Take-off: Arar Domestic Airport (Saudi Arabia) – ICAO: OERR
METAR OERR 231000Z 03010KT 7000 SCT040 BKN100 12/12 Q1019 NOSIG (decode)
Landing: Kuwait International Airport (Kuwait) – ICAO: OKBK
METAR OKBK 231030Z 32004KT 7000 FEW040 OVC100 18/08 Q1019 NOSIG (decode)
It took a while to find some spare time to fly this thirteenth leg, but we managed and were ready to bring this long flight with destination Kuwait to a successful conclusion.
Hopefully (unlucky) number 13 wouldn’t cause any trouble, because today’s weather was completely the opposite of our last flight above Saudi Arabia. We had scattered clouds with rain upon departure in Arar (Saudi Arabia) and thunderstorms with lightning was to be expected on the way. In our world tour, this was the first time we had such bad weather. I had no idea it could rain that hard above the desert…
We filed our IFR flight and – again – got “clearance void 30 minutes from now”, like in our last flight, because of the uncontrolled airport. After take-off, we climbed out to 19.000ft, but requested ATC to increase our altitude to 23.000ft (2.000ft under maximum service level of the C400 Corvalis TT) to avoid the bad weather and get some good tailwinds.
The rain was pouring down, however we couldn’t see it from our virtual cockpit. A bug? A wrong setting? A conflict between add-ons? So, lots of rain, but no rain to be seen. Again, Google to the rescue! We found a freeware virtual cockpit rain fix for FSX from Flight1.com. When installed, we saw rain like it should be. Kudos to these fine gentlemen! One minor disappointment: I read about aircraft models with rain drops on the windscreen, but Alabeo doesn’t seem to have implemented this.
When climbing through the clouds, we were well shaken up, probably even better than a James Bond’s vodka martini. 🙂 I guess Active Sky Next (for the real-world weather), in cooperation with EZDok Camera (for the camera effects), do a very good job simulating turbulence. Take a look at this little video sample of the turbulence we experienced (enable HD for best experience):
Our waypoints were set to avoid Iraq, even in our virtual flight we don’t want to take any risks these days 😉 When approaching the border of Kuwait, the weather got a bit better and we requested ATC – in time – to lower our altitude to 9.000ft (because we don’t trust ATC to give us feasible descent ratios based upon previous experiences). Coming from the west, 59nm out, we got assigned an ILS approach to runway 33L at Kuwait International Airport. Before the flight, I downloaded freeware OKBK scenery from the good guys of IVAO Kuwait. The landing wasn’t picture perfect and I got distracted by some weird scenery or texture glitches on the landing runway. Have a look at the approach and landing (enable HD for best experience):
We ended up landing safe and sound without any scenery glitch collisions, parked at the assigned spot and can start to prepare for our next flight along the Persian Gulf.
My second impression of ASN: I couldn’t really review the Active Sky Next after our previous flight, because the weather was just too nice, but this flight gave ASN a fine challenge. It performed as expected, and even a bit better: I was surprised that the weather was so bad, because I couldn’t tell it based upon the METAR report from the departure. But when I checked real-world satellite and weather reports, it appeared to me that the weather had indeed evolved that bad. So, good points for Active Sky Next!
However, one thing, the weather radar from my G1000 glass cockpit doesn’t seem to work. When I used the freeware add-on FSXWX, it did work, so I’m not really sure what’s wrong… if anyone’s got an idea, please let me know.