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Guest Lucas Kaelin

2013 ZBW Cross Country VFR Challenge

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Guest Lucas Kaelin

It's time for another VFR Challenge event! Those of you who are familiar with these know they are a great way to relearn some basic VFR flight skills while having a good time with fellow pilots. With the recent Overwater Challenge completed, we turn to our second Challenge for Boston Center. While this will be simpler than the special Overwater Challenge, it's by no means a piece of cake. Would you believe that Boston Center actually has terrain enough to be hazardous to aviation? Your challenge will be to navigate that terrain, and find your way among some of Boston Center's most popular resort towns. Be sure to wave at Mt Washington as you fly by, if you can see it that is!


Sun September 1st 2013, 5-8pm Eastern (Labor Day Weekend)

Boston VFR Cross Country Challenge

Difficulty: Moderate 2/4



Standard VFR Challenge Rules:

  • General aviation aircraft are preferred, and at no time may an aircraft exceed 150 KIAS.
  • Navigation is to be by pilotage and dead reckoning only. NO radio or GPS navigation is permitted.
  • All published airspace boundaries and special use airspace must be avoided unless special permission has been received from ATC.
  • Proper use of UNICOM is required for non-controlled airports. Communication with ATC is required at staffed airports.


If you'd like some advice or information about flight planning, check out the Overwater Challenge Thread. Flight plans aren't required, but it's a good way to practice doing them. Although there is some rough country out there, and visual checkpoints might not be easy to find. If you'd rather fly along enjoying the scenery, you're more than welcome to do that as well! I look forward to seeing you all there.

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Guest Lucas Kaelin

Here are some screen shots I took today while test flying the route (exceeding the planned speed limit) and ensuring our wonderful BVA Scenery Team knows what needs work prior to the event. See that nice easy to find airport that stands out from the surrounding trees? Yeah, that's not in the event list! :lol:









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Guest Lucas Kaelin

Just a bump and reminder that you can join us this Sunday afternoon 5-8pm Eastern for the event. Save your Labor Day Monday for the BBQ and beer, come have some fun in the server with your favorite GA aircraft!

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ANd a further reminder: Tomorrow, we will be releasing a scenery package to compliment this event! Select airports from the route have been updated for BVA's enjoyment. Look forward to a release in the mid afternoon!

Dan P.

PPL ASEL - High Perf & Complex Endsr.

KHVN - Tweed-New Haven/KOXC - Waterbury-Oxford

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Guest Lucas Kaelin

The scenery updates should be posted now.


Additionally in response to a couple questions about "Which aircraft is the best?" I wrote this in another thread:

Initially we attempted to restrict the VFR Challenge events to single engine piston only aircraft. This was found to be too limiting by many members who's primary instruments of flight were commercial level twin jets. Although the default Mooney is likely the best all around aircraft for such challenges, many thought the default Caravan would be a better choice. There are also many Cape Air Virtual pilots who were requesting to fly the Baron and Chancellor (C414) in the event because they were extremely familiar with the aircraft and wanted the challenge of taking them into smaller and more difficult strips than they usually flew. Hence last year we lifted the single engine piston restriction, and instead restricted indicated airspeed. This opens a wide variety of aircraft which had been requested by members, and for the places where pilots elected to do a couple of turns in the pattern added some more complexity to the events.


Additionally we found that due to the high altitudes involved in the Denver/Aspen Getaway VFR Challenge (probably the hardest VFR Challenges we have), twin and turbine aircraft made for a much greater margin of error for newer and inexperienced pilots. There have been events in that terrain with mountain passes to cross above 12,000ft, very close the the max operating altitude for a C172.


The event details do list many different aircraft of choice, and that we really do like to leave to the pilots. In recalling what has been flown in previous events, there seem to be a few different trains of thought to the pilots undertaking the challenges:

A) Some prefer the low and slow method, drawing on the STOL capabilities of the default Maule Orion (or rare Cub). The payware Carenado C185 Skywagon pack makes a great selection for this as well! (Which is of course my usual choice, N285FP)

B) When STOL isn't such a major concern, everything else that can stably cruise at 150KIAS or less becomes an option. The default Mooney Bravo and Cessna Caravan are the two most popular choices here. For payware choices any of Carnado's Bonanza aircraft work well too (F33, BE35, A36).

C) Stick with whatever aircraft you're training in for real world. There's a large number of Cessna 172's always along for the trip. They are default and payware from FlightOne or Carenado, with an odd 152 thrown in (terrain permitting).


So you can see the choice really is left up to you, there's a ton of choices depending on how you want to fly. And you certainly don't need payware to enjoy the event. There's no grading or judging, and it's not a race. We will poke fun of you if you wander into a restricted area or find the side of a mountain the hard way (Twitchy!), but that's usually only one or two pilots per event. Many pilots jump into a teamspeak server, or communicate over their own designated air-to-air frequency when not on CTAF just to enhance the experience. Usually since the cruising speeds of aircraft are so close, a group of pilots who are ready at about the same time will stick together and wait for each other at airports along the way, running and extra lap around the pattern or parking on the ground to go get a drink or make a pit stop while others catch up. These events are all about trying to learn or experience something new while having a good time. And if you've got questions feel free to ask any one you can get a hold of. Most of the controllers like the break from controlling and take part. I hear Evanet might even join us for part of the trip tomorrow too! See you on the virtual tarmac!

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Guest Lucas Kaelin

With more than 40 pilots on tonight for the Challenge it was a good turnout. Thanks to all the new former FSMP members for coming out and participating in this unique event. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did. Here's a few screen shots, feel free to comment and post your own here too!


BML-LCI, flying past Mt Washington (and struggling to maintain VFR doing so!)










LCI-RUT, I formed up on SoloWingDemon for some formation type fun










RUT-GFL, I had quite the group behind me, all those little lights behind me. Some pictures of the group who parked together at GFL












I look forward to seeing you all for the Hawaiian VFR Challenge coming up where we do a touch-and-go or full stop on every island with an airport! More details to follow for this in a new thread!

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