40 More Great Flight Simulator Adventures

by Charles Gulick


Time Warps

North Position: 17419 Rudder: 32767
East Position: 7402 Ailerons: 32767
Altitude: 410 Flaps: 0
Pitch: 0 Elevators: 32767
Bank: 0 Time: 6:28
Heading: 150 Season: 2-Spring
Airspeed: 0 Wind: 5 Kts, 150
Throttle: 0

Be sure your heading is 149-150, because there's a runway out there and you're on it. Take my word. Nature just hasn't turned on the lights yet. Just wait for a minute or two until 6:30.

    Meanwhile-courtesy of the Dawn Patrol-if you're flying a Cessna, your airplane has just got a brand-new paint job.


At daylight, take a 45-degree look to your left. And while you're looking around, just continue to rotate counterclockwise through all your views. Anything look familiar?

    That mark on the mountain. Now is that for real? Are we really there?

    If we are, how come we're in an unmodified airplane? (That is, except for the paint job on the Cessna.)

    If we're way back then, how come we have a full complement of instruments? And if this is the Europe of 1917, how come we have OMNI? And if it's 1917, how come W doesn't start a war? (Try pressing that key.)

    Take a look on radar. There's the river. Sure looks like the WWI scenario. But if it is, we snuck into it before dawn, and with a fully modern airplane. Neat trick.

    But maybe this just looks like the 1917 thing. If there's no war, then maybe we've come back nearly three-quarters of a century later? Why? To reminisce?

    Wonder if we can fly away from this European base. Maybe to somewhere else in Europe. After all, things should be more developed now.


Let's give it a whirl. Let's take off and fly this heading and see where it takes us.


    Our cruise altitude will be 3000 feet.


As you climb, take a look directly behind you. Doesn't look like a war zone. Maybe pressing the R key will give us a war report. It's supposed to. Does your screen say Sorry, there will be no war to day. Or, Sorry, you're about 70 years too late. Where you been?

    Hit X and maybe we can drop a bomb on the wiseacre. But X doesn't work either. So, just fly.

    Looks pretty monotonous ahead. Just ground and sky. Not one skyscraper. Not even a condominium.

    But we don't give up easily, do we?


Look behind you once in a while, just to see whether an enemy fighter is sneaking up on you. Also to watch the past disappear.

    We have a DME, but nothing to tune to to see how far away we are. From nowhere or anywhere. Maybe this is what they called no man's land.

    Hang on to that 3000-feet altitude, and a heading around 150. Don't touch the ailerons at all.


Somewhere around 7:00 a.m. (more like 6:45 if you're flying with an Apple version), you'll notice (behind you) that the war zone, if that's what it was, evaporates. It doesn't just shrink like most scenics. It just puffs away.

    So now, there's nothing at all, right? Well, not quite.

    Take a look out your left side. And then out your right.

    What's that? Another WWI zone?

    Looks suspiciously like the one we left way back there, doesn't it? So how did that spring up? It even has a river. And the same mountains. But we've been flying away from it for nearly a half hour. During which it looks like we flew right back to it.

    Now, if it's a mirror image of where we were, how come it's off to our right instead of straight ahead of us?

    Or maybe there are four mirror images.

    Look out the left side.


    Maybe there are three. Let's keep flying straight ahead. This could get interesting.


Keep looking around at regular intervals. We don't want to miss anything. That second battle zone will begin to get smaller. And what then?

    It didn't take all that long to get to Europe 1917, number 2. Just about as soon as number 1 evaporated.

    Well, now number 2 evaporated! Keep a sharp lookout. All sides.

    What do you know about that! Maybe four mirror images it is. And maybe we will come back to where we started. And Einstein was right after all.

    Fly, my friend. Fly this weird world. Fly this weird warp or woof or whatever. We may uncover the secret of the universe out here. Or some great truth.


Be sure this time, as Europe 1917, number 3, or Europe 2017, number 9, begins to shrink, that you keep your eye on it via a rear view and actually see it evaporate.

    Meanwhile, consider that we've seen this piece of scenic wonderland three times so far, and from three different perspectives. We seem to be in a land of mirrors. Perhaps of infinite mirrors.

    Do you suppose these places are test scenics Bruce Artwick put out here, far from everything, figuring no one would ever discover them? Places where he could practice his wizardry? Where he could try things out? And if so, what things?

    Keep watching that number 3. This may be the last of the mirror images, and when it goes we may-just may-be able to land straight ahead on the runway we left at dawn.


When number 3 is blown away, hold your breath a second. Then look all around again. Until you see it.

    Guess we're on a long final, hmmm?

    We'll have to clear the mountain top, of course. But then, what would you like to bet we'll be exactly lined up for runway 15, Europe 1917?

Keep on flying at 3000. Straight ahead. Looks like we might just clear through that little notch.

    If you're not at 3000, use this time to get there. And stay there. And if you messed around with aileron and aren't heading 150, maybe you'll just have to start all over again.

    Do you think we'll clear the mountaintop? Is the peak straight ahead now instead of the notch? Or are we aimed a little below the peak, on the slope?


    Begins to look kind of high up, that mountain, doesn't it? But we're committed. Whatever happens, happens.

    Now it doesn't look too good. Maybe you want to pause the flight here for a few moments and weigh it all.

    But can that mountain be above 3000 feet? That little mountain, in that neat little stage setting? All done with mirrors?

    Fly on, at 3000 feet.

    Soon, the blue sky is disappearing from view. All of that blue is gone. Only the wall, that wall we know is paper thin.

    No chance now. The mountain is no illusion.

    But after it happens, we're again-mercifullyon the runway. Runway 15. The same. And it's dawn again. Like waking from a bad dream. Glad to see the runway and the dawn.

    We thought, as we flew along there earlier, that we might uncover some great secret or some big truth in this mysterious time warp of mirrors within mirrors. Europe 1917, number 1, 2, 3, 4. Or is it really 4, 3, 2, 1?

    Yes. So there is a secret, and a big truth, if you think about it. All those war zones, as we flew, just evaporated. And that's the way it should be. That's what this phenomenon in the simulator is telling us. Either we evaporate-from our eyes and minds and the whole scene-every Europe 1917 or Europe 2017 or whatever, or we'll be evaporated ourselves.

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