• The Need to Fly

    The Need to Fly

    By Dominic Smith

    The Need To Fly

    Why do we enjoy flight simulation? What draws us to this magical and highly unique experience? Is it the thought of being in control of a large airliner at 36,000 feet, skimming through the valleys in a fighter, or perhaps soaring mountain ridges in a glider?

    Whatever it is, flight simulation manages to capture an audience that is both young and old, male and female, and reaches across the globe in its enthusiasm.

    For myself, the experience is not so much about flying per se (even though that is an important element), rather it's more about the ability to escape.

    In today's fast and challenging world, it's often quite difficult to remove oneself from the constant bombardment of daily worries, and whilst we might (at times) think we are being individually picked on, it's just something we all have to deal with as human beings.

    This is where the ability to escape comes into play...

    In much the same way as real aviation, when you are up there amongst the clouds, it's just you and your machine, and nothing can touch you. You really are as free as a bird, even more so if like myself you enjoy the wonders of GA flying. In many cases you'll find it's a back to basics approach, and that means flying aids and equipment are quite often limited. That's not to say that the flying experience is any less challenging or rewarding...far from it, it's just a more of a hands on approach.

    Let me give me you a little background...

    I love solitude, always have done, and ever since I can remember I have enjoyed my own company more than others. However, before any of you dare mutter it...I'm not a social cripple, as many who know me will testify; I can be the life and soul of a party!

    Many a time as a young boy, my day was spent with my trusty dog Boot (what a guy), and for hours we would just walk in the Scottish mountains together. Come rain or shine (quite frequently the former), we ventured out and it was always quality time.

    Now the years have moved on and I am quite a bit older, and sadly my loyal friend is no longer by my side to keep me company, but what I do have are my virtual wings, and together once again, we explore the area I once frequented as a boy.

    If you've never had the opportunity to visit the beautiful country of Scotland, then you are dearly missing out. It is a truly wonderful place to visit, and one that can mesmerize the heart in a second. Scotland is an incredible place to explore, and one that will leave its mark on you for all time. Its purity is in both the land and the sky, and that is what draws me to it. No other country I have had the pleasure of visiting has managed to do that so far, but then again, I am bound to be biassed as a Scot!

    Anyway, I digress!

    Most of my virtual flying time is concentrated around a beautiful area of southern Scotland known as Dumfries and Galloway, or more specifically, the Galloway Forest Park.

    My departure point is usually West Freugh, a former Royal Air Force station situated in west Galloway, or across the border in England at Carlisle Airport, which has an active GA scene. West Freugh on the other hand would normally be off limits to the likes of myself, however, due to the wonders of flight simulation, you can bypass any security it might have!

    The weather in this part of world can be notoriously bad (summer this year is on a Wednesday), with low clouds, coupled with strong gusts being the norm. Due to this, some of the mountains to the east can prove quite a challenge, and in real life often fatal.

    Choosing West Freugh, your first port of call is Merrick, the highest mountain in the Southern Uplands of southern Scotland at 843 m (2,766 ft).

    Before you arrive at Merrick though, there is the wonderful site of Loch Trool to observe, home of the Battle of Loch Trool in 1307.

    The Need To Fly     The Need To Fly

    The Need To Fly     The Need To Fly

    The Need To Fly     The Need To Fly

    1. zswobbie1's Avatar
      zswobbie1 -
      Thanks for a great story, sharing your favourite 'space' in both your real and virtual world with us.
    1. LowTransition's Avatar
      LowTransition -
      Beautifully written article, Dom! I loved getting this glimpse into your soul!
    1. abarter's Avatar
      abarter -
      Nice article. I agree with you. For me it's the escape from reality that I enjoy. I also like geography so I create my own photo scenery with FSEarthTiles and look around the world.
    1. Alaskadad's Avatar
      Alaskadad -
      Very nice Dom! Thanks for taking me into your part of the world.
    1. vflight2's Avatar
      vflight2 -
      What an excellent article, I think I will not forget David Hunter Blair or his flying colleagues. This was a most favorable read and it recalls memories of uncles and a brother from a time long ago and far away. Many, many thanks. Mr. Smith.
    1. allanj12's Avatar
      allanj12 -
      I enjoyed this very much; the combination of flight simulation and aviation history. It was something I tried to do with my 'Fly & Deliver' articles here some years ago. so well done.
    1. mcilrath's Avatar
      mcilrath -
      I started the Spitfire video partway - going back to cap it off.
      Scot-Irish - can't help it - over here. Tears easily flow.
    1. mcilrath's Avatar
      mcilrath -
      Tapadh leat. (Thank you.)
    1. maddog80's Avatar
      maddog80 -
      That was a great read. Thanks for the article and short flight!
    1. toftedal's Avatar
      toftedal -
      Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
      And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
      Sunward I’ve climbed …

      A good reminder … Thanks Dominic
    1. neilfb's Avatar
      neilfb -
      A good read and a man after my own heart. Neil
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