THE FIRST OF THE FLIGHTSIMULATOR ADVENTURES by Ken Butler
A series designed to enhance your enjoyment of
using Flight Simulator II
The area charts provided with the program and scenery disks
are fine if you only want to fly from airport to airport and have
no interest in what lies between. Most of us however are curious
about the lakes, mountains, bridges and roads that we overfly. How
high are the mountains and what are their names and where does
that road lead to? It is a shame that subLOGIC do not provide a
list of the topographical features that they so cleverly include
in their program for it seems a small thing to do compared with
the programming effort involved.
Clearly we must help ourselves and maybe it is no bad thing
for a voyage of discovery brings it's own rewards. How are we to
make such discoveries? We need a few tools of the trade such as a
360 degree protractor, rulers 6" and 12" (all plastic see-through
types) and a pair of compasses. A pair of parallel rulers would
also be useful so that you can transfer lines such as magnetic
north by "walking" them across your charts or maps. Ah, maps - we
need them most of all!
Over the years I have acquired quite a few useful maps but it
has not been easy for suitable ones are not found in your average
bookshop or stationers. University bookshops and specialist map
shops are probably the best source and if they provide a mail
order service so much the better.
If we are to be sure about the topographical features that we
discover we will need maps of sufficiently large scale, say six
miles to the inch or less, and they should show airports, mountain
heights, and other landmarks of use to the aviator. Of course
this is not the intended function of a road map but many are
surprisingly good. The best that I have come across for the San
Francisco and Monterey Bay areas is a Hertz freebie! The scale is
6.4 miles to the inch and it shows all the features that I have
mentioned. Here is a list of map series which I can recommend
together with some sources of supply.
HERTZ ) Free from car hire offices, petrol stations etc.
) USA. Highly recommended. Scales vary. Other
EXXON ) companies in a similar line of business may do
(Esso) the same.
RAND McNALLY (USA) (address not known)
Available from some specialist bookshops eg. Foyle's or
Heffer's. Dozens of maps cover major cities and individual
states. Scales vary. Examples - Pennsylvania is 10.5,
Alabama is 16.9 and North/South Carolina is 20 miles to
the inch. These scales are OK for long flights. £1.95 each
GOUSHA/CHEK-CHART H.M.Gousha Company, 2001 The Alameda,
Box 6227, San Jose, California 95150.
Sources as above. More than 100 city, state and regional
maps available. The state maps include mini-maps of the
major cities within the state. Scales vary. Richmond and
Chesapeake Bay area is 11, Michigan is 14, Washington 17
and Oregon, on the same map, is 19. These are nice clear
maps with good detail and partial lists, with grid refer-
ences, of counties, cities and towns. Price £1.50 approx.
AAA American Automobile Association
and Automobile Association (UK).
A new series recently seen in branches of W.H. Smith Ltd.
They come in a red, white and blue folder emblazoned with
stars and stripes and so they are easily seen. The yellow
AA logo is also on the front. They are published for the
exclusive use of members and are not for sale say the AAA
but you can buy them for £1.99 each which is good value.
Twelve maps cover 21 states and in addition there are
regional maps covering larger groups of states. The state
maps have larger scale inserts of specific areas of geo-
graphical interest. The California map is 21 miles to
the inch and the other side has Southwestern California
at 7.6 and San Francisco-Monterey area at 6.6 miles to
the inch. The heights of many mountains are given and
the maps are well detailed and have a contour effect.
They are highly recommended but the Hertz freebie is still
The only map I have is Toronto and Central Ontario. Approx.
8 miles to the inch and useful for the Niagara Falls area.
All of the above maps show some airports and it is
probably unreasonable to expect road maps to show them all for
there are a great number of smaller facilities in the USA.
Possibly the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Sectional
Aeronautical Charts show them but we are only concerned with
those that have been programmed in by subLOGIC. These are shown
on their own charts, or should be. More of that next time.
LARGER SCALE MAPS.
For very long flights it is useful to have a large scale map
covering several states. Bartholomew publish three very useful
ones covering Eastern USA, Western USA (at 1: 2500000 = 40 miles
miles per inch) and West Indies and the Caribbean (1 : 3250000 =
52 miles per inch) which is useful for Miami, Key West and Nassau
(Bahamas). Price £2.95 each. I use them when flying the Lear Jet.
Finally there is the Rand McNally "United States" which is 115
miles to the inch. It has a very useful mileage chart, the sort
that you use by looking at place names in rows and columns.
W. & G. Foyle Ltd.,
119, Charing Cross Road,
Heffers Map Shop,
19, Sidney Street,
Stanfords Map Centre,
12, Long Acre,
American Automobile Association,
United States of America.
John Bartholomew & Son Ltd.
Edinburgh EH9 1TA,
25, Athlone Avenue,
Ontario L6T 2N5,
HOW GOOD A PILOT ARE YOU?
OK so you've learnt to take off and land and you can do
it every time, well nearly every time. Well try this on for size.
Allow yourself 30 minutes to do three take-offs and landings from
runway 27 at Oakland. To be successful you must not undershoot or
overshoot or do silly things on the runway. If you climb above
1000 feet or fly more than 5 miles from the airport you are not
likely to succeed. Try and land on the numbers, brake and turn
off of the runway when your speed is low enough for taxiing
wastes time and petrol. It will help if you turn off auto co-ord
and the orient marker and enable everything under Realism except
for Elevator trim. Now you have more control over the plane.
I will admit that if I have not been on the simulator for a few
weeks I usually fail so I believe it to be a good test.
Incidentally the "real" time clock runs slow if you live in this
country so use your wrist watch or whatevever for I mean a real
30 minutes. Does this have something to do with the difference
between 50hz and 60hz?
NOW FOR SOME FUN.
About time I hear you say. You must have seen that tall black and
white building over to the right of runway 27 when flying around
the bay area? It appears to revolve, right? Well I'd like you to
tell me how tall it is. I've been trying to solve the mystery of
this building which is just 2.9 miles from runway 27 on a course
of 007. You can check it out by taxiing straight to it from where
you are on the runway. When you get there you can pass through a
wall and park inside! I have examined my Hertz freebie and my
guess is that it is the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum (Coliseum
= large place of entertainment). If it is then presumably the
revolvement is supposed to represent a merry-go-round. Is this an
in-house joke of subLOGIC?
I would welcome your comments, information, suggestions etc.
Please write to:-
Ken Butler (The Ancient Statarian)
10, The Greenway,
All correspondence will be acknowledged. Next time more fun
and a list of useful books to buy or borrow. Till then Happy
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.