with the Chief Pilot and a reduction in rank.
 
Also, again owing to the sheer size of the beast, when you flare for landing your eyes will be 45 feet above the main gear. With that in mind, the runway threshold should disappear under the nose when the radalt is showing something like 75 feet (and definitely prior to the “50” call!). Oh, and if there’s a crosswind, keep the wings as level as you can since a roll of more than 6° means that you *will* scrape your outboard engine nacelle along the concrete, in close proximity to the aviation fuel in the engine. And 6° isn’t a lot.... 
 
 
When you land, the main thing is to ensure that you fly the thing straight onto the runway at (or just short of) the marks — whatever you do, don’t try to grease it on and float, or you’ll run out of runway for sure. A smooth landing in a 744 will see you hitting the 1500 ft marks (your correct aiming point) at around -200 ft/min (at that rate you won’t even hear the bump from the main gear). Then lower the nose promptly but gently, or else you *will* collapse the nose gear if you slam it too hard onto the concrete. (As the Boeing manual puts it: “...applying excessive nose down elevator during landing can result in substantial forward fuselage damage”. They’re not kidding (and this is modelled in PSX, of course).
 
Oh, and when I referred to -200 fpm above, please be aware that I’m referring to the terrain height rate (not the barometric rate).  I probably need to explain that comment, since this may well be something that you haven’t encountered in FSX. In real life (and in PSX) runways are sometimes on a slope, so if the runway is sloping uphill then you may need to maintain your barometric altitude during the flare and wait until the terrain rises to meet the gear. Similarly, if the runway slopes downhill than you may need to increase your barometric sink rate to -400 fpm or thereabouts: in other words, your final touchdown rate has to be the sum of the height rate and the altitude rate.
 
 
Although of course, if you’re using unmodified FSX then all the runways are flat, so life is simpler....     :cool: 
 
 
But (as you may have gathered <*cough*>) I could bang on for some time about the techniques needed during the landing (including — always monitor the deployment of the spoilers, since the braking effectiveness is reduced by a massive 60% if the spoilers don’t deploy), but that’s enough for now about the 747-specific stuff, so let’s skip to the landing itself.
 
Here’s the cockpit view of the runway, with 7½ nm left to run —
 
 
21-Airport-7.5-DME-900x386px_zpswuvicqls
 
 
Then the landing: the first shot shows me with two miles left to run (the clouds have gone, leaving a clear blue sky and perfect conditions for a visual approach), and the second is after landing and just prior to the call of 80 kts, at which point I stow the reversers so that I’m completely at idle thrust by the time I reach taxy speed, disconnect the autobrake by slowly increasing the pressure on the toe brakes until the autobrake disconnects at around 60 kts, and taxy gently towards taxyway G whilst Geoff gets on the radio to make absolutely certain that the causeway is clear for us to enter it (it would be somewhat awkward to meet another aircraft nose to nose — who’s going to back up...)?
 
 
22-2-Miles-to-run-with-tailwind-900x250p
 
23-80-knots-900x408px_zps4bkmiuyr.jpg
 
 
As a bonus (?) here are links to short 720p video clips of the landing —
 
 
As we land, this is the aircraft as seen from outside:
 


 
 
And here’s a passenger’s view of the landing:
 

 
 
As described above, I adjusted my braking during the latter part of the landing roll so that we would achieve a stately 10 kts at which to enter taxyway G, prior to crossing towards the north end of the airport.
 
 
24-Exit-G-ahead-900x525px_zpsqnyc6e2p.jp
 
25-Taking-exit-G-900x626px_zps1tqbtiqk.j
 
 
(Whenever I trundle across this northern causeway towards Macau airport I get the disconcerting sensation of being at a fairground — I think it must be induced by having water on either side of me, and the “big wheel” carrying the sightseers going round in front of me).
 
 
26-Tail-view-whilst-crossing-the-causewa
 
 
At the end of the runway a left turn brings me past the passenger terminal....
 
