× planning and discussion regarding group VATSIM flights and other events.


8 months 2 weeks ago - 8 months 2 weeks ago #425 by Rob Shearman Jr
Rob Shearman Jr created the topic: SAT AUGUST 5th 2000z-2200z -- VATSTAR 500th CERTIFICATION CELEBRATION FLIGHT
Hi VATSTAR members and friends! Sorry for the short notice, but in celebration of our 500th certification issued, we're coordinating with Fort Worth ARTCC (KZFW) and are going to try again to put together a GA VFR group flight on VATSIM! (This time, though, our backup plan in case of adverse weather includes DEPARTING *AND* ARRIVING at a towered field, so we don't experience the crazy delays from last attempt!)

We want to make it Saturday at 2000z -- before dinner for our US members, after dinner for our European members, and early Sunday morning for our Far Eastern and Australian members. I know nothing is truly ideal for *everyone*, but hopefully this is a good enough compromise to allow a decent turnout!

Plan A (VFR): a "Red River Run," depart Harrison County (KASL), fly direct Belcher VOR (EIC, 117.4; approximately 055/30.0 from KASL) then follow the Red River approximately 60nm north to Hope Municipal (M18). The airport has a nice highway and railroad nearby to help visually navigate to the desired pattern entry; I tried it on FSX already and the default scenery is plenty good enough to fly it by. We'll be departing and arriving non-towered and in Class E all the way, so if need be, we can ask for Flight Following -- but if ATC is extremely busy, we can actually do the whole flight without talking to them, weather permitting!

Plan B (IFR): if the weather doesn't cooperate, we'll adjust the plan to originate at Shreveport Regional (KSHV, a Class C airport), still fly northbound via EIC then V13 TXK, and plan to arrive at KTXK (Class D) which has an ILS approach if we need it. Alternate would be KMLU (114nm southeast; also Class D) if required.

In either case, the plan is to gather in TeamSpeak (and online at the origin) at 2000z and start flying at 2030z. Flight is relatively short so probably no more than an hour in the air. If the last pilot gets airborne by about 2100z we're probably all down by 2200z. Sorry again for the short notice but we had to coordinate with several other organizations to make this happen, not to mention work around our CFI's vacation plans! Hopefully a good number of you can make it! We'll post briefings here as the event gets closer, particularly so you'll know which airport to meet at. See you in TeamSpeak at 2000z on Saturday!
Last Edit: 8 months 2 weeks ago by Rob Shearman Jr.

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8 months 2 weeks ago - 8 months 2 weeks ago #428 by Rob Shearman Jr
Rob Shearman Jr replied the topic: SAT AUGUST 5th 2000z-2200z -- VATSTAR 500th CERTIFICATION CELEBRATION FLIGHT
Greetings, all --

We hope to see you this afternoon / evening / early tomorrow morning for our 500th certification celebration flight! We're meeting at 2000z in our TeamSpeak server (login info at , under Resources and Downloads) and will hope to be rolling beteen 2030z and 2100z. The VFR plan is to meet at KASL and fly to M18. The backup plan is an IFR flight from KSHV to KTXK.

As of right now (1145z), it looks like we're going to see VMC in the area:

In the Shreveport area (closest to our origin) the current TAF for 2000z-2200z (as of this writing at around 1145z) calls for a scattered cloud layer at 5000. To the north they are calling for a broken layer at 6000; if that holds up, we should be fine, as the minimum safe altitudes in the area are around 2200ft at the origin and 1100ft at the destination. If the forecast cloud layer thickens or descends we might need to consider shifting to our backup plan but for right now my fingers are crossed that we'll go for the "Plan A" VFR flight from KASL to M18.

I recommend we file VFR flight plans on VATSIM, although it's optional. It lets the controllers know what we're up to (particularly since we won't really need to talk to them), and, it allows third-party stat sites like VATaware to track and log the flight. Origin KASL, Destination M18, no alternate, cruise altitude whatever (500ft above an odd thousand -- limited by 500 below any BKN or OVC cloud layers), flight time maybe about 1h, fuel whatever you want (at least 1h30m but recommend more).

KASL doesn't have an FAA-published airport diagram but we can use information on the VOR-A chart, as well as the Chart Supplement:

Elevation is 356, runways 15/33 (5000ft) and 2/20 (3300ft) are available. According to the VFR sectional, no Right Patterns are in use at the airport. Based on the forecast winds we should probably expect to use 15. Now, on VATSIM we can check VATSpy to see whether anyone's around and turn directly on course if we're not in conflict with anyone; in the real world you'd want to use either a straight-out or a 45-degree departure at least out to about 4nm and/or 2500 AGL before turning on course. Given our northeast-bound flight direction, a 45 seems more appropriate here. So we'll depart on 150 to 2nm then turn left to 105. Once 4nm from the airport or passing 2500 AGL, we'll turn northeast-bound.

For the first part of our flight we'll be tracking direct to Belcher VOR (EIC 117.4). To radio-nav direct to a VOR, tune it on NAV1 then adjust the Course knob on our VOR or HSI until the needle centers. Then fly that course (using that heading plus any wind correction, or, just follow the needle). The VOR is on approximately a 055 course from the airport, so before takeoff we should have set the radio to the VOR frequency and the course to 055. However, since we're not intercepting any particular airway and just flying direct, we don't need to leave it on 055. We'll probably end up east of that course after departing. So we can just adjust the course to a direct one from wherever we end up (maybe 045-ish) and fly that. It should be around 25-30nm.

If we want to use Flight Following for this flight, now is the time we would call up ATC. Whether we do so will depend, I guess, on how busy they are and how many of us turn out for the flight. If you wanted to do it, we'd either call Fort Worth Center or Shreveport Approach, depending on what's staffed. Since the Flight Following request is a long transmission, we should start with "{facility}, {callsign}, VFR request" and wait for an acknowledgement. Once received, the request should be "{facility}, {callsign} for Flight Following, we're a {aircraft type} at {altitude}, {DME-reading} miles southwest of Belcher VOR, VFR to Hope Municipal (MIKE-ONE-EIGHT) at {cruise altitude}." You'll be given a squawk code and radar-identified. Again, let's please be sensitive to ATC's workload when deciding whether to request that! Departing and arriving non-towered, and in Class E all the way, we don't have to talk to anyone if we don't want to!

Once we're close to overflying Belcher VOR we should pick up a visual on the Red River, which follows a squiggly path from Shreveport (just east of our origin) northward toward our destination in Hope, Arkansas. The second part of our flight will be following that river to where it crosses Interstate 30 / US Highway 67 and a railroad line that parallels them. As a backup, we're going to be tracking very close to the 000 outbound radial off of Belcher, so we should set our Course arrow to 000 to use as a reference. From the map it looks as though the river squiggles slightly west of that path most of the way, so we should plan to see the needle deflected slightly right as we go. If we lose our bearings, though, we can track back to that radial and fly it out to 54nm DME, and that should put us right overtop the highway and railroad. In either case, we want to be descended to pattern altitude for M18 by the time we reach the highway, so let's look at our destination now.

For our arrival at M18, it too lacks an Airport Diagram, but here's the NDB16 and the Chart Supplement:

Again, the VFR sectional tells us no Right Patterns are in use here. Elevation is 359 so pattern altitude is roughly 1400ft. For arrival we have runways 16/34 (5500ft) and 4/22 (5300ft). From the forecast winds it seems as though 16 is going to be most favorable. To make a standard pattern entry we want either to cross 16/34 midfield heading eastbound at TPA+500, or, make a 45-to-downwind entry from the southeast. In this case I find that the 45-entry-to-downwind is pretty easy. The highway and railroad mark a 4nm threshold line south of the airfield, so pretty much when you see them come into view, you want to turn right and follow them eastbound for a little bit. Once the airfield is on a 45-degree angle over your left shoulder (similar to the visual reference for your base turn), turn directly toward the midfield point of runway 16/34.

Here's a little NAV trick you can use to help you judge that 45 entry. When you do so, the airport should be on approximately a 295 bearing (runway heading 340 minus 45). There's an NDB right there on the field, frequency 362. While you're tracking the highway and railroad eastbound, set your ADF radio to 362 and roll the reference heading on the gauge to your current heading (should be 070-ish). When the needle points to somewhere between 300 and 295, make your turn. (If your ADF display only gives you a relative bearing with 000 fixed straight up, the number to use is around 225.)

So the 45-entry should be roughly on a 295 heading, the downwind on 340, the base on 250, and final on 160. Turnoff to parking after touchdown will be to the left.

Happy flying, and talk to you all soon!
Last Edit: 8 months 2 weeks ago by Rob Shearman Jr.

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8 months 2 weeks ago #429 by Rob Shearman Jr
Rob Shearman Jr replied the topic: SAT AUGUST 5th 2000z-2200z -- VATSTAR 500th CERTIFICATION CELEBRATION FLIGHT
We're "go" for the VFR version of our flight -- find me at KASL and on TeamSpeak if you want to join!

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