A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

Far Away Places 1. The Big Picture

Chart: None
   Aircraft: N20178, E13252
   Tower: --
   Aircraft: 1800
   Tower: --
Heading: 360
Time: Daylight

When we were in the U.S. we took a view of the world from somewhere in Illinois. And I said when we got to West-ern Europe, we'd try the same thing. And this is it (though not the only such view possible).

After you set the parameters, zoom out on your map until you see Iceland--looking like a drop of paint high above the British Isles and west of the Scandinavian countries. De-pending on your zoom capability, one factor shy of full zoom may give you the best view (Full zoom in the Amiga and Atari ST puts a stripe down the left side of the screen).

Here you view an expanse of Europe from the Barents Sea off the coast of Russia (and a big chunk of that country), south to the Black Sea and Turkey, east to Spain and on its eastern edge Portugal (including much of the Mediterranean and the Strait of Gibralter, with even a fringe of Algeria at the bottom of the screen), and as we've seen, north past the British Isles to Iceland.

Between Iceland and Scandinavia is the Norwegian Sea, which east of the British Isles becomes the North Sea, connecting with the Atlantic Ocean via the English Channel. The ocean above Spain and off the west coast of France is called the Bay of Biscay, but it's still the Atlantic Ocean. West of Spain you see the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and the water between there and Italy is called the Tyrrhenian Sea. The boot of Italy is kicking the island of Sicily. To the right of this action is the Ionian Sea, to the north of which the Adriatic separates Italy from Yugoslavia, Albania, and Greece, which juts into the Mediterranean. The sea between Greece and Turkey is the Aegean, which mates through the tiny Bosporus strait with the Black Sea.

And that's the end of the geography lesson for today. (I wish I could remember it myself, but I know I won't be able to.) Anyway, anytime either of us feels like getting reoriented to this part of the world, we can refer to The Big Picture.

Now come along with me and we'll visit some areas that really aren't simulated, in the sense of being charted, documented, or featuring any detail, but are nonetheless there. We'll see that these areas, though relatively barren, are true to their real shapes, and even have the now familiar patches of light and dark landscape to relieve the monotony. In a sense, we'll be previewing things to come in the simulator--sort of pioneering where the future lies. And in another sense, we'll be flying to some parts of the world as they were in the past, before there were highways and airports and cathedrals and TV towers to see. We can even imagine--and quite easily--that we are the very first human beings to set foot on these remote lands, let alone to set an airplane down on them.

Table of Contents | Previous Section | Next Section