by Charles Gulick
|North Position: 14974
|East Position: 5664
|Wind: 16 Kts, 230
Please read the entire text before beginning this flight.
|You're straight and level at
5000 feet when your engine quits. (It quit
the instant you exited edit mode, as simulated by Throttle 0. You may
not use throttle from here on out.)
You must make a dead-stick landing on San Clemente Island, which is directly below you. Though your Los Angeles chart shows the island almost due south of Catalina, it doesn't show the terrain. Neither does it show (nor does the simulator) that there is, in the real world, a navy runway across the northern end of San Clemente. This runway appears on the FAA Los Angeles sectional chart.
If you can make it to the runway, your chances of a respectable landing (though the navy won't be cheering) are excellent. Its elevation is about 20 feet above sea level.
Your second best choice is to land somewhere along the relatively flat western side of the island. The rocky eastern side presents an engraved invitation to disaster.
Will you attempt the navy runway? And if so, from which direction? (Assume the navy runway numbers are 5/23.) Or will you settle for somewhere along the west shore? Of course, you might very well survive a ditch attempt, too, but it'd be a lonely swim.
Rate yourself an expert if you land safely on the northern tip of the island and on a heading of 230. The closer you are to the water (short of a splash!), the better. (You're not close enough to the water to say you've landed on the tip of the island, from either direction, unless you can see the northeast or southwest corners of the geography out your windshield.) If you land on the northern tip heading anywhere from 220 to 240, though not 230 exactly, you're still superpilot. Otherwise, for your approach from the east, don't feel too smug even if you set her down safely.
For a landing on the same end of the island, but from the opposite direction-and on a heading of 50 degrees-rate yourself a semiexpert, with appropriate reservations as above for up to 10-degree deviations from the runway heading, and for the picture out your windshield.
For a landing anywhere on the west shore, consider yourself an advanced fledgling. And for any other kind of landing anywhere else on the island (not involving a crash, of course), think of yourself as at least "a pilot," since there's a chance you'd walk away from it.
Finally, unless you're serious when you say you can walk on water, give yourself a zero for any blue Pacific conclusion.
A crash will automatically put you in a new try. But crash or not, practice may eventually get you that coveted "Hey, who are you?" from the navy San Clemente tower.