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WW9731 last won the day on June 25

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  1. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] Mid-tour update

    I must find a tour that has ENVA on the itinerary. You know, drop in to see the mother-in-law and all that...
  2. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] Mid-tour update

    Oh, I so want that story to be true Try doing that in today's politically correct world and somebody will scream discrimination - "How dare you use a white stick? Other colours have rights too..."
  3. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] Mid-tour update

    Thanks Brian As my virtual FA always says, "Winces, groans and the like are complimentary on today's flight. Your pilot does have a licence, but he also believes that currency requirements are only for the young fellas. So, sit down, shut up and hang on!"
  4. Greetings once again fellow simmers. This update focuses on the South Pacific part of the tour, a region that has been somewhat underexplored by yours truly in the virtual sense. My last post saw me at Auckland, preparing to make the long trek across to Tahiti. Well, what a saga that turned out to be. P3D crashed twice on me, once just after departure and once at the parking spot. It was with some trepidation that I launched a third attempt, but thankfully got to Tahiti courtesy of some time-compression and an…ahem…visit from the WWV mid-air refueling service. I prefer to fly real time, real weather, real badly etc…but at 7hrs+ trip time, I had to take a shortcut for the sake of practicality, not to mention my crook back. A nice, visual circuit into NTAA was followed by a gentle touchdown. Next up was another long trip, this time to American Samoa. This region received the Orbx treatment a while back. The current 47% off sale made it a little easier to open the wallet and add it to my collection. We copped an almighty amount of ice enroute. I think my FO forgot to turn on the windshield heat. It's hard to find good help these days. The approach into NSTU was 'sporty' to say the least. After more than 4 hours in the air and with my back screaming at me to get out of the seat, I needed to get us on Terra Firma pronto. A very tight right circuit to 05 was the result, providing yours truly with an excellent lesson in energy management. As in, keep some in reserve you moron! Anyway, lovely Orbx scenery here. The next day saw us flying from Pago Pago to another wonderfully-named place - Funafuti International Airport (NGFU) in the tiny nation of Tuvalu. Fun fact about this joint: because it doesn't see much action and space on the island is limited, the locals are allowed to use the runway for recreational pursuits in between 'movements'. A 'movement' is announced by the fire engine sounding a siren, giving people time to piss off before being mowed down by an aircraft. I'm guessing that the pre-landing checks involve an additional action - "Runway clear of kids riding their pushbikes - CHECKED." The enroute forecast for the trip to NGFU was not promising. Thunderstorms in the area, with an expected vis of just 500m at the destination. I had planned to fly a RNAV approach to runway 03, but it ended up more like an improvised visual to runway 21. And by 'improvised visual', I mean I improvised being visual with the runway, and just closed my eyes and waited for the crash. The end result wasn't pretty, but it was effective at testing the pavement strength. The next flight to Fiji provided me with yet another lesson in humility. I decided to ditch the FS2Crew FO and go it alone on this leg. Of course, this meant adherence to checklists would be vital. Which naturally is why I overlooked several key requirements, including the gear pins. After 30 mins preparing for departure, I took off, raised the gear and…well, it was going to be a looooong flight with the gear down the whole way. End flight; start again dopey. Thankfully, everything worked beautifully the second time around. Lovely weather enroute and the approach in Suva was definitely respectable, if a little long. The following day we headed to New Caledonia or 'New Cal' to those of us that speak Strine. This ended up being quite a long flight, with strong headwinds for the entire journey. The weather gods decided to extend our journey even further by laying on some rather ordinary weather on approach, necessitating an ILS approach. I let the 'Q fly itself most of the way down, taking over with about 1000 feet to go, followed by a buttery smooth touchdown in the rain. #pureluck Next up was a late afternoon flight to Port Vila, Vanuatu. Lovely conditions enroute. Landed just before 6pm local with a visual approach to runway 11. Elevated terrain on final made for some interesting altitude callouts, but otherwise a very stable approach was enjoyed by all. Life got in the way (as it does…) for a few days, necessitating a longer-than-expected sojourn in Vanuatu. Having consumed far too much of the local Tusker beer, I managed to crawl my way into the right seat of the 'Q for the next leg of the tour up to Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Feeling a little under the weather, I was hoping for a short-ish flight time, but alas, SimBrief didn't have good news for me. 40 knots on the nose would result in a flight time of around 3 hours. Bugger. At least it would give me time for a decent nap. At 6am local. Like I said - too much of the local brew. I can't recall most of the flight, having spent the majority of it in the comfort of my reading chair asleep; however, the approach was quite a ride with my lack of coordination transforming the 'Q into an airborne rodeo horse. Some days I'm glad this is just a sim. In real life, one would be invited into the Chief Pilot's office for tea and bikkies without the tea. Or bikkies. This marks the halfway point in the tour. It's been quite a long journey for the Q400, but it has performed admirably throughout. The pilot less so, but…what's new. Anyway folks, that's the mid-tour update done. Catch you again at the conclusion of the journey. Blue skies to all!
  5. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] It begins

