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WW9731 last won the day on February 7

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  1. WW9731

    [2019 Europe] Part 2: Legs 6 to 10

    Cheers Brian
  2. WW9731

    [2019 Europe] Part 2: Legs 6 to 10

    Yes indeed mate
  3. WW9731

    [2019 Europe] Part 2: Legs 6 to 10

    And so we return for part 2.... Leg 6 of the tour first up, from Hamburg, Germany to Lodz in Poland. Appropriate livery chosen. TOGA TOGA TOGA, let's blow this popsicle stand. Safely away. Hmm. 560 AGL and we're in solid cloud. I know I'm flying the ILS and all, but I wasn't actually expecting to fly it to minimums. Not that I know what the minimums are... And we're visual at about 300 feet. Let's call that 'minimums' Ok, so this next leg (to Moscow) presented yours truly with more than a few challenges. In hindsight, it was never going to be simple, especially when you see a mysterious black limo rock up just prior to departure. Three attempts were required to complete this leg. Firstly, X-Plane bugged out with a CTD. Then, an actual aircraft crash after what I can only guess was an encounter with severe icing. Anyway, on the third attempt, we got away safely in the Aeroflot livery, bound for Moscow. Eerie lighting effect as we cruise. Ominous, in hindsight. And the curse strikes again. Look carefully at the image below and you'll notice something awry. Yep, a belly landing. I wish I could blame X-Plane (or the mysterious black limo) for this, but I can't. Just a flat out cluster of an approach where the Kapitan forgot to lower the gear. Or as I like to call it, 'Autobrakes Extreme'. My first unintentional belly flop in many, many years of simming. As I reflected on this afterwards, I realised how many Human Factors (HF) issues were at play here. The personal irony being that I have developed HF training for others... In desperate need of redemption, I got back on the horse and headed for Azerbaijan. A (thankfully) uneventful flight to a desolate place - at least in X-Plane. The uneventfulness lasted one flight. This next one (to Kiev) was over in about 20 minutes after Kapitan Khaos forgot to start ACARS. Realising it about 20 miles from departure, I made a cheeky 180 and returned to the field. Take two was better and we made it to a low-vis Kiev without further incident. Romania was next on the itinerary. Another low-vis arrival, complete with trees planted over the approach lights. Thanks X-Plane. Thanks. And that's it, for what was an adventurous part deux. Thanks for reading.
  4. WW9731

    Teaser for the 2019 European Tour

    Having now visited the airport in question on the 2019 Europe tour, I'm sure I heard Brian's evil cackle still lingering in the air as I touched down off my second approach.
  5. WW9731

    Far(ther) East — Magadan to Beijing

    Great post Brian. Enjoyed sharing the journey with you as always.
  6. WW9731

    [2019 Europe] Part 1: Legs 1 to 5

    Thanks Brian. Hard not to enjoy such a well-designed tour mate!
  7. WW9731

    [2019 Europe] Part 1: Legs 1 to 5

    And another WWV tour begins - 2019 Europe. Thanks to maestro Brian Cowell for his work in putting together this little adventure for us all to enjoy. As I write this post, I am almost halfway through the tour, parked in Larnaca, but this first PIREP will only account for legs 1 to 5, as I haven't had time to sort the rest of the screenshots 2019 Europe begins at Farnborough. My chariot of choice for this leg was the ‘Zibo mod’ 737 in XP11.30. I thought I would see what all the fuss is about and (1) try to learn this bird, and (2) get XP running decently on my old rig during this tour. I can’t say I’ve succeeded with (1) yet, but I have got XP11.30 running reasonably well, primarily by configuring all the sliders to so far left that they are practically off the screen. Anyway, Ryanair seemed the most appropriate livery for this first leg. I think this is Heathrow? No ortho, no Orbx or anything like that on my rig. Touchdown in Prestwick. Long, but on the centreline. Good enough for me. Next up, I switched back to P3D and the Q400 when I saw what the weather was going to be like for the 2nd leg arrival into Bergen. Sorry XP11, but the weather representation in P3D is more to my liking when conditions are 'marginal'. Totally different representation of Scotland when you jump back into P3D. Started with the ILS before becoming visual and doing the rest myself. Leg 3 took us from Bergen down to Aalborg, Denmark. Back into the 737 for this leg to test out yet another new update from old mate Zibo. Down to Luxembourg for Leg 4. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Luxembourg in the virtual sense. An all together uneventful journey and I was starting to feel moderately comfortable with the 737 by this point. Leg 5 had us heading up to Hamburg, Germany. Really pretty on the way in. And that is where I'll conclude this post. The next few legs is where this tour started to get interesting from the perspective of successfully completing flights. More about that in the next post Thanks for reading folks.
  8. WW9731

    fsx p3d now x plane 11

    XP11 certainly is impressive. Tough on older rigs like mine, but if you've got decent hardware, she's a treat. The quality and diversity of the freeware is fantastic. Airports, aircraft and little plugins that transform various aspects. That Zibo 737 (with all the bells and whistles included) is payware quality and then some. Bit of work required to keep up with the updates, but that's the price you pay for having the most actively developed aircraft around. For GA lovers (and owners of Carenado's C152) there is a stunning freeware mod available from 'Nhadrian'.
  9. WW9731

    Asia 2018

    Congrats on completing the tour mate, and for sharing the pics - well done! Anyone who hasn't pranged a bird or 40 trying to get into Lukla simply doesn't know what adventure (or frustration) is! How good does that Everest scenery for XP look...
  10. WW9731

    Teaser for the 2019 European Tour

    Ah Brian, you big tease! Great shots indeed. Thanks for your efforts with these tours.
  11. WW9731

    Saving an Queen of the Skies

    Great story and pics mate. You boys and your heavies...
  12. 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...
  13. 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..."
  14. 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!"
  15. 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!