 
27-VMMC-taxying-in-too-900x360px_zps6bmi
 
 
....to arrive at the cargo area, where CJ will spring into action to superintend the unloading process, whilst Geoff and I tuck the big jet in for the night, and complete the multi-language paperwork.
 
 
28-VMMC-B11-ramp-cargo-900x317px_zpsbgel
 
 
So, as predicted, it was indeed a fun trip, helped by pleasant (apart from the unforecasted tailwind on approach!) weather. Once I’ve handed the baton over to Pete then I think we might definitely award ourselves a real Chinese meal tonight.
 
Although, according to Geoff, it seems that I’m buying, for some reason...?       ^_^ 
 
 
 
 
Resources:
 
·         Accurate and complete 747-400 aircraft simulation with ATC, traffic generation, and planetary real time weather: Precision Simulator X  v10.0.4
 
·         Information injection into FSX for the visuals: VisualPSX v6
 
·         Traffic injection into FSX: TrafficPSX
 
·         Puppet aircraft in FSX: the stock FSX 747 (repainted)
 
·         Scenery generator: FSX (in DX10 mode, thanks to Steve’s Fixer)
 
·         ZPPP airport (download courtesy of the Vatsim People’s Republic of China Division):  http://www.vatprc.net/index.php/zh/download/finish/51-fsx/319-kunming-zppp
 
[stop Press: I have just learned that a new version of Changshui airport was released two days ago. You can find it in the Avsim Library here: http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?DLID=190319&CatID=fsxscen&Cookie=1 ]

 

[[LATER EDIT: Having now had an opportunity to try the latest version of ZPPP I would strongly recommend anyone looking for some scenery for the airport to use the latest version, which is much more detailed]].
 
·         VMMC scenery: mine is some very old FS9 scenery, long ago converted to FSX. However I believe that a current (and probably much improved) version is available from here for €19.20: http://http://secure.simmarket.com/thai-creation-ni-hao-macau-macau-international-airport-fsx.phtml
 
·         Generic scenery: Orbx Global base, Vector, [and OpenLC Europe], with worldwide mesh
 
·         Other sky and water textures: AS2012

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:thumbup: Great flight Bruce(Brian).

 

Love seeing these big iron tubes getting show cased in the ATWC as a diversion from the more prevalent GA-flights..

 

I suspect you will really have a chance shine in the next section... :cool:

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Better you than me flying them Brian(for the safety of the PAX and crew). :D 

 

Always nice to learn a bit when reading a PIREP, thanks for that and for an entertaining story. :thum:

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Almost looked like a tail strike on that take-off Brian.

 

I guess it could be an effect of the PSX injection into FSX, or did you scrape that tail in the dirt ;)

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@Brett

 

Thank you, Brett: I do try to add a little info if I can....    ;)  

 

@Micke!

 

Absolutely no tail strike or else PSX would have let me know about it in no uncertain terms!     ^_^

 

In fact you're spot on, the problem has been identified as a known problem with the PSX --> FSX injection process. I suspect that so much is happening within PSX at the moment of transition from On Ground to flying mode that there is a hiccup in the information transfer from PSX, with the result that when the information flow resumes the aircraft appears to "unstick" from the runway and leap a few feet into the air. At the time of writing there is no known cure, although the PSX freebie software is under continuous development. But since these guys make their software available for free then we can't leap up and down as we might do if we had paid for it.    ;)

 

Cheers.

 

bruce

a.k.a. brian747

 

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Very intricate PIREP Brian...and reminds of what discouraged me from pursuing flying as a job...seeing C141 pilots armed with duffel bags of charts and nav aids clambering into cockpits while me and other Shop folks were waiting in the launch trucks, in my case, hoping the Instruments didn't break so I wouldn't have to leave the game of Hearts, a cold soda, and a line shack lemon pie.

