A few weeks ago I received an invitation from Aerosoft (Anyone who has ever bought from them is on their mailing list) to join a “Round the world in 80 days” trip using a flight simulator.
The idea was to fly the approximate route that Phileas Fogg did on land and by sea in Jules Verne’s novel, synchronizing this years dates to the original dates (130 years ago) in the story. Every participant had to :
- Choose an aircraft – any aircraft.
- Create a flight plan for the 80 day flight.
- Maintain a diary reporting on the flight of the day.
- Fly in real weather – local time.
- Otherwise, no rules at all.
We all left on October the 2nd, starting out from an airport in London. What a blast! I’m absolutely loving it. To see more, Click here to go to my diary. From there I would encourage you to check out some of the other diaries.
Each day I flew into an airport, decided to do a bit of Google research on the place, and post not only some screenshots from my flight simulator screen but also some images of the actual city/town/village that I had landed in.
What an absolute eye-opener. It has been less than a month since we started and my geographical knowledge of certain obscure places on my route has increased a hundredfold. My knowledge of VFR navigation and general flying competency has also increased dramatically. The trick to all these rewards of knowledge is the fact that you actually have to fly there – there is a purpose and a schedule and you are not supposed to fall behind. The fact that others are also on the journey (with no-doubt slightly different flight plans) makes it even more fascinating to see how others are getting along. It’s not a race, it’s a voyage.
There are four problems though…
- It’s wildly addictive – Each day I can’t wait to take off in the flight simulator cockpit and fly to the next scheduled airport.
- It’s hugely time consuming – you actually have to fly there in real time – I wouldn’t want to do this without an autopilot and being able to just periodically glance at the simulator screen while I got on with my daily work.
- It’s hugely time consuming – I find myself searching for and downloading scenery for the off-the-beaten-track airports that I intend to fly to.
- It’s hugely time consuming – writing up the diary and filling it with pictures is an effort of will when you are tired – but that’s where a lot of the unexpected learning comes in.
I love it! and I’m so glad I decided to simply “Just Do It”.
Do yourself a favour and join the next “fly-in” that someone offers – it’s loads of fun! You don’t need anything except a flight simulator software program (X-Plane or FSX or P3D or Flightsimworld or whatever…) and internet access.
Tip 1: Using a globe atlas in addition to flight planning software helps you keep perspective.
Tip 2: A really cool freeware flight planner is “Little Nav Map“. It’s written for flight simulators and the author has created a magnificent product. Well worth a donation if you feel so inclined.