Regular readers will know that I continue to struggle with Microsoft Flight Simulator and a series o crash to desktop issues. I keep testing things and running flights to test the system out and see what will happen. One one of those flights, I decided to take what is only my second ever full flight in the 787 Dreamliner and where did I decide to fly? Japan. Let’s go!
The city of Tokyo is one of the cities that Asobo redid in World Update 1 when they brought in custom scenery and photogrammetry information to populate the locale. Tokyo remains one of the best cities in MSFS with photogrammetry on and is a pretty good showcase of the technology – at least of the cities I’ve visited so far.
So Tokyo was my destination and my departure point? Well, I didn’t want to fly a long flight so I set it for the last place that I landed at during my Japan. That is Kushiro airport. This is an airport that Asobo created custom scenery for as part of the World Update and is a regional hub that doesn’t normally handle larger aircraft like the 787. For the purposes of this flight, however, it has a long enough runway to make it work.
For this flight, I also selected one of the few airline liveries that have been officially added to the sim so far. I am talking of course about the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 787 livery.
After takeoff I started working with the 787’s autopilot until I managed to get things under control. Truth be told, I watched several YouTube tutorials before tackling this flight so I had some background in the aircraft. The last time I flew the 787 was quite a while ago and a lot has changed with the sim if not with the aircraft.
I did manage to get things sorted out at which point we had left the northern island of Hokkaido and were on our way over the Pacific headed south to Honshu.
Managing the systems
One of the things that I wanted to test with the 787? It’s HUD! In the latest sim update, Asobo added the F/A-18E Super Hornet. One of the Hornet’s integral instruments is its heads up display. The HUD in Microsoft Flight Simulator to date has not been terribly good. Not collimated and difficult to see, they haven’t been very good to date. But that has changed, well, sort of.
The updated HUD is significantly better. Although contrast remains an issue, the HUD is now fully collimated meaning that it is focused to infinity and very useful for gauging what the aircraft is doing. I made use of the HUD while landing at Tokyo Haneda and it was very helpful to have.
Meanwhile I’m also getting to grips with the autopilot. At this point I’m still not fully comfortable with it and the default 787 in MSFS isn’t all that complicated as it is. But I did still manage to muddle my way through it and for the most part the 787 flew itself all the way to Tokyo.
The view and the landing
The view over Japan was, as usual, spectacular. The combination of the ocean, mountains and mix of agriculture and dense urban areas never fails to impress in Microsoft Flight Simulator. If you haven’t flown over Japan, especially with the World Update for Japan installed, I highly recommend it.
Approaching Tokyo is similarly spectacular and the city-scape together with some beautiful clouds made the approach extra special.
My landing approach for runway 34R took us north over Saitama and west of the city center over Yokohama before taking us out over Tokyo Bay and then circling back in for a landing. It’s an incredible approach and well worth doing just for the scenery.
My inexperience with the 787 showed on this approach as I was way too fast coming in with just over 200kts on the HUD while crossing the threshold. With throttles idled and full flaps and spoilers deployed I was able to get it down although I’m sure the passengers wouldn’t have been too happy with me.
After that, it was a taxi to the terminal and a quick shut down. Another flight logged!
No crash to desktop at all during this approximately 1-hour and 20 minute flight. But load up in another aircraft on another flight and my flight time can be counted in just minutes before it all comes to a halt. It remains frustrating and the source of the problem undefined but I will keep trying!