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        Mechanic's Corner

                        with Lisa


Hi Pilots!

With one exception I fly all of the aircraft in our fleet, for testing and maintenance purposes only. I am not qualified to carry passengers so I am not going to presume to offer flying tips to you experts, but there are a few quirks with our planes that you might want to know about.

FUEL COMPUTER
Our Cessna Bravo jet, the Metroliner and the 727s all have a fuel computer. You will find one of a different design in the DH6. It's handy for recording your fuel use and monitoring use rate in flight. However, the computer might fail to reset (zero itself) between flight legs. Most noticeable is that "fuel used" will be retained and added to. This is okay for those round robins with multiple destinations, but is a pain otherwise. To force the fuel computer to reset itself, simply reselect the aircraft within the Simulator.

CHRONOMETER
A few of our planes use a quartz chronometer with an elapsed time feature, which you can start, stop and reset in flight. It's only problem is that if you save a flight in progress, then bring it up again later to continue, you will find that the elapsed timer is zeroed. Sorry, there is nothing we can do about that. Pausing is okay, pause and then resume and everything's jake.

BELLANCA SCOUT
The Bellanca - it's a joy to fly and one of my favorites. It really will spin! A great cockpit view is to use the virtual cockpit. Switch to the VC view and try sliding the seat back a bunch (like 40 CTRL-ENTER's), then move it up a tad with a few SHIFT-ENTER's. The view is phenomenal, you can see and use the full panel, and all with none of this "75% reduction fishbowl" junk seen with other VC implementations. Gives a very realistic flight experience. If you did not read the designer's notes, the door opens with the standard SHIFT-E, the windows with SHIFT-E then 2, the cowl comes off with whatever key you assign to "wing fold", and the vents open and shut with the keyboard commands used to open and close cowl vents.

FAIRCHILD METROLINER
The Metroliner is another favorite, because it is so fast. The fleet guys chose this plane for that reason. With this one you can beat everyone else's turboprops hands down, and you really can get into and back out of those 2500 foot strips with it (with a light load, of course). Be aware that gear and flaps can be damaged with too much airspeed. Below 200 knots indicated is safe for extending both, above that it's chancy. And don't overspeed. Get above the candystripe and you're asking for it. At lower altitudes there's a little margin, but up high, like above FL 180, going over the limit will cause an in-flight breakup. Be aware that our Metroliner is very powerful and will easily reach such speeds, so please pay attention.

GLIDER
That ASK21 Glider is a ball to fly, fully aerobatic. Lots of Shavron customers ask for rides out of our Haines base while waiting for connections. Again, this is in the design notes, but it uses VEP (Virtual Engine Propulsion) to get airborne so you don't have to slew. Use CTRL-E to "start engines" on your invisible tow plane, add full throttle, and wait. Soon you will be airborne. When you are ready to "cut loose" shut the "engine" off (I use CTRL-SHIFT-F1, which accomplishes the same thing), and you are on your own. Spoilers can be applied all at once with the "/" key or you can partially deploy by dragging the blue knob in the cockpit. There are no flaps - whatever key or stick button you use for flaps will open the canopies. When you land, please hold the wings level as you slow to stop. I hate those fiberglass repairs.

OTHERS
The Beaver is a throwback. We have not modernized the photoreal panel. Sorry, no Beaver ILS. The flaps are very draggy and you can make what looks to be an impossible landing hits with the thing. Again, watch for damage. Lower flaps above 120 indicated and they're gone. Also DO NOT press the "G" key! For some reason, this model has a retractable gear feature enabled, which does not exist in reality. "Retract" the gear and land, you'll crash. Sorry, nothing I can do about that.

The DH6's, both floats and wheeled, are tremendous designs. They are full featured, need nothing. Needless to say, landing and takeoff performance varies dramatically based on load.

The DC-3 is standard FS issue, so you know all about that one.

The 727s (freight and passenger) have similar panels but that is where the similarity ends. They have different engine types and therefore different capabilities. They have much the same capacities (load and fuel), but they have many subtle differences in handling and fuel use. You'll see.

The DC-10. I don't touch it. That one is maintained, for now, by FedEX mechanics as part of our purchase contract. The designers at SGA say it's as close to real as you can get in Flight Simulator, so you can give yourself a truly realistic "heavy" experience with this one. Let me know how you like it, I'll stay here thank you. Those things are out of my league.

Enjoy the planes, and please don't break anything. I have a social life too, you know.

Your suggestions are very welcome.

Lisa Rogers
Chief Mechanic, Shavron

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