All Is Well

As I’ve mentioned, we moved to Tampa about two months ago, so we have spent the past two weeks dealing with Hurricane Irma. Several readers had wished us well in the comments and via email, and we appreciated it very much. We did have to evacuate, and ended up on the go from Panama City to Raleigh to Savannah, but we returned Wednesday afternoon and finally had power restored last night. Our home, and the sim, survived unscathed. We’ve had a lot of cleanup to do, but we count ourselves very fortunate. Thank you again for the good thoughts.

Flying!

That’s what I did today – finally went flying, settling in to a new CFI, new airspace, and new aircraft. Here’s the new bird, a Piper Archer II:

IMG_1379

More horsepower, and I could tell. Also slightly different avionics and a Garmin 430 GPS, which is new to me as well. Today was a get-to-know you ride, and once in the air I wasn’t as rusty as I had feared with the exception of steep turns and ground reference maneuvers, but the landing was very comfortable. The new CFI is a stickler, which I like, and I learned a few things along the way as well.

Perhaps most exciting is the airspace:

ForeFlight_Web

KSPG Albert Whitted is a radar-equipped Class Delta, so I’m talking to ground and tower. It sits under the Tampa Bravo, and is close to the MacDill AFB and St. Petersburg-Clearwater Deltas as well. Lots of traffic in the area, including the occasional Airbus or C-17 passing through. Combine that with the field being directly next to the St. Pete skyline and the bay / gulf overwater flying, and it’s a whole new type of flying altogether. And I really enjoyed it, including keeping visual contact with the Army UH-60 Blackhawk departing KSPG as I was on downwind. Overall it was a really cool flight, and I can’t wait to get re-soloed and continue my real world training.

The next step is to get a solid Archer II profile running in the sim. That will be tonight’s project, time permitting.

X-Plane 11.05rc1 Beta: Airports, Airports, Airports!

X-Plane 11.05rc1 Beta: Airports, Airports, Airports!

The latest X-Plane beta is out (11.05rc1) and its main feature is new default airports. Once this beta goes live, X-Plane users will have 4,817 3-D airports to enjoy. This reflects over 100 new airports since the last release, and improvements (most often taking an airport from 2D with no buildings to 3D with buildings) for over 1,200 other fields. As with most of the airports in X-Plane, members of the X-Plane community have designed these fields, and I’m happy to say that new releases of X-Plane will feature these fields designed by yours truly (including KVNY Van Nuys, pictured above):

  • 1U7 Bear Lake County
  • 33U Dutch John
  • 38U Wayne Wonderland
  • 65S Boundary County
  • KCLW Clearwater Airpark
  • KOQN Brandywine Airport
  • KPUC Carbon County / Price
  • KSAA Shively Field
  • KSBD San Bernardino
  • KTHP Hot Springs County / Thermopolis
  • KTPF Peter O. Knight
  • KVNY Van Nuys
  • U07 Bullfrog Basin
  • U14 Nephi
  • U42 South Valley Regional
  • U96 Cal Black Memorial

This is a great update for X-Plane users. If you have “download betas” turned on in your installation you’ll get a prompt for this update the next time you load the sim. If you are not in the beta program, you can look forward to these fields in the next full release (which usually comes a few weeks after each beta).