 

Loved reading the detail though...and like others, I am so very glad I don't have to do much of it when I fly my Sim. :P

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Hi Matt — and thank you for your comments.    :)

 

"It takes all sorts", as the saying goes. For me (and other "procedural simmers") the fascination lies in the planning and the subsequent successful execution of the plan — in spite of random weather, realistic random malfunctions of the aircraft, and of course ATC (<cough> feels like random <cough>). But I could never be one of the "jump into the cockpit and go sight-seeing" group, that just doesn't work for me at all, so go figure....     :mellow:

 

On some fora that I've been on over the years there has been a special section for people like me (some say, with a locked door and nice soft walls so that we don't hurt ourselves), but if that were to happen at Mutley's I think that section would be a pretty lonely place. Hence my comment above hoping that the GA guys here don't mind and will continue to put up with me, which was sincerely meant.

 

Cheers,

 

B.

 

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Thanks for exposing the darker side of flight simming, Brian - now I realise that the time spent learning the procedures must be most valuable.

 

And the PIREP wasn't bad, either! :thum:

 

Cheers - Dai. :old-git:

 

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Hi Matt — and thank you for your comments.    :)

 

"It takes all sorts", as the saying goes. For me (and other "procedural simmers") the fascination lies in the planning and the subsequent successful execution of the plan — in spite of random weather, realistic random malfunctions of the aircraft, and of course ATC (<cough> feels like random <cough>). But I could never be one of the "jump into the cockpit and go sight-seeing" group, that just doesn't work for me at all, so go figure....     :mellow:

 

On some fora that I've been on over the years there has been a special section for people like me (some say, with a locked door and nice soft walls so that we don't hurt ourselves), but if that were to happen at Mutley's I think that section would be a pretty lonely place. Hence my comment above hoping that the GA guys here don't mind and will continue to put up with me, which was sincerely meant.

 

Cheers,

 

B.

 

:D I daresay there would be no Big Jumbos, or many of the modern miracles we "hop in and push buttons sorts" take for granted were it not for "Sorts like You". It takes procedural people to pull of the logistics of Building these birds (and bridges, buildings, organizations...etc, etc) let alone the procedures required for Flying them.

 

Thanks for a look into the inner sanctum. :P

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I'll try not to do it too often....       ^_^

 

But thank you, kind sir!

 

Cheers,

 

B.

 

No Brian keep it up, Your trips/posts are informative and entertaining and I certainly appreciate the appeal of procedural vlying. 

 

Having said that, my preference is vlying 'old school' tubeliners; 707, 727, 737-200, L1011, Connie, DC6B etc. without FMCs and GPS and navigating via VORs/NDBs, SIDs and STARs. Heck I don't even switch to NAV, just manually stay on course using Heading.

 

Purists may shake their heads but my vlying time is limited, usually an hour or two and I'd rather vly the plane than it vly me, each to their own.

 

Macau, strange place when I was there 30 years ago. A mix of Portuguese colonial and modern casinos. Had fried chicken legs there, not as bad as they sound.  :D

 

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Hi, Geoff!    :)

 

It's great to know that there are still a few of us left that like the procedural stuff (or "the dark side" as Dai prefers to call it).    ;)

 

Although I really can't let you get away with "I'd rather vly the plane than it vly me" -- that's.... a bit weird (as I'm sure you realise)!      :P

 

As far as your preference for "old school" airliners is concerned, though, I'm a long way from being unsympathetic (especially in view of the fact that the 747-400 entered service in 1989 <*cough*>). For example, I still treasure memories of my time on the flightdeck of a VC10 for the duration of a flight to Central America via the U.S., also including a diversion and landing in, er, Bermuda (!) during a tropical storm (I know, I know. but it's a long story).

 

When it comes to my own preferences, however, I also have to freely admit that I'm entirely happy to forego the delights (??) of NDB or ADF approaches using steam gauge instruments. To quote the opinion of Captain Mike Ray formerly of United Airlines, as stated in his book about the procedures needed when preparing for the 747-400 check-ride :

 

"Regarding the NDB or ADF approach:

 

I regard it as a quasi-emergency anyway. I cannot think of anyplace in the world (other than some obscure place in China) where pilots are subjected to using this semi-dangerous piece of aviation memorabilia on a regular basis. It was clearly intended to be used when there was NO OTHER AVAILABLE APPROACH.

