MSFS AOPA Flying Challenge

So, I’ve been stuck studying for some upcoming training these last several weeks and have had limited time to sim. I did, however, feel I needed something “bite sized” on occasion to help me maintain my sanity.

I was paging through the latest glossy issue of AOPA Pilot magazine, when I happened upon the travel article section. In it were three GA type adventures that I could spend a little time flying here and there to blow off steam.

It occurred to me that these would be good to put out there for those who were looking for something to do in MSFS. The real world comparison was fun and added some context to the sometimes sterile MSFS environment.

I wasn’t sure at first if I could get the original articles to non-AOPA members. But AOPA was wise enough to leave the magazines open to the public. I’ll post the links below, but will leave my screen shots as spoilers to let others make their own discoveries.

Hopefully, someone will find these little vacations enjoyable. And if it does make you buy an airplane, it’s not my fault…but I do expect a ride! :wink:

(All pictures from AOPA Pilot Website)

Trip One: Once Upon a Time in the West

Once upon a time in the West - AOPA

Trip Two: Chasing Alexander Hamilton

Chasing Alexander Hamilton - AOPA

Trip Three: Southern Charm

Southern charm - AOPA

Good luck and good flying!


I tried to build a little context around these as most of the flights themselves are fairly short.

My first leg was from Las Vegas out to Lone Pine (O26) to start the adventure.

Low clouds and mountain obscuration taking off from Vegas in the C-195.

Got a little dicey in the mountains west of Vegas, between the clouds, the mountains, and the icing.

Finally broke out in time to pass over Beatty VORTAC.

After one last ridgeline crossing to the north of Woucoba Mountain…

I spot Tinemaha Reservoir and hang a left.

After a couple of false sightings, I manage to spot the snow covered Lone Pine Airport on the east edge of town.

And touch down in a stiff crosswind.

To await Spring.

It occurs to me that the article was written in the Fall and I am staring at nothing but snow capped peaks and overcast here in January.

I decided to change the season to Autumn.

I had to do a little interpolating in Little Nav Map to find these places, but I think I managed it. Luckily, it looks like there are nearby fields to anchor the three legs: Lone Pine (O26), Panamint Springs (KSEL), and the dirt strip near Gold Point, NV.

Ah, this is more like it.

There are a large series of ponds west of Keeler that are a pretty unmistakable landmark.

As best as I can tell, this is the fabled “Star Wars Canyon”. I should have flown a little lower down it.

I spotted Panamint Springs on the edge of the sand flats.

But decided to land on the hard pan, like they did in the article.

I stay only briefly before turning her into the wind and heading out.

Next leg, up over the Inyo Mountains to the ghost town of Gold Point.

Just a little to the west of Mount Dunfee, lies the town of Gold Point, one of so many abandoned boom towns that populate the desolate desert.

It doesn’t seem to be annotated on the maps, but there are clearly a couple of dirt strips down there.

Well, the “Businessliner” might not be the best choice for these types of operations, but…

Well, after a card game or two, I was invited to get out of town…fast!

One more trip over the ridgeline.

And back down south to Lone Pine.

To call it a day. Those tacos in the article look pretty tasty right about now.

Anyway, that’s one. I’d love to take one of these trips for real one day. Beautiful scenery!


Nice! Thanks for the suggestion and write-up @Deacon211!

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