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Club Events - Western Scotland's Isles & Lochs
A fortnight's holiday visiting Islands and Lochs in a floatplane
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The CIX VFR Club
Club Events - Western Scotland's Isles & Lochs
A fortnight's holiday visiting Islands and Lochs in a floatplane Briefing by: Peter Dodds.
  Briefing Thursday 15th May 2008 to Thursday 29th May   

We are going to explore a particularly scenic part of the British Isles, even in the Flight Simulator (FS9 or FSX) default scenery.  This is the Western Isles of Scotland.  Because there is as much water as land in this region, we felt it would be fun to do so in floatplanes.  So we have created seven simple floatplane anchorages scattered around the region.  Members have 15 days to complete the tour, starting from Carlisle and ending up back at Carlisle. How we can use Carlisle in a floatplane event is explained below.

The Event Details

The floatplane anchorages are each located in natural harbours among the islands and lochs, with a good take off and landing approach available nearby.  At each anchorage you will find a windsock and shed for booking in, nearby on land.  FS9 users will also see a large red and white buoy at each achorage.  FSX users will see a green buoy at Campbeltown, and a boat anchored nearby at the other anchorages.  To add a little interest to the tour, each shed holds information which, when you have collected it all, provides the answer to a quiz question.  At the end of the event, you are encouraged to email it together with the specially designed pilots log to Richard Sinclair. This is available for download from here.

The event will be held over 15 days starting on Thursday 15th May (Carlisle Night) and returning on Thursday 29th May, which is also a Carlisle Night of course.

Scenery Scenery for FSX and for FS9 can be downloaded in advance of the event. It comprises only a few files and will install without difficulty if the instructions are followed. The links are: - Cix_Floatplanes_FSX and Cix_Floatplanes_FS9
In addition for FS9 users, Craig Workman has allowed us to use his scenery update for Campbeltown harbour. He says: "It's just a simple BGL, add it to your static scenery library scenery folder."
Start airfield and first leg  details.

We will start from Carlisle in either a landplane or an amphibian aircraft. If you choose to use a landplane, then you will need to fly first to Campbeltown aerodrome (formerly RAF Machrihanish) then take a taxi to Campbeltown to collect your floatplane which will be moored near the lifeboat Station (LB Sta on the map opposite) in the harbour.  You can then take your floatplane round the rest of the anchorages, returning to Campbeltown to collect your landplane once more for the flight back to Carlisle.

Technical Note: To go to the starting point for your floatplane, start FS and select your floatplane, then look in the UK Airports List for "Harbour" select it and click "Fly Now".  After FS has finished reloading the terrain, your aircraft should be bobbing gently up and down in the surf, pointing away from shore in Campbeltown Loch, and, if you have loaded the scenery successfully, there will be a green buoy nearby, also bobbing up and down. We recommend you then save this flight in the usual way, so that in the event of an FS crash, you will be placed back at Campbeltown.

Cambeltown chart

The Average leg length is 60 miles, the shortest is 23 miles and the longest 100 miles
Cruising at 100 knots, the complete floatplane tour will take about 4.0 hrs airborne time depending on route. Add to this the time taken to fly to and from Carlisle to Campbeltown if collecting a floatplane, or your first destination if flying an amphibian.

Routing As long as every anchorage is visited, the route is up to the flight crew.
The seven Floatplane Anchorages (in no particular order)
Anchorage Location Pilot Notes
Sound of Mull at Salen, Isle of Mull

FSX N56° 31.18' W005° 55.82'

FS9 N56° 31.47' W005° 55.70'

Main landing direction 29/11
Loch Ryan at Stranraer

FSX N54° 54.50' W005° 0.84'

FS9 N54* 54.53' W005* 0.81'

Main landing direction 18/36. watch out for the Belfast Ferry and Fast Cat
Port Ellen (Islay)

FSX N55° 37.44' W006° 10.98'

FS9 N55* 37.63' W006* 11.27'

Land into wind out in the Sound and taxi to Port Ellen harbour.
Watch out for MacBraine's Ferries
Loch Brittle (Skye)

FSX N57° 11.89' W006° 17.09'

FS9 N57* 11.75' W006* 17.31'

Main landing direction 06/24
Inveraray (Loch Fyne)

FSX N56° 14.12' W005° 4.18'

FS9 N56* 14.64' W005* 3.12'

Main landing direction 04/22
Campbeltown Harbour

FSX N55° 25.50' W005° 36.07'

FS9 N55* 25.54' W005* 36.04'

Main landing direction either 04/22 or 13/31 in Campbeltown Loch
Ullapool (Loch Broom)

FSX N57° 53.71' W005° 9.36'

FS9 N57° 53.53' W005° 9.63'

Main landing direction 14/32 MacBraine's ferries are also frequent visitors
Fuel Available only at the land airports in the region. Carlisle, North Connel (Oban), Glasgow and Prestwick. However, floatplanes can be refueled at Glenforsa, where the Club has imported a small quantity of AVGAS in 45 gallon drums for the event. You should therefore carry a barrel pump in your trip kit, and a good length of 1" hose!  Note that AVTUR is NOT available at Glenforsa.
  1. Any aircraft chosen, landplane, floatplane or amphibian or a combination, must be used for the duration of the event.
  2. The pilots log, in the form of a downloadable spreadsheet must be presented to the organisers at the end of the mission. The logsheet must show the departure and arrival times at each landing site, plus the information collected at each one, together with the answer to the question on the logsheet.
  3. At the pilot's sole discretion, floatplanes may collect a case or two of fine Malt at Islay, if they have the load capacity.
  4. The event must be flown on line, whether or not there is any ATC cover available, in a similar manner to the Farm Stripping event.
Weather ...or not Only fly if weather conditions permit. IFR is permitted, but consider how you will land on a narrow Loch surrounded by mountains in IMC!
FSInn has a "CAVOK" button. Click this, if you must, to get calm clear weather.
For SB3 users, if the weather needs to be set to CAVOK, you will need to turn off the on-line weather updates in SB3, and select calm in the FS weather options.

Flight Plan

Complete your flight plan as usual. For floatplane destinations enter the nearest land airfield in the From and To boxes and complete the details in the remarks box, adding the word Floatplane and Harbour. e.g. Floatplane: Mull Harbour to Loch Brittle Harbour
Airfield charts and information for UK are available from the AIS web site. You need to register, but it's free.
Don't forget to include information for your alternate destination, in case you need to divert.

NDB Tracking

The Instrument Flight document in the Training section of the club web site contains a section on NDBs and how to use them. If you are unsure how to track NDBs, download and have a look at this.

Radio Discipline

Take care not to let our TeamSpeak chat cut across ATC. Stop any conversation immediately the R/T comes alive, then continue if "he wasn't talking to us". This is difficult because when transmitting on TeamSpeak you can't hear the R/T. So be brief on TeamSpeak, and be aware that ATC might be trying to get through. If anyone hears an R/T message which seems to be being ignored, just say "ATC is calling G-CIXN" if you have identified the callsign, or "ATC is calling us" which is a cue for everyone to be quiet on TeamSpeak until ATC call again (which they will). Remember too that if asked to "Stand By" by ATC, you do not reply - not even "Roger", but simply wait until you are called again.
Remember also that there are several different ATC frequencies in use, and you may not be able to hear when communications are taking place. Make sure you have set and know how to use a TeamSpeak mute switch.
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