Flying Flight Simulator

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

Chapter 11

Recall TIE ISSAQUAH /C, apply a little power and right nosewheel, and turn the aircraft to a compass heading of 62 degrees. Cut the power. Be sure your heading is 62 degrees, and then access FILE and change from PROP to JET. (The little nosedive that may result is a simulator phenomenon but won't hurt your aircraft.)

Next, open the NAV and POSITION SET windows, and transport the aircraft to NORTH 21739.354, EAST 6375.8502, and ALT 0.0. Put the control tower at NORTH 21739.000, EAST 6375.0000, and ALT 330.0000. Close the window. Then, open the VIEW window, and set the spot plane 100 feet behind you at an altitude of 20 feet.

The Learjet hasn't as many “home” airport choices as the Cessna because it needs more than a mile of runway for takeoff—at least for a conservative takeoff. Later, I'll introduce you to high-performance takeoffs for both the 182 and the Learjet. Granted, you could start your takeoff well back on the grass and use some of the grass at the opposite end of the runway too. But because you're blessed with two aircraft, why not use each according to its particular performance characteristics?

This is William R. Fairchild International Airport, Port Angeles, Washington. Look at your map. You're parked in a little notch off the taxiway and adjacent to the fuel pumps.

You're pointed toward the taxiway to Runway 27. In the opposite direction, of course, it's Runway 9. Runway 9/27 is the only one of Fairchild's two strips that can handle the Lear. It's 6300 feet long, and even that length is marginal. But your standard takeoff procedure will work as long as you do all your checks, prepare for your takeoff properly, and execute it well.

Before you save this tiedown, set the season to summer, and set the winds to 0 at all levels so that you can see how the Learjet takes off and cruises with no wind. This is one of those rare days when you'll have no wind to speak of.

Except it isn't daytime. Close the ENVIRO window, get rid of your map, and set the time on your panel clock to about 1:00 a.m.

Now, with the spot plane view enabled, save this tie-down as TIE FAIRCHILD/L.

Isn't this beautiful? There's no question where the taxi-way and runway are. Turn your panel lights on if they're off, do your preflight check, and prepare for takeoff—now, while you've plenty of time to get everything right.

When you unpause to start taxiing, the engine may sound wrong, and you may be reading RPM instead of percent of engine power. This happens with some regularity, but once you get moving, things will straighten themselves out. You can also correct the engine sound by stopping and restarting your engine. You know that you can switch the mags with the numeral 1 and 2 keys; you can also switch them by clicking on the 1 and 2 at the MAG switch on the panel itself. Try the second method; it's perhaps the more realistic alternative. Think of the mouse cursor as your hand doing the switching. (You can also operate the flaps and gear by clicking the mouse in the indicator boxes, but I find the keyboard quicker and more convenient. Suit yourself.)

Before you depart, get out your chart, turn on your ADF, and tune to Gray NDB.

Taxi ahead and then parallel to the runway. Keep well to the right side of the taxiway because the turn at the end is very tight. Make your turn on the grass. You'll need all the runway you can get.

Line up as you turn onto the runway, and immediately pour on all your power. You'll lose most of your outside visual references as you climb, but don't let that concern you. You know how to fly the airplane; the procedure is the same in darkness as in daylight. Your instruments and gauges tell you exactly what is happening.

Trim to operational neutral smartly, consistent with smoothness of operation and maintaining a 500-fpm climb. Level off at 6500 feet.

When you reach cruise altitude, turn to track the Gray NDB station.

Keep the ADF needle on 0.

Practice your regular instrument scan. Stay within 100 feet of your assigned altitude.

Set the spot plane off to your right at an altitude of 0 and a distance of 100 feet.

Keep a lookout for Bremerton National Airport below you. It will go by pretty fast and will be followed by Port Orchard. Almost simultaneously, Mt. Rainier will loom into view. Then, Tacoma Narrows Airport will appear. It's about 10 miles north of the Gray NDB.

The highway crossing your path is Interstate 5. As you approach it, Spanaway Airport will show up on the far side. Make no further ADF course corrections now. Instead, fly straight ahead. Momentarily, two other airports will appear east of Spanaway.

Your ADF needle gets very active now and indicates about 180 degrees as soon as you pass Gray NDB.

Switch your ADF to tune Nolla, and fly toward that station. (If the needle is between numbers, estimate the value, and then correct it when you get the needle close to 0.) Note that the range of NDB stations far exceeds that of VORs. This is a particularly useful feature when you're flying the Learjet because everything happens so fast. You can chew up big pieces of geography without losing a sense of where you're going.

The highways serving Seattle put a riot of light on your windshield.

Tune NAV 1 to Paine VOR, center the OBI 1 needle as soon as you're in range, and fly the indicated heading toward Snohomish County Airport.

Get into slowflight so that you can enjoy viewing the Seattle scenery.

Now, tune your ADF to the Elwha NDB; its transmitter is about 10 miles west of William R. Fairchild International. The frequency is on your chart.

When your DME shows that you are about five miles from the Snohomish VOR (you should now be passing over the airport), stay in slowflight and get on a bearing to Elwha NDB.

Whenever you track an NDB station and the ADF needle is near zero, you can fly that needle almost as you do the OBI needle, making small corrections in the direction of the needle's drift to keep it centered.

You are now inbound to William R. Fairchild International for a landing on the same runway where you took off earlier this morning. If you track Elwha carefully, you'll be virtually lined up for Runway 27 and your first night landing (at least, your first in this book). And in the Learjet, at that!

Pause and preserve this situation for posterity, as ELWHA WRF 27 /L.

Fairchild's elevation is 288 feet. When you unpause, start a descent at about 500 fpm to an altitude of 1200 feet. The airport will probably show up as a little horizontal mark under the horizon before you reach that altitude. In that case, abandon the ADF, and continue your approach visually to get aligned.

Don't descend lower than 1000 feet until you've established a clear relationship to the runway. You still have a distance to go.

Execute your gear and flaps procedure according to your best judgment, and give the landing all you've got.

Once you come to a stop, set the spot plane behind you again, and reset its altitude to 20 feet to help you taxi. Use your map and various views, as needed, to taxi back to your tiedown in the notch next to the fuel station.

Don't be dismayed if you get disoriented. Maneuvering around an airport at night is no piece of cake. Stay with the situation until you're parked where you're supposed to be.

Shut down the ADF, turn off your carb heat, zero your flaps, return trim to operational neutral, stop your engine, and turn off your panel lights.

Case closed.

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