A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

A Gander at Hughes

Chart: Los Angeles
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: N15370, E5756
   Tower: N15386.327, E5810.2457
   Aircraft: 1230
   Tower: 26
Heading: 042
Time: Daylight

If the Seattle area marks the scenic pinnacle of the original four simulator areas, then the Los Angeles area does the same for the scenic pits. We'll make just one stop here, and then be off to greener pastures in the San Francisco Bay area (greener is hardly the word, seeing that in the main program we know the color green all too well).

You're inbound for a private airport, Hughes, lodged between Marina del Rey, visible just left of your course, and the parallel runways of Los Angeles International. Proceed with your approach for a landing on Runway 04.

Marina del Rey, just south of Venice, California in Santa Monica Bay, was created by man, not nature, and provides docking facilities for an incredible 6,000 small boats. You'll get a better idea of its shape as you get closer. Replete with boutiques and restaurants as well as sports and fishing craft, the marina's Fisherman's Village is patterned after New En-gland prototypes.

The airport to the left of Marina del Rey is Santa Monica Municipal.

The airport you're headed for is a very confusing one to get around on, considering it has just one strip, but this scenario will plunk you down on that strip without problems.

Howard Hughes, for whose Hughes Aircraft Company this airport is named, is probably best known for his reputation as one of the richest, most eccentric, and most reclusive men in America, as well as for his mammoth seaplane The Spruce Goose, (which made one brief low-level flight--and headlines--with Hughes at the controls, when he was sup-posed to simply taxi it over the water for testing purposes).

Old-timers will remember his motion picture, Hell's Angels. And he did make a couple of important contributions to aviation. In 1935 he set a world speed record of 352 miles per hour in a plane of his own design. Two years later he crossed the continent eastward in the record time of 7 hours, 28 minutes. And in July of 1938, he and four companions completed a record flight around the world in 3 days, 19 hours, and 8 minutes. Years of lawsuits over his will followed his death in 1976, and we may not have heard the last of the litigants yet.

Elevation at Hughes is 136 feet. The runway has no centerline, and there's an outlined turnaround area at its near end. In the distance are the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains.

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