• KerrSpectives - Scottish Highland Memories

    Hangar Talk And Re-Creating Memories

    And now... Drumroll... Let's enjoy some hangar talk! There are several flights that I want to remember, but of these, only one can be totally recreated so far in MSFS.

    1. Which way is up?

    I used to love poking around EGPE in the pre-911 years before airport fences and security. And so, you'd often find me walking around the edge of the wind-swept ramp, exploring hangars, and generally having a whale of a time with such unbelievable freedoms. And so it was that one day, (rented video camera in hand), I met a certain gentleman with the initials RR.

    RR's pride and joy was his Tipsy Nipper (Google it), a diminutive aerobatic machine that he loved to fly upsidedown for prolonged periods. He was getting ready for an airshow appearance at nearby RAF Lossiemouth, and when he saw the camera he asked if I'd take some footage of his display to show to the folks on the station. So, no worries, off he went and did his display, and I stayed on the ground to film it all.

    Thereafter, he thought we should edit in some aerial footage, and as it happened one of the local Cessna 152's had a red engine cowling just like his Nipper. Also, this particular 152 (G-BDOW) was the Aerobat variant. So, we taped the camera on the glare shield and subsequently flew five or six aerobatic flights over the next week. I truly got to see the Highlands from every possible angle, while even managing to keep my food inside my stomach in the process. It was great fun.

    Now, here's what's neat. We do have the Cessna 152 Aerobat in the mid-priced version of MSFS, and it's painted in the same colours as the aircraft we flew. So, (cue music as on my video)... Here ya' go.



    2. How low can you fly?

    On another trip into the airport, I happened to see a chap prepping a PA-28 Warrior for a flight. On closer inspection, I noticed only two people, and of course four seats. Never slow to ask, I piped up, "Want another passenger?" And within fifteen minutes we were trundling down the runway for a trip over the Black Isle.

    Well, I've done a lot of flying over the years, but the next half hour proved to be the most frightening experience I've had in an aeroplane to this very day. So what was it that terrified me?

    There's an old adage "Thou shalt not fly low and slow", and this fellow broke both of those conditions. How slow? Just over stalling, and how low? Take a look at this image.


    No, we were not landing, we were buzzing the farmhouses, and our pilot was looking in the windows of the farmhouses instead of watching the rapidly-approaching trees in front of our propellor. And then there's this image too...


    Those rigs were way too close for comfort, and as we got lower so was the water of the Cromarty Firth. Thankfully, I made it home in one piece, although my wife told me that I was whiter than she had ever seen me after any flight. Years later, I heard an unconfirmed report that the pilot had died in a low-flying accident.

    So can I reproduce this flight in MSFS? No. I am of course waiting for the Piper Arrow from JustFlight, but that won't be a Warrior. And how about those rigs in the Firth? They are missing in MSFS too. I therefore cannot reproduce this flight in MSFS. However, courtesy of JustFlight and Orbx, I can refly it in P3D v4.5. So here's how it looks in that older sim platform as I wait for the missing assets to make their way into MSFS.


    3. Flying the DC-3

    Several years after moving away from the Highlands, I got into the flight sim business when I started Visually Incredible Panels, which later became The VIP Group. The catalyst that launched that business was my DC-3 panel for FS4, and the DC-3 would indeed become a mainstay of our subsequent product line. My thanks to such names from the past as John Kelly, Trev Morson, and of course Jan Visser for their contribution to the VIP DC-3's.

    One of our VIP customers turned out to be the chief pilot at Air Atlantique at that time. And so it was that I received an invitation in 1986 to come back to the UK to fly with the airline in both the DC-3 and the Lockheed L-188 Electra. Of course, I was delighted at the prospect, but it got even better when I was told the DC-3 flight would be from Inverness. That trip became a visit back to see my folks and sister too.

    I will never forget how excited I was to walk around DC-3 G-ANAF on the Inverness ramp and then to board it for the crew training flight. I even spent some time in the left seat and had a bit of "stick time" before having to give up the seat again to the captain.

    My most vivid memory is of climbing out over Fort George. I was in the pilot's seat and taking a ton of video. I'd been looking down the Firth towards the Kessock Bridge, then I filmed the port engine, turned the camera on myself for a moment, and then Fort George came into view and I filmed it too. It was a fantastic flight, and I treasure the memories of course. I wish I had still pictures to show you.

    So, can I re-live this flight in MSFS? Once again the answer is no. I look forward to Aeroplane Heaven bringing out their DC-3, but Fort George is still generic autogen. And so I turn again to my trusty old P3D. Thank goodness I did not delete it in anticipation of MSFS coming out last August. Here are a couple of P3D screenshots.




    There are many more Inverness flights I could recall. Like the time we diverted to RAF Kinloss on a Dan-Air flight from London because EGPE was socked in. Our BAC 1-11 parked right beside a line of Nimrods! Sheer magic! Then there were several trips down Loch Ness to Fort Augustus, and the cross-country out to Ben Nevis and then further west. But, I will wait until we get more POI structures and a greater selection of aircraft to feature them in an article.

    Having said that, I am pleased to fly generally round the region in MSFS, sometimes I can’t get enough of it. And, just now and again, I still pop into P3D. Yes, there are deficiencies in each sim experience and positives in both. But, with every new addon by third-party developers and Asobo's ongoing efforts, MSFS continues to mature into the platform I want it to be.


    1. clankilp's Avatar
      clankilp -
      good read - thanks!
    1. AlyMac's Avatar
      AlyMac -
      Thanks fur sharin' auld pal ;-)
    1. Leo112's Avatar
      Leo112 -
      Good read, any word on what ever happened to the monster in Loch Ness.
    1. BarryDon's Avatar
      BarryDon -
      Great read. Lovely part of the world.
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