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The Long White Cloud Tour

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

I’m back for a third time. After the success of my OZ TOUR 2006 and then my VOZ TOUR 2, Christian Stock, who heads up Red Baron Entertainment has asked me if I would like to do a promotional tour of his payware high res NZ Mesh and Topo packages. I obviously replied in the affirmative.

Unlike me last two tours, this one has nothing to do with Australia or VOZ (Apart from the fact that "Koorby", the VOZ leader, and Christian will soon be producing VOZ Pro together Wink). Instead, this one will take place “over the ditch” in my home country, New Zealand aka “The Land of the Long White Cloud” where I will fly from the far North to the deep South, traveling a distance of over 1000 miles and stopping at 24 airports.

My route is as followed:

Kerikeri -> Milford Sound
Distance: 994.8 nm
Estimated fuel burn: 97.0 gal / 582.2 pounds
Estimated time en route: 9:13
(These calculations are based upon my aircraft flying the direct route, but I will be only roughly base my tour on the GPS line. I want to explore the surrounding regions to see what this scenery has to offer)

Leg 1:
NZKK (Kerikeri), NZWR (Whangarei), NZGB (Great Barrier Island), NZUN (Pauanui Beach), NZTG (Tauranga)

Leg 2:
NZTG (Tauranga ), NZRO (Rotorua), NZAP (Taupo), NZRU (Mt Ruipahu/ Waiouru), NZPM (Palmerston North), NZMS (Masterton), NZWN (Wellington)

Leg 3:
NZWN (Wellington), NZNS (Nelson), NZKM (Karamea), NZWS (Westport), NZGM (Greymouth), NZHK (Hokitika)

Leg 4:
NZHK (Hokitika), NZTU (Timaru), NZTL (Tekapo), NZMC (Mount Cook)

Leg 5:
NZMC (Mount Cook), NZOA (Omarama), NZWF (Wanaka), NZLX (Alexandra), NZQN (Queenstown), NZMF (Milford Sound)

Once again, I will be flying a custom painted Carenado Cessna 206 Stationair which is available to download from Avsim under the filename ‘longwhitecloud.zip”

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are a few decals on the fuselage from organizations who have sponsored of my flight:

Red Baron Entertainment-
Christian Stock’s company who produce the fine scenery you I will be experiencing and sharing with you through numerous screenshots.

Forum Design-
Hinch's (C206 painter) website. He makes high quality freeware repaints, panels, paintkits and desktop backgrounds.

REAL NZ-
On my tour you will be seeing a lot of fantastic photoreal scenery which is available from REAL NZ aka Godzone. Some of the scenery are older releases and are now available as freeware.

New Zealand Flightsim Forums-
The online home of virtual aviation in New Zealand. Drop by the forums to converse about all things NZ flight simulation related.

So why am I not airborne already you ask? Well I am currently waiting for the scenery to arrive in the mail, and then as soon as I have received and installed it, I will take off right away. Until then, add this thread to your favorites, tell all your friends and get ready for a review with a difference.

Each leg I will post a detailed report of my flight, many screenshots linked via thumbnails, entwined with some of my own stories and local knowledge.

Check back soon for my first update,
Cheers!

Pro Member Captain
Canyon (NoWorries) Captain

SWWWWWEEEEEEETTTTT!

Can't wait!

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

Looking forward to another one of your travels.

Radar

Pro Member Chief Captain
Greekman72 Chief Captain

Go on Cheeky...Feed us with more from your great trip Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
pilotwannabe Chief Captain

Great news CT....can't wait Exclamation Exclamation

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

Looks like a great tour! Good luck with it Thumbs Up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
Greekman72 Chief Captain

99jolegg wrote:

Looks like a great tour! Good luck with it Thumbs Up!

Off-topic

WELCOME back Jon Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up! Very Happy

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

Greekman72 wrote:

99jolegg wrote:

Looks like a great tour! Good luck with it Thumbs Up!

Off-topic

WELCOME back Jon Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up! Very Happy

Thanks Wink

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Thanks Joelegg.

Where have you been? I have not seen you posting on the forums for a while...

Nice new sig and avatar by the way Wink

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

cheekytrolly wrote:

Thanks Joelegg.

Where have you been? I have not seen you posting on the forums for a while...

Nice new sig and avatar by the way Wink

I was in Majorca with some friends from the 4th until the 11th Wink

Pro Member Captain
Faucett Captain

Very much looking forward to it CT!!!

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

UPDATE #1

Hi again everyone,

As you may have noticed, a week has passed already with no flight time logged on the Long White Cloud tour. The reason for this is because I am still awaiting my mesh+topo package in the post from Australia (It should be here tomorrow or the next day) and as I have not installed it yet, there is no point flying over the default scenery.

Anyway, apart from that I have purchased the "REAL NZ Tauranga & Rotorua" scenic addons which will enhance the Bay of Plenty area in Leg 1 and Leg 2 for me (and you- as you will see through upcoming screenshots)

I have also decided upon a tour schedule, where I will partake in one flight leg per weekend, unlike my last two tours which I flew in straight sets of days during college holidays- I now have real life commitments which are preventing me from spending excess hours on the simulator.

