In this installment (RTW-102 -- Basic Flying) we'll go over some of the principles of Basic RTW Flying. Where possible, credit has been listed or names retained to show the original authors, whom we all thank for their input.
2006 Around the World Race - The Story
A fantastic starting point for additional information - N3306TX's Homepage
RTWR Suggestions (from 2007) (Reggie Fields and others) Here are some suggestions posted on the FlightSim.com multiplayer forum - put up in January 2007. (Worth reading for new members...and reviewing for veterans.)
Individual Practice for the RTWR Race RFields (1-16-07)
There are several types of practice very useful for the MSFS Around-The-World race in my experience.
A. Airport/ Aircraft Handling
B. Aircraft Speed Runs
C. Baton Coordination
D. Scouting Technique
The most important thing is to pick an aircraft with good speed, and good handling with which you are familiar.
A. Airport / Aircraft Handling - here I recommend you pick a series of airports about 20-40 flight minutes apart. This should be a mix of lighted airports, unlighted airports. Be sure to include some without any ILS and some with an ILS. Pick some with short runways, some with long runways. If possible, pick some with geographic obstructions (mountains / granite clouds)
Learn to fly the route direct from airport to airport - first in good weather, then again in progressively worse weather and at night. You are trying to develop several skill sets. One of course is the ability to make a landing visually. Another is simply being able to find the airport and line up with the runway.
Another important skill is knowing when to break off a landing you cannot make and go to an alternate airport.
Where? Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden all offer great series of airports. This time of year there is little sun light, probably poor weather and reduced visibility. Also try a run or two across close islands in the southwest Pacific, the equatorial regions of Brazil or Africa - southern India. There you are going to find very few airport with lights. I assume it's because the tropical regions have relatively stable daylight hours each day. There will be places during the race where landing at these type dirt strips is required. There always is each year.
Many of people have said this but it still gets lost - The fastest aircraft isn't important - being able to land the aircraft you fly safely on poor airports is critically important
B. Aircraft Speed Runs These seem to get most of the focus, and to be frank sometimes our team tends to choose airports / flights a bit short of a great distance. The key here is - how much distance can you get in two hours. Climbing at best ground speed - descending at best ground speed - knowing how to stop an overspeed situation.
***I assume most folks know you get a maximum of 60 seconds total overspeed per flight before your aircraft crashes. But be aware that certain high levels of overspeed can crash your flight in just a couple seconds.***
One important thing is learning to estimate arrival times. The GPS ETA is ALWAYS wrong. Flights are almost always 5 to 15 minute longer when you slow down to land.
C. Baton Coordination This is the mechanics of making a post to claim the baton, a post to release the baton and posting the verification. It is also knowing how to handle lost voice communications, lost FSHost links, etc.
Personally I'm a great fan of the RTW Duenna program - I use it all year to document my flights for my flight log. However, everyone must know how to take a screenshot of the Flight Analysis screen and post that screen shot.
Some other items - if you have a key combination setup to reload the user aircraft - make very sure it is something you will not accidentally hit while flying. That will invalidate your flight.
If you fly a multi-engine aircraft - be sure to have a key setup to resynchronize the throttles. It is too easy to accidentally shut down an engine when using the chat window in multiplayer.
Be real sure you know how to take screen shots - there are some freeware programs which can automate this. Posting descriptions of your flight and screen shots makes the race easier to follow and attracts more pilots.
Setup a NotePad template document with "fill in the blanks" for your baton posts.
D. Scouting Technique (Let's call this "looking ahead") In a perfect race a pilot will never make a landing which he has not practiced.
Yeah, right !!!!
First - do practice how you will scout a landing - this is especially important for night and visual landings. It is perfectly within the rules and spirit of the race to "turn on the lights" for a practice approach at an airport when the real landing will be at night. Check the terrain - verify the buildings, hills and trees which might be in your way.
Then be sure to reset your clock properly.
Also think about how you would want someone to report issues / obstacles, things like that to you - and how you would relay them to the pilot with the baton.
This is also a place to know how to do a "follow me" approach; however, NEVER EVER get in front of the baton pilot on an approach during the race, unless you have discussed it in advance with that pilot - 30 minutes or more in advance. Last minute changes and unexpected aircraft almost always result in a crash.
Also practice diverting to a nearby airport. Such things as winds, lighting, weather / visibility or terrain, can all make it necessary for you to land at an alternate.
While you are at it - practice missed approaches - know exactly how to "go around" what has to be done to get your aircraft to climb - yet not overspeed from full throttle. How to make a reasonably tight pattern and land on a second attempt.
You can practice a lot of RTW flying on your own. The Team practices will then be easier to follow and pick up on the details of Baton Posts and cooperation.
More suggestions follow in the next installment