    A big hop is one way of putting it My experience with that leg, plus a few others after it, will feature in the next update.
  6. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] It begins

    Thank you sir, and I'm glad it got you posting. The more the merrier! It's a great tour this one, but then again, they all are around here... Speaking of blundering, my mid-tour update won't be far away.
  7. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] It begins

    Cheers Brian, thanks for the support mate.
  8. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] It begins

    Thanks Terry
  9. WW9731

    [2018 Australia & South Pacific] It begins

    Cheers mate. Making good progress through this tour, so the next post won't be too far away.
  10. With the recent release of the 2018 tours, I decided it was time I kept it 'local' for a while and so, the 2018 Australia & South Pacific tour has commenced. As I write this post, I'm sitting in Auckland, New Zealand. Only in a virtual sense unfortunately. NZAA could use the FlyTampa/Orbx treatment, but then again, my PC probably couldn't handle a detailed airport of this size, so…as you were boys. The tour started down the road from my place (well, 120km or so down the road…) at the Gold Coast. Known by by yours truly as 'Cooly', YBCG is a hive of activity these days. Many years have passed since I flew there in a lightie, with the occasional 737 for company. Now, Cooly receives the big boys from Asia. Fortunately, Orbx have been focusing some of their development efforts in this region and recently released their Gold Coast Cityscape to much acclaim. It chews up FPS like nobody's business, but it's bloody impressive and brings the region to life. I understand that a custom Orbx-ed YBCG is just around the corner as well. I hope it is available for my return at the end of the tour. My first flight saw me do a night time run from Cooly to Coffs Harbour, or 'Coffs' as the locals call it. Our aircraft of choice is Majestic's Q400. Again. The Q400 is a popular bird down under and it has captured my simming heart for now. In due course, I might post a review of the 'Q to the WWV forum as it really is a rewarding bird to fly when you take the time to learn its quirks. Anyhoo….a lovely night VFR approach into Coffs was followed by an even lovelier touchdown on runway 21. The next day, we continued south to Wollongong, or 'The Gong' as the locals call it. I've spent all of 24 hours in the Gong, but what a memorably messed up 24 hours it was. Anyway, we made good time and travelled overhead Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and YSSY on the way down. Sydney was home to yours truly back in the day. I spent my late teens living in Kings Cross or 'The Cross' as the locals call it. The Cross was pretty lively then, not the bland place that it is today. Nowadays, you can almost walk the streets without being stabbed or dragged in to a strip club. Bland. I screwed the pooch on this arrival, getting myself horribly misaligned to the wrong runway. And by 'wrong runway', I mean a road. My virtual pax were none the wiser as I ducked and weaved my way onto runway 16. The next flight was a short hop across to Canberra, or 'Hell' as the locals call it. I actually like Canberra, probably because I never lived there. Yet another pooch screwing to be had as I miscalculated the descent point and ended up higher than Johnny Depp at an after-party. To make matters worse, the conditions were better served by flying an instrument approach, which I of course had forgotten to select. "The Q400 turning final, are you visual?" Umm, if that's a runway at our 1 o'clock, then yes. Yes we are. The first of several long overwater crossings was up next, from Canberra across to Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island. Helped by a full load of gas and a tailwind, the Q400 made it easily and in good time. ETOPS be damned. I love Queenstown and would return in a heartbeat if the financial gods were a little kinder. It holds a special place in the hearts of myself and the wife. In addition, it has to be one of more challenging and fun places in which to commit aviation, either virtual or real. I've spent countless virtual hours flying every approach they have available, plus a few I invented myself (as you do). Orbx's rendition of NZQN is pretty handy. And so, with a scenic departure out of Queenstown, we made our way up to Palmerston North and then onwards to Auckland, where I've been busy planning the next flight - the 'big one' across to Tahiti. At 2000 miles+, it's well beyond the range of the Q400, but with some creative licence, I've included a virtual stop in Rarotonga for fuel that will see us through. Until next time, blue skies to all!
  11. WW9731

