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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Jetstream Chronicles: Bahia Solano to Tocumen

As you can see from my virtual hangar, I have a British Aerospace Jetstream 41 (ICAO: JS41) turboprop made by PMDG.It cost me dearly but have mostly stayed in the hangar except for some test flights. I read the Pilot Tutorial (93 pages) and the other docs, countless Tips & FAQS but attempts to use it nearly always terminated in one or two engine fires right at the apron. Mostly after I pressed the engine start buttons and if not right at the moment I tried to begin taxi. Quite frustrating if you spend nearly an hour going through checklists in a virtual cockpit (not as comfortable as a real cockpit). But despite the fact that PMDG wasn’t interested in producing a service pack to solve the cockpit state issues, it remains an add-on of very good craftmanship (except for the woes). So, rather than wasting my time running the checklists to end in engine fire I have opted to use this a/c with engines started and program the FMC and set the instruments.

So, today we will fly from Bahía Solano to Panama. I tried this many months ago with the JS41, the first time the engines melted down at the apron. The second time I was 80% into the flight and started descent and had troubles descending and slowing down (something you can’t do at the same time in this a/c) so it overstressed and it was game over, for that see my post “Virtual Incidents & Accidents: Jetstream 4100”. The Jetstream stayed in the hangar since then in 2010… Until now!

JS41-SKBS-MPTO-FlightPlanHere is our flight plan made with the excellent Plan-G planner. It will be an IFR flight in the Jetstream 4100 from Bahía Solano to Tocumen Intl. airport in Panama. Initial altitude will be 6,000 feet, then when approaching the border with Panama we would temporarily climb to 7,000 feet. Flight Plan is as follows:

SKBS BHS dct DAKMO/A070 a317 ITAGO a317 TBG MPTO

Departure – Bahía Solano

We will be departing (engines started) from Parking #2 of the José Celestino Mutis (ICAO: SKBS, IATA: BSC) regional airport at Bahía Solano in the province of Chocó, Colombia. [runway picture. Twin Otter real life landing at BSC). The stock FSX airport is just crappy so based on aereal recoinassance I made a quick & dirty reproduction. The airport is at 81 feet but in FSX with the mesh it appeared at over 400 feet. The best I could do was move it slightly and accommodate it at 4 feet. However just like the real airport, it is surrounded by a lot of vegetation and hills.

The FMC has been programmed already, Tuned both NAV1 and NAV2 active frequencies to the Ambalema VOR/DME (ABL: 112.70) with OBS 317. It is way back near Bogota with a range of 200nm so I used it to get the initial intercept towards DAKMO but the signal will vanish prior to getting there. The heading bug is set to 343. NAV1 standby frequency set to La Palma VOR (PML 113.10) and the ADF tuned to the Bahia Solano NDB(BHS 244.0 kHz).

JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-001So, at about 05:45 AM (UTC-5) after configuring the PMDG Jetstream for take off configuration. V1 and Vr are 103 knots, V2 110 knots, Flaps 9, set torque to 100%, turned off taxi lights, all others on, Ground Spoilers armed.

Slowly pushed the Condition lever out of Taxi to 100% (flight), let it stabilize a bit and then slowly pushed the throttles forward let it build up a bit, brakes relased, the aircraft started to move slowly and you wonder whether you are going to clear the end of the runway. It continues, 70 knots JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-003callout, speed picks up and I am near the last quarter of the runway (35), V1 and Vrotate callouts.

I gently pulled the yoke maintaining the a/c on a steady climb following runway heading. Cleared the tree and small hill at the end of the runway. Positive rate of climb callout, gear up… 700 feet AGL retracted flaps to clean configuration. We have the 1965 ft. Cerro Mutis on our left.

JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-006The a/c flew above the town of Bahia Solano and into the bay of the same name and Point St. Francisco Solano to our left. Past the Bay of Nabugá and Gulf of Cupica on our right as we head inland to intercept the ABL radial. Then at 200nm outbound ABL the signal goes out as expected.

By now I am at our initial cruise altitude of 6,000 feet continuing heading 347 towards DAKMO. DAKMO intersection is right on the border of the Colombian and Panamanian airspace over the mountains of Darien province, as we neared I climbed further up to 7,000 feet.

