Thursday, October 9, 2008

A very cuddly co-pilot

Tonight I am cat sitting for a very industrious environmental lobbyist who is away exploring ways to keep the Adirondacks pristine. My feline companion, Misty - aka Misty Misdemeanor Elliot- is already looking forward to our evening together. She told me so.
I stopped by this morning on my way to work and told her that tonight we would be playing Microsoft Flight Simulator all night. She licked herself and left the room.

I have a set routine for my Flight Simulator game nights. My aircraft of choice is a Learjet 45. I have the option of a B737, but I have only been able to land it successfully once, so there is very little point of flying with it at this point.
When choosing my destinations, I have two general rules:

1. I like to keep the flights relatively short, about 45 minutes max, and
b. only go to airports that I am certain I will locate with landmark cues.

My version of Flight Simulator does not have the advanced radar and maps of the deluxe editions so I have to rely on visual landmarks to fly. You can imagine how annoying it is to fly for 45 minutes and then not be able to complete the flight because you can't find the airport.

To meet those two general rules, I generally stay around the Chicago/Great Lakes region. I cannot think of an easier airport to find than Merril C. Meigs (at least in computer world, thank you very much Mayor Daley). It's right on Lake Michigan with Chicago's majestic downtown as a backdrop.

My destination of choice is Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, MI. It is about a 30 minute hop across the lake from Chicago. From there, I either do a quick turnaround back to Meigs Field, or operate a quick flight to South Bend, IN - which usually takes about 25 minutes from Grand Rapids.
I used to run a flight to Detroit, MI but I have stopped primarily because there are no distinguishing landmarks in "cyber Detroit" to guide me to the major airports. With better visual cues, that would be a great flight, because I used to do it in around 45 minutes and Wayne County Airport is a lot of fun to land on.

Toronto has a nice airport right on the lakefront as well. The appeal of Toronto City Center Airport is that it is easy to find and I have been generally successful with the landings there. The only catch is that a flight to Toronto is a longer flight than I am usually interested in making.
Maybe my cuddly co-pilot will convince me to visit our other neighboring country: Afghanistan.