Instead, this way, I will have something to look forward to at the end of each working week, and hopefully so will you when you next log on to read my report!

Until then, don't forget this page and you should hear from me at the weekend Very Happy

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

UPDATE #2

I regret to inform you all that the mesh+topo scenery has still not arrived in the mail.

I have contacted Christian who told me it should be here by now, but apparently trans-Tasman mail service is appalling slow at the moment.

I will give it a few more days wait before I make any decisions on what to do next.

Sorry for keeping you all waiting for so long- I hope you do not lose interest.

Cheers



Last edited by ceetee on Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:15 am, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Good news! The scenery parcel arrived in the post today with this stamp on it:

I have now finally installed the package and checked out the new scenery very briefly- it looks fantastic so from what I have seen!

Now I definitely will be flying leg #1 this weekend, I hope you are still looking forward to it as much as I am.

Cheers

Pro Member Captain
Canyon (NoWorries) Captain

Absolutetly! Can't wait! Cool

Pro Member First Officer
astraGTE First Officer

can't wait should be good!!

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

NZKK- NZWR- NZGB- NZUN- NZTG

After a much delayed start, I finally was able to start the first leg of The Long White Cloud tour today, flying from the 2nd most northern airport in the country, Kerikeri, down to the port city of Tauranga.

I started the sim up at about 4pm as soon as I arrived home from college, setting the time to early morning in my virtual world. After checking everything was working correctly in my custom painted Carenado C206 (screenshot 1), I started up the engine, rolled along runway 15 and was soon airborne out of Kerikeri (NZKK).

My original route led me at 125 degrees south towards Whangarei, but I was flying VFR and just couldn’t resist the temptation to explore the beautiful Bay of Islands area close by. I climbed up to 2600 feet above the little town of Paihia, a coastal resort from where many tourist cruises (both air and sea) depart from daily. I had visited in real life a few years ago, but found the default NZ scenery for the area disappointing. This time though, I found it intriguing as I followed the land up towards Cape Brett (screenshot 2), then banked right and followed the coast heading south.

Only 18 minutes had passed by the time I reached the outskirts of Whangarei although it seemed like much longer as I had been gazing at the stunning Northland scenery in spot view- that had never looked so good before. I tuned into the unmanned tower and picked runway 6 for my touch and go, then lowered my nose and flaps and pulled off a nice smooth landing.

Once again I climbed up to 2600 feet and followed the harbor coastline towards the Hauraki Gulf. I leveled off and pulled the throttle in to cruise at a speed to 125kias towards my next stop, Great Barrier Island, which was another 61 miles away.

The redbaron waterclass textures (screenshot 3) really looked very effective here but where only on show for a short while as I soon spotted Little Barrier Island out my right hand window and had to investigate further (screenshot 4). I turned to the right and spun around the perimeter of the very iconic island, then continued east bound towards “The Barrier”, which gets its name from being known as the land mass that shelters the gulf and city of Auckland from the strong pacific weather Wink

There are a few different airstrips on the 40km long island, but I decided to perform my next T&G at Claris (NZGB) and was soon on approach for runway 10 grass. Thanks to the steep surrounding hillsides, I came in a little steep and bounced along the runway rather fast, ending the 33 minute long hop from the mainland.

With no other aircraft in sight, I ascended to 2600 feet and turned to a heading of 139 degrees for my next stop, Pauanui Beach (NZUN). I was soon at the correct altitude and made my way across the Colville Channel towards the Coromandel Peninsula. My heading led me directly above the town of Whitianga, another great holiday location I have previously visited in real life.

It was only once I was overhead the township and tuning into Pauanui UNICOM that I realized that my Godzone photoreal was not visible! My error of having the mesh and photoreal installed at the wrong priorities in my fs2004 Scenery Library was a big bummer as I had been hoping to get some spectacular screenshots into NZUN, which was a runway built right across a beach town with a deep blue river next to it. Nevermind, I thought to myself, at least this way I will get to experience the new landclass and topo on my approach as I have never seen it before (screenshot 5). I have to say that the redbaron addon certainly did the original justice, and with a satisfied grin on my face, I was soon touching down on runway 23.

After rolling though the centre of town (this airport is in an usual location, search NZUN on airliners.net), I was up and away towards my last destination in this leg, Tauranga (NZTG). The city was 42 miles away down the coast, and used to be New Zealand’s largest shipping port before Auckland.

As I cruised along the seaside, the redbaron “topo” updated coastlines became really noticeable (screenshot 6). The level of detail that was now being displayed on my sim looked incredibly accurate, and I continued to marvel at it for the next 20 minutes before Mount Maunganui popped up on the horizon.

I tuned into TG tower who directed me to land on runway 7L, but I requested a change to the sealed runway 7 as I had had enough grass runway landings for one day. I was soon above the REAL NZ Tauranga photoreal textures (screenshot 7), and entered the pattern for landing.

