Flight Simulator Adventures
published by Compute!
Ever wanted to know what all the geographic
features are you see in Sublogic's excellent Flight Simulator II
(FS2)? Ever wondered just how many things there are you haven't
seen? Ever wondered what you can do with the program now you've
mastered the basic flying skills? Well, wonder no more, as this
unique book will help in all of those areas.
Author Charles Gulick is obviously not the average
sort of FS2 nut. His enthusiasm goes much further than that. Not
only has he created 40 FS2 adventures for you to fly, he's added
interest in the form of fictional situations, and historical or
geographic facts to make the scenarios more realistic and
The style of the book, too, is unique. It's
designed to act as the "voice" of your flight instructor.
The book's written as if Charles Gulick is sitting next to you in
the aircraft, telling you what to do and what to look out for.
It begins with a general introduction, which you
must read first, as it covers the setting up of adventures, general
hints on flying them, and explanations of the symbols found against
the text in the scenario. Note that you're expected to know how to
handle the aircraft's controls, including radio navigation aids, so
complete beginners with FS2 may have trouble with some of the
adventures. A few, however, require little action from the FS2
pilot, and are suitable for those with little experience. It would
have been helpful if the author had marked each adventure with some
sort of difficulty level, showing which are suitable for beginners,
and so on.
Each adventure is structured in the same way. The
first page shows a screen shot from the adventure, and a list of the
parameters you need to key into FS2 in Edit mode to set up the
adventure. For example, aircraft position, altitude, airspeed,
weather conditions, and so on.
Following pages contain the text of the adventure.
A brief introduction is given, followed by numerous paragraphs
describing the actions you should take, things to look out for, and
when you should take over control. Each paragraph has a large symbol
printed against it to show at a glance what the paragraph is about.
This is useful, as you can quickly determine where you're required
to take specific actions without reading all of the text.
Let's have a quick look at some of the adventures, so you can get
the feel of what the book's about. Each adventure has a title, and
this is the title used in the descriptions below.
To Breathe Free: This flight takes us from
New York's La Guardia airport, over New York City passing between
the Empire State Building and the World Trade Centre towers. Then we
cross the Hudson River into New Jersey and turn and fly back for a
low pass over the Statue of Liberty before heading back up the East
River for a landing at La Guardia. As well as pointing out the not
so obvious features of the scenery, such as Flushing Bay, Whitestone
Bridge and Throg's Neck Bridge, the author also points out features
not seen in the FS2 graphics, for example the Palisades - the
beautiful steep cliffs on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.
A Game Of Bridge: This adventure starts off
in flight rather than on the ground. The flight parameters have you
at the right height, airspeed and heading to permit you to fly under
the Manhattan Bridge, over New York City's East River. In fact, the
parameters given are not quite correct. I found I had to reduce the
throttle setting slightly to prevent the aircraft climbing slowly
and flying over the bridge instead of under it. After
a few passes to get the feel of things, you can take over the
controls and fly the adventure yourself.
Goldilocks: This is a mercy mission from El
Monte airport in Southern California to Catalina Island in near
impossible weather conditions. You are delivering special medical
supplies to save the life of a little girl who's been bitten by a
rare Pacific bug. Your radar is out of action and you can't see the
airfield because of fog. Any safe landing on Catalina Island is an
acceptable conclusion to this adventure.
Threading the Needle: This adventure has
you starting on the ground at Renton Municipal airport in Seattle. I
found the starting point a little confusing as the radar shows you
to be in the middle of a city, and the view through the window is a
white dashed line against a black background. However, once you
orientate yourself and take off, all is well. The flight takes you
to the Space Needle in Seattle. This is a building left over from
the 1962 World Fair. On the way, the author points out the main
landmarks. These include the snow capped Mt. Ranier, Lakes
Washington and Sammamish, Mercer Island, and two major roads in the
area - Interstate 405 and 90.
Another adventure later in the book has you making
precision turns around the Space Needle, while watching it from a
view through the side window of your aircraft. As an extra, I
discovered you can fly through the restaurant at the top of the
tower without coming to any harm! This takes very precise control of
altitude to get just right, though.
These are just a few of the 40 adventures provided
by this book. Some are short, lasting only a few minutes. Others are
very long, up to about two hours. Some put you in emergency
situations, like engine failure 10,000 feet above Seattle. Others
explore strange phenomena (bugs?) of FS2, like the strange
happenings at the summit of Mt. Ranier. I won't spoil things by
telling you what happens. Yet others test your piloting skill, such
as a night landing at Los Angeles International Airport, and a night
landing at Meigs Field, Chicago with a 90 degree crosswind.
If you're an ardent FS2 fan like me, you'll find
all the adventures interesting, some intensely so. I did find
several features described not present in the Atari version, for
example the UFO in the Pyramid Power adventure only appears in the
IBM PC version. However, the Atari version has something a little
more subtle to baffle you - it's not mentioned in the book. I'll
leave you to find it for yourself. Also, the moonlit runways are not
present, and the Atari version doesn't have wind turbulence
implemented, which could have added a little extra interest to a
couple of the adventures.
This book should be available from your local
Atari retailer - try them first. Alternatively copies can be
obtained from PAGE 6 at £9.95. Subscribers will find details
enclosed with this issue.