    [2017 North America] Tour wrap

    Thanks Brian
  12. WW9731

    [2017 North America] Tour wrap

    Aaaaannnnd…we're there. North America 2017 is done and dusted. For a tour that I essentially abandoned early on, it ended up being quite an enjoyable journey. As with other WWV tours, a big part of the enjoyment is discovering places I never would have otherwise. In terms of the aircraft used on this journey - the Navajo, the Q400 and the Legacy - I found myself fluctuating from day to day during the back half of the tour. When my interest in flight planning started to wane, I jumped in the Legacy. Weather, fuel, airways be damned. Other times, I was in the mood for a bit of challenge and flew the Q400. And occasionally, I'd fire up the Navajo just for the hell of it. Highlights from the back end of the tour included: A lovely approach into Phoenix Sky Harbor A delightful hand-flown departure out of Palm Springs bound for Catalina Island Flying the Legacy into a gusty Monterey was quite a ride as a 30 knot headwind early in the approach turned into a 10 knot tailwind on final. The activation of 'Plan B' followed, with a landing to the west instead of the east. I was pleased to have Ketchikan on the itinerary, it being the only stop on this tour that I've visited in real life. Love the joint. Arrived there in the Legacy to crappy weather, necessitating an ILS approach which I flew so poorly, it made my Q400 approaches look professional. Speaking of the Q400…two of my favourite flights on this tour were the last two legs to Jackson Hole and Chicago. A night time arrival in KJAC where I hit APPR mode and let the Q fly itself down to minimums. Not surprisingly, it tracked the localiser and glide slope more accurately than yours truly ever could. A sunrise departure for the last leg of the tour. It was bloody lovely. Well, lovely once we got airborne. I suspect the tower controller had his hand on the crash alarm as we used up every inch of runway 19 to get airborne. One really should remember to account for airport elevation in one's flight planning. I shall remind one forthwith. The arrival into Chicago O'Hare was bittersweet as always, being the end of another adventure. I took a moment to reflect on how far the simulation experience has come since flying into KORD in MSFS 5, way back in the 90s. (Image courtesy of The Old Flight Simulator Vault) Simpler times, in so many ways. Anyhow, that's me done for another post. Thanks for reading. With South America, Asia, Europe and North America tours 'in the bag', I think it might be time to head home to Australia for the next adventure. Until then, blue skies to all!
  13. (Un)fortunately I visited my internet banking site first. The PMDG 747 will have to wait for another day. Or year...
  14. All this talk of the 74 and what you guys do with it almost has me visiting the PMDG site and taking another look at v3. Great stories one and all. Fantastic post Brian, thoroughly enjoyed it.
  15. WW9731

    [2017 North America] Mid-tour update

    Cheers mate. If you ever feel like venturing to the dark side, I can recommend the Q400 as being worthy of the move. It's the creme-de-la-creme of the machines with spinny things in the FSX/P3D world. I guess there is just no beating the real thing, although there were times when I would have appreciated a Pause button in real life!