Friday, July 17, 2009

Aspen - Denver / Beechcraft Baron 58 (N2751W) / IFR

I filed IFR for this early morning flight because I knew it would still be rather dark and difficult to see terrain below. As it turned out, it wasn't so bad, with the sun rising during the flight, and the weather was excellent.

I filed the LINDZ5 departure out of Aspen, and the LARKS6 into Denver. My little Baron was just strong enough to meet the climb constraints for the departure, with my two virtual passengers. We had to climb from the airport elevation (7820 feet) to 16000 at 462 feet per nautical mile, which I just barely managed. Then it was up to 17000 for the rest of the way over the mountains, with me and my passengers enjoying supplemental oxygen.

At MURFE I was able to get a descent to 15000, then down to 10000 after SIGNE to pick up the ILS runway 25 approach at ETHAL. Everything went very smoothly, right to touchdown on runway 25. I was (semi-)surprised to hear “Air Force One” on the frequency, apparently inbound for ILS 26 (which is why I took 25, to avoid turbulence) … but then again, in the world of virtual flight, with its abundance of youthful male pilots, it's not unusual to encounter Air Force One, or fighter planes with scary Hollywood names like VIPER or KILLER, and so on. As long as they follow the regulations, I don' t care. Because of the plethora of Air Force Ones on VATSIM, though, the Presidential aircraft does not get any special consideration in virtual flight (otherwise the country would be peppered with TFRs for every seventh-grader who wanted to pretend he was the personal pilot of the POTUS).

After landing on 25, I taxied—forever, it seemed—over to the general aviation area. Denver International is so huge that I think you sometimes spend more time taxiing to parking (even if there are no other aircraft in your way) than you do flying to the airport.