In response to the recent email regarding the new extreme airports tour, I find myself compelled to make a few points.
"- Use the aircraft listed in the table or an approved substitute as listed."
This appears problematic for the leg departing Toncontin Intl Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras destined for St Maarten. I get that the 747-400 arrival to TNCM would most definitely fit the picture ridden internet of the KLM 747 landing just a few feet above the beach at Princess Juliana Airport but, was their consideration for the complexity of operating an aircraft that is otherwise prohibited from opearting from MHTG? I'm assuming the recent reminder email was to ensure a realistic experience is achieved in performing flight operations at these unique and challenging airports. Pilots should also be reminded that although on ideal conditions the 747 can depart MHTG with many restrictions on fuel and payload. It would be a shame to always fly commercial airliners completely empty - pointless (may as well fly the Learjet). Perhaps these charts will assist pilots in making this leg a more enjoyable and authentic (although would not be authorized IRW).
NOTE: It's great the 747 is not used for arrival to MHTG. Boeing charts clearly show if the runway is wet, an empty 747-400 with anything greater than 15,000 lbs of fuel would not have the stopping capability on 6,600 feet of runway (based on 50' AGL at threshold)... Edit of note: I realize that the runway is 7000 feet for departures so my above calculations could possibly allow for an additional 15,000 lbs of fuel and/or payload.
"- If you are completing part 1 in 2 or 3 days you are you are not flying with the full intent of the tour."
Could you eleborate? Many of the legs are extremely short and if using the correct aircraft, most legs are relatively simple. For those of us who are veteran simmers (since 199 like myself, I have flown to every single (and several more could be added) airport in both tours multiple times in many challenging scenarios (poor weather, heavy aircraft) pushing the limits of what is permissible for each of these airports. If I had a few days off with no disruptions I'm certain I can finish both tours inside a week. I know some of our fellow pilots are retired and have plenty of time ( especially to average 300+ hours a month) to complete these relatively short flights.
Perhaps more focus should be in commenting on some of the unlikely flights. I've tried Majestic Softwards Dash 8 300 with no passengers and minimum operating fuel, zero wind and clear skies to land successfully at TNCS Saba Island (done it hundreds of times in a Twin Otter) however, even at vREF hitting the end of the runway was unable to stop until I added at 17 knot headwind on landing. I love a challenge (the beauty of simming) but, if the objective of this tour was to make a realistic challenging enjoyable experience, I think the equipment restrictions should be enforced more strigently and possibly indicate that the nature of this tour will require pilots to meet higher caliber performance (ie. less than 450 fpm landing rate). This is after all, extreme airports tour - not break all safety protocols, be a hero and fly outside the envelope tour.
"- If you are an experienced pilot and not finding this difficult then you are not doing it right."
I can appreciate the suggestion of this comment however, I can't help but find it a little insulting. Naturally, nothing available on PC representing flight simulation can give a true experience to extreme airport operations (as testified by one of eight pilots certified to operate from Paro Airport (VQPR) for Bhutan Airlines after trying XP11's Paro Experience). However, as I have participated in a recent VATSIM fly-in to VQPR and watched several broadcasts of many experienced simmers of this fly-in online, I can assure you many of us experienced pilots are likely "doing it right". Flight Sim is not without it's glitches and compromises to realism. I continually suffer with activesky's bug of upper wind glitches causing an otherwise smooth long haul cruise into a manual control sweat session until the glitch ends and the winds return to normal. The most recent was a descent to Quito airport in Ecuador.
I love my FlyVirtual group. I love my aviator freedom. I still maximize my realism settings and spend hours for preparation of hundreds of FVN flights per year. I am very excited to power through these extreme airports and post many screenshots of some of my favorites. I apologize for the rant. I'm just a golf pro that should have been a pilot.
BTW if you want a real challenge, fly to my hometown CYCG Castlegar in a medium turboprop and set your weather to 2 miles and a ceiling of 2,800 feet (4500 ASL). Those are the minimums for the RNAV circle to land approach (only available now) with mountains within 3 miles or less in all four quandrants.
Even the RNAV to 18 or 36 at Quito's new SEQM airport is great fun in a jetliner (which I just flew).
HAPPY LANDINGS ALL!