Monday, March 10, 2008

Wishful Thinking (Or, "Advanced Training")

With T-Minus two weeks until the start of flight training, I'm already spending free moments between Work, Life, and Sleep trying to do as much advanced training as I can. 

I've already taken three Sporty's Practice FAA exams, scoring an 88 on average (course plotting remains an issue, and "classes" versus "categories" of aircraft foil almost everyone) and, thanks to Microsoft Flight Simulator 9 and a semi-decent video card, I'm also "flying" my planned cross country flights.

Above is a screen capture from my "flight" from Palatka Municipal Airport (28J) to Flagler County (XFL), the second leg of my planned cross-country, that starts and stops back at St. Augustine (SGJ). The route covers about 85 nautical miles -- sport pilot requirements dictate you must travel 75 miles -- and each leg is just over 25 nm as required by the same regulation.

With some irony, my Flight Sim aircraft of choice is an Evektor. I came across a free download of a Eurostar -- the European ultralight version of the SportStar -- several months ago. Apart from being "powered" by the less-powerful 80hp Rotax 912, instead of the 100hp ULS version in the SportStar and Gobosh, the aircraft's "flight" characteristics are remarkably similar to the Sport's (and, in theory, the Gobosh's.) The Eurostar model I'm using also has a straight "six-pack" of instruments, as does the Gobosh.

Since I'll be flying over unfamiliar territory, I'm trying to pick a route with recognizable landmarks. I think I've stumbled across the best one I could hope for -- there's the St. John's River near Palatka, plus some powerplant stacks north of town (rendered with surprising accuracy on FS9) and, of course, there's the Atlantic Ocean.

I might get "lost" from Palatka to Flagler, but I'd be hard-pressed to go off my planned route up to St. Augustine. Can't wait to see what it's like in real life!

(Sectional image courtesy of

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