40 Great Flight Simulator Adventures

by Charles Gulick


Tell It on the

North Position: 21219 Rudder: 32767
East Position: 6339 Ailerons: 32767
Altitude: 204 Flaps: 0
Pitch: 0 Elevators: 32767
Bank: 0 Time: 15:00
Heading: 90 Season: 2-Spring
Airspeed: 0 Wind: 5 Kts, 90
Throttle: 0


Get lined up for runway 8 here at Olympia Municipal (the city of Olympia is Washington's state capital, a staggering fact of which I had no inkling, did you?).
    You'll see that you're also lined up for Mount Rainier, the highest point in the state-14,410 feet in the clouds.
    You can fly to this majestic landmark visually, of course. But tune your NAV to Olympia VORTAC anyway (113.4) so that the DME, once we get to Rainier, will tell us just how far it is from where we're sitting now.
    Take off, point for the peak, and just climb. And keep climbing. Full power all the way. We're going to a summit meeting.
    While en route, you can reflect that Mount Rainier was a blazing volcano several hundred thousand years ago, and reached perhaps 2000 feet higher than it does now. Where the peak is now, imagine a coneful of flame. And then imagine a tremendous eruption, with debris and volcanic ash blackening all the blue sky you see. Because Mount Rainier literally blew its topblasted away 2000 feet of its summit and untold thousands of tons of rock-before it settled down to become the serene mountain you see today.
    The Cessna's service ceiling is 14,900, Archer's is 13,650. But this trip is special, so head right on up at your best possible rate of climb. As you gain altitude, you'll be hard-pressed to hold your rate of climb above 1000 feet per minute, and then above 500 fpm, even with the yoke in your lap. But it gets still harder. Anyway, try to climb to and maintain 15,000, and you'll be above Mount Rainier, highest point in the state of Washington. (Don't be surprised if you can't get the altitude, though it can be done. Also, you may learn how easy it is to stall even with the airspeed looking real fat.)


When your DME reads a few tenths over 41 nautical miles from the Olympia OMNI station, there's a strip of green just below the snow level of the mountain (though it isn't visible from a Cessna). Flowers bloom here, and there are thick forests where deer, elk, bears, and other animals find sanctuary. Use radar to check on your relationship to the mountain.
    There's a surprise waiting for you at or near the summit of Mount Rainier. I won't tell you what it is. But I guided you all the way here to show it to you. In the Cessna, the surprise requires some flying around the mountain, using all kinds of views, before you can appreciate it. Then, if you dare, fly right smack into all that fleecy snow.
    In the Archer the surprise will happen automatically. It's fantastic.

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