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What started as a local flight around my Florida home turned into a trip to Disney World and beyond. I departed Ocala in the FS9 Cessna 172, trying to orient myself to local landmarks. I followed a familiar highway south at under 2000 feet. After about 30 minutes, I thought I would head to Orlando, knowing it was vaguely east and south. I didn’t have a flight plan or waypoints, but I was going in the right direction and I was sure I could find a big city.
The monotonous green slid away below, with numerous blue lakes. Eventually I saw a blinking white light on the horizon and headed toward it. To my surprise, the beacon turned into a huge, white geodesic dome near a castle, a pointed white mountain, and a large trapezoid-shaped building. I had found Disney World!
I flew low and slow around these strange and unexpected structures, and finally landed in front of the castle. I easily taxied around trees to get a better view. While not as realistic as FS2020 must be, it was nice to know that the FS2004 coders had gone to such trouble. I took off again and flew past the Epcot dome to Orlando International.
My next flight, I decide to continue down the coast to Miami. Again, with just a vague sense of direction, I headed south and east. It was a lot farther than I had anticipated. I had been experiencing that my left wing felt heavy, causing me to keep right pressure on the yoke, and when I saw an airport near a very, very large lake in front of me, I decided to set down for the day. I had found Okeechobee.
The C172 had been sort of boring, so the next flight I decided to take the Extra 300 and maybe do some rolls along the way to Miami. My CH yoke and Logitech joystick were both plugged in, so I used the joystick to fly. The Extra is not a stable platform (on purpose), but I had a terrible time controlling it. I wound up in the lake twice.
Determined to go to Miami, I jumped into a Boeing 737, using the yoke. The active runway I spawned on was pointed north, so I had to make a right turn after take-off. (I have very little time in the FS9 737.) I was at 4500 feet before the turn was completed and had a heck of a time leveling off. Overspeed! My left wing was still heavy, causing me to use full deflection to go straight. Overspeed! I throttled back and headed for the airport in front of me. Gear down, throttle off. I landed in the grass about a mile from Palm Beach, but didn’t crash. Something was seriously wrong with my controls.
I went through the calibration process a couple of times, and the cursor refused to stay centered, drifting to the left and up. I had been getting some weird messages, such as the logbook wasn’t working correctly, or that there wasn’t enough memory to run the FS9, so I uninstalled and reinstalled the whole program. Calibration was still wacky with both controllers plugged in, but unplugging the CH yoke allowed the Logitech joystick to work properly. Dang it, I liked that yoke! It’s what made my desk look like an airplane! Oh well, I guess that the coolest airplanes don’t have yokes, anyway. At least I could still fly.

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