Oops, forgot to mark this ready after my sim yesterday.
First, an apology for all the toy flight simulator entries on here lately, and a warning that they will continue. I don't want to turn this into a video gaming blog, but as some of my former blogging time is now being taken up with practicing my professional skills, we should have predicted that some of my blogging thoughts would be turned in that direction, too. I know there are flight sim enthusiasts who read this blog and they can probably help me through my glitches.
I confess to using MSFS 2002. I own Version X but haven't taken it out of the box because my computer isn't optimized for games, so it might not be able to keep up. Remember that I am not interested in scenery graphics, audio ATC, or custom cockpits, just briefing departures and approaches and flying them to minima. In my experience it's really easy to spend more time trying to get a flight sim game to work properly than actually using it. If it's verified that all my little issues are fixed in X, I might upgrade.
Oddity #1 is that the game has only a single command for "raise gear" and "lower gear." I can't do the equivalent of reach out and put my hand on the gear lever without retracting it if it's already down. I have to place the avionics box over the on-screen gear lights, so I can't glance at them to confirm gear position. Gear down is such a separate command from gear up, and so crucial. It should never have been a single command toggle and I hope it's fixed by now.
Oddity #2 is the DME function. (For the non-pilots, DME is possibly the lamest three letter abbreviation in aviation: Distance Measuring Equipment. It's a device on the ground that talks to your onboard receiver and then tells it how many miles away from it you are.) Let's say I start up at CYHZ and tune the IHZ localizer (109.1) on NAV1 and the YHZ VOR (115.1) on NAV2. Both nav aids have a DME source, which is automatically tuned when I select the VHF frequency. The little toggle switch to select which one is displayed is not well depicted, so it's difficult to see by looking whether it is set to NAV1 or NAV2. Fortunately I know where I am, on the button of runway 14, so the one that indicates a distance of 5.2 nm is the VOR. I want to prove DUTSA, 5.2 DME straight off the departure end of 14, so I flip the switch and it shows 0.1 nm. That must be the localizer. I don't take this for granted, though, I click the audio panel button to identify it.
Morse code beeps _ . _ _ / .... / _ _.. . Wait that's something H Z but I is two dots. The something didnt' sound like two dots. I check the plate. Yup. Supposed to be two dots. I listen again and now the identifier is clearly IHZ. I must have heard wrong. take off and fly to DUTSA, then hang a left and track to the VOR, already identified before takeoff. I flip the DME source over to NAV2 also, but don't bother identifying it, because it's for information only. I'll prove station passage with the needle flip. I track outbound on the 297 radial to intercept the localizer outbound, and then put the DME source back to the localizer and ident it. The first time the identifier plays, it's clearly YHZ, then it switches to IHZ. Then it switches back. Experimentation shows that regardless of the position of the DME source selection switch, when the audio DME toggle is selected on, the idents of the two DME sources available play in alternation. I haven't confirmed that at any other airport. Maybe it's just a Halifax glitch.
If anyone cares to fire up Version X to check if this is fixed, could you also see if the Split Crow NDB (364) is in the database now? I couldn't receive it at all, removing the possibility of doing the interesting LOC/NDB approach there.
This post brought to you by another simulated ILS/DME into Halifax in the wind and fog, slightly left of the localizer all the way down, with a conservative correction that brought me onto the centreline just as the approach lights became visible.