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Found 12 results

  1. A few shots out of Orbx P3D Edinburgh TTM (P3D v5.2HF1)
  2. Edited screenshot of Manfred Jahn's DC3-C47 in WWII Livery at runway of Shoreham-UK
  3. The Wrigley family, of chewing gum fame, operated a lovely C-47 for many years. I was lucky enough to have the (virtual) job of flying it around the West Coast.
  4. Today we start our first really long leg on the South Pacific tour. Plan was to stop briefly enroute on Robinson Crusoe Island about 360nm off the coast of Chile. For the record, Robinson Crusoe is a fictional character. A bad-ass, Alexander Selkirk was probably Daniel Defoe's inspiration for The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719. As a Royal Navy officer, he pissed off the skipper of his ship, challenging his judgment of its seaworthiness, and said he'd rather be put ashore. The captain obliged. Airborne at 1735Z, course 259M at 5,000, 28"/2050 using 70GPH on the HOWGOZIT. Winds aloft forecast dictated that we stay low, with headwinds predicted for most of the route. Checked drift shortly after level-off and corrected the wrong way! Two hours later a sun/moon two line fix showed us 31 miles north of course. Lesson learned, new course and heading applied, and three hours after takeoff the NDB came alive with the needle straight up. Nice to have with the clouds preventing a sun shot for an LOP. A few minutes later, "Land ho!" with the island barely visible on the horizon. To be honest, using the ADF to find the island felt like cheating. Thoughts of Amelia.... Beautiful place But there was a 20kt crosswind component on a narrow short runway so we decided the most conservative option was to wave and keep going. Overhead after 3+21, and stayed down at 1,500' because of the wind. On course for Easter Island, almost 15 hours to go according to preflight planning. Sun down with clearing skies Celestial will check our DR A long night, but got a couple hours sleep in the back. Thinking about all that water, and counting spark plugs, valves, wrist pins, etc. that could break isn't the best way to fall asleep. Toward morning the moon showed the way. Fixes every two hours confirmed our suspicions that there was more wind than forecast. But it finally sunk in that I'd made a huge preflight error. The plan was to arrive at Easter Island a couple hours after sunrise, but when I figured backward to determine a departure time I forgot there would be three time zone changes. So instead of arriving two hours after sunrise, we were going to arrive an hour before. (UPDATE: No wait! I figure we'd spend a couple hours on the ground on Isla Crusoe and figured it in. Or not. Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!) The moon had set and it was cloudy, so it was dark, but the ADF found the station albeit about 20 degrees to the right. Another reminder of my sloppy navigating, forgetting to figure in drift from forecast right crosswind nearing our destination instead of the headwinds with a left crosswind component most of the way. Climbed back up to 5,000' to avoid bumping into the island in the dark, and decided to fly an hour east and then come back with the sun behind us for landfall. In no hurry, we used 23"/1850 for only 22GPH per side at 105KIAS. After the long night, the twilight looked wonderful; and hot coffee, bacon, and eggs made us feel better. As we turned back west the sunrise behind us made for quite a show We picked up the beacon again, broke through a cloud and the field was right in front of us. Shut down at 1312Z after 19+37 with 214 gallons remaining. A safe and happy ending to what will probably be, at 2000nm, the second longest leg on our South Pacific adventure. The next leg to Tahiti will be about 2300, but we should have tailwinds most of the way. We'll attempt to use a DR offset and LOP to find Tahiti instead of the ADF, but we'll see how that works out. P.S. To anyone who has been following along on my winged voyage, intended to simply experience and show off openLC South America, I'm now up to date. I'm flying in real time with real weather. After the long flight yesterday, we spent today checking the engines carefully, cleaning radial drool off the bottom of the wings and out of the wheel wells, and attending to various little details that can become big ones if you don't. Plan is to leave tomorrow for Tahiti an hour before we want to arrive. The next day, Sunday, that is. The flight will be about 20 hours and we'll cross 5 time zones. Our strategy is to fly all night so we can use the bubble sextant and stars to navigate, but arrive in daylight so we can see we can use Mark I, Mod 0 Eyeballs (2 ea.) to find the islands. The NDB is reported to be iffy, so we're going to assume it doesn't work and will intentionally navigate to a spot about 10% or 40 miles north of Tahiti from our last fix. Then, like Amelia tried to do, we'll use DR to arrive at a line of position (LOP) we can get from a sun sight, and fly it, a simple mag heading, down to the island. The 40-mile offset is so we know we have to turn left, because you can be anywhere on a LOP (which is actually a small segment of a circle around the spot on Earth that is directly under a star at a particular time.) Like most things in life, it's easy once you know how, and adds a whole new dimension to FSX immersion. If you're weird like I am, that is. Happy to explain further to other weirdos. Especially fun if you fly Connies or Globemasters or Stratocruisers and such. GPS and even VORs hadn't been invented yet, so DR and celestial is how you did it.
