Sunday, November 30, 2008

Eugene - Seattle / Boeing 747-400 (QXE280) / IFR

I decided to duplicate the flight I took last night in the Baron in one of my 747-400s. Unlike the smaller aircraft, I often teleport the 747s to specific airports because I often use them to mirror real-world commercial flights. In this case I called myself QXE280 (Horizon Air Flight 280), which really does serve this route, although the airline has no 747s and doesn't operate this flight at the time I did. Mainly it was just easier to use that for a call sign than to use the tail number of the aircraft, which was N705ML.

Anyway, the flight went pretty smoothly, although I'm rusty on the 747 (it doesn't take long to get rusty). I used the same route as the real-world flight, and the same altitude (FL240). The 747 climbed marvelously well in the cool air; at times I was climbing in excess of 6000 fpm (the aircraft is lightly loaded most of the time).

During much of the flight I could only see mist outside the windows, except in cruise during which I was above the cloud layers. For a long time during the approach (to 16C at KSEA) I couldn't see much of anything. Eventually I could see things below through breaks in the clouds, including the buildings in downtown Seattle, but I couldn't see the airport clearly for quite a while. Eventually the field and runway were in sight, and I switched off the automation before I reached minimums and flew to a very nice landing by hand, although I touched down beyond the numbers.

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