My X-Plane ‘Global Adventure’ and the DR401 in the Rocky Mountains

I’ve pretty much always been a combat flight sim pilot with the exception of a few flights in Flight Simulator 3.0 and a brief stint in Flight Simulator X demo when it came out. Much to my surprise, I’m having a very good time with X-Plane 11 and I’ve done a bit of a deeper dive into the sim recently. My new goal with the sim is to do some exploring and potentially take it on a world tour of the X-Plane 11 earth. Here’s what I’ve done so far!

A bit more on the Robin DR401

Pre-flight from Boundary Bay south of Vancouver

I’ve written about the Robin DR401 before.

The aircraft module (to borrow DCS parlance) is few steps above the baseline X-Plane aircraft that I’ve checked out so far. To be fair, the base X-Plane 11 aircraft are fine but they felt a little too simple for me and so in researching paid aircraft, I stumbled on the free DR401 by Aerobask.

The DR401 is reasonably well simulated and has a bit of systems depth which is great. It’s simple to fly but it feels real enough during start-up and operation that it’s holding my interest. Coming from some really complex types like the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet makes this feel beautifully simplistic.

The sounds are also great and support the whole experience!

Flying over Vancouver – it looks “okay”ish though I’m sure OrthoXP and other scenery packs can do better.

The global adventure

Now on the adventure. I’ve been making short flights hoping from one location to the next.

Having left the US and landed at Victoria previously, my next hop was up to Vancouver. I decided to land at Boundary Bay Airport instead of Vancouver International. After that, I left Boundary Bay (CZBB) just south of Vancouver and set my next destination as north and into the Rocky Mountains.

The next place I headed for was Pemberton (CYPS) but not before I flew low through the mountains. Even with the default terrain, this is fairly scenic on X-Plane 11.

Pemberton was interesting as its one of the airports that’s been given some attention by the X-Plane Global Airports group. It doesn’t have completely custom objects but it does do a reasonable job of representing the airport.

It looked pretty good the next morning too!

The next part of the journey took some serious navigation through the mountain passes, however, I did screw things up a bit at one point by not paying attention and checking my phone instead (a weather alert is my excuse). Don’t text and fly!

Fortunately, in a sim you can always restart and so my rule is if I crash I will restart from where I was and fly again.

Another rule that I’m sticking to so far (though it may become problematic later) is always picking real world time and weather. I may have to be flexible on the time portion if I fly to Europe but I am going to try and stick with the real world weather as imported by airport METAR and fed into the sim. It’s a very cool feature and it keeps things changing and interesting!

One of the next airports I landed at was Lilooet (CYLI). This was a fun airport with tall mountains on all sides. It also has a custom airport that even has the letters, Lilooet, written in big block capitals that you can easily see from the air.

The final leg of the journey so far was met with plenty of cloud and fog as I stop traveling north and head more to the east.

And overflying before landing at Kamloops airport (CYKA).

What’s next?

Now that I have a sense of how things work I’ve decided to try and do a world tour. It may take a long time but I’m intending to eventually leave the Rocky Mountains, tour across Canada, and then we’ll see if I decide to head south through the US or over to Europe. Maybe both!

To do all of that traveling I need something a bit faster and well…. my finger slipped and I bought the Aerobask E1000 G1000 edition. I was so pleased with their free Robin DR401 offering that I felt like I should offer some cash for their development effort.

The E1000 was an easy pick. It had a good community reputation with several positive reviews behind it, its supporting an X-Plane dev that I wanted to reward for their excellent work with the DR401 as a free gift that was still lovingly crafted, and because the E1000 is a very cool an interesting aircraft.

I’ll write more about it later but suffice to say that it has the speed and range for a long range adventure but also the agility and performance that will let me land at almost any airport. That’s going to add to the fun.

Along the way I’m going to learn more about how to do flight ops a little more properly but for now I’m having a great time just adventuring. It’s a rare open world experience that I’ve never really had the opportunity to do before.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mischiew Rithe says:

    It’s a lot of fun, discovering the country from above 🙂 I used to spend a lot of time doing that, using Skyvector or free tools like Plan-G to plan the route. I found Plan-G handy because it could extract the info from X-Plane and show the same NDB and VOR frequencies, for example. Doing a bit of navigation is a nice way to keep busy and practice it. But maybe you get a decent GPS in the DR401? That’d be more relaxing, of course.

    The FAA has tons of information and some nicely done books that one can download for free, like the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3B), and the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B). You can find a good deal on procedures and on general knowledge (but maybe you already know that stuff?). In any case, I was really impressed they gave all that away, it’s a nice effort, usually ICAO information is hard to come by in an user-friendly format, at least for European regulations.

    So it’s possible to learn a lot and to get a fairly realistic experience without paying huge sums of money. But of course, it’s also possible to buy better and expensive tools, charts, and more to get even closer to the real thing (simulated), this can quickly get frightening.

    Safe flight! And keep us informed of your adventures 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Thanks Mischiew! I don’t know nearly enough about general aviation, NDB, VOR, etc. I have a vague idea of how everything works but not a good working knowledge. Stuff to learn slowly as I expand my knowledge in this area.

      The DR401 from Aerobask has a simulation of the G1000 avionics suite including very good GPS. I’ve just learned to plug in my planned destination and then fly directly there. Or sometimes I sight see! 🙂 I know there’s more sophisticated waypoint planning but I haven’t gotten there yet.

      It’s a fun time! I’ll be sure to update soon and thanks for the info and tips!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mischiew Rithe says:

        We do that for fun and not to be overwhelmed by procedures and theory, for sure! A good GPS is very helpful and allows you to progress bit by bit, which is how it should be done 🙂

        Navigation is very fun… as long as you can do it in a relax way.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael Dwyer says:

    Well if you are looking for some inspiration for the trip try this blog, and the series may still be up on netflix. https://www.longwayround.com/long-way-round

    Liked by 1 person

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