Next, I made a fairly average landing, but overshot the taxiway towards the apron. I turned around on the grass and headed over to the fuel pumps to top up my 70% full tanks, then parked up for the weekend to end my first leg of the Long White Cloud Tour.

Thanks for reading, I’ll see you again next weekend!



Last edited by ceetee on Sun Aug 06, 2006 5:03 am, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

A very nice start! Well written with very nice shots Thumbs Up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
pilotwannabe Chief Captain

Nice report Cheeky Exclamation

...looking forward to the next installment Wink

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

NZTG- NZRO- NZAP- NZRU- NZPM- NZMS- NZWN

After a weeks worth of improving my simulator’s performance, by means of editing .cfg’s, recording scenery and installing a new graphics card, I was ready to continue my tour of New Zealand that I had been looking forward to flying all week long.

As I started up the 206 at Tauranga (NZTG), the weather looked more ‘Thick Grey Cloud-ish’ than ‘Long White Cloud-ish’, but that wasn’t going to put me off! I taxied to the grass runway 7L, and was soon up and away, banking over the city harbor as I turned to a heading of 147 degrees for my next destination, Rotorua (NZRO) which was only 27 miles away.

I had previously purchased the REAL NZ Rotorua addon which includes the city airport, the lakefront seaplane base, plus photoreal scenery for the surrounding area, which I was currently flying above. I tuned into the tour for the Bay of Plenty district’s largest town’s airport, and was cleared for a touch and go on runway 18.

I followed the coastline of the large Lake Rotorua, and was soon bouncing down onto the sealed runway next to the realistic updated airport, only 11 minutes after I had taken off. (screenshot 1).

I pulled up as the tarmac came to an end, and climbed up to 4000 feet for my next hop to Taupo (NZAP), another lakeside town, 40 miles away at a heading of 175 degrees. Instead of following my GPS route, I took advantage of my VFR flight plan and decided to take a cruise overhead the city centre (screenshot 2), which I had stayed at a few years ago on the way to the town’s famous thermal geyser park. All I can remember was that the whole town smelt like rotten eggs, even from inside the hotel but fortunately I couldn’t smell a thing from inside my plane on flightsim Wink

After reaching the photoreal boundary, I began to follow a river to the south, and soon tuned into the unmanned UNICOM frequency at Taupo airport. Recently there has been a big debate between a few pilots on TV, who think NZAP is too dangerous to fly into, with many sightseeing aircraft, parachutists aircraft, dozens of helicopters and Air New Zealand link B1900d’s all servicing the airport with no ATC to control them. However, as I made my decent, I seemed to be the only aircraft around- yet if I had landed here a week later, this would be a different story, with the GNZLAP (Great New Zealand Light AI Project) being released as freeware on August 8th.

It was great to see an actual township (not included in the default scenery) thanks to the new redbaron landclass that I am using along with their mesh and topo scenery. (screenshot 3). As I descended low over the rooftops, I couldn’t keep the aircraft straight, and after checking my fuel selector, I realized that I had to it switched to draw from the left tank rather than both at the same time, and due to that, one wing was lighter than the other causing a banking effect. I quickly radioed the UNICOM, and changed my t&g on runway 18 to a full stop landing, where I filled up my tanks to 100% again and switched the fuel selector to the centre.

After just a few minutes on the ground, I taxied back to the active runway, and took off for my next destination, Waiouru (NZRU), an airstrip that sits on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, the most recent volcano to erupt in New Zealand back in 1996.
I climbed up to 4000 feet, and pointed my nose at towards the Central Plateau mountains on the horizon, which where a good 40 miles away. As I reached the bottom of Lake Taupo, the country’s largest lake (formed from a caved in volcanic crater), I crossed over the default/photoreal scenery boundary for the Turangi area which just happens to be re-released as freeware very soon at windowlight.co.nz (screenshot 4).

At this beautiful location, I was pretty much dead in the center of the North Island, and surrounded by lots of high terrain and volcanoes. I flew off coarse again, exploring the dramatic Tongariro National Park, and climbed up to 7000 feet to get a nice view down upon Mt Tongariro and Ngauruhoe (screenshot 5).

I was now within 30nm of NZRU, but didn’t have a visual on it yet thanks to the unsettled weather, and the mighty snow capped Mount Ruapehu sitting dormant right in front of me. The volcano truly did look spectacular in all its 20m mesh detail as I passed along it’s eastern side, marveling at the very iconic landmass. I was going to try and reach the summit, but with the airstrip getting closer and closer, I ran out of time and had to make an extremely steep descent down from 8000 feet for my next touch and go landing.

With no manned ATC here either, I picked runway 13 for the t&g, which I performed via ‘spot’ view thanks to the beautiful backdrop behind me (screenshot 6), 33 minutes after leaving Taupo.

After a short roll, I pulled back on the yoke hard to avoid colliding with the low power lines, then climbed up to 5000 feet for the 55 mile hop to Palmerston North (NZPM), which after his recent visit , John Cleese said "If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick” referring to how boring he found it… and because of this, I had never seen the need to fly here virtually ever before, even though it is one of the largest settlements in the country.

