London Calling: BAW 218 – DEN to LHR

Well, it took me a little while to finally find some time for my next Atlantic-crossing, but yesterday I jumped on board my Triple Seven and flew that bird home from Denver to Heathrow. The very weak Jet-stream at the moment is not only giving the real airlines a difficult time. Average tailwind was 20 kts yesterday, sometimes as low as none at all. On an east-bound Transatlantic flight that is a very rare occasion. This not only increased our fuel burn, but also had an influence on our flight time.
Anyway, nothing a 777 couldn’t handle. Flight was BAW 218. In case you’re wondering about my username on here: No, Speedbird 217 is not the flight to Denver. BA has uneven numbers on their outbound flights and BAW 217 is the flight from Heathrow to Washington Dulles. The flight number to Denver is 219.

Yesterdays flight was originating in my favorite country, arriving in one of my favorite cities, on one of my favorite airlines and on my second favorite aircraft…so yes, it was a lot of fun as you can imagine!
Even though it is hard to find a good T7 for FS9. The one from PSS is relatively old and has a terrible exterior model. Especially the nose section doesn’t look like the real deal at all, the main gear is out of proportion and there are a few other things that catch the eye. If you compare the exterior to the freeware version of POSKY, the POSKY wins by far and looks really stunning. It even has a virtual cockpit, which is essential to me, but sadly the guy that created the VC decided to put stupid sun visors all over the Cockpit that can’t be removed. Also the MCP doesn’t look like the real thing (even after a Merge with the PSS Gauges and flight dynamics) and the flight model is kind of unstable in some situations. So, here comes the big advantage of the PSS: Despite the ugly exterior it has a fantastic virtual cockpit, even after all those years. If you install some replacement textures for the VC you get a great visual experience. Add a nice sound set for the real GE90 feel, the V2-Patch for fixed bugs and improved flight dynamics and Auto-flight and you get the best 777 available right now. I know, PMDG’s is around the corner, but it will only be FSX and is not available yet.
But enough about the 777 now, let’s talk about the flight, shall we?

ETD in Denver was 6:20 pm MDT. ETA in London was scheduled to be 8:51 am GMT. Now we all know that FS has problems with time zones, DST and other stuff. So if we compare the flight time, we took 17 minutes longer than scheduled and arrived at 9:08 am GMT. Pretty good, if you consider the weird winds over the Atlantic right now.
Photobucket

If we take a look at our route you might think: What the heck was this guy doing there? A flight from the heart of America to the UK usually goes over Greenland and way up north. Well, thanks to the almost non-existent tailwinds on east-bound Transatlantics these days, our routing will lead us over the very southern tip of Newfoundland. Also we will fly through US airspace almost the entire time while still in North America, instead of the more common route through Canada on normal days. Take a look at some West Coast flights to Europe lately on Flightaware.com, and you will find that this routing is not unusual at all under the current conditions. Despite the fact that on normal days we would be flying all the way up over Greenland.
In Denver it all starts at Gate A37 of Concourse A. After a short taxi to runway 34R, and waiting for some other departures to clear the runway, we will take off, follow ATC vectors for a second and then follow SID PLAINS4 to our initial way-point. On an eastern track we will pass Chicago some time into the flight, fly south of Toronto and Montreal and head out over the Atlantic Ocean over Torbay, Newfoundland. We’ll be flying on NAT T and reach Ireland south of Shannon. Over Wales we will start our descent into Heathrow, where we will land on 09L in beautiful weather with no winds and CAVOK.
Photobucket

Our ETD in Denver collides with the sunset here. I’m perfectly fine with that!
Photobucket

Those GE90 engines are just incredible. Nothing like sitting next to one on take off in the real 777.
Photobucket

The 777 is a very automated plane. It is easy to go through the preflight items, even without FS2Crew Voice support.
Photobucket

In my opinion the 777 is one of the most impressive planes. Right after the 747.
Photobucket

The push-back truck is already on its way. Soon we’re going to leave Denver.
Photobucket

Oh, I just love sunsets! Especially with the Rocky Mountains at the horizon…
Photobucket

Checking the flight controls after push-back and engine start. Aileron fully left, everything looks good!
Photobucket

And this is another great feature of the 777. It has an electronic Checklist that you can display and tick off on the lower EICAS screen.
Photobucket

A typical sunset in the western USA.
Photobucket

Planes are taking off and landing everywhere here in Denver, due to its interesting airport layout.
Photobucket

It’s almost our turn to line up. Just 2 more planes in front of us on 34R.
Photobucket

I’ll just let the picture speak for itself.
Photobucket

This Frontier Airbus is waiting in line behind us for take off. Also you can see the distinct roof construction of the Jeppesen Terminal building in the background. It’s supposed to resemble the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and is constructed with Teflon-coated fiberglass.
Photobucket

Just one more 757 in front of us.
Photobucket

And there we are, aligned and ready to go on 34R.
Photobucket

Photobucket

I really like this kind of tail shot, in case you haven’t noticed that by now…
Photobucket

