After not using X-Plane for several years, I’m back trying to re-learn and learn more. My focus when I last used it was on the Ramzzess Boeing 777. I started off with that again but now have diverged to the Cessna 172 (the X-Plane supplied one, not a purchased one) and using a service called PilotEdge which provides radio communications within a limited area of southern California and Nevada. There is a map here, showing the area. There is also an expanded area that you can see on the same map. The basic service area is a hefty $20 a month. The expanded area which they call the Western Expansion Area goes as far north as Spokane, Washington and as far east as Denver, Colorado.
Flying the Cessna 172 has been a lot of fun and I’m trying to re-learn and hone my skills. When I went out to Ann Arbor last August for my brother Pusstoe’s memorial service, Susan offered me any of his flight sim stuff. I took a CH Flight Sim Yoke and a Mad Catz F.L.Y.5 Flight Stick (joystick). I think there was a throttle console too and now I’m sorry I didn’t bring that back with me too. I’ve been making use of the yoke to fly the Cessna and I’ll try it on the Boeing 777 when I go back to it. Overall, it seems easier for flying a powered plane but my old Saitek AV8R is superior for flying gliders in Condor.
I’ve been doing a lot of touch and go landings and am trying to make them more precise, keeping my pattern withing a half mile of the runway. This is what is recommended for a light, slow moving aircraft. The faster the plane, the further you need your pattern from the runway.
I’ve been using an app called FltPlan Go on the ipad to help me keep my pattern with those parameters. I find the trim, which I have linked to one of the levers on the yoke, much too sensitive so I’m going to work on ameliorating that. Another thing that I’m working on ameliorating are the views that are very important for visual landings. As it is, I can only see the end of the runway flying base with great difficulty. By the time I see the runway end, I’ve almost always flown too far!
Here are some helpful resources I’ve found for the C-172.
- Flight lessons using Cessna 172SP
- A quick reference for the GNS 430, the GPS navigation system found in the Cessna 172.
- This article was very helpful for learning to use the GNS 430, although the author doesn’t know very much about real world aviation. It’s still a very helpful article though.
- An AOPA Safety Advisory for Operations at Non-Towered Airports. This is important information for flying from many small airports with emphasis on communicating with CTAF to alert other pilots using the facility to your position and proper language for reporting your position and intentions.
- SkyVector online charts and maps are really nice!
- FltPlan Go User’s Manual
- How to Fly a Traffic Pattern
- This Cessna Trim Wheel would be a great addition!