Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ok, let's get a little creative

My son, 11, is a Microsoft Flight Simulator fan. He's quite good at it and probably has more flight hours on the simulator than I do in real airplanes.

This morning, we heard the roar and ran out of the house to see two Marine Corps harrier jets taking off from nearby Los Alamitos streak by at about 1,000 feet.

About 15 minutes later, I heard the computer voice of the flight simulator air traffic controller clearing an airplane for take off.

"What are you flying?", I asked.

"Harrier.." he answered. "...Yuma to Los Alamitos."

As I watched over his shoulder, he climbed to his assigned altitude of 10,000 feet and clicked his GPS IFR course to fly over the Salton Sea, where we camped last year, and the route of our drive home through Palm Springs and the Banning Pass.

With Mount San Jacinto on the left and San Gorgonio on the right, he called to the controller to request the visual approach to land on runway 22 left at Los Alamitos.

The controller gave him the visual approach to runway 22 left, (landing to the west), but ended with "Circle to land runway 4 right" (landing on the same runway, but to the east).

Not satisfied with this, the pilot again requested runway 22. Again the controller answered runway 4.

"Ok, let's get a little creative", he said, and ... get this.... clicked the airport icon... and changed the weather so that the wind was 10 knots from the west (airplanes land into the wind).

Now, he radioed for runway 22... and got it.

The point to me was that I didn't think of the alternative. I didn't consider the flexibility of the program, but my 11 year old did. I was thinking a little behind the technology. I am going to have to do better in the future.