Heading at 161 degrees, now clear of the Turangi photoreal area, there wasn’t any exciting scenery to enjoy, just plain green rolling hills for as far as the eye could see (screenshot 7). After 22 minutes of flight, I tuned into Palmerston tower, who directed me in for a touch and go on runway 8, leading me right above the town of Feilding (screenshot 8) and past Ohakea RNZAF base, before I turned for finals (screenshot 9) and I felt my wheels make contact with the earth once again.

A few seconds went by, and then once again I headed skywards following a departing ANZ ATR as I became airborne towards my next stop, Masterton (NZMS), only 40 miles away.

I flew the c206 by hand for 18 minutes, keeping the nose pointing at a heading of 157 degrees towards the NZMS, crossing the foothills of the Tararua Range, causing the wings to rock with turbulence.

The landing at Masterton was uneventful, and just as quickly as I had descended, I ascended again for my final hop for today’s leg, to the nations capital city, Wellington (NZWN) which was only 45 miles south from my current position.
Again, I didn’t follow my GPS route, but decided to explore a close by region just to the west, for which I had a photoreal addon installed. The redbaron landclass worked particularly well here, blending almost seamlessly in with the Godzone textures (screenshot 10) which also looked great combined with the 20m mesh (screenshot 11).

After my detour over the mountains (very small mountains might I add, nothing compared to what we will see later in the South Island), I banked right for the trip to towards the capital, and cruised along over the Hutt Valley (screenshot 12).

It is a shame that I started the tour this early, as in a few weeks time, REAL NZ are also releasing a payware photoreal scenery expansion for the whole Wellington area, which would have really been neat to include in this tour. Instead, I had the old freeware Godzone photoreal scenery installed for the area, which is made from a colorized black and white image (screenshot 13) and available on avsim.

Once over the harbor, I tuned my radio in to the final frequency for the day, and was cleared to land on runway 11. I descended smoothly, and made what I think must be the best landing I have ever done in the c206, then parked up in the empty GA apron to complete leg 2 of the Long White Cloud Tour.

I hope you have enjoyed following me down the North Island, and that you will join me once again next weekend as I venture across Cook Straight for a whole new experience!



Last edited by ceetee on Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:07 am, edited 2 times in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

CT,
I click on the screenshots and photobucket doesn't have it full size.
They may have it for you if your signed in.

Radar

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Thanks for pointing that out RM, thats really odd!

Do the normal hyperlinks work for you, or is it just the thumbnails that won't work?

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

cheekytrolly wrote:

Thanks for pointing that out RM, thats really odd!

Do the normal hyperlinks work for you, or is it just the thumbnails that won't work?

This is the first time that I couldn't see them.

Radar

Pro Member Chief Captain
Greekman72 Chief Captain

They didnt work for me too....And as i can figure out from the thumbnails i see some excellent realistic shots there... Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Whoops- I made a mistake with the URL's.

All fixed now! Enjoy Very Happy

Pro Member Chief Captain
Greekman72 Chief Captain

I knew it that there are some great shots there... Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up! Thumbs Up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

Stunning shots and great write up CT - keep up the good work Thumbs Up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
pilotwannabe Chief Captain

Excellent realistic shots and very nicely done report Thumbs Up!

Pro Member Captain
Faucett Captain

Fantastic, CT, that mesh looks just great!

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

Beautiful CT, every one works and they certainly worth looking at.
That new card of yours is magic.

Radar

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Hi All,
I am sorry to say I did not complete leg #3 today.

Last week I installed a new graphics card, which has been giving me a lot of troubles for the past few days. I thought it would have it fixed by today, but unfortunately, the situation has worsened. The quality of the virtual world that I’d be flying over is still appalling, and not at all good for snapping screenshots.

I will hopefully have fixed my graphics by next weekend, or got a new graphics card, and will be able to continue the tour.

Sorry again for the delay, I hope I still retain your interest.

Pro Member Captain
Canyon (NoWorries) Captain

Hey Cheeky, I've been really busy and somehow missed your first two legs!

It is looking like a great trip so far! My favorite is the mountain picture, the 5th shot of the 2nd leg!

You've really got a beautiful island, and you screenshots are showing it off nicely!

Looking forward to the next leg(s)!

Pro Member Captain
Faucett Captain

Good to see you haven't given up CT, best of luck. We'll be waiting!!! Smile

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Sorry to let you all down again, but my computer is still at the IT shop being fixed.

I am not too sure whose fault this is, perhaps my own for not following up advice given to me by certain people, or maybe the shop’s fault for taking what seems like a ridiculously long time to sort out a few simple problems.

Anyway, I am dieing to get back to my tour, and I promise you that as soon as possible I will be departing Wellington to continue my Long White Cloud Tour.

I apologies for prolonging the breaks in between each leg and hope that I do not loose your support.

