Flying the VFR Challenge

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Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby tshuff » Wed Mar 09, 2016 6:45 am

I don't normally like to self promote, but last night was such a unique and awesome experience I wanted to share with everyone.

First check out this post by Steve Kirks if you haven't already:
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=6108

I decided to take Steve's idea and run with it ahead of any sort of formal event. I jumped into my trusty DA-42 at John Wayne and flew all three V ratings in succession without stopping. Joining me were three other pilots in a variety of planes. What transpired was just an awesome night of flying.

I don't think I would have technically passed every rating, the V3 especially. As my workload started to grow I was having difficulty maintaining my assigned altitude (fluctuating by a few hundred feet at times) and my tracking of VORs was a bit spotty at times, but I still think it ends up being a good demonstration and a good learning experience.

Some highlights to look for
- During the V1 I was stepped from 20R to 20L after one of my touch and goes. This resulted in two planes in the pattern on 20L and one turboprop on 20R.
- Near the start of the coastal route we started seeing speed restrictions assigned to some of the VFR traffic for separation purposes.
- Following the touch and go at VNY and lasting through the end of the mini route was stretch of absolute saturation on the part of myself and the rest of the gang. Lots of traffic to watch for and lots of calls to listen for. Hands down the best part of the night.

There are some additional proposal's in Steve's thread above that could make this even more interesting for everyone. I suggest everyone checks it out and adds input. This would be a hell of a fun network event.

I suggest this version of the video over the Twitch VOD as it is 1080p and much higher quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpcs1WYU6OA

Here's Peter running it
https://youtu.be/DFd_ZNLCZ3w
Last edited by tshuff on Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby Keith Smith » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:59 am

I'm looking forward to watching this tonight, sounds like a blast. This really does sound like a great format for an event.
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:28 am

I watched this last night and the saturation level was pretty high with the traffic in the area, plus the tower controller was fully soaking in it because he had both ends of the pilots for the bravo transition (in/out/takeoff/land) so that person needs a gold star for his effort.

If you added airliner inbounds to KLAX during the event, the traffic would be insane and beautiful. I'm trying to imagine the conga line of southbound strobes passing over the top of LAX Tower as I'm on final and it's crazy. Ty's X-Plane was like watching an advertisement for the product, with sunset reflecting off the west side of cloud banks and the lights that seemed to stretch to the horizon. I really felt like I was sitting in the passenger seat of a real flight.

I never thought this hair-brained idea would work, but watching the infectious enthusiasm on Ty's face for 1.5 hours has me sold. I'm doing it tonight in the Lancair Legacy, hoping for some decent weather to go with it. The current TAFs for tonight are showing 260@12 and VFR so should be good times.
Steve Kirks (sKirks on Twitch)
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby rtataryn » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:47 pm

Started watching the Twitch recording last night at 11 pm. Stayed up till nearly 1 am watching the entire thing. Couldn't stop and yes, felt like I was a passenger. And kudos to pull this off while answering the chat and putting away a glass of red. Loved it.

I'm going to fly this tonight in the Cirrus. Steve, what time are you flying the Legacy tonight? We should fly it together.

Rod
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:20 pm

rtataryn wrote:Started watching the Twitch recording last night at 11 pm. Stayed up till nearly 1 am watching the entire thing. Couldn't stop and yes, felt like I was a passenger. And kudos to pull this off while answering the chat and putting away a glass of red. Loved it.

I'm going to fly this tonight in the Cirrus. Steve, what time are you flying the Legacy tonight? We should fly it together.

Rod


I'm on Central time, so maybe 5-7 PM. I'm flexible.
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby rtataryn » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:31 pm

stevekirks wrote:
rtataryn wrote:
I'm going to fly this tonight in the Cirrus. Steve, what time are you flying the Legacy tonight? We should fly it together.

Rod


I'm on Central time, so maybe 5-7 PM. I'm flexible.


Soonest I could start would be 5:30 Pacific. I'll be on the northwest ramp at KSNA if that works for you.
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:49 pm

I'll meet you there. I'm on now doing some prep work...
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:25 pm

Update:

Flew the challenge tonight. It's a hard 1.5 hours even when your cruise is 170kts. I followed Rod the whole time in his Cirrus and it was amazing!

