Flying Flight Simulator

Sky-High Adventure with the Macintosh, Amiga, & Atari ST
by Charles Gulick

Chapter 8

Your first situation disk should be full, so format two more blank disks before you fly any more chapters. Plenty of room remains on the first disk, but Flight Simulator lets you save only 12 situations—one buffer's worth—per disk. If you try to save even one more situation on your first disk, the first 12 will be erased in the process. I suggest that you now write-protect your first completed disk.

However, because you'll use that first disk to set up your next flight, load it and recall READY LAX 24R/L.

First, I want to show you how easy it is to switch from the Learjet to the Cessna. Simply click on FILE in the menu bar, and then highlight and click on PROP. Talk about changing planes!

You'll change geography almost as quickly. You're going to transport the Cessna from the Los Angeles to the New York area in seconds. Open the NAV window, click on POSITION SET, and put the aircraft at NORTH 17357.889, EAST 21123.2490, and ALT 0.0. Position the control tower at NORTH 17359.000, EAST 21120.0000, and ALT 500.0000; then, close the window.

Open ENVIRO and set the season to SUMMER. Open it again, and then highlight and click on CLOUDS. This is the first time you've been in this window. In the LEVEL 1 section, click on the TOPS box and type 9000. Move down and set the base at 7000. Note that the gauge on the left side of the window correctly depicts the overcast with cloud tops at 9000 MSL and bottoms at 7000 MSL.

Close the window.

Again open ENVIRO and click on WINDS. Change SURFACE WINDS AGL DPTH to 7000. Then, click on DIR opposite DPTH and type 340. Move down to SPEED and type 8. Close the window.

You will save this situation under the title OVRCST DXR 35/C. However, you must first delete at least one situation because the buffer is full. Because you saved all 12 of your first situations on disk, you can safely delete everything in the buffer and start fresh. Click on SITUATION, and then highlight and click on DELETE. Move the cursor to the top box of the files and click repeatedly until you remove all files. Then, close the window.

Now, with the spot plane view enabled, save the current situation as OVRCST DXR 35/C. DXR is the code for the airport you're at: Danbury Municipal in Danbury, Connecticut. The runway you're positioned for is Runway 35.

Take the control tower view and see what you look like. The tower at Danbury is there only because you put it there. When no tower is available to call for weather information, such as at this airport, simply call the nearest tower where you can get a weather report.

Look at your New York and Boston Area Chart, and find Igor I. Sikorski Memorial Airport, southeast of Danbury Municipal. Call the Sikorski tower on your COM radio and see what's happening.

(If you're flying the Amiga or Atari, sometimes you have to close the tower message window by clicking.)

Obviously, when you contact a tower at another airport, the runway numbers are likely to be different. But since the active runway at Sikorsky is Runway 34, it's clear that you'd use 35 here at Danbury, even if you didn't know the wind direction.

Do your panel preflight now, and then set your clock to 8:30. (The clock you have aboard, by the way, is a 24-hour clock, so 8:30 is a.m. and 20:30 is 8:30 p.m.)

Check your chart again, and tune NAV 1 to La Guardia VOR. Center the needle on the associated OBI, and you'll have the radial you're going to fly to New York City.

Prepare for takeoff and go ahead when you're ready. (When you're on the runway, you'll probably want to use the out-front view from the cockpit, rather than the spot plane view.) Use the Flight Checklist in Appendix B, if needed, to check procedures.

As you pass through 1000 feet altitude, turn left to the heading indicated on your OBI and then track the needle.

If you're to the right of your course (OBI needle left of center) when you complete your turn, take about a 10-degree cut toward the radial. This means fly on a heading of about 213 until the needle centers, and then yaw right again to 223 and await developments.

Level off at a cruising altitude of 2700 feet.

The airport you'll fly over, as you can tell from the chart, is Westchester County, and the water west of it is the Hudson River. To the left of your course is Long Island Sound, and further left is Long Island itself with the Atlantic Ocean in the background. The highway streaking along the shoreline is Interstate 95.

You'll probably find yourself correcting to the right to keep the OBI needle centered. Remember that the wind is 340 degrees at 8 knots. It's coming from your right and behind you, pushing you to the left, and you must counteract that push. The VOR radial is not affected by wind, of course. To stay on the radial you've selected, you need to “crab” to the right, offsetting the effect of the winds aloft.

Hold your altitude within 20 feet of 2700. Altitude is entirely your responsibility when you're flying below 3000 feet. Above 3000, you must observe official altitudes. If your course is eastward or due north, regulations require you to fly at odd thousands plus 500 feet—for example, 3500, 5500, or 7500 feet. On a westward course or due south, the requirement is even thousands plus 500, such as 4500, 6500, and so on. If you were flying above 3000 feet this morning, you'd have no choice about altitude; you'd be flying at 4500 or 6500 feet.

As you fly, take some left side views of Long Island Sound and Long Island. And in the process set the spot plane off your right wingtip at a distance of 100 feet and an altitude of 0. Then take the spot plane view and see how straight and level you are.

At about 12 nm from La Guardia, you'll see its runways ahead of you. La Guardia isn't your immediate destination; you simply used its VOR to track to the Manhattan area. Nevertheless, continue on your present heading for now.

One of La Guardia's runways is 4/22, and your heading is almost perfect for a landing on Runway 22. But you can't land on it today. The wind being from the west, La Guardia's active runway this morning is Runway 31.

After your disk drive whirs, a blaze of light appears to the right of La Guardia. That's Manhattan! Take over visually now and fly toward the center of the light. Yaw a little to the right, and you'll be right on course.

