• Review: Flying America X

    Flying America X

    Publisher: Perfect Flight

    Review Author:
    Bill Stack

    Suggested Price:

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    Flying America by Perfect Flight

    Screen Shot by Perfect Flight

    Flying America is a collection of 15 commercial airline missions and six jetliners for Microsoft FSX from Perfect Flight. Eleven of the flights are within the continental United States. Two go from the U.S.A. to Canada, one goes from Mexico to the U.S.A., and one goes from Aruba to the U.S.A. The Boeing 717-200, the Boeing 787-8, and the Airbus A350 are each used on two missions. The Boeing 737-800, the Boeing 777-300, and the MD-11 are each used on three missions.

    Departure Destination Duration Aircraft
    Acapulco Columbus, OH 3:40 B737-800
    Dayton, OH Ontario, CA 3:30 B737-800
    Richmond, VA Montreal, QC 1:15 B737-800
    Aruba Miami, FL 1:30 B717-200
    Boston, MA Detroit, MI 1:10 B717-200
    Cincinnati, OH Kansas City, MO 0:55 B787-8
    Miami, FL Boston, MA 2:10 B787-8
    New York, NY Dallas, TX 2:30 A350
    Dallas, TX Chicago, IL 1:30 A350
    San Francisco, CA Portland, OR 0:55 B777-300
    Denver, CO Calgary, AB 1:45 B777-300
    San Francisco, CA Albuquerque, NM 1:45 B777-300
    New York, NY Orlando, FL 1:55 MD-11
    Las Vegas, NV Seattle, WA 1:35 MD-11
    Los Angeles, CA Wichita, KS 2:15 MD-11

    The Missions

    All 15 missions are categorized "expert" presumably because they entail jetliner flight which is fundamentally more complicated than flights in smaller and less-powerful aircraft.

    I examined the shorter three of the 15 missions: Cincinnati to Kansas City, Boston to Detroit, and San Francisco to Portland. All three are structured alike. They begin at a gate, they use interactive audio checklists, and they follow ATC guidance throughout. Each mission has an IFR flight plan already filed with ATC, which follows the flight plan from gate to gate. Flight plans use VORs as waypoints. Based on these three missions and the briefing and audio files, I deduce that all 15 missions are structured in this manner.

    The flights differ in some respects. They use various aircraft, they have various durations, and weather and time of day are different among them. For example, Cincinnati to Kansas City occurs in daytime with clear weather while Boston to Detroit begins at dusk in rain and thunderstorms.


    Each mission is described in written briefings that are displayed in the mission-selection menu and available during flights through the pilot's kneeboard. These briefings provide the mission name, departure and destination airports, estimated durations, and aircraft type, generalized descriptions, and destination airport data and chart.

    All missions begin with about 30 seconds of background music. Clicking on "Start with briefing" stops the music and induces an audio greeting that is played at the beginning of every mission: "The mission begins with your aircraft parked at the gate and your engines off . . . " and so forth. The final step in the Cabin Preparation checklist instructs us to contact ATC to begin our flight.

    Interactive Audio Checklists

    We pilots are guided through significant flight phases of every mission with interactive audio checklists and voice callouts. A checklist window appears in the center of the screen at an appropriate time during the given flight phase, such as preflight, taxi, climbout, descent, approach, and landing.

    After the audio greeting and briefing, the interactive-checklist window offers options to follow the checklist steps or skip them. Each checklist step appears in the window consecutively, and an audio voice speaks the step in more detail. These written and audio checklists lead pilots through significant steps from startup, through preflight, taxiing, climbout, descent, approach, and landing. As the pilot accepts each step, the interactive checklist advances to the next step.

    Working the checklists, and changing frequencies and headings at VORs in the flight plans, and follwing ATC instructions keeps us active, especially during long flights.

    Missions are completed when the aircraft lands. The audio voice tells the captain the mission is completed and instructs to taxi off the runway to the parking area.

    Flying America by Perfect Flight
    Flying America by Perfect Flight
    Flying America by Perfect Flight
    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    Unlike the ATC windows that automatically change radio frequencies and the transponder code when the pilot clicks on the instruction to accept it, these checklists are guides that do and ensure nothing. Accepting a checklist step to set the altimeter, as one example, does not set the altimeter, and the next step appears whether or not the pilot has followed the instruction.

    Performing the taxi checklist while taxiing to the runway is a lot of work for one pilot, so I stopped on the taxiway to complete it. That's not realistic procedure, but having no copilot isn't realistic either.

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