A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

Tobacco Road

Chart: Charlotte
Title: 117.2 INT R230
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: N14887, E19712
   Tower: N14767.990, E19771.000
   Aircraft: 1500
   Tower: 441
Heading: 129
Time: Daylight, Dawn, or Dusk
Special Requirements: Tune NAV 1 to 117.20. Set OBS to R230

Proceed with your flight, transitioning to maximum cruise configuration if you wish.

You're over the northwestern end of a spiny body of water called the Lake of the Neuse Reservoir. Your present course will take you just beyond it before, with your NAV tuned and OBS set as described above, you intercept radial 230, turn to track the needle, and begin a long final approach to Runway 23 at Raleigh-Durham Airport, Raleigh, North Carolina.

In the country to all sides of your course, tobacco is the money crop. A bit east of here, true, they grow cotton, corn, vegetables, soybeans and peanuts, and they raise hogs. But tobacco is still the major crop, and from here west to Greensboro and Winston-Salem it's virtually the only crop.

When you've turned final, it's time to slow the airplane and get your gear down. But don't lose altitude too fast. Raleigh-Durham's elevation is 437 feet, so you're virtually at pattern altitude at 1500.

If you were wondering, Raleigh is the metropolitan area to your left, and Durham is to your right. U.S. 70 and I-40 connect them. Just beyond the airport you'll see a bit of B. Everette Jordan Lake.

The capitol at Raleigh, by the way, was originally located just four miles from a bistro named Hunter's Tavern, an alternate location having been rejected because it was 10 miles from said tavern, thus too far to go for a drink.

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