The take off roll will be with the highest take off thrust available. Don’t forget, Denver is located at almost 5,500 feet ASL. Time to rotate!
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Shortly after take off, ATC sends us on a right turn.
Photobucket

The Rockies in the background, glowing in the golden light.
Photobucket

Soon it’s getting dark. Only 4,273 nm to go.
Photobucket

We’ve reached our initial cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. Later on there will be 2 step climbs to 37K and 39K feet.
Photobucket

Speedbird 218 Heavy is making its way through the dark night.
Photobucket

A few hours later the sun has come back up and we are somewhere over the Atlantic.
Photobucket

Over Ireland this Ryanair 737 joins us for a short while.
Photobucket

As you can see on the ND, the UK and all its airports is ahead. We’re already descending.
Photobucket

Somewhere over Wales.
Photobucket

These few clouds must have been lost here. Those were pretty much the only clouds we encountered during descent.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

We’re closing in on Heathrow.
Photobucket

And here we are: 09L in sight. What a beautiful day in London.
Photobucket

Gear is down and we’re having no hard time flying this approach manually.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Short final. Teminal 5 to our right.
Photobucket

As our wheels touch British ground, this long Transatlantic leg comes to an end.
Photobucket

Before we can turn onto the next taxiway, we have to wait for this BMI A330 to pass.
Photobucket

This is clearly BA turf!
Photobucket

Photobucket

The journey ends at Terminal 5C. The new T5 is used for almost all International flights operated by BAW. There are still a lot of people complaining about it, I really enjoy connecting in T5 on my flights to the USA.
Photobucket

Shutdown complete.
Photobucket

And one last tail shot with the blue sky. I just can’t help it, sorry!
Photobucket

Our work is done, now the ground crew’s starts.
Photobucket

Photobucket

There’s always some action going on in Heathrow. This Speedbird 747 just took off on runway 09R. I wonder what its destination is…
Photobucket

And what better way would there be to end this report than with a Speedbird line-up like this?
Photobucket

Thanks for reading about today’s flight. I hope you enjoyed it. I know it was a little more pictures than usual, but there were just so many nice pictures this time.

The upcoming itinerary will take us to Barcelona on BA B767, and from there we will start on a little island hopping in the Canary Islands. After that we’ll return to Amsterdam, from where we will fly on KLM B737-700 to Bergen, Norway. I’m taking this flight in 3 weeks in reality to visit some Norwegian friends, so of course I have to check it out in the sim first…

9 thoughts on “London Calling: BAW 218 – DEN to LHR

  1. Great report!

    The Canarian hopping sounds good! I presume it’s on ISLAS and Binter Canarias ATR turboprops? Also, how do you get to and from the Canaries? I presume you use Iberia, Air Europa, Spanair or Vueling down from Barcelona? And what is it to AMS, KLM or Transavia?

    Rgds,
    Sveinn

    • Thanks!
      From BCN to TFN will be on Air Europa. Then a mixture between Binter and some VFR flights, because there are only few flights to the smaller islands and I don’t wanna go back and forth all the time. The final routing will be from TFS-LPA-FUE-ACE-AMS on different 737NG operators. To AMS will be on Transavia and to Bergen and back with KLM 1185/1190, like the real flights I’m gonna be on in a few weeks.

    • Thanks Al! Exactly, it’s the PSS. With the v2 patch and some replacement VC textures it’s still a great plane. I was glad to see a new report on your blog too! Really enjoyed it. Looks like you also had a great time in the real St. Maarten…

  2. Thanks Max, we had a great time in SXM. I loved the heck out of the PSS 777 (and the 757 they did). I wonder with your computer specs why you haven’t switched over to FSX? Then again, you have FS9 looking just as good.

    • I still use their 757 in FS9. There are the CS and QW ones, but they just look nice in my opinion. Under the hood, the PSS still has it.
      Well, I tried more than once to switch to FSX. Even bought a new GPU last month. But all I get is 20-ish FPS in my NGX in default scenery; no AI traffic, no enhancements like UTX, GEX, REX etc. – no matter what. That’s why I’m still sticking with FS9. Guess my CPU is the limiting factor, but it will be some time until I upgrade.

  3. I have a simliar CPU (930 @ 3.8Ghz) and get those same frames with addon’s. Let me know if you need help tweaking it (FSX needs tweaking). I loved FS9 but FSX had so much more to offer (only due to the fact they dont make it for FS9, like the J41, Twin Otter and how well FSX does photo scenery). The final sway over the FSX was the NGX for me, after that I was not turning back.

    • Thanks for the offer Al! I’ll think of you when I’m gonna start my next attempt at FSX. You’re right, FSX has a lot to offer. I like flying low and slow, and enjoy all the autogen, water and beautiful ground textures. But for IFR it’s just not working with my rig right now… I fear that when PMDG releases the 777 the time has come for me, though. Or when Prepar3d has got their version of FSX reprogrammed to make use of more than one CPU core…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: