It begins! Officially.
I’ve posted a long list of practice flights as I bobbed around Alberta in a little virtual Cessna 172 and circling back to home, but as of Friday afternoon I’ve set off on a trip around the world.
A recap? A few days ago the latest installment of Microsoft Flight Simulator was released after, like, a decade of development. It is not only a flying game, but a full simulation of the planet Earth using data from satellite imagery, topographical maps, weather databases, and building models. It’s been churned together by a giant cloud network of super-computer artificial intelligence processes .. and for about eighty bucks (plus heaps of time and bandwidth) you too can fly anywhere... literally anywhere... on the planet. And, wow, is it ever amazing!
I could have noodled around with some famous airports, flown over a few familiar places, and probably moved on, but... well, there is a global pandemic going on and no one is going anywhere in real life, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands, and I’ve always wanted to tackle something slightly insane. So, I’m flying around the world, one airport to the next, until I’ve seen more places than I can possibly imagine, places I never would have bothered to fly in the game if I didn’t need to earn it by the trip there.
I logged about a dozen hours practicing close to home, and then this afternoon I set off westbound on the first leg of my trip.
Taking off from Edmonton International, the airport I would consider my “home” airport, about twenty klicks from my real life house, I did the obvious thing: I completely ignored my flight plan. Instead, I circled North looking for the familiar highway where I’ve driven countless times to get out to the mountains.
My trip closely followed the Yellowhead Highway (16) westbound, as I cruised along at various altitudes. The direct flight plotted by the flight computer would have likely shaved off a bunch of time, but to be honest I was looking forward to seeing familiar territory and tracing the driving route, and I should have planned some way-points into my flight plan... live and learn.
After nearly two hours of praires, Iswooped low in to the mountains for the last fifteen or so NM and the first landing of the real trip was smooth and level.
So it begins. Stay tuned for the next legs.