Monday, September 15, 2008

Los Angeles - Las Vegas / Boeing 737-800 / IFR

This flight duplicated Southwest Airlines flight 802, in real time. Both the real flight and mine were practically in lock-step from start to finish. I was quite pleased with that.

I had some problems on the flight, though. I decided to fly the LOOP4 by hand at least until LAX, but I got mixed up as I climbed out of the airport and had trouble maintaining a smooth climb and turn towards LAX. Once again, I need more practice hand-flying big iron. By the time I completed my turn, the LAX VOR was well behind me, and so I ended up heading for KEGGS (this was an offline flight, by the way). Once I got a reasonable climb things were better, but I still wasn't completely smooth until I was in cruise. Oh well. At least I didn't lose any time with respect to the real-world flight.

The rest of the flight was uneventful. I set the cost index in the FMC to slowpoke mode so that it would more closely track the real flight. I further dialed it down to 260 KIAS in cruise and descent just to make sure I matched the RW profile. It all worked out correctly, since we stayed synchronized. For a time it looked like I had gone too slow, so I took a shortcut past KEPEC, but then I flew the rest of the arrival and approach as published, and we touched down nearly at the same time.

I like this flight because it's short and sweet, and I get a nice view of Hoover Dam on the arrival as I swing out over Lake Mead for the approach. I don't know what the real-world flight did, since that level of detail isn't available on the Web.

I haven't been able to find Southwest livery for the 737-800 with winglets, so I settled for Boeing's Dreamliner house livery, which I also like, and I leased myself to the airline for this trip.