PilotEdge Realism

There’s an interesting thread taking place in the PilotEdge forums. Among the responses this caught my eye:

As an instrument-rated commercial pilot and former CFI, I can tell you that IF you can function with ATC on pilot edge for either VFR and IFR flights, you will be able to function with ATC in the real world. There are NO operational or procedural differences between PE and RW air traffic control … The very first time I flew an IFR flight on PE, I did not consult any PE training documents or watch any videos. I just did it exactly the same way I would do it in the real world, and it worked fine.

That’s a pretty awesome testimonial to what Keith Smith and team have built at PilotEdge.

The I-4 Rating On PilotEdge

We follow up the fail/pass sequence of the I-3 with the I-4 rating on PilotEdge. This is “Dealer’s Choice,” where the controller picks a destination and you must identify, file, and fly the correct TEC route. I get SNA to SMO, and I pass, but not cleanly. There are a lot of learning experiences along the way and several complicating things that happen (like broken transmissions from ATC) that could easily happen on a flight in real life. I’m glad to have flown this, and am now studying SIDs and STARs for the I-5. As always, thanks for watching.

PilotEdge I-3 Take Two

Second time’s the charm. Same conditions as the first attempt: overcast 1,700 to 3,700, no GPS/moving map, no autopilot, hand flying the whole way. On to the I-4 …


PilotEdge I-3 Failure

One of the things I love out PilotEdge is its training programs: the CAT ratings for VFR ATC procedures and the I ratings for IFR ATC procedures. I’ve completed the original V ratings (now retired) and most of the CAT ratings, as well as the first two I ratings. In this flight I attempt the I-3, which is an IFR TEC route flight from John Wayne to Burbank. I fail it, for many good reasons. It was an interesting learning experience so I thought I’d share it.

Video Of The Wednesday Walkabout On PilotEdge

This is a full-flight video with just a few edits from my Monterey to Burbank hop during last week’s “Wednesday Walkabout” fly-in on PilotEdge. I’ve spent a lot of time in the sim, but I have to say this was likely my favorite flight in the simulator to date.

It’s only about an hour, but in that time there’s a line-up-and-wait, plenty of departure and enroute traffic, a California sunset, transition to night ops, several minutes of zero-visual-reference blackout instrument flying, 220 knot ground speeds, vectors over LA, simultaneous arrivals and departures at Burbank, and handoffs between seven different PilotEdge controllers. And several lessons as well, including “Don’t Forget To Switch Over To Approach” and the very important “Be Careful About Attitude And Altitude When You Have No Horizon.” It was just great, and thanks to K. Smith and the PE crew for making this event such a success.

Thanks for watching and I hope you like it.

Fly With Me (And A Bunch Of Other Folks) Tomorrow

Fly With Me (And A Bunch Of Other Folks) Tomorrow

PilotEdge has a cool event planned for tomorrow night (US time):

It’s a WUS/ZLA hybrid event with a a WUS departure point (MRY, which WILL be towered for the event), and a nearby ZLA departure point (KSBP), with everyone heading to BUR. After a quick turn, it’s off to sunny Henderson. The idea is to have multiple departure points with a common enroute segment with lots of arrivals and departures at BUR before everyone heads over to Henderson to finish out the event.

More details here. MRY to BUR is a 223 nm leg, so that’s good for our friends in jets or faster props. SBP to BUR is 129 nm, so that’s better for our low and slow friends. And from BUR to Henderson is 191 nm, so that’s in between. Then event is 18:00-21:00 Pacific time, so there’s a three-hour window for the flights.

I’ve never flown out of Monterrey in the sim, so I’m going to load in there in a Saratoga and fly the leg to Burbank. Should take me about 1:25 and the ATC traffic should be engaging all the way. Hope to see you there.

Point-To-Point: Idaho County To Spokane

The latest leg in my point-to-point flying, and this one takes the Saratoga from Idaho County (KGIC) to Spokane (KGEG), the current PilotEdge bonus field. In this hop we try a new camera angle. Let me know what you think.

We also fly over homemade photorealistic scenery (with several interesting decisions to make about clouds and altitudes along the way) and get to contrast the new X-Plane default clouds with experimental HD clouds for xEnviro. Hope you like it and thanks for watching.

Waiting To Try PilotEdge? Fly With Me Today At 1:30 PM ET

I’m going to try to fly the “T to U” leg of the PilotEdge Alphabet Challenge today at 1:30 PM ET / 6:30 PM Zulu. Looks like nice VFR conditions in the forecast so that’s how I’ll be doing it, and I’ll be flying it in either a 172 or PA28-161, so it will be a leisurely 110 knots or so along the way.

Given that KTSP and KUDD are both non-towered airports, if you’ve been looking for a chance to try out PilotEdge using their free two-week trial this would be an excellent opportunity as I will be more than happy to show you the ropes. I’ll be getting flight following along the way, but you don’t need to if you don’t want to – you can just tune into the controller frequencies and listen as we fly along. If you decide to try it out:

It’s really very easy and you’ll be up and running in no time. And PE works with FSX, P3D, or X-Plane, so you don’t need to worry about us being on the same platform.

Here’s the SkyVector route, and the chart is below. I will also try to post an image of my planned flight log here so you can print it out as well if you like. The route is about 140 miles so we should be about 1:15 in route. If you’d like to join me, meet me on the KTSP ramp and be connected to PilotEdge around 1:30 PM ET today. I always take a few minutes on the ground to get things together so I won’t be taking the runway right at that time, and I will try to be online few minutes before. I will be on frequency 123.45 initially so we can brief the flight there (we need to discuss altitude and some airspace we need to avoid) before switching over to the CTAF. If this will be your first PilotEdge flight I can discuss the basics then.

Hope to see you there. (And I have cross-posted this in the forums as well.)


Friday Night Fly-In On PilotEdge

There’s another chance brewing if you’d like to do some group flying on PilotEdge. PE user skyhog67 is organizing this opportunity as a Friday Night Fly-In, this Friday the 24th at 7pm PST / 10pm EST / 3am Zulu. You can get more details here, and the route is L54 – KRNM – KHHR. Looks like fun with some interesting airspace along the way. That’s a bit late for me, but I’ll try to be there if I can. My experience is that this type of group work is a great way to fly with some traffic, learn the ropes of the system, and get to know some fellow simmers as well. Give it a shot and have fun.

ACT Flight Tomorrow At 11 AM ET (X-Plane, P3D, FSX)

Those who have been wanting to either do some group flying on PilotEdge, or who want to try the network for the first time, are welcome to join the new “After-hours Closed Traffic” group flight tomorrow at 11 AM ET. (Note that it’s not after-hours anymore, but the name sticks.) You can learn more here, and here are the details from that post:

[R]oute proposal for this week is:
L52 (Oceano) -> LPC (Lompoc) -> IZA (Santa Ynez) -> CMA (Camarillo)
Aircraft: your choice. 

Link to the route

Looks like an interesting VFR route with some controlled and restricted airspace, and terrain, to navigate along the way. I plan to be there unless home obligations intrude, and hope to see you there as well. And if you want to use this as an opportunity to try PilotEdge, it’s a great way to do it as you’ll have folks with you who can coach you and we actually won’t be talking to ATC until we arrive at Camarillo (a Class Delta strip). You can sign up for a two-week free trial here, and there’s more information on getting started with PE here.