• Hopping Round The World Adventure

    David Dossiere's

    Hopping Round the World Adventure

    There is something about going around the world. The frenzy started centuries ago when sailors left to the west from Europe, to find the east. Ferdinand Magellan was the first to succeed in circumnavigating the world by sailboat in 1519. The journey took three years. Jules Verne sent Phileas Fogg to do it in 80 days in the famous book. And Steve Fosset did it alone, non-stop, in an aircraft just a couple of months ago. And you can do it too. Just book some airline tickets, and off you go. If you want to do it at home and more cheaply, better fire up Flight Simulator now!

    In fact, there are plenty of simmers who started out on their own route, and many probably succeeded. Others (like me, I must confess) repeatedly started but never finished. And there are those who made their entire route available to others. This did also David Dossiere in his already famous Hopping Round the World Adventure. And this is the subject of today's review.

    Introduction

    The Hopping Round the World Adventure (HRW) is actually not a name that properly reflects the contents. It is not an adventure, and it is much more than going around the world. If you want to go around the world, go to near the North pole and fly a quick round around it. It shouldn't take you more than a couple of minutes if you ignore your preflight checks. HRW is much more of a world tour in the sense that it will bring you to an amazing number of countries and places. On the route map (below) it looks like a giant detour to get around. You can keep track of where David himself currently is on the HRW website here.

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    ***************************** The HRW route from origin on the Falklands up to package 77 in Alaska. David is almost there…

    Package description

    Now why did I say this not an adventure? Because it is not an adventure in the classical sense of a scripted flight with pre-recorded ATC as you may see in FS2004. Instead, HRW is a collection of flight plans, provided as situations with associated flight plans and weather files that, if flown sequentially, will bring you to almost every corner of the world.

    It is in fact a dynamic collection. It has not been completed yet, but you can already start. As you can see on the map above, David is now in Alaska and still plotting his final flights.

    The HRW is available as a number of packages numbered 1 to approximately 80-90 (we'll have to find out…), each with a dozen flights to load. The more recent packages have converged to the convenient number of ten flights each. Installing is relatively easy. No installer, but you just manually move the flight plans to a subfolder under 'My document', and the flight files and weather files to a folder called 'HRW' under fs9/flights. Starting from package 23 there is also a readme.doc file that lists all the flights for that package. It will look like this:

    Leg

    Destination

    Date

    Local Time

    Equip

    Distance (nm)

    Cruise Altitude

    Location

    757

    RKPS - RKJK

    1/10/2005

    9:00 AM

    Boeing 737-400

    86

    18000

    Korea

    758

    RKJK - RKTP

    1/12/2005

    6:00 AM

    King Air 350

    49

    1000

    Korea

    759

    RKTP - RKSS

    1/14/2005

    1:00 PM

    SGA Boeing 732

    53

    17000

    Korea

    Each package is between 2 and 3 Mb as a download. So the total of 77 flights so far will require up to 300 Mb, so that's a fairly large package! The total number of downloads in total runs in the 6 digit numbers.

    Once installed, you can easily load your flight from within FS2004. It will place you on your departure airfield with the appropriate aircraft and the flight plan loaded. Now the oldest packages use mostly default aircraft, but as you progress more and more freeware add-on aircraft are being used. As a small comment, from the documentation it is not always fully clear which aircraft is to be used. This means that when you load the flight you may get an error because FS2004 cannot find the aircraft. It will keep your present aircraft and you can then change it. You can of course also decide to use another aircraft of your liking altogether. To date, David has used and suggested 68 different aircraft. Most of them are available in the FlightSim.Com library. There is no specification of the preferred livery so I usually tried to find one that matched the area of the flight to be done.

    At this point it would be good to check your flight plan. All flight plans provided are initially IFR Direct. This means you'll have the shortest flight time, but not necessarily the best sightseeing route. If you're a realism fan it may also be a non-realistic or even prohibited route. So, you may want to change it into an airway, VOR-to-VOR or even VFR route. Feel free to use your own favorite flight planner tool.

    David also set up the aircraft with appropriate loading of passenger, cargo and fuel. You'll have to watch these before you go or you may be in for a surprise.

    As to the weather, the flight loads with initial weather and is set to online download from within FS2004. However, David's intention was to reload the weather for his original flight date, so that everyone has the same weather experience. However, FS2004 presumably does not take the date into account and loads the current weather. Alternatively, you may define your own weather or use an add-on weather program.

    From there you're on your own. Remember to keep track of which flight you have completed as the last. If it takes you a while to get to next flight, you don't want to browse through you logbook first (or what to think if you don't use the logbook…). You may also want to enlist yourself in the official HRW roster, but it doesn't keep track of where everyone currently is (which would be not so easy to achieve I guess unless everyone would be online). I was enlisted as pilot #114. You can see the roster at the HRW site here.

    *After installing….what's next?

    Well, for the next year or two, fly the flights! Let's assume that there may be around 900 flights in the package when it's done. If you do on average a flight per day it will take you a little over two years. So it's a huge undertaking! You may be able to do two flights in one go, because the flight time per leg is not that high. David kept the flight time down to around one hour each. I easily managed to do two flights in one evening after work, but not every day. In the scheme below you can see that almost 90% of the flights is under 300 nm when you take a more or less direct route.

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    Because the HRW series ends at another airfield than it begins, it is not advisable to start somewhere else than at the first flight. Note that this first flight is oddly numbered as flight 0010 (package 001). The first flight begins at a small airport on the Falklands Islands, off the Argentinean coast. In the Beech King Air you'll make a short hop to the main airport, and then on the Argentinean mainland. Then it's going to go zigzagging across South America through Argentine, Chile, Brazil and upwards to North America. From there to you'll spend time crossing into and out of Europe, Asia and Africa. Then via an Australian visit you're back in North America. If you fly several flights in rapid succession you will note that they are actually time-connected. If you leave at, say, 06:00 for a one hour flight, you'll find that your next flight is scheduled for departure at around 08:00.

