I was trying out Orbx Burbank today and decided to take a little flight down the coast to Santa Monica.
boring personal KSMO story
Santa Monica holds an infamous place in my heart, because I had a stressful BFR and ego beatdown there. I had been staying with my brother in Manhattan Beach for a couple of months one summer, when I got the bright idea to go get checked out in a Skyhawk. KSMO was the nearest GA field near his house, only has one runway, and not many taxiways. How hard could it be. Should have checked my logbook, because when I went to fly with a CFI so I could rent, he informed me that I was due for a Biennial Flight Review. He said to study a sectional and he could do my BFR while getting the checkout. I did so, he asked me some basic questions, and we grabbed a bird. The flying part I handled well, but had a really hard time with ATC because I didn’t know most of the local landmarks. We headed south, right over KLAX (there is a VFR corridor over the top), did some touch a go’s at Fullerton, and then headed back to KSMO. This is where it got interesting. On the way back, we remained to the east of KLAX and out of the class bravo. If memory serves, asked for flight following for a while, then began talking to KSMO tower. There was so much traffic and different airspaces to be aware of, I began to get oversaturated. This was complicated when I was asked to report the “blue whale”. I looked at the CFI like WTF is the blue whale, to which he said, “I’m just along for the ride.” I think that he either took this BFR more seriously than the others I had had, or perhaps missed the part that I was new in town. The Rose Bowl was easy, but the blue fickin’ whale (outside an aquarium) was a mystery. Maybe they stopped using it, because I can’t find it on a sectional today. In retrospect, he was probably doing his best to impress the fact upon me that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. I wasn’t lost, but sweating bullets that I couldn’t answer ATC instructions. I confessed that I wasn’t familiar with said whale to the controller, but that I had the field in sight. In truth I probably couldn’t see it in the urban sprawl, but had a pretty good idea where it was. We got through the flight and the CFI, making it abundantly clear that he was doing so somewhat reluctantly, signed me off. This was a blow to my “god’s gift to aviation” ego that I had with all of 150 hours, but made me a better pilot.
Using live time, weather, and traffic, the flight was beautiful, reminding me how much I love this sim.
Along the way, I decided to do some pattern work at our destination. By the 4th time around the patch, the tower asked me to follow the Skyhawk, who was on final. I extended my downwind, but couldn’t see the traffic and didn’t have him on the Garmin, which was set at 5 miles. Eventually, though I didn’t have the traffic in sight, I concluded that he must have landed. So turned on base. On final at about 350 feet AGL the tower asked me to do a go-around. I did as requested and this time paused the sim, switched to an external view, looked in earnest for the Skyhawk. Couldn’t get eyeballs on him, but back in the cockpit could see his icon on 3 mile final on the MFD. I turned in behind him, but could never see him. Wondering why?
Unsure if this is the offending Skyhawk, but no joy in the air or taxiing.
My Traffic settings. Graphics settings are Ultra preset with render scaling at 200.