Cheers,
Andrew

Pro Member Chief Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Chief Captain

You will always have support from us Wink -- Don't worry about the delay; we understand that there are many technical problems that could present themselves to anyone of us, so don't worry about losing your audeince -- We'll be waiting Cool

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

crosscheck9 wrote:

You will always have support from us Wink -- Don't worry about the delay; we understand that there are many technical problems that could present themselves to anyone of us, so don't worry about losing your audeince -- We'll be waiting Cool

Thumbs Up!

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Once again I am afraid I have nothing to report on.

I have my computer back, although nothing has been fixed. The IT guys say they card seems to be the problem, although the person who sold it to me assures me that it is working fine... so the only piece of advice I can share is 1) do not go to NFC Technology if you live in Auckland, and 2) Do not buy computer components from untrustworthy people you do not know and who do not offer you a guarantee.

Instead of flying my tour this weekend, I spent my time at my local airport doing a bit of planespotting. If you are interested, you can view my collection of photos here: https://forum.flyawaysimulation.com/forum/topic/20184/my-august-planespotting-photos-17-new-photos/

As for the future of the tour, well, if anyone can find another Geforce FX5600 256mb graphics card, let me know, and all will be as it was in Leg #1, if not, then I have no idea what will happen next.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Chief Captain

Sorry to hear your having trouble CT -- If its any consolation, rest assured we will still be here when your tour carries on Wink -- As far as finding another 5600, I'll look around for you Wink

Pro Member Chief Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Chief Captain

Cheeky, I found a well priced GeForce 5600 with available extended warranty if it is faulty. Shipping, however, is not included in the price. I'm not familiar with this particular cards price range, so I can't judge whether its reasonable or not, however you might want to consider it - Good Luck Wink

Pro Member Captain
Alec Stelloh (Thunderbirdman2) Captain

Kool Cool

Pro Member Chief Captain
VegasFlyer Chief Captain

Hope you fix the problem soon CT Cheers!

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

NZWN- NZNS- NZKM –NZWS- NZGM- NZHK

Well everyone, after installing yet another graphics card (this time it’s a nVidia FX5600 128m), I am pleased to announce that I am ready to continue my tour after the long delay!

After 3 weeks of no flight simulation, it felt dam good to be back in the pilots seat today, as I flew leg 3 of the Long White Cloud Tour, leaving the North Island and venturing across the Cook Straight, and down the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

I started the ignition, and was thrilled to hear the Carenado C206 engine rumble to life again after sitting dormant on the Wellington International (NZWN) GA apron for so long. I contacted ATC and requested take off from runway 34 so I could fly past the CBD and over the harbour as I departed from the nation’s capital city.

As my wheels lifted off the tarmac, a feeling of excitement returned, that I had missed greatly while not being able to run the sim. I climbed up to 3000 feet and observed the old freeware photoreal scenery that would soon be replaced by REAL NZ’s latest payware addon, and enjoyed taking in the view as I completed a 360 degree turn, flew back overhead the airport, and turned to a heading of 249 to head towards my next stop, Nelson (NZNS) which was 72 miles away.

I left landfall and ventured across the channel that splits the country in half, and which just happens to be the theme for the NZFF monthly screenshot competition. Within 10 minutes I had reached the tips of the Marlborough Sounds at the very top of the South Island, and decided to go off course a little to explore the beautiful scenic area made possible thanks to the amazing detail of Redbaron Entertainments 20m mesh package.

The path to Nelson which should have only taken me about 20 minutes lasted for another 45 minutes as I explored all the different inlets that make this region such a unique natural playground. If I had had it my way then I would have spent a lot more time here, and I am definitely going to return once I finish the tour, perhaps I’ll take a microlight up for the afternoon or something…

Anyway, as I flew within 30nm of Nelson airport, I was able to pick up ATC yet was finding it hard to navigate using VFR with the low cloud setting in hiding the hilltops of the Bryant Ranges. With my low altitude, flying into a cloud mass might have resulted in a hillside accident, so I swung around hard to the left to avoid any visual or physical obstacles, and no sooner had I passed the ridge, the township of Nelson popped up below me, and I made a smooth descent and touch and go landing.

After rolling along the A320 capable tarmac runway, I pulled up and climbed away from NZ’s “Sunshine Capital” and levelled off at 3000 feet. My next stop Karamea (NZKM), was an airport that was halfway between Nelson, and the next, next airport, Westport, and I thought I might as well visit there as I had never flown in the region ever before on flightsim.

I banked right above the town of Richmond, which looked just as good as photoreal thanks to the brilliant Redbaron landclass package, and set my heading to 252 degrees for the 50 mile trip over the Tasman Mountains. The low cloud was still hanging about, contrasting against the green foothills below and matching the c206’s paint scheme nicely.

As the slopes below me increased, I realised that I would need to climb up to at least 6000 feet to clear the terrain, as the mountain range in front of me was a lot bigger than I had anticipated. Once I reached a safe height, I looked down on the rugged land below me and was very, very impressed with how Redbaron’s Mesh and Topo packages complimented each other to create such a realistic environment.

