40 More Great Flight Simulator Adventures

by Charles Gulick


Sunday Driver

North Position: 17226 Rudder: 32767
East Position: 21061 Ailerons: 32767
Altitude: 440 Flaps: 0
Pitch: 0 Elevators: 32767
Bank: 0 Time: 8:12
Heading: 118 Season: 2-Spring
Airspeed: 0 Wind: 3 Kts, 150
Throttle: 0

This is runway 11 at Westchester County Airport, White Plains, New York. The airport is just this side of the southwestern tip of Connecticut. In fact, by the time you're airborne you'll be crossing the border of Westchester and Fairfield counties.

    But we're not going on any nice little sightseeing trip today. You'll see some sights, sure, and from an unusual perspective. But you may be too busy to enjoy them, at least until you get where we're going.

    Our destination is a secret for the moment. I want to keep you in suspense. But I will say it's important for you to follow my instructions to the letter. If things get fouled up, use Recall and try again until you get it right. Here goes.


Make your normal takeoff and climb straight out to 1000 feet. As you pass through 1000, turn right to a heading of 270 degrees. As you turn, gradually reduce your rpm to 1600-1605 and complete your climb at or close to 1500 feet. Adjust altitude as required once you're on your heading, but ultimately trim for straight and level flight at 1500 feet, with a power setting of 1600-1605 rpm, and heading 270.

    The water you're flying toward is the Hudson River. The geography on the other side is more of New York State. You'll fly over the river about where the Tappan Zee Bridge crosses it, although the bridge doesn't appear in the simulation.

    Keep flying straight as long as you can see water ahead of your nose. When the water disappears, turn left to a heading of 210 degrees.

    Maintain your altitude within at least 50 feet of 1500. As you fly, tune your NAV to Kennedy VORTAC, 115.9. Crank your OBI around to a value of 140. That's the radial we want to intercept. The instrument will read TO. Just keep flying for now.

    You're flying over the Palisades, beautiful sheer cliffs that rise above the Hudson on the New Jersey side. Before long, Manhattan begins to take shape ahead, and probably a hair to the right of your course, on Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty.

    You can visualize our operation-flying a course to intercept a specific radial of an OMNI station-as a flight over the spokes of a giant wheel lying flat on the landscape. Each spoke represents a radial, and the hub represents the OMNI station. We're looking for the spoke numbered 140, or rather, our OBI is looking for it, and will tell us when we're there by centering its needle. You can see why both instructors and books say that an OMNI radial has nothing to do with the aircraft heading. We're heading 210, but we're going to come to the 140 radial anyway. When we do, if we were to turn to that heading and fly the needle, inbound to the hub, we'd get to John F. Kennedy International Airport. But in this morning's operation, we're using the point where our flight intercepts the 140 radial as a positioning reference. We'll turn there, but not to fly the radial. Until it goes off scale, the needle will show where we are in relation to spoke number 138-left or right of it. But once we start our turn, we're no longer concerned with the radial on this particular flight.

    Notice that the World Trade Center towers and the Empire State Building pop into view as we get farther down river.


When your DME reads around 14 nautical miles, the OBI needle will come on scale at the right edge of the instrument and begin moving toward center. At this point put on carburetor heat. This will automatically reduce your rpm and you'll start a descent. Keep a close watch on the OBI needle now, and when it moves to its center position, turn left, using a 30-degree bank, toward a heading of 167. (Now stop worrying. Would I fly you into a World Trade Center tower?)

    Watch for a bridge over the East River, out there ahead of you. Point your nose toward it. As soon as you've completed your turn, put on ten degrees of flaps, and then-without rushing-the rest of your flaps. Start reducing your power.

    Meanwhile, pay attention to that structure with the girders spanning the river. That's Manhattan Bridge. And if you could fly under it in 40 Great Flight Simulator Adventures, you can land on it with this book. That's just what you're going to do.

    Think of the bridge as a runway. It bears exactly 167 degrees. Its elevation is 437 feet. Make any and all corrections necessary to sit down very nicely on it, landing and applying your brakes as close to this end as your precision will allow.

    The bridge will hold you up. It's as substantial as any runway in the simulator world. And just as straight. And plenty long enough.


Once stopped, ignore the honking of horns and the wail of police sirens and admire what you've done, from all angles. Behind you, you'll see familiar landmarks. And you'll surely be able to see some of the superstructure cables out one or several sides, as well as ahead and behind. Be sure to zoom around in radar a bit, too. Take some pictures if you brought your camera. It's not every day you land on Manhattan Bridge.

    Try to explain that to New York's finest, about a dozen of whom are now thronging around your aircraft, gesturing dramatically, writing things in notebooks, and arguing with motorists to pipe down.

    You have to confess to the officers that this wasn't an emergency landing, but something you did because you read it in a book somewhere. And the book didn't tell you exactly what you were going to do until it was too late.

You convince the police that the most efficient way out of the mess is for you to take off again. They would, indeed, dearly love to see the last of you and this airplane.

    It's a long bridge, and you should have plenty of room for takeoff without turning around and taxiing back. If you do need to taxi back, do that now.

    Careful, however, to use virtually all the runway before you get airborne, or you could hit the cables overhead. Judge your speed along the roadway and adjust your rpms accordingly, planning to rotate only after you've cleared the last cable overhead. For a while, in other words, if you have a lot of runway, make it just a fast taxi, or hold your nose down with forward elevator pressure.

    (Before you take off, don't forget about your elevator, flaps, carb heat, and anything else that may still reflect your landing configuration, or this could get serious.)

    You can fly on to JFK, just off to your left, or any airport you choose. It doesn't matter where you land, because wherever you land, in the whole New York/Boston area, there'll be a gentleman from the FAA waiting, anxious to introduce himself and get to know you.

    News does travel fast.

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