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New Orleans,LA - Pensacola,FL

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For this leg of the trip, I'm taking the Cessna 172, the default plane for FS9. As such, it is beautifully rendered. The high wing will make it easier to look out the windows. I spawn on Runway 35 at Louis Armstrong airport. I see what appears to be the city of New Orleans on the horizon, so I decide to take a tour downtown before heading on course. What I find is more of those strange factories(?) with tall smokestacks, and one cubic building that looks about 10 stories high. A hotel/casino, perhaps? I can't wait to compare with FS2020 when I finally give in.

I turn back toward the airport to intercept my course on the GPS, and to my surprise, realize that the GPS can be sized to cover less of the panel. Man, am I rusty! The ETA is about an hour and a half, so I realize I'm only going about 90 knots. I increase throttle to 2300 rpm, and finesse the trim control until I'm doing about 120 knots at 2000 ft., heading 080.

I have mainly been flying over water since leaving downtown, with shoreline on either side. Slowly, the land gets farther apart, until I have the continent on the left, barrier islands on the near right and below, and the Gulf on the right horizon. Suddenly, the water turns a lighter shade of blue! Another glitch, or part of the programming? As I pass over islands, I see waves breaking on the shore below me. For much of the trip, it would be impossible to glide to land in case of engine failure, (and I didn't bring flotation devices.) I did pass one island with its own airstrip and what looked like a golf course. The Cessna 172 is amazingly stable.

After I pass Mobile on the left horizon, the islands start to get closer together again. I let down to 1500 feet, and spot some hotels on the beach. Pensacola airport is ahead, but I decide to land at the Naval Air Station, hoping to see a Blue Angel. What are they going to do, arrest me? I haven't been talking to ATC at all, busting through all sorts of airspace. I head for the closest of the parallel runways, 07 Left, and perform a perfect landing. There are no military police to greet me (and no Navy jets to be seen.)

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