Soon I could see the sea on the horizon and began my decent into the unmanned airfield, following the Karamea River though a gorge towards the coast. Out my window I could see a gravel runway, and lined up with the ‘19’ end to make my second t&g for the day. I could only spot three or four buildings with autogen on max, and was pleasantly surprised with the peaceful atmosphere the virtual location represented on my screen, and decided that it was definitely worth the 25 minute journey.

I climbed up to 3000 feet again after bouncing back off the ground, ready for a short stint to the town of Westport (NZWS), which was only 39 miles away at a heading of 196 degrees. Using the coastline as a guide, I followed the sea until I could make out a settlement on the shoreline, ready for another touch and go. It was only after tuning into the Unicom to announce I would be landing on runway 4, that I looked at my clock and realised that because of all the time I had spent exploring off-route, I had under estimated the amount of time needed to finish the leg, and unfortunately I had to go to work.

Planning ahead, I decided to make a full stop landing, park up and pause the sim, then finish off the leg once I returned home in the evening, 5 real world hours away…



Last edited by ceetee on Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

I made a successful full stop landing at Westport, and parked up on the grass as there were no taxiway or terminal facilities available at this small provincial airport.

I paused the sim and hurriedly changed into my work clothes and dashed off to the supermarket which I work 5 hours on Saturday afternoons, earning money towards my new system needed to run FSX Wink

When I returned, the first thing I did was get back to the computer and cranked up the engine once again, ready to complete leg 3 of my Long White Cloud tour. With over half a tank left of fuel, I taxied across the grass to runway 22, then lowered my flaps and applied full throttle, and took off towards my next destination, Greymouth (NZGM).

The small west coast town- with the rather un-exciting name- was 47 miles away, and sits, as you may have guessed, at the mouth of the River Grey. I climbed up to 3000 feet, and set autopilot on, allowing me to sit back and relax as I followed the coastline south enjoying the wonderful scenic views around me.

Within 20 minutes, it was time to descend again as the rooftops of Greymouth became visible below me, and to my surprise, the area did not look as dull as its name suggests, but rather pretty in it’s isolated surroundings.

With no manned ATC system, I was allowed to choose what runway to land at, and picked runway 19 as it made the most logical sense for my flight path. In just a few seconds, I performed a quick landing, touching down a little to far down the tarmac than I would have liked, and needed to pull up sharply in order to make it to my final destination today, Hokitika (NZHK).

Nearing the end of the leg, the coastal town of Hokitika was only 18 miles away, so I saw no need to climb up very high for the 15 minute flight. Instead, I just cruised along at 1500 feet, following state highway 6 (The entire NZ road and rail network is included as part of the Redbaron topo addon) for the next 19 miles.

I soon reached my Hokitika area photoreal scenery boundary (part of the old Godzone package), which was the reason that I had decided to include this location on my tour, and before making a full stop landing on runway 31, I explored the area around the Kokatahi River for a while.

While the photoreal was impressive, the reason I had wanted to fly over it was to see how well it merged in with the Redbaron landclass. As I predicted, the landclass was so accurately colored, that I could hardly tell there was in fact a boundary between the photo texture and updated landclass.

After a very enjoyable flight, I parked up and switched off the engines for a final time today, completing the third and most enjoyable so far, leg of the tour. I am sorry for the long delay between flights, but I hope what I have shared with you today has captured your attention again.

Thanks for reading, I must go to bed now as it is 1:08am now!



Last edited by ceetee on Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:23 am, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Chief Captain

Your on FIRE CT!! Laughing

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

NZHK- NZTU- NZTL- NZMC

To make up for the long break between Leg 2 and 3, I decided that I would spend my afternoon completing Leg 4 of the Long White Cloud tour.

Back at Hokitika (NZHK), I started up the Stationair ready to start my next flight, spanning the width of the country, leaving this small west coast town and heading across the Southern Alps mountain range to the east coast city of Timaru (NZTU), 96 miles away.

I seemed to be the only aircraft at the airdrome, and with no manned ATC system, I choose runway 2 for take off, and began my climb up to 7000 feet to clear the mountain tops in front of me.

As I ascended, I peered down at the lush green wetlands below me. This region of the west coast is famous for its large amount of rainfull, and it looked beautifully recreated in the simulator thanks to the Godzone photoreal textures I had installed.

After 10 minutes I was high enough to level off and cruise above the rocky peaks, which began to turn more and more white colored, as I flew on at 151 degrees, towards the snowcapped highlands. This time, I felt no need to go exploring off route as the mountain-scape surrounding me was absoulty stunning in every direction that I looked in. This area was definitely where the Redbaron 20m mesh really comes into it’s own, and although New Zealand has a wide range of landscapes, the central South Island is always the most extreme and most fun to fly over.

They say ‘time flies when your having fun’ and it certainly did for me, because the terrain below me started to smooth out below me, molding itself into foothills, and I began descending down to 5500 feet towards the sea on the other side of the country.

I managed to pick up NZTU on the radio once I was with 30 miles of the Richard Pearce Airport (named after a local farmer who is known to be NZ’s first man to fly, and believed to have done so before the Wright Brothers), and choose runway 18 to land on as a emerged out of the Ben McLeod Range above the Canterbury Plains.