* This is one heckuva challenge. I gave in the controls to Otto for awhile due to task saturation and it was still a challenge. Ty hand flew the whole thing with the yoke in one hand and wine glass in another. My hat's off to him.
* The Challenge is a true test of a pilot's ability to manage many things at once and keep track of airspace and frequency changes. I can't imagine doing this without something like an iPad with Foreflight. I use the free FltPln app on an older iPad and it was crucial for me to keep track of boundaries.

If you're a pilot of any kind, this great test of one's skills.

Keith and Peter - I'm calling you guys out here...let's see a stream trying to pull this off with PE precision. :)
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby rtataryn » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:02 pm

Steve,

What a total blast! Thanks for coming up with this crazy plan and for flying it with me tonight. So right about this being a challenge. I was constantly looking up and dialing in frequencies, watching airspace and altitudes so I didn't bust, listening to ATIS and dialing VOR radials. GREAT WORKOUT. I highly recommend it to everyone. I'm Seriously tired after that. And . . . I've got a whole new respect for Ty - he made it look way easier than it is on his stream.

Hats off to the controller too. She was busy handling both tower and approach herself with a lot going on and did it flawlessly.

I definitely relied on ForeFlight, and the PilotEdge traffic function was really helpful because I could see you and your speed, altitude and distance behind me. Most definitely relied on the AP at times while I was looking up numbers. Did you see I took the SFRA back south rather than try to drum up a Bravo clearance and dial in all those extra frequencies? - thought that might throw you a bit. I saw you did a 360 there. The only sacrifice was I had to slow down to 140 knots to keep it legal. Edit: I see you flew the mini route at 2500. (I thought I saw you speeding at 3500 in the SFRA)

Great time Steve! Thanks again!

Rod
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Re: Flying the VFR Challenge

Postby stevekirks » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:33 am

rtataryn wrote:What a total blast! Thanks for coming up with this crazy plan and for flying it with me tonight. So right about this being a challenge. I was constantly looking up and dialing in frequencies, watching airspace and altitudes so I didn't bust, listening to ATIS and dialing VOR radials. GREAT WORKOUT. I highly recommend it to everyone. I'm Seriously tired after that. And . . . I've got a whole new respect for Ty - he made it look way easier than it is on his stream.

Hats off to the controller too. She was busy handling both tower and approach herself with a lot going on and did it flawlessly.

I definitely relied on ForeFlight, and the PilotEdge traffic function was really helpful because I could see you and your speed, altitude and distance behind me. Most definitely relied on the AP at times while I was looking up numbers. Did you see I took the SFRA back south rather than try to drum up a Bravo clearance and dial in all those extra frequencies? - thought that might throw you a bit. I saw you did a 360 there. The only sacrifice was I had to slow down to 140 knots to keep it legal. Edit: I see you flew the mini route at 2500. (I thought I saw you speeding at 3500 in the SFRA)


I can never spell her name right or I'd type it here. She did a fantastic job with everything, considering she had the entirety of SoCal and a *lot* of words to say to the two of us frequently. I'll echo Rod here, after having a night to sleep on it, Ty makes it look easy on the stream. It's not easy when you're in the chair. There's is very little time when you're not actively piloting the plane, have your head in a chart, or dialing frequencies.

Mini Route: Rod, I was moving fast enough during my first attempt to enter the mini route that I was afraid I would bust airspace--probably not true but I was getting a bit frazzled at that point. In addition, the autopilot logic in the sim had gone a bit wonky and wasn't capturing the altitude nor VS rate. I took over, did the 360 to try to get things settled with the avionics and fix my brain on the Mini Route. I had called the wrong tower for entry, even after reading the chart inset I had pulled up on a tab in a browser.

Watching for other traffic: I flew in FSX because I wanted the plane I was most comfortable with (Lancair) but I had several problems seeing Rod. This was due to the limits of the pilot client's aircraft models and the logic of it's lighting those models at times. For example, Rod would never appear at the same altitude as me, even when I was within a mile. This made traffic pointouts a challenge, so I had the PE map open. About the lighting--sometimes the wing lights would just "turn off" and it would become impossible for me to see him. Rod was appearing as a Mooney Bravo, the native FSX plane, so I don't chalk this up to the model software, but instead the client foundation of the squawkbox code.

Note: Someone did this in a helicopter last night!
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