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Chicago: Closing the Loop

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I started this journey in Aurora, Illinois, six years ago. (See blog entry “PA32 XC: Illinois to Washington” from 6/17/2015.) I recreated my trips in a real plane from Aurora to Seattle to California to Texas, where I sold my beloved Saratoga and eventually stopped flying. When I moved to Florida, I imagined what it would be like to fly from Texas. Then, I decided to close the loop of the continental U.S. This is the final leg.

South Bend,IN-Chicago-Aurora: I spawned on the active runway in South Bend, but decided to taxi to the other runway to take off in the direction of the route. Instead of straight to Aurora, I cut across Lake Michigan, bound for Meigs Field. (The airport was closed in 2003, but it was still on my FS2004. I had flown out of there many, many times in FS98.) I turned final when I hit the shore and did a touch-n-go for old times’ sake. I could see the stadium out the left window. Then I turned to downtown and flew between skyscrapers and around the Sears/Hancock building before heading for O’Hare. I set up for a touch-n-go, then decided to buzz the tower. What fun! I was a mad man! I paused the program to savor the view from multiple angles.

Finally, I headed to Aurora. Thank goodness for the map and GPS. On the way, I even turned on my strobe lights, something I had neglected to do (like leaning the mixture or using flaps) in the sim that I always did in real life. After landing, I taxied to parking, leaned to kill the engine, and turned off the master switch. I was a little sad.

I am happy to see much of the USA I have never seen in person, and get a feel for the varied topography. I feel accomplishment in planning a flight and flying the plan, but it’s also fun to just follow the shoreline and find an airport. I am still amazed by the program, now almost 20 years old, especially because the entire world is on my computer, unconnected from the internet.

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