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
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!
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).
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.