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gmurray56

Las Vegas Night Landing

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When I flew this leg in the real Saratoga, the lights of Las Vegas were so vast and so bright that I lost sight of the airport amidst the glow. In FS2004, the lights are not quite so bright, but Las Vegas at night is a definite must-see for any simulator fan. With the Saratoga, I felt more comfortable going over mountains, so I took a more direct route from Washington to Texas. The first leg was from Bremerton to Red Bluff, California, to Hawthorne, Nevada. This leg was from Hawthorne to North Las Vegas Airport.

I know that my arrival should be in the dark, so I set the departure time for “dusk”. I assumed I would start on the runway at Hawthorne, but the takeoff aims me right at some trees, which I barely clear. (When I went back “in the daytime” I saw that the plane was situated on a grass runway. Why?) As I climb and turn to the course of southeast, I see a large lake shimmering in the moonlight. I climb up to 11,500 feet to make sure I am well above the soon-invisible terrain. It gets dark quickly, the stars come out, and I remember to turn on the rotating beacon, the strobes, and the position lights. I crank up the rate to 8x, but there is not much to see, so I go to the map and move my position to the last mountain range before Las Vegas. When I come out of the map, I am still at 8x, and quickly get into an unusual attitude, in the dark, in the mountains. I manage to get back to normal speed, recover, and begin my descent to North Las Vegas.

The Microsoft guys did a great job! The entire view is glowing, with some iconic landmarks easily visible. I see the airport beacon right in front of me, so I descend to pattern altitude. With so many lights, it is difficult to keep sight of the runway. As I make my approach, I see the Strip to the south, so I turn to take a low-level tour through downtown. Wow! The casinos are well-lit and well-rendered, with incredible details, including volcanoes, pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, and billboards. I cruise along the west side of the spectacle, then turn left to go back north. Looking down, I realize I am over the Las Vegas airport, with miles of runways and acres of taxiways, all lit up. Airliners are moving on the ground below me. I go back up the other side of the Strip, and fly right over an exploding “volcano”. The attention to detail is incredible. I find my way back to North Las Vegas and make a decent landing.


VIRTUAL LOGBOOK:
PA32-300 N30062 (FS2004)
From: KHTH (Hawthorne, Nevada) To: KVGT (North Las Vegas)

LOGBOOK:
May 4, 1997
PA32-301 N8213Z
From: HTH (Hawthorne) To: VGT (North Las Vegas)
SEL 2.8 hrs

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