Saturday, August 29, 2009

Putting my (Pilot) Act Together: Instruments Landing

As I mentioned in a previous entry, the flight instructors over at the ECV 56 Condor (a virtual squadron headquartered in Argentina) are holding training sessions on instrument landings with the DCS Black Shark.

Is in times like this that it becomes clear how good pilots they are. Is in times like this that I feel like I'm crashing a party. :) So, time to learn those things I never did and to re-learn those things that I gave little attention in my past short virtual pilot career.

How to land by instruments is a thing I never understood completely back in my combat flight simulator days. In perspective, I pretty much got shot down during most missions. So my landings were always few and very happy occassions.

For being such a lousy virtual pilot, I deserve to be punished and learn instrument landings in X-Plane's Cessna. But instead I treated myself to the virtual cockpit of an F-16 in Falcon 4 Allied Force (F4AF). This is a bit like learning to drive a car in a Ferrari.

My excuse is that F4AF's manual is very well written and detailed. Given the age of this simulator, there is also plenty of material online.

I finally could understand what the fuzz is all about instrument landings.

After "tuning in" to an airport TACAN station, the horizontal situation indication (HSI, inside the red square) graphically represents my aircraft's position relative to the runway. Click the image to enlarge.

Once moderatly aligned with the cues in the HSI, is time to use the ILS vertical and horizontal bars (inside the red square) to catch a ride on an optimal glideslope (not the case here, but close enough). Click the image to enlarge.

I landed pretty but with too much forward airspeed. This particular runway (16L, Kunsan, South Korea) is very short and breaking without eating the airbase fence is quite a thrill. Click the image to enlarge.


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