Take-off: Ormara Airport (Pakistan) – ICAO: OPOR
No METAR or TAF available in the vicinity
Fuel stop (@ 144,2nm): Jinnah International Airport (Pakistan) – ICAO: OPKC
METAR OPKC 061025Z 00000KT 6000 SCT200 29/07 Q1013 NOSIG (decode)
Landing: Bhuj Airport (India) – ICAO: VABJ
No METAR or TAF available in the vicinity
In this flight, it’s time to leave Pakistan and go to India. I’m excited to get going, because I got some new peripherals!
I ordered the Saitek Pro Flight™ Cessna® Yoke System a while ago, but due to some delays at Amazon, I had to be patient in order to get this new toy. My inner child became quite impatient, but finally before the weekend I received the package. If you’re serious with flight simulation, you can’t go without analog input. Digital input (0/1) through keyboard is a no-go. Although it’s possible and it was my way of flying for a very long time (as a poor student), analog input makes it a lot easier to control your plane more smoothly, instead of ramming the F3 or F4 key twenty times to slightly decrease/increase the throttle 😀 We’ve all been there, no? At some moments, you need to be able to control several inputs at once in an easy manner, but with only a keyboard that’s just not possible. If you did the flight lessons in FSX, you know what I’m talking about. Keeping a plane trimmed at a certain altitude, while doing a left bank of 20 degrees at a certain speed, is almost impossible with a keyboard and therefore the right equipment is a smart investment and a true pleasure if you’re really into flight simulation.
Because we were located at Ormara airport (Pakistan), I did over an hour of pattern practice there: take-off, get to 1000ft, turning left to crosswind leg, turning left to downwind leg, waiting for the airport to get in a 45 degree angle behind us, turning left base leg, then do final approach, touch and go again. Over and over, until I got used to the new yoke and throttle quadrant, because it’s true what they say in some reviews: the pitch movements are a lot more sensitive than the bank movements. For pitching (going up/down), you need far less change in control than for banking (roll left/right), so that’s something to get used to and I wanted to make sure that it felt more or less familiar before continuing the world tour. I had a few rough and off-center landings, but all went well and I feel like landings are getting better and better with every touchdown that I make. You know what they say: Practice makes perfect! 🙂
Now I just need to save up for the matching new set of Cessna rudder pedals and I’m up to speed again.
Yes, I know, the Cessna 400 Corvalis TT has a joystick control, but for the sake of me doing civil aviation most of the time and the conversion to business jets and airliners after this world tour, I preferred buying a new yoke instead of a joystick. 😉
Planning is getting difficult
Since the start of our tour around the world, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to plot out the flight plans.
We were in the middle of nowhere, at an airport without fuel station, and I know it’s not wise to go fly around these regions without taking every opportunity along the way to fill up the fuel. There are enough airports within range, that’s not the problem, but airports with a fuel station are not so easy to find. I noticed that even “international” airports (Intl) don’t always have a fuel station in FSX. I’m also having difficulties finding out if the real-world counterpart of an airport has fueling. According to our world tour “rules”, we allow ourselves to get fuel (through the menu) if there’s fuel in the real-world airport. But finding correct information for airports in a country like Pakistan doesn’t prove to be easy, so we try to plan airports with fueling in FSX anyway just to spare time. As mentioned before, our flight planning software Plan-G shows a yellow dot in the airport diagram when an airport has a fueling station, so that’s what we’re looking for.
On a side note: I wish Plan-G had some sort of option to filter airports based on fueling. Having the display filter set to large airports only, doesn’t guarantee fueling possibilities.
If worries about fueling alone weren’t enough, there’s also the restricted and prohibited areas. Pakistan and surrounding countries seem to have dominant military presence and now that I’ve started taking into account the prohibited areas, in the interest of realism, I notice that there are a lot of these military fly zones and they’re not small!
So it’s hard to plan a good route and that’s why we decided to do a halfway stop before leaving Pakistan to get some fuel.
More and more green lands
Our 19th leg starts at Ormara Airport (Pakistan) on runway 6. After take-off in the morning (not too early this time), we set course southeast along the southern coastline of Pakistan over the Arabian Sea to the southeastern Pakistani city Karachi, where the fueling station of Jinnah International Airport is located. It took just under one hour to arrive at the airport, landing with ILS at runway 25L. After our bad landing experience in Dubai, I’m always very careful with default ATC, AI traffic and these ILS approaches, but no close encounters this time.
After a brief pause to get some coffee and full tanks of fuel, we departed at runway 25L for the second part of our leg across the Pakistani-Indian border to the city of Bhuj, India. I made two flight plans, one for each part of the leg, because as far as I know, ATC can’t handle a halfway stop in FSX. I don’t know if it’s even possible or allowed to have a stopover included in a flight plan in the real world, does anyone know? You’re always welcome to leave a comment if you know the answer to this.
Anyway, I was happy to see the landscape changing again. We get more and more green lands and this gives us the occasion to make more beautiful screenshots with more variation. I’m satisfied with the Orbx FTX product range, but in my opinion there’s still room for improvement in the area of desert and sandy terrain and the transition between various terrain types, even within the FTX Global BASE pack.
After one hour of flight, we had an excellent opportunity to put our skills and new peripherals to practice with a visual approach and landing at runway 5 of Bhuj Airport, India. The air was foggy, but at lower altitude we had good visibility. We still had to watch out for some higher buildings on final, but we managed to put our plane safely to the ground.
When tweeting about our world tour flight to Bhuj Airport, I got contacted by an editor from the local Bhuj newspaper who wanted to hear about the world tour. It could lead to a good story, although I’m not sure if they realized that these flights are virtual. I also use hashtag #flightsim in almost all tweets, so it should be quite obvious. In any case, it’s an amusing occurrence and the attention from press is flattering for the flight simulation community. 😀
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Next flight will take us deeper into the beautiful mainland of India!