We populated our respective gates at KMCO, Airside 3, and after being convinced to ditch the automated checklists with the F/O with the Aerosoft Airbus series, I quickly downloaded an Airbus checklist and started to prep for the flight. Now granted, I also own the BlackBox Widebody Airbus series which has provided the opportunity to fly the larger variants without an automated F/O. Having said that, I believe Aerosoft did a great job adding a virtual F/O that assists with operating the aircraft and working through the checklists during the flight. It adds to the realism and provides some much needed help in a busy, terminal environment. I'm also a big fan of FS2Crew with some of my other add-ons and again, it brings realism to the flight deck.
The cockpit preparation was completed and the virtual bags and passengers began to show up for the ride which would take place on an Airbus A321. American Airlines (AAL) 54 was my call sign for the flight and today's flight would have 170 virtual souls on board. The VATSIM network was beginning to pick up with on-line controllers and a quick call from each of us to Jacksonville Center had our IFR clearances obtained. The flight plans were entered into our respective FMC's/MCDU's and we would be departing 18L via the MCCOY 1 with the Savannah (SVH) transition to the north. I entered the necessary data into my Airbus take-off performance calculator which calculated the Vspeeds along with an engine flex temperature. Before long, the passengers and bags were on board, the doors were locked, and the jetway was retracting from the side door. A call to the ground crew via the intercom began preparations for push-back as the APU came to life. I slowly pushed back from gate 55 as Mr. Graham began his push from gate 57. Engine # 2 and # 1 were respectively started and came to life as the push back truck slowed to a stop on the center line, completing the push back. Danish and Mr. James also began to push back from their respective gates and final preparations and taxi checklists were completed.
A conga line was quickly formed as each of us exited Airside 3 and made our way down taxiway C to holding point B1 for 18L. Danish was the first to line up and depart 18L and the surrounding skies were covered in beautiful "cloudai" which allowed for some great screenshots during the departure. The MCCOY1 departure would be a well choreographed departure handled by Mr. Jacksonville Center. Another kudos to the controllers in the VATSIM world and the controller for Jacksonville Center did a great job handling inbound flights, outbound flights, departures, landings, clearances...all while keeping things in order.
I was # 4 in the departure order and soon we were each climbing to our respective cruise altitudes while being provided headings and "direct to" waypoints to continue the MCCOY1 departure to the north. The climbout was fairly uneventful and this flight provided some beautiful visuals along the eastern coast, thanks to Orbx's Vector + the North America openLC. As I reached my cruise altitude, we settled into an organized track and we transitioned to Atlanta Center and as luck would have it, it is was time to start changing cruise speeds for spacing. After a short time at Mach .74, the spacing was properly established and I was back to Mach .78 which kept me far enough behind Mr. Graham but also allowed me to keep a visual with his contrails.
|The view from Mr. Graham's flight deck (openLC lighting activated)|