After two months at Base Marambio due to a PC rebuild and various RL commitments it was time to put the snow gear away and begin the long trek home.
My flight out was with FSX, but having seen the fun being had with Xplane I’ve jumped on board and decided to fly back with the newer sim.
Initial thoughts were to go via NZ then Australia and then pick my way through various countries and interesting destinations along the way home. Having seen how far NZ was from Marambio I decided against that and a better route would be via South Africa. This has the added bonus of getting the long sea crossing done on the first leg.
With only the stock XP11 aircraft available, I had a bit of a play with the 737-800 and quite liked it. The only trouble being the range. A max of 46,063lbs of fuel gives a predicted max flight time of 4:53:57 @ “normal cruise” (whatever that is ) With a predicted flight time of around 6-7 hours needed, this was going to leave me a bit short. I wasn’t convinced a fully loaded 747 would get off the runway, and remembering Beach’s flight down, I wondered if at 30,000ft the fuel burn would be less and I could make it. Only one way to find out.
SAWB (Marambio base) → FACT (Capetown international)
I don’t have any Antarctic scenery, so it was a bit sparse with the default. Almost as sparse as FSX.
Loaded up with max fuel, no passengers apart from the crew from the flight down.
At the point of rotation I was getting concerned I wouldn’t have enough runway to get airborne. I think the wheels may have brushed the water as I got airborne, then there seemed to be a flock of birds and a bang and I was in the water for the first of my crashes. I wasn’t sure if I imagined the birds, either way I’d cost Qantas a lot of money. Not a good start.
The second attempt I managed to get airborne and started a nice climb out through the cloud.
With no time to read the manual (that can wait for later), I found the autopilot quite intuitive and similar to the A400, so managed to get things set up for FL300 with no major dramas.
I’m loving looking at the externals. It seems easier in Xplane to get some nice views of the aircraft.
Slowly the miles tick by and looking at the fuel burn rate I think I might be able to make it. Using the ground acceleration/timeskip thingy I’m having to go back to normal speed at regular intervals. After a few minutes at x4 acceleration an oscillation starts, that if left unchecked gets bigger and bigger losing and gaining altitled which would end in a crash. With this skip method it was going to mean around 2-3 hours of RL time required to do the flight.
Eventually it starts to get dark.
The burn rate is looking good and by the time I have 29 minutes of flying time to do, I have just over 9,000lbs of fuel left.
Just as I’m reaching Capetown, I was setting up the runway in the FMC and the game crashed with an Xplane error. Cue lots of swearing. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, it is after all a Beta. With no further time, it would be another week before I could have another attempt. I was feeling quite disheartened and wondered whether to just start from Capetown as I’d made it most of the way, but decided to have another go and leave that as a last resort if I had another crash.
The repeat was much the same as the above, getting close to Capetown I started the decent, wary of Table mountain I followed the IFR instructions set up a landing on Runway 19
Turning onto the final, it was nice and clear and I didn’t need the ILS, which is a good job as I hadn’t figured out where it was. Touchdown, the speed brakes automatically deployed and I was soon slowing down nicely.
Coming to a stop at the nearest gate, the remaining fuel was a little under 6,000lbs left. I’m not sure if the ground speed acceleration had an influence, I think it probably did and I’m guessing I broke a ton of regulations for not having enough fuel, but I’m happy with a completed flight and it was good to be back flying.