God, how I hate hot weather! Walking toward Cessna November 62249RB with my ball cap shielding my eyes and a roll of sweat sliding down my shoulder blades makes me a very unhappy camper.
Super-warm weather is not a common happening at Denver which is situated at the Rocky Mountain foothills. Today is an exception. With the warm temperatures and the mile-high altitude, the Cessna may have a bit of difficulty lifting off.
Thank the Lord these clients want to take off during the early evening when things are cooling down. My little group consists of a well-dressed young woman armed with a camera, and her wide-eyed daughter who doesn’t appear too happy to be flying around in such a small aircraft.
These are tourists, renting a ride to view and photograph the city and surrounding countryside. Yes, I know this is only a contrived flight simulator adventure and not real, but we have to stretch our imaginations somewhat to make this post interesting (smile).
We’ll be flying VFR conditions. Our route will carry us southwest of Denver International, which is the 5th busiest airport in the U.S. Since I’m based (virtually only) at Denver, it only makes sense to take the first flight simulator tour of this city. Let’s see what kind of scenery FS 2004 has to offer.
At 1958 hours the Cessna is cleared to taxi and hold at the threshold of runway 25. My client seems to be impatient to get things moving. She’s fidgeting in her seat, her fingers clenching and unclenching her shoulder harness. I’m starting to think she’s sharing a bit of her daughter’s unease.
At 2000 hours, the Cessna rumbles down the sluggishly rumbles down the runway and lifts off, turning toward the southwest. I climb and level off at 6,500 feet, and point the nose toward the tall buildings of downtown Denver which can be seen in the distance.
Denver’s tourist and vacation site proclaims that the city is “urban sophistication [which] meets outdoor adventure…” The city got its start in 1858 when gold was discovered at the base of the mountains.
Denver’s popularity has increased steadily, especially in recent years. It is no longer considered a “stop-over” or simply a “gateway” to the far west. Today it is a highly respected tourist destination in its own right.
It has more restaurants than you can imagine, coupled with a very active art scene that would make even well-heeled New Yorkers envious. Denver is also characterized by a laid-back attitude which kind of remains me of San Francisco. Diverse neighborhoods and people, mild weather (mostly) and plenty of outdoor activities complete the overall picture.
My clients seem to have forgotten their initial nervousness as mom clicks away at a skyline that rivals any in the country. Personally, I think FS 2004 has done a pretty good job with the default scenery, although I might consider purchasing some add-ons to really make things really “pop”.
I’d especially like to enhance those foothills which are coming up on us really fast.
The elevation is rising as we approach those foothills. I make a climbing, right turn which has my passengers straining against the shoulder harnesses. In their nervousness, mom almost drops her camera, and daughter’s eyes get even wider if that’s possible. Are those little beads of sweat I see on her forehead? Mom’s not looking too pleased at this point.
We make another pass over downtown Denver, over Civic Center Park and the State Capitol. The clients seem to have regained their composure as mom’s camera records from another perspective.
I call Denver ATC and request landing clearance. We are cleared to land at runway 35R.
I make a left turn to final approach which I’m sure will not exactly endear myself to mom. Now, let’s get lined up with that runway.
As we cross the threshold, we now have another flight simulator landing and touchdown. All too soon our little adventure is over.
Resources: I’m always looking for new flight sim sites to explore and join. Here’s one that you might be interested in. The Flight Simulator Network is located here. They have some of the most beautiful screenshots I’ve seen and they are some of the nicest and most helpful people as well. And no, I’m not getting anything out of endorsing them. So go visit.