I recently went on about an hour long flight in New Zealand using Microsoft Flight Simulator and it showed off some impressively scenic views and changing weather that just had my jaw dropping from moment to moment as I flew along. Here’s a short recap of the experience.
From Grisborne to Hamilton
My flight was done together with a member of the flight sim community and someone relatively new to the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator. What’s the best way to get going with the new sim? Fly together!
Although I’m still struggling with the party feature (I can’t see people as being online) we were still able to link up at Gisborne (NZGS) on the eastern coast of Te Ika-a-Māui / North Island. I picked the SR22 which I’ve been flying a lot of recently and fellow sim pilot picked the DA42. Taking off from Gisborne we headed on more or less a straight line from that point on the eastern side of the island over to the western part of the island and over to Hamilton (NZHN).
Along the way, we appreciated the varied and beautiful terrain. Starting off with hills and then progressing into some low mountains, the whole region looks incredibly picturesque. I was reminded then as I am now writing this that it’s just one of several good reasons why the phenomenal imagery from the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings series was filmed here. Live weather filled in the rest with some bumpy flying over the taller peaks and moody weather and low fog.
Continuing on, we needed to keep on climbing through the middle part of our journey as the land rose up. Careful management of speed and altitude in these GA aircraft was required but we managed to get above even the tallest terrain without too much difficulty. My fellow flier decided he wanted to switch to another aircraft and do some closer formation flying and this is something Flight Simulator is great at. He was able to spot my aircraft icon and spawn near me with a new plane without trouble.
Emerging from the more rugged areas we spotted more lakes and flat land as we flew over the town of Rotoura and near the area where Hobbiton was created for Lord of the Rings (more LOTR references here folks!). Finally, with the City of Hamilton, New Zealand in sight, we set about landing our aircraft. Around us was the sparking lakes and low fog that we had saw on the other side of the island.
Part of the reason for writing these Flight Journal pieces is to help recommend flights to others if I found it to be an enjoyable one and this is easily one of the best that I’ve had. It’s a simple route without any complex navigational challenges, save climbing some low mountains, but one that was fun to do and beautiful to behold. Do it with the live weather on if you can!
For all of its faults, Microsoft Flight Simulator can have some fantastic moments and this was easily one of them.