With the sun low in the sky, I arrived over the Timaru district photoreal scenery-which is where I took the preview screenshot of ZK-RBE at the top of the page- and made my way towards the city, keeping at an altitude of 2000 feet, before passing over the airport and doing a flyby of the town.

The sky was turning a fantastic purple colour as I banked onto finals and then bounced down to a full stop landing, 1 hour and 6 minutes after departing Hokitika. I taxied to the one story terminal and filled up my 40% full tanks, which didn’t really need topping up yet, but I saw it as an excuse to visit the quaint little airfield addon, from where the South Canterbury Virtual Aero Club operate from.

No sooner than I had stopped, it was time to bring the engine to life again, and switch on the lights as I rolled across the grass to runway 11, ready to take off to Lake Tekapo (NZTL). This small airport was another custom airport built by Robin Corn (the same designer who created the NZTU and all the REAL NZ scenery), nestled in the centre of the mountains which was 25 minutes away back in the direction I had just come from. I had visited Tekapo on holiday a few years ago, and to this day, I still personally think that it is the most beautiful place on the whole of planet earth, thanks to the sheer purity and serenity of its location.

I climbed up to 6000 feet and headed at 274 degrees towards the setting sun that created a very peaceful atmosphere over the twilight landscape below.

The evening flight across the Hunter Hills may only have been a short hop, but the amazing scenery made it feel ever so realistic and I truly recommend you try taking this hop for yourselves (NZTU-NZTL) if you are using the Redbaron mesh.

In the distance, I could see mountains parting, giving way to a glacier fed lake, which I knew was my next destination. I radioed the Tekapo Unicom and announced I would be making a touch and go landing, and with no other traffic around, I descended down towards runway 18. Again, I had some photoreal scenery installed for the region which looked magnificent, even in the fading light.

After rolling along the strip for a few seconds, I accelerated skywards for the last time today, climbing up above the countries second biggest lake, which thanks to the Redbaron freeware NZ landclass and waterclass package looked just as I remember it from real life- clear and blue.

Instead of flying the standard route to my final stop for today, Mount Cook Village (NZMC), which at a straight heading of 294 was only 19 nm from Tekepo, I decided to be adventures, and headed west up the Cass Glacier, climbing up to 8000 feet to get a good view of the blissful surroundings.

Once I was high above the mountain peaks again, I spotted the countries highest peak, Mount Cook, to my right but then I had to turn away towards it’s lower slopes to make a landing on it’s the at the village settlement base. After turning back eastwards, I found a valley and descended down to 3000 feet until I had a visual on the custom built addon airport. I radioed the traffic frequency and chose to land on runway 31 which faced away from the mountain, and touched down only 21 minutes after leaving Tekapo.

I parked up at the small wooden terminal and switched off the engines, ecstatically happy with how well the flight went, and glad that the low evening sun had provided me with such a memorable flight experience for leg #4 of the Long White Cloud Tour.

Thanks for following my travels once again,
I hope you look forward to the final leg #5 next week as much as I am!

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

NZMC- NZOA- NZWF- NZLX- NZQN- NZMF

Well here we are at long last, time to complete the 5th and final leg of the Long White Cloud tour, making my way to the very final airport, Milford Sound, in the deep south of the country.

I set the time of day to dawn as I loaded up my flight at Mount Cook Village (NZMC) today. As I taxied to the runway, light snow showered down upon me, and I climbed up away from the beautiful little airport nestled right in the centre of the mountains.

Turning to a heading of 165 degrees, I followed the shoreline of Lake Pukaki eastbound, towards my next destination, Omarama (NZOA), which was still 44nm away. Just like Lake Tekapo, the glacier fed lake had a light turquoise glow to it, which contrasted brilliantly with the white snow covered mountains that where just beginning to reveal themselves in the early morning light.

I reached the end of the lake, and was flying over the town of Twizel when I picked up the Unicom for Omarama, a town I had never even heard of before this tour, but decided to visit the location as it was nearby. I choose to land on runway 27 and touched down 31 minutes after leaving Mount Cook.

Making a brief roll along the dirt strip, I pulled up again and had to climb steeply to clear the Hawkdun Range Mountains, as I turned to a heading of 222 degrees towards Wanaka (NZWF), the airport famous for hosting the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest airshow each two years. REAL NZ sell a payware addon for this airport which includes both normal airport scenery, and the ‘Warbirds over Wanaka’ airshow scenery which I am yet to buy, but after reading the recent review on AVsim, I will be sure to add it to my collection soon.

The powdery white snow on the ground below soon fazed into brown hillsides, which then in turn merged into the Godzone Wanaka photoreal addon I had installed, and it wasn’t long before I had competed the 34 mile hop, and descended over the shores of Lake Wanaka, 25 minutes late.

While I was trying to decrease my altitude, my Cessna 206 was pitching up way too much even though it was trimmed out perfectly, so I decided to make an unscheduled full stop landing on runway 11 to re-calibrate my joystick. I made an awkward touchdown, and sat parked at the side of the runway sorting my joystick settings out. I soon had everything back to normal, but was kicking myself because I didn’t have the REAL NZ package installed. What a perfect opportunity this would have been to view it!

