Friday, 19 July 2013

Flying down to Rio

This week's flight had an interesting origin.  I was looking at the stats I get from YouTube showing where in the world people are watching my videos and interestingly how long on average they watch them for.  If ten people follow the link to one of my videos, but half of them only watch for a few minutes before deciding it's not to their liking, that still counts as ten views, but the average viewing time will be a lot less.  For most of the views I'm getting, from the UK and US, I'm seeing average view times of five to ten minutes, for videos that are between 20 minutes and an hour.

But with as few subscribers as I have, it means you might only have one viewer in a particular country, and so you can see that person's viewing habits.  And it turned out I kept seeing one viewer from Brazil, who seemed to reliably be watching all the flight-sim videos in full.  So I figured why not make the next video flight a Brazilian one, by way of saying thankyou.

Last year, during a sale, I bought the TropicalSim bumper airport bundle, which had something silly like 32 FSX airports included at a greatly discounted price.  And it so happened that they included two airports for Rio De Janeiro and two for Sao Paolo.  On the day I decided to do the flight, I picked Santos-Dumont International (named after the turn of the 20th century aviation pioneer) and fired up FlightAware to have a look at outgoing flights.  It was obvious that the airline TAM was running regular shuttle flights to Congonhas several times a day, using Airbus A319s.  It was then about another half-hour's work to track down a good quality freeware A319 (Project Airbus FTW!) with a TAM livery. and I was all ready to fly TAM 3925.

Episode 09 - Blame it on Rio

Episode 10 - Runway Thirty-Five-Wrong

I know some "serious simmers" pick a single aircraft and sometimes even a single airline/carrier and fly them exclusively.  I can see how that can help build up verisimilitude.  In real life, you don't turn up at the airport and say "Now, who am I going to work for today?"  Flying a single airliner, even routinely flying a particular route, is going to be more like "real life" for a pilot.

But I'm not quite ready to settle down like that just yet.  While I want to fly jetliners as properly and procedurally as I can, I enjoy the variety of possibilities available too much.  And there's something inherently cool about picking a real-world flight at random and trying to emulate it as close as possible.

Does that bar me from calling myself a "serious simmer", condemning me to the ranks of "filthy casuals" who are simply playing a video game?  I'll hold my hands up and admit that when I'm in a miljet tickling the mach while flying inverted at FL 1, I'd be pushed to claim that I'm doing anything other than mindless fun.  But if I'm in a tubeliner, (albeit a default or freeware one), flying according to set procedures (albeit "scale model" ones that are simplified from real life) trying to do so as well as FSX's limitations will permit, I'm not sure it's so clear cut.

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