Article by Bruce Irving.
After looking through some of my old book reviews on Peteís website, I started thinking about ?Flight of Passage?, the story of the Buck brothers, Kern (17) and Rinker (15) flying their familyís Piper Cub from New Jersey to California in 1966.
Itís one of my favorite books, made even more special by the fact that a much older Kern became my flight instructor for a while in 1999 after I happened to meet him in a Jiffy Lube in Milford, Massachusetts.
Since Iíve started playing the new Microsoft Flight Simulator with its amazingly accurate depiction of the whole world, Iíve been thinking about using it to virtually explore some of the places I have flown or traveled to IRL.
Route taken in the book "Flight of Passage".
Of course that includes my local area where I did most of my flight instruction, as well as areas where I took a few lessons like Chino, CA and Augsburg, Germany. I can also simulate flights where I was not the pilot. Iíve already done some test flights around the Big Island of Hawaii (helicopters in 2014) and Sweden (balloon flight in 2014). A seaplane flight in Seattle might be fun too (Betty and I flew one there in 2009, a Beaver on floats on Lake Washington).
I might even simulate other peopleís flights, and maybe Kernís and ďRinkyísĒ 6-day June 1966 cross-country jaunt would be a good one to try, whether in a Cub or perhaps something a little more modern and capable. In fact there is no real need to fly the same aircraft on every flight leg. Itís a sim!
Itís also an excuse to read the book for probably the third or fourth time while exploring some of the places they explored back in the day.
They flew low and slow and landed at a lot of tiny airports. Some are probably gone but there are others. I already checked on their departure airport, Somerset Airport (KSMQ) in Bedminster, NJ... it still exists but it is severely limited by frequent TFRís because it is less than 3 miles from Trumpís golf course where he spends many weekends.
On their first day the boys ran into bad weather in eastern Pennsylvania and ended up ďscud runningĒ at dangerously low altitudes to avoid clouds (the Cub had only the most basic of instruments, not even an attitude indicator or a radio).
They made it past Harrisburg to Carlisle, PA (N94) where they waited out the storm before continuing across Pennsylvania and Ohio to their first overnight in Richmond, Indiana (KRID is actually next to the tiny town of Boston, IN). Very cool stories.
Would I simulate their weather or just take what MSFS gives me based on the real world? Dunno yet. Itís just an idea but I like it. I could take pictures.