Cruise
JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-005Jetstream 4100 at 7,000 feet over the mountains of Darien. Passed DAKMO intersection but continuing on the same heading. Now I have the PML VOR on NAV1 & NAV2 with Taboga VOR/DME (TBG 110.00) on standby and the Taboga NDB on the ADF. Unfortunately PML has no DME. I set the OBS1 to PML R-239 to mark our arrival to the ITAGO intersection on this heading (311). Once cleared the mountains I decended to 6,000 feet again.

Passed ITAGO above the Gulf of Panama, the beautiful Pearls Archipel is ahead with the big San Miguel island coming soon in sight. Started planning for the approach which is very tricky with this aircraft. First reduced the speed to around 190 knots, reduced torque to start a descent to 5,000 feet. I reprogrammed the Jetstream’s four speedbugs to 123, 108, 110 and 125 knots respectively for about 20,000 lbs of weight at landing. The last speed being that for Flaps 25.

Arrival
JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-009Just prior to reaching ITAGO I had swapped NAV frequencies so that I had TBG on the active and could track the inbound radial (R-311).

A few nautical miles prior to reaching TBG turned right, swapping frequencies yet again so that now I had TBG on NAV1 standby and on NAV2 active and on NAV1 active I had the Tocumen (ICAO: MPTO, IATA: PTY) Runway 03L ILS (INAT 110.70). Here with a beautiful view of Panama city, the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal and the equally beautiful Amador Causeway with its three islands (Naos, Perico & Flamenco). My interactive Weight & Balance sheet is now tucked in. Currently at 3,500 feet and intercepting the ILS with OBS set to 030 degrees (pressed V/L on the autopilot and set 030 on the CRS to set intercept heading on the Jetstream). RPM set to 99%, APR armed

JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-017It was still early morning and as I approached MPTO there was a low cloud cover making it impossible to visualize the airport, anyway there is the HIS where I was already aligned. At this moment I disabled the altitude hold on the autopilot, enabled the Approach mode and I could see how the a/c maintained horizontal alignment. The EHSI showed it was right on the glideslope, descending gently, still no runway in sight, all is white on the windshield.

The time passes, still nothing in sight just whiteness… kept on monitoring the instruments, aligned to ILS, still right on the glideslope. Suddenly just underneath the blanket of mist I could see the treetops of the mangroves near Tocumen. I was coming at 180 knots, couldn’t make the target of 170 knots. I judged better not to use flaps because Flaps 9 would cause this a/c to either balloon or try to stay afloat above the runway.

JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-010More hidden treetops and then some point slightly above Decision Height and suddenly there it was, God gracious! Runway 03R. Disengaged the autopilot and continued the final approach visually.

Landed on the sweet spot, a little flare and then when fully landed reverse thrust to slow down the beast. Spoilers deployed (automatic), applied brakes. When it slowed down to 70 knots I disengaged reverse thrust to taxi out of the runway.

JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-011The problem is, apparently with the throttle when you notch it out of reverse (there is a detent) the simulator tends to interpret it as thrust applied and there it goes again. I had to vacate the runway via taxiway F at the end of 03R.

Here a nice misty screenshot from the cockpit as I neared the Tocumen passenger terminal (scenery by Tropical Sim).

JS41-SKBS-MPTO-2013-aug-27-015

And finally I arrived to the gates and went through the shutdown checklist. Didn’t check how much fuel it consumed though… But no aircraft was lost in this operation Smile

The Jetstream 41 from PMDG is a pleasure to fly, it is a bit of a medium maintenance a/c during the whole flight, especially if you get icing conditions or engine overheat which must be monitored closely.

Simulation Events
As I mentioned this PMDG is highly demanding with resources as well. This time I was just crossing ITAGO when I clicked on the instrument panel and the simulation crashed (I get that most often with this PMDG). I had to start all over, but rather than redoing it, I took off from SKBS, took the a/c to cruise altitude then slewed it to the geographical position where the simulation had crashed and continued thereon.

I have a realtively power PC with 4GB so I am considering getting a full 6GB or 8GB (I had 6GB but the memories got damaged due to spikes).

1 comment:

Philipp Wittmann said...

Just use the Unfeather switch before starting the engines...it's located beneath the power levers. Flick it to the left once, and once to the right and wait until the propeller blades are..."in an upright position" ;)