Welcome back to my trip report for Delta Flight 7, KATL to OMDB. Picking up where I left off, we are at FL300 and settled in for the long cruise. It's pitch dark outside, so there is really not much to see below, but I will be passing over some landmarks here and there as we traverse the Middle East, Europe, and finally, the good ole' US of A.
With the passengers fast asleep, I pass over Istanbul Turkey.
The southern outskirts of Paris France. Nuclear cooling towers are plentiful in Europe, and France is considered the nuclear commercial model for the world. The Fukishima disaster of 2011 has led to a pause, perhaps an end, to the nuclear renaissance in Europe.
Having reached the descent point, I follow ATC's instructions to descend to FL260. Notice the upcoming waypoints?
I am asked to descend to a level of 12,000ft and continue on the Dirty1 STAR pending vectors to a visual approach to ILS08R. I was expecting 08L, but since it is early morning and there is very little traffic KATL approach allows use of this normally departures only runway because it is closer to the gates, saving time and fuel on the post landing taxi.
Passing over the eastern suburbs of Atlanta, shortly before my turn to the downwind leg.
I make the right turn to downwind, and you can see the lights of downtown Atlanta.
I crane my neck to catch this beautiful shot of the city.
After leveling off at 4000ft, I intercept the localizer for ILS08R.
Waking up the neighbors as I travel just 3000ft AGL somewhere west of the runway, shortly before glideslope capture.
Decelerating to VAPP, in the full landing configuration and just under 4 DME from the runway threshold.
A little high on the glidepath on short finals, but the landing is still salvageable.
Just seconds from touchdown, we see Concourse T, which serves United, American, and some Delta flights.
Wheels make contact, and the spoilers extend as I arrive 1 minute ahead of the FMC predicted time of 6:01AM EST.
I gently lower the nose gear as I activate idle reverse thrust.
The 3D volumetric landing light effect used by the newer PMDG products is second to none. I only wish the AI had lights this nice, the garish whitewashing effect used now kind of ruins the experience.
After landing checklist complete, I make my way down taxiway E.
I am allocated gate E14, and I gingerly make the 45 degree turn at 5kts.
As seen from the ground crew. Man, everyone has a camera handy nowadays!
Engines shutdown and ground services in action, I run through the shutdown checklist.
Here is the Google Earth capture of my flightpath, matching the real world flight exactly!
What a long trip this has been. As expected with the steady headwinds, this return leg was about 1 hour 25 minutes longer from runway brake release to main gear touchdown. The purist that I am, I refuse to use time compression as it seems like cheating to me, and as much as PMDG says the new feature has no ill effect on aircraft performance or fuel burn, I am hesitant to use it. So, this flight was flown over 3 days from saved flight situations. A nice byproduct of breaking down long flights is that I avoid the dreaded OOM issue, as the VAS never gets to the point of exhaustion where it is overloaded by all my complex addons at one time. I don't intentionally break up my flights to avoid the OOM, I guess I get bored easily just sitting in cruise for hours on end. But it is a subconcious fear, and I have had my share of day ruining long hauls CTD just minutes from touchdown in my early FSX days.
Unlike my previous long haul experiences with older PMDG products, I now have something to help pass the time. Thanks to PFPX, I find it fun to monitor my flight progress and fuel burn by jotting down actual times and fuel figures at certain intervals. I don't micromanage my performance at every waypoint, but I do like to compare the projected fuel burn given by the PFPX flightplan document with actual figures, and it's very nice to have the new PMDG wind entry "copy/paste" feature to eliminate the FMC data entry hassle found in previous addon long haulers.
For those who care, PFPX estimated a 15 hour 14 minute flight, I finished the route in 15 hours 5 minutes. Within less than 1% of the planned time, not too shabby. I have to give credit to Christian Grill and his team for the intensely realistic and immerse PFPX application. It really adds to the 777 experience having a flight planner and fuel estimator as professional in appearance and feature rich as the PMDG 777.
This was a unique flight for me, as I have never flown a long haul entirely at night before. I seldom fly night flights period, but I really should try some more as it's a different experience. Unlike the inbound leg to Dubai, there were not too many opportunities to sight see in the dark of night, but that's ok. I learned something about night flying in FSX, and have conquered a long standing pet peeve of mine, the brightness of the sky and scenery in FSX at night. Adjusting the gamma on my monitor though the Nvidia control panel did the trick!
I think I have had my fill with Dubai for the time being, but I will definitely return again, perhaps as an Emirates pilot?
I would love to visit somewhere in Asia next, maybe Tokyo as that is another popular Delta route for the LR.
Anyways, I'm off to decide what my next trip should be. Happy flying!