Anyway, I taxied back to runway 11, and took off smoothly climbing up over the photoreal scenery towards my next destination, Alexandra (NZLX), which was 29 miles south east from Wanaka. If I had followed the straight GPS line, then I would have left the photoreal almost immediately, so I turned off route (not for the first time on this tour), banking north eastwards to explore the area covered by the Godzone addon I had previously mentioned.

I spent 15 minutes on my little detour, but soon arrived back at the landclass boundary and spotted a tarmac runway out of the corner of my eye. I aimed for it, and told the Unicom that I’d be making my touch and go on runway 14, then made a steep dive down from my altitude of 4000 feet to touch the tarmac at Alexandra, a town known for having some of the most varied temperatures in the country- very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter, thanks to the bowl shaped valley it sits in.

Within a few seconds, I pulled up again and began climbing up to 8500 feet, to clear “The Remarkables” that sat in front of me, blocking me off from my next destination, Queenstown (NZQN), the town nicknamed The Adventure Capital of the World, because of all the extreme sports that are based around there.

I was taking a screenshot, when all of a sudden the engine cut out, and I realized that I had hit the engine auto-shutdown key by accident. It gave me a scare, but I managed to get it going again, and continue my climb up to clear the mountain tops, and get a good clear signal from Queenstown tower, who instructed me to make my landing on runway 5.

I descended down above Lake Wakatipu, and entered the airport pattern, 30 miles after leaving Alexandra. Once again, I happened to have some brilliant freeware scenery installed for the area, which included the airport and photoreal ground textures, but didn’t have time to make a full stop landing, after loosing time from my joystick incident at Wanaka, and then my photoreal exploring detour.

After the 20 minute hop, I was cleared to land by the first ATC voice I had heard since leaving Nelson, and made a touch and go on the runway which I had visited in real life a few years ago in an Air New Zealand 737.

I had plenty of tarmac to roll along before I had to pull up again, and made the most of the Queenstown photoreal by exploring off route again, checking out the effects of turbulence generated from the brown Harris Mountains, and the view of the Shotover River, famous for it’s high adrenaline jet boat rides that I had been on when in my real life visit.

I flew back overhead the airport to begin my final hop to the 24th and final airport on my flightplan, Milford Sound (NZMF). I then ventured out across the lake again and, following it’s shoreline straight into the centre of the Fiordland region, at the very bottom left hand corner of the country.

The mountains began to get higher and whiter again, and I found myself climbing above the Fiordland National Park home to another world famous tourist hotspot, the Milford Track.

I cruised along above the peaks heading at 277 degrees for a good 30 minutes before the Tasman Sea coastline became visible on the horizon, and I descended down over Lake McKerrow to meet the country’s western coastline. The terrain here was so extreme with huge cliff faces and giant mountains as far as the eye could see that I just wanted to fly off and explore, but I was now only a few miles from the mouth of Milford Sound, and I prepared my self for a tricky approach for runway 11.

As I reached the sound, I banked sharply to make my descent through the narrow mountain pass, and was amazed by the breathtaking terrain. I passed by Lion Rock which recently claimed the lives of a plane full of sightseers when their Air Fiordland Cessna 207 crashed into it.

With full flaps, I made a pretty rough landing, and had to brake hard to come to a full stop on the short runway. I then switched to spot view as I taxied to the parking apron and was amazed at the view behind me. It was just like I remember when I visited the Sound on a coach tour from Queenstown, and I was meant to have made the return trip via light aircraft, but had to go back on the coach because of bad weather.

I parked up and switched off the engines for a final time, over 1000 kilometers from Kerikeri, where I had started from last month. It is a shame that the tour has come to an end, but still feel happy because I can’t wait to get back to exploring the wonderful scenery that Redbaron Entertainment have created for my simulator.

So to sum it all up, from what I have seen, I have been bloody impressed.

No other scenery addon I have ever reviewed creates such a realistic and dramatic environment on such a large scale, and if I had to choose only one addon I was allowed to install for fs2004, it would definitely be RBE’s mesh and topo addon. If you don’t have it already, then I highly recommend you go and buy it now. It will give you hours and hours of unique entertainment that is unparalleled in the sim world.

Thanks for following,
Comments are welcome! Very Happy

Pro Member Captain
Steve (SpiderWings) Captain

I've really enjoyed following The Long White Cloud Tour, reading your narrative and viewing the great screenshots.

I just recently completed an epic tour of my own via the flight simulator.... a trip to all the countries of the world which took several years to complete.

While I flew through New Zealand with the default FS2004 scenery, I got some feedback that some great scenery add-ons for the country were in the works. I had coupled flight sim with another hobby, Geocaching, to add a bit of direction to my journey through the various countries, logging virtual visits to at least one geocache in each.
http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?guid=6d4c5772-4f7a-41d5-bb8c-83b431fcd6cf

Now I want to revisit NZ and duplicate the flights on The Long White Cloud Tour. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

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