by Charles Gulick
|North Position: 17250||Rudder: 32767|
|East Position: 21327||Ailerons: 32767|
|Altitude: 2500||Flaps: 0|
|Pitch: 0||Elevators: 36863 (except IBM)|
|Bank: 0||Elevators: 32767 (IBM only)|
|Heading: 21||Time: 14:30|
|Airspeed: 122||Season: 3-Summer|
|Throttle: 19450||Wind: 6 Kts, 0|
|You're over Long Island Sound,
inbound for runway 2 at Tweed-New Haven.
But the tower advises you must stop short of the intersection, since workers are repairing a pothole exactly where the runways cross. "Clear to land if you can comply."
"Roger, no problem," you say, with a nonchalance that indicates you've been jockeying airplanes around the sky for at least 20 years. But the way your knuckles go white on the yoke isn't too comforting.
You'll see the strip ahead in a few minutes. You're going to wish it was absolutely straight ahead. But of course it isn't. The reason you wish it were straight ahead is because this is one of those runways that extend over the water. No landing on the grass here. The resultant splash would be worse than the clumph of a nosewheel in a pothole.
So you're committed to getting lined up very precisely. You'd hate to have to go around, having convinced the tower that you started flying back when Eddie Rickenbacker threw a pigeon from his cockpit into an overcast to see if it got disoriented. (It did, so the story goes, and started flying reasonably only when it fell below the clouds and had visual reference to the ground.)
Simulator runways do seem to dance around a lot, don't they? That "2.5-inch resolution" (of what?) the manual talks about often seems more like 2.5 miles. You think you're a little to the right, so you correct a little to the left, then you think you're a little to the left, so you....
Anyway, you can return to this mode anytime you feel like practicing to improve your precision. Or to see if maybe your precision improved by itself while you weren't paying any attention to it.