 

[Further comments in the same vein snipped from here]

 

This approach belongs in a museum and was NEVER intended to be flown by a high performance jet the size of a 747-400."

 

(And the emphases are his, not mine).

 

So even between procedural vlyers, it appears that there might be significant differences in approach (no pun intended)!    :D

 

You know, from a philosophical viewpoint, one of the delights of flight simming is that there are so many specialist niches to explore, all of them of outstanding interest.    :thumbup:

 

Cheers,

 

bruce

a.k.a. brian747

 

 

 

 

 

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....... To quote the opinion of Captain Mike Ray formerly of United Airlines, as stated in his book about the procedures needed when preparing for the 747-400 check-ride :

 

"Regarding the NDB or ADF approach:

 

I regard it as a quasi-emergency anyway. I cannot think of anyplace in the world (other than some obscure place in China) where pilots are subjected to using this semi-dangerous piece of aviation memorabilia on a regular basis. It was clearly intended to be used when there was NO OTHER AVAILABLE APPROACH.

 

[Further comments in the same vein snipped from here]

 

This approach belongs in a museum and was NEVER intended to be flown by a high performance jet the size of a 747-400."

.

......

 

Cheers,

 

bruce

a.k.a. brian747

 

What a snob, is he afraid he might have to put his cup of coffee down and do some real flying work. :P 

 

Haha, only joshing ya Brian, I understand fully the reason why something that big and full of passengers needs another form of approach.

 

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Hi Brian,

 

First off I have to admit that all my approaches are ILS as the workload with no auto-throttle on the 707, 727s etc. is quite enough. Sometimes if the mood takes me I'll switch off the auto-pilot and hand fly the last few thousand feet depending on what REX WX throws at me.

 

I do fly Captain Sim's 757, 767 and 777 via my own flight plans and FMC but once on the magenta road there is little for me to do apart from admire the eye candy or finish the crossword.

 

It boils down to the fact that I'm not a computer buff and the 'dark arts' of a fully procedural PMDG FMC and failures are beyond my capabilities.

 

I absolutely agree with your last sentence about the variety of niches that flight simming presents, as witnessed by this forum. I'm sure we could write a dissertation on the psychology of our marvellous hobby. 

 

:thum:

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@Brett

 

> "What a snob, is he afraid he might have to put his cup of coffee down and do some real flying work. :P "

 

<grin> Nah, not really. He's actually one of the good guys: I say that because when I wrote a review of one of his books for PC Pilot magazine, he went to the trouble of contacting the mag to request my email address, and then wrote me a warm email of appreciation.

 

And to be fair, after making the quoted comments about NDB and ADF approaches does then devote several pages to describing the least potentially-lethal method of executing them in the 744.    ;)

 

 

@Geoff

 

> "..the 'dark arts' of a fully procedural PMDG FMC and failures..."

 

They're not really all that dark once you get the hang of them, honest guv. Although the famous "What the **** is it doing now??" comment is, I'm sure, uttered many times during the initial familiarisation period. The snag is, that each of these FMCs is its own creature, and although some vaguely similar principles apply, the way to handle the CDU in a 744 is light years away from its equivalent in a Dash-8 Q400, for example (let alone one of those little Garmin things), so the skill doesn't necessarily transfer well from one aircraft to another of a different manufacturer. (Although the skills learned in a 737 would help considerably when learning the 744, for example — Boeing are sensitive to their customers' costs when retraining pilots).

 

Which is another reason why I'm still with the 744 after a couple of decades — it's probably too late for me to start learning another aircraft in depth now. As the old pilots'  saying goes: "Every pilot only has three type ratings in him"....

 

But we all play the cards we're dealt and all that jazz, and as long as we're having fun, what else matters?    :D

 

All the best,

 

B.

 

 

 

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Wow, that was a nice flight Bruce and introduced me to a couple of new places to fly to.

 

I enjoy reading all the extra info on the technical side of flying the QOTS!  :wacko2:

 

 

 

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