  5. Almost busted my ass today. Locals said you could head south at 10,500, no problem. Not on the route I took. Didn't want to try dodging mountain peaks and ridges in the dark, and cool night temperatures would help the density altitude, so we planned takeoff at sun-up (0554). Pushed the power up at 0600 on the dot. No fuel in the eight 100-gallon internal tanks we have in the back, but even with 804 gallons in the wings, we used an awful lot of the two-and-half-mile-long runway. MP on takeoff was only 34", and density altitude was just over 12,000 feet! The Sky was getting light but just because the sun is above the horizon doesn't mean there's sunlight in the mountains. However, we could, at least, see the 19,890' peak of Cotopaxi volcano beyond the far ridge as we turned south. As the sun finally came up behind us if only served to illuminate the peaks ahead of us, and remind us that it was a long walk in an unfriendly jungle to anywhere. There were thunderstorms around too, just to complicate things. Not much wind, but still a plenty rough ride. And it wasn't long before we were balls to the wall trying to scrape over ridges. Learned to fly in New Mexico, so mountain flying isn't a novel experience, but these suckers pushed us up to 14,500 and, still heavy, she wasn't going any higher even though I was leaning forward and holding my tongue just right in the corner of my mouth. Crossed the last ridge with less than 500 feet between us and the snow under us, and then we started to have room enough to breath. Not that there was a lot of oxygen, which probably accounts for my poor decision-making and navigation. We knew we'd be droning along for hours over the ocean at 8,500 or lower so we didn't think O2 bottles would be necessary. As we came out of the mountains the jungle was beautiful in the dawn's early light Let down to 8,500 so we could breathe again, and ended up dodging a few build ups Had to shoot the ILS, but broke out at 1,300' AGL and shut her down seven minutes shy of six hours after takeoff. Long flight tomorrow to Valparaiso, Chile, on the coast near Santiago. That will be our jumping off point for an even longer flight to Easter Island and the South Pacific.
  6. A very long day, but a good warm-up for our next flights. DR and celestial with LOPs matched our eyeballs pretty close. Also got a two-line fix with sun and moon that was only off by about 2 miles. Good thing, too, because the NAV side of our radios crapped out completely. Low freq radio still works so we can use NDBs, but our tour of the south seas will be the old-fashioned way, no VOR, DME or GPS (we don't even have a handheld). Off this morning at straight up 0600, 9+53 planned. Followed the Andes all the way. They loomed on our left like a fog bank but made for a pretty sunrise For the most part, we were over a coastal plain But there were places where the foothills crowded us. And occasionally our routing took us offshore A beautiful moon came up about noon and helped with our celestial practice. Thank goodness we installed a galley. Hot coffee and warm food does wonders. And so does being able to get up and walk around. Reminds me of a story, some of you no doubt have heard. Hellcat pulls up alongside a Catalina. Fighter-pilot calls over and says, "Watch this!" does a couple rolls, and says, "let's see you beat that!". The skipper of the PBY calls back, "OK, watch this!" After a few minutes, the fighter pilot says, "Well?" "Oh, I already did it," the P-boat captain says. "I unstrapped, walked back and took a dump, then stopped by the galley for some hot coffee. Let's see you do that!" Anyway, it finally was time to let down And after a long day we were on deck and shut down with 10.7 on the Hobbs. We'll be off about 1700 tomorrow to Easter Island with a short stop on Robinson Crusoe's Island before it gets dark at 2030. 15+23 enroute according to the plan, and we'll use about 1400 gallons, leaving a bit over 2 hours in the tanks to find the place. (No fuel at Isla Crusoe.) The plan is to fly mostly at night so we have stars to navigate by but arrive a couple hours after the 0800 sunrise so we can see the tiny place. Might try pressure-pattern nav which could save us at least an hour if the winds aloft forecast is right. See http://www.edwilliams.org/smxgigpdf/smx2001c.pdf or http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2161-4296.1957.tb01024.x/abstract if you're flying a B-47 not a C-47.
