Sunday, September 21, 2008

San Diego - Phoenix / Boeing 737-800 / IFR

Duplicating Southwest Airlines Flight 1879, I left at the same time and arrived early. There's less traffic in the virtual world, which might be one reason for this.

My departure (POGGI2.IPL, same as the real thing) gave me a nice view of downtown San Diego out of the captain's side of the aircraft on the way out. Even in simulation, there are many recognizable landmarks, such as the Coronado bridge, the Hotel Del, North Island, Balboa Park, and so on. There was a layer of clouds in the way over the water but that cleared as we turned east.

Most of these flights have similar characteristics: about an hour in length, cruise between FL270 and FL290, at just under 440 KTAS, and so on. I tend to select max rate climbs so that I can tweak my airspeed to match the flight plan. Despite that, I always seem to arrive ahead of the real-world flight. I can only assume that traffic is one big difference, since the real skies are very crowded. I almost never have to wait in line on the taxiways, for example.

I daringly hand-flew the approach. I still had trouble drifting away from the centerline, but other than that I did okay. I knew where gate C12 was, so I didn't have to wander around Sky Harbor like a bum in my 737 looking for a place to park. I also managed to swing into the gate very nicely, all lined up and everything.