A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

A Dawn Final to DCA 18

Chart: Washington
Title: DAWN FNL DCA 18
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: NI6189, E20183
   Tower: N16135.643, E20191.900
   Aircraft: 1500
   Tower: 19
Heading: 185
Time: Dawn (06:01)

This is one of my favorite dawn approaches in the Washington area. (I say "dawn," but I prefer to think of it as a night approach. In my opinion, as mentioned earlier in this book, dawn and dusk look more like night than does the simulator "night.")

You are on a long final to Runway 18 at Washington National Airport.

Your flight path is at a right angle to the Mall area, the western edge of which you'll cross. It takes you directly over the Lincoln Memorial. Just this side of the Mall is the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, which touches down on the island of the same name as it crosses the Potomac River. At the foot of the bridge is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Directly to the right of the Lincoln Memorial is the Arlington Memorial Bridge, crossing over to Arlington Cemetery. On the Mall just to the left and this side of the Lincoln Memorial is perhaps the most significant memorial of our times: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Though it is unseen in the simulation, let it not be unfelt.

You'll recognize the Pentagon on your right as you approach the double roadways of the George Mason Memorial Bridge. Mason, a Virginian and a patriot (1725-92), refused to sign the Constitution until it was enhanced with specific guarantees of individual rights.

Elevation at DCA is 24 feet.

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