  7. Our South Pacific oil exploration charter was delayed a couple days while we were AOG diagnosing engine failure, prop feather failure, and hydraulic pump failure. But we'll make it to Valparaiso and the Pacific islands yet! Turns out we were very lucky. A fuel line broke right at the carb where the crossfeed line Ts in, and the engine quit dead. When it happened so suddenly I didn't follow memory procedure, don't ask why, I simply turned the fuel selector to off, yanked back the mixture and prop, turned the mags off and then hit the feather button. So much for identity, verify, etc. Working in the tropical heat, getting the cowl off that was almost too hot to touch, working on a tall step ladder, not a platform, wasn't much fun. Thought a lot about all the guys that had done it before us in hotter and much much colder places. The prop wouldn't feather, it turned out because a cutout switch failed after we did the pre-takeoff feather check. The feathering pump is controlled by the feathering button which energizes a feather solenoid which positions a feathering slide valve which transfers oil which feathers the propeller against the action of the governor flyweights. When the propeller has been fully feathered, oil pressure builds up and actuates a cutout switch which causes the pump to stop. Unfeathering the prop does essentially the same thing but at higher pressure moving the slide valve the other direction pushing the blades into fine pitch. Except our cutout switch failed during pretakeoff unfeathering and the pump didn't stop. It continued to run and quickly burned itself up so the prop levers and governor continued to work just fine, but the prop wouldn't feather when we really need it to. Thankfully we had just reached top of climb. If it had happened at, say, 300 feet with 804 external and 800 internal gallons of very flammable fuel.... On another occasion (real life), it wasn't a dark and stormy night, in fact, it was moonlit, calm and CAVU, but a feathering pump made our takeoff in a C-45 into a scary story. A full load of sightseeing pax and fuel so we were right at gross. Just as the gear came up the MP dropped and the RPM went off the top. Pulled back the power and prop, and as soon as I did the MP went off the top and the RPM plummeted. WTF? Rinse and repeat. No one ever taught me about a failure like this! Throttle back further, declare an emergency, bend it around with the cranky engine still pulling a little and staying under redline and all other indications except MP and RPM that it was fine. Land on the no-wind crosswind runway, emergency trucks waiting with flashing lights. Shut 'er down, everyone out on the runway, pax enjoying the show asking when they can go again. Me wondering what the burning smell was. No clue what happened, firefighters couldn't find anything either. Filled out the scant paperwork, towed the bird back to the hangar, and sat in the cockpit with copilot (my wife in this case) trying to recreate the situation. Then we saw the feathered prop. "Did you feather the prop?" she says "Hell no, did you?" "Heck no, I was fumbling around trying to find the emergency shutdown checklist!" Turns out a nut had come off the wire terminal on the back of the feather switch, and was bouncing around in the cup feathering and unfeathering the prop each time it touched. Engine was working fine all along, but the pump burned up working against itself over and over. The hydraulic system failure after we landed turned out to be a leak in the accumulator. Everything, even the wipers and cowl flaps are hydraulic ina C-47. The accumulator cracked sometime between when we put down the last of the flaps and when we tried to put them up. Check valves in the brake system gave us what we need to slow down and start the turn-off. Sure glad the airline is paying for all this. (They'll be happy to know that FSX Real Engine has been de-installed until I can figure out why it would cause such havoc.) Anyway... So we got off early this morning keeping with the theory that thunderstorms would be less likely before the sun could heat things up. Except there was a monster SIGMET for most of our route and along the west coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It didn't look promising. So we headed a little north of east to do an end run around the storms. And as the sun came up things started to look better. And as we turned south toward San Jose, Costa Rica we were in smooth conditions on top of a broken to overcast layer. Which is not say that we weren't hawking the weather, There was some nasty stuff out there. But we took time for a couple of beauty shots to send back to the folks at home. Dodged a couple of build-ups, and finally saw the locks and the canal with unexpectedly tropical looking water. Flew around the area gawking, trying to stay out of restricted airspace and airport control areas, but finally turned a long final to 03L at Panama City International - Tocumen (MPTO) And shut down with 5+43 on the Hobbs. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we'll head for Quito, Equador, and the equator.
  8. Great evening touring Guatemala City. The central park with the Palacio and church don't look a bit different and the people were as nice as I remember. (Even if the country has one of the highest murder rates in the world thanks to drug wars.) Off at a decent hour without hassles, planning to follow the west coast to the Panama Canal, then a sightseeing jaunt along the canal to the east coast and then back to the international airport to end the day. Didn't work out that way again, thanks to weather. Pretty morning, with the blue skies more like I remember them compared to the hazy gray yesterday. Climbed to 11,500, and headed out. But shortly after passing Managua, Nicaragua the scene ahead didn't look promising and we decided discretion was the better part of valor. Dumped the gear and turned around And only had to make one 360 to get down On the ground the reception was about the same as Tapachula, but a lot more friendly and no implication that a "mordida" was expected. We'll try again tomorrow, with an earlier go.
  9. Another try to reach the Canal Zone from Managua. Weather was iffy, with a SIGMET warning of thunderstorms with tops to 53,000'. But that didn't turn out to be an issue. Leveled off at 5500', 31"/2050, trimmed up, cowl flaps closed, mixture auto lean, thinking about a drink of water. And the starboard engine quit, just like that. No warning, no instrument indications. And no feather. Totally dead. Overhead the airport at 2000'. Gear came down fine, and held the flaps till we had the field made with 8000' feet ahead of us and a good breeze right down the runway. Made the mid-field turnoff, but couldn't make her turn further with the upwind engine out and gusty breeze. No hydraulic pressure and hand pump didn't make any pressure either. So we shut down droopy and cattywampus, still slightly on the runway, to wait for the tractor. We had a towbar tied down on the floor, but Gooney Birds are common down here and they arrived with it in tow. A strange combination of failures. If you can't take a joke you shouldn't be a pilot, right?
  10. Taking the new Douglas C-47 for a test flight from Wollongong to Merimbula (South coast of NSW) Taxing to the runway ready for take off taking off in the air looking up from below leaving Wollongong Running smooth Now were cruising short runway at Merimbula touch down A good test flight, sitting at 8500 feet, at 160 knots..
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