The Fun Of Real World Flying

I have had some rare openings in my calendar this week and have been able to take advantage of them to get in nearly 10 hours of cross-country instrument time. Flights included a round-robin Albert Whitted to Daytona to Melbourne back to Whitted, a hop up to Perry, FL for a $100 hamburger, and today a flight from Whitted to Pahokee, FL (on the shores of Lake Okeechobee), then to Naples for lunch at a German deli, then back to Whitted. All this leaves me less than 10 hours short of my cross country and instrument hours requirements. With any luck the check ride will be in September.

Note that much of what has made flying this week interesting has been weather planning, in particular avoiding the afternoon cumulous and cumulonimbus buildup typical of Florida this time of year. But perhaps the most fun thing about this week has been its fulfillment of one of the reasons people love to fly: the ability to see things and go places. While we didn’t stop in Daytona, flying the missed approach next to the track was great for its views, as was the flight down the Space Coast past Cape Canaveral to Melbourne, as was the routing over the top of Tampa and KTPA on the way back. The hop to Perry yesterday was great because it was a chance to borrow the crew car, see a neat little north-Florida town, and have a great burger at a local haunt — without the seven-hour round-trip drive. Today we saw the large agricultural districts of central Florida, the still wild areas around Lake Okeechobee, and the always-exciting and beautiful view of the Skyway Bridge with St. Pete and Tampa in the distance. Flying to travel new places is really, really, cool, and I’m excited to explore many new places in the years to come. Here are some snaps of these flights over the past few days.

Daytona, Home Of The Daytona 500
Downtown Tampa, FL
Raymond James Stadium, Home Of The Tampa Bay Buccanneers
KTPA While Flying The Bridge Transition, Which Goes Right Down The Middle Of Runway 27
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A Huge T-Storm Over The Gulf, Topping Out Over 40,000 Feet
The Great Little Perry Airport, Where Only Three Planes Were On The Ramp
Three Nelsons, Home Of A Great Burger And Great Ice Cream (Perry, FL)
A Stunning Live Oak In Perry, FL (Outside Three Nelsons)
Some Clouds You Fly Through, Others You Go Around. This One You Go Around.
The Mouth Of Tampa Bay And The Skyway Bridge

An Update On Instrument Training, MS Flight Simulator, Yoko “The Yoke” PLUS, Video Streaming, And More

My posting is down quite a bit, for a variety of reasons, none of them bad. Some of it is that I’m busy with things away from the blog. Some of it is that I’m spending most of my aviation-related time on real-world instrument training. Some of it is that streaming IFR flights via VR is a bit of a challenge in the X-Plane aircraft I’m using. But here’s an update on all that and more …

Instrument Training

I rolled directly into my instrument training in February / March, and have been doing most of my flying toward its requirements since then. I’ve checked out in the SR20 (which took about 10 hours of flight time to do right) and am doing all of my flying in that aircraft, and while that creates some scheduling conflicts, I enjoy that airframe very much and am better for keeping to one set of avionics and numbers during my training. I’ve completed most of my requirements for the practical exam, and just have a body of instrument hours and cross-country hours to complete, along with the written exam. My long cross country is done. If things stay on track, I hope to schedule my instrument check ride for sometime in September or October. All that said, flying in Florida in the Summer continues to be beautiful, if strongly defined by afternoon cumulus buildup (as you can see below).

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MS Flight Simulator

Like everyone else in the world of flight simulation, I was surprised and excited to see Microsoft recently show a preview of its new flight simulator. And like everyone else, I have the same questions about how full-featured and capable it will be for those of us who use flight simulators for real-world-level simulation or training. So we shall wait and see … but I can tell you this, even if it’s “just a game,” that game will be on our X-Box 360 if it’s anything like what we see in that promo video …

Yoko “The Yoke” PLUS

I’ve been using the Yoko “The Yoke” PLUS for several months now, and It’s fantastic. Rock-solid construction, extremely fine resolution and responsiveness, and a feel that, at least for me, is very much like a real-world yoke in terms of force and resistance. Highly recommended.

Video Streaming

I haven’t been doing much, for a few reasons. One is that streaming in VR when practicing instrument procedures isn’t as easy as in the physical cockpit, although with the AviTab plugin and my Navigraph subscription, it’s not too challenging. But the SR20 models available for X-Plane vary in their avionics in VR, and it’s not really easy for me to simulate in VR the Avidyne systems I’m using in the real world. I enjoy streaming in the physical cockpit, too, though, and in it I’m able to better simulate the Avidyne platform I use in the real plane. BUT — the cable I use to connect the GoPro to the PC for streaming broke and is out of action. So until I get a new one, my streaming is probably going to be limited to VR VFR leisure flying … and I hope to put some online soon.

And More …

While my posting here and on YouTube isn’t as frequent as it has been, I remain passionate about aviation and simulation, and intend to keep posting as well as I can. I also get mail from time-to-time from folks saying that the site is still a strong resource to those building their own simulators or getting started with simulation. Thanks for that, and I’ll try to keep it so.