The body of water flowing past La Guardia toward Manhattan is the East River. The water on the far side of New York City is, of course, the Hudson. The two rivers come together as Upper New York Bay and continue as Lower New York Bay until reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

At about 7 DME (or now, if you're already closer than that), get into slowflight so that the New York sights won't go by too fast. Hold your altitude at 2700.

The three main north/south thoroughfares simulated in Manhattan are East River Drive (which is called Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive when it's abreast midtown), Fifth Avenue, and Broadway. The last two frame Central Park, which you can see.

Three landmark buildings are simulated: the Empire State Building, which is about 22 blocks south of Central Park, and the World Trade Center twin towers, which are on the Hudson River side almost at the foot of Manhattan Island.

Set a course to the left of the Empire State Building and with the twin towers approximately straight ahead. The buildings become three-dimensional as you get closer. If you're flying Amiga or Atari, here's a good chance to use your panning arrows. Pan the Empire State Building into the center of your screen, and then pan down and to the right to keep it in view below you—literally following the building with the arrows. Then, press DEL (CLR Home on the Atari), and follow a similar procedure to get a good look at the World Trade Center towers.

But the best is yet to come. Ahead, that little white strip sticking out of the Hudson River is the Statue of Liberty. Set a zoom factor of 4.00, and use the panning arrows to get and keep the “lady” at the center of your screen. Track her with the arrows as she slowly becomes three-dimensional. This will keep your fingers busy.

Use the DEL key (CLR Home on the Atari) and the Backspace key to restore your normal views when you're beyond the statue.

Now, turn left to a heading of about 65 degrees so that New York's buildings are slightly left of your course and La Guardia (visible in the distance) is slightly right. A bridge appears on the landscape ahead of you, first identifiable as a group of eight or ten dots at the mouth of the East River. The dots, by turn, become lines as the bridge takes on more realistic dimensions. Head to fly straight over it.

The bridge is the Manhattan Bridge, connecting the borough of Brooklyn with the borough of Manhattan across the East River. Like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, this bridge is one of the Flight Simulator's most dramatic features.

Set a zoom factor of 4.00, and (Amiga/Atari) again use your panning arrows to get and keep the best possible views of the bridge at the center of your screen. If you're flying the Macintosh, take a straight down view and watch the bridge pass under you. When you are beyond the bridge, remember to restore your normal views.

Now, so that you can fly around the Manhattan area anytime you like, seeing the sights and showing them to friends, pause and save your present situation as OVER NY @ 2.7/C. Then save RAM to disk. The 2.7 will remind you that you're in the air, in flight, at 2700 feet.

Using what you've learned about navigation, you could elect to fly to any airport on your New York and Boston Area Chart. You could tune any of numerous VOR stations shown on that chart, center the OBI needle, and fly the resultant course direct. For airports out of range, you could select one or more intermediate stations, and fly to your destination by stages. That's how you navigate on long trips.

But with La Guardia looking so inviting, go ahead and land there for the experience.

With the wind from 340, Runway 31 has to be the active runway.

So now the question is: Which runway is Runway 31? If you can't figure it out immediately, welcome to the group. Plenty of students, and advanced pilots too, find themselves faced with the same problem as they approach a new airport. Try to decide which runway is Runway 31, and then read on.


This situation, in a way, is a classic, because of your present position and heading. You're heading approximately northeast with La Guardia almost straight ahead. So, isn't it likely that the runway whose threshold is nearest is Runway 31? If you imagine the aircraft rotating to the left a bit, you'd pass—in reference to the compass rose—360, or 0 degrees, and then be headed somewhere in the 300s, wouldn't you?

But think again. To turn from your present heading (assuming it's about 60 degrees) to 310 degrees, you would rotate the aircraft's nose not just “a bit,” but through 110 degrees. That's a lot of geography. If you figured out that Runway 13/31 is the strip crossing your path, which you're approaching at almost a 90-degree angle, and that Runway 31 is the one pointing toward Manhattan, you're right. Go to the head of the class.

If you were paused, unpause now, turn right to a heading of 130 degrees, and start a 500 fpm descent to 1000 feet.

Look 90 degrees to your left, and you'll see you're flying parallel to Runway 13/31 on a compass heading that is the reciprocal of the active runway. In aviation, this is called the “downwind leg.”

True your DG as you lose altitude. You'll use the DG for your next two turns, so you won't have to worry about compass lag.

Keep the 90-degree left view until La Guardia is about to disappear from your screen, and then switch to the out-front view and turn left to a heading of 40 degrees (use your DG). You may see John F. Kennedy International Airport sweep past below.

When you're heading 40 degrees, you're on what is called the “base leg.” Notice that, in a left-hand pattern such as the one you're flying, you turn 90 degrees from leg to leg. Base leg heading is downwind leg heading minus 90.

Remember to add back your power and level off at 1000 feet.

Take a 90-degree view to the left again. When La Guardia is just ahead of your wingtip, make a standard-rate left turn to a heading of 310 degrees. (This heading is the base leg heading minus 90 degrees, and it puts you on “final approach,” which is also the “upwind,” or takeoff, leg.)

Drop your gear, extend 10 degrees of flaps, and trim to approach neutral as usual; but, this time, don't extend your flaps any farther. Land with only the 10 degrees you've applied. Use power to meet the runway threshold in the normal manner, but keep your airspeed higher. With only 10 degrees of flaps extended, your stalling speed will be higher. The tower will appreciate your expediting your landing, because a Delta Boeing 757 is on final behind you.

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