    One more thing on flight times. You could perform each flight with 'full protocol' for maximum realism. By this I mean include extensive pre-flight planning with weather and alternates, finding charts and maps, planning fuel reserves, doing all checklists and stuff. But this means that for each flight of around one hour, you'll spend at least the same amount of time on the ground. So the full package will take you much longer to complete.

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    Arriving at Mt. Pleasant after the very first leg. One down, couple of hundred to go.

    Ready to go for yet another one. Preparing the Learjet for departure.

    Cruising South America.

    Also note that this package will bring you to remote corners of the world. Even with my installed near-global enhanced terrain mesh and AI traffic add-on, some parts are desolated and visually unimpressive. Some areas also lack navaids, so you'd have to do a direct-to flight. It may really feel as if you're back to an older FS version from time to time. You can of course browse the FlightSim.Com file section for local scenery. But again, be aware of the time needed to complete the package.

    The tour will also bring you across some of the greatest features on Earth, the absolute 'must-see' places. Prepare to soar over the great Mountains Fuji, Everest and Kilimanjaro, over the vastness of Siberia, the Gobi desert and the Australian outback. You'll fly into the great cities of New York, Rome and Rio de Janeiro. I could go on to name at least one must-see per flight. But I'll leave that up to you. I often found myself running for my Atlas in mid-flight to better understand what I was seeing.

    Impressions

    I will relay to you some more experiences of David's route, taken from random packages.

    On leg 160 (package 15) from Portland to Seattle, David suggests to use a DC-8. One of the nice things of following David's schedule is that you'll get to set your hands on many different aircraft. This way you'll keep busy. In fact, I had never yet before flown a DC-8 in FS2004, and a DC-8 is not really the easiest of aircraft. The hop to Seattle is a short one, but also very interesting and again well-chosen. You'll pass by Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier. Incidentally, I suffered a full electrical failure shortly after take-off and had to complete the flight without instruments and radio. It also left the gear half-exposed. Nice* :-|

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    Ready to taxi. Cumulonimbus clouds with lightning are building in the east.

    Passing Mount St. Helens with partly exposed undercarriage.

    Final approach into Seattle. Upon touchdown the gear miraculously lowered…

    Next one to tease you with is particular one: a 67 nm hop in an Airbus 310 from Miri to Brunei in Malaysia. It's leg 684 in package number 67. I used an add-on program to recreate David's weather on the original date of August 31, 2004. This caused the flight to be considerably longer because of the wind direction. Low clouds didn't present a problem on the ILS equipped destination airport.

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    Ready for a short hop. Reduce on fuel loaded to leave the runway in time, and ease your landing.

    ATC is moving me around the place.

    Brunei final at last.

    Besides those heavies and major airports, you'll get to fly other aircraft and into smaller airfields. Amphibians, Concorde, helicopters and fighters are all part of it. Then there is rain and shine, clouds and clear skies, mountains and deserts. Till death do us part. Amen, and off you go.

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    Now this looks odd. A highway airfield with an overloaded jumbo on it.

    Leaving Tokyo Narita in a Beech Baron.

    Not the best weather to take a Cub to the skies.

    HRW - The Future

    On the future, there's two things to say.

    First, the near future will see David complete his world tour. With an amazing number of flight miles (>140,000) and take-offs and landings (> 750) he surely is an experienced pilot by now. He will work his way towards the final destination airport. As an ultimate tribute to MSFS, this will be nothing else than bringing a good old Cessna into…Meigs Field, Chicago! For those of you who don't know, Meigs Field was a nice little airport on a peninsula off the Chicago coast into lake Michigan. The airport was closed overnight a couple of years ago when there were still plenty of aircraft parked there. Meigs also was the startup airfield of MS Flight Simulator for many versions and years, so many FS pilots have made their first flight as a short circuit in a Cessna right there. What an excellent choice to end HRW right there!

    The more distant future will see the appearance of a sequel, called 'How I Fly'. This will really be a lot like a tutorial or flight school. Furthermore, HRW will go to online ATC with one of the major networks. The future of HRW will depend heavily on broadband and advances in PC hardware. It will include real video footage, new aircraft and extreme twists to challenge you. David has got his ideas well underway for this sequel. Keep a watch on his website.

    Final thoughts

    I must be honest with you. I did not complete HRW before writing this review. Not even nearly so, I'm still in the America's and did some fast-forward from there. But I feel that I have got a decent feel of it.

    All in all, the package is impressive. Not because of technical achievement, superb modeling or painstaking detail. The power is in simplicity. The fact that this is not a full adventure, but really not more than 'a list of flights' allows you total freedom. Choose your own aircraft, weather, flight route, procedures etcetera. So the weakness of the package is really also its strength. The power is the ease with which to follow a creatively laid-out route. I have never completed a round-the-world tour in FS. But this time I'm more confident than ever that I'll make it. One day….

    The true congratulations go to those ladies and gentlemen who complete this trip. And David's going to be first…

    As a final note: if you consider HRW as a list of legs, it has immediately become compatible with both previous and future versions of FS, as well as other flight simulators. The only issue is that you might not be able to use the pre-made flights.

    Happy landings!

    Eric van der Veen

    [email protected]

    • Download the packages here.
    • Go to the HRW homepage here.
    • Some sites of other round the world tours are here, here and here.

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