A trip down memory lane

I am one of those that have a well nigh faultless MSFS experience and I am really really enjoying the sim/game/whatever you wish to call it. In real life I started flying in 1973 and stopped in 1995. During that time I owned a 1969 Cessna T210H and a 1963 Beech Debonair. In those years obviously technology in aircraft was a lot different to what it is today: unless retrofitted with something newer, autopilots in aircraft of that vintage were rudimentary and essentially useless. So all my cross country flights were made based on maps, ADF and VOR: that’s it. Did instrument training and only learned NDB and VOR letdowns, not even ILS!

Fast forward to me getting MSFS late last year. Man oh man, things have certainly changed. And I must say, as an engineer, I enjoy the technological advances. But like most older people, I still hanker back to “the old days”. So yesterday i did an “old school” flight.

Using LittleNavMap, I planned a flight from Cape Town to Kimberley in South Africa as that was a route I flew several times in my younger days. I also got all the VOR and ATC frequencies out of LNM and printed out a flight plan. Once in MSFS I only selected the departure airport (Cape Town) and aircraft (Beech G36) without loading the LNM flight plan.

And then proceeded to fly the route the way I used to do:

  • Took off from Cape Town, picked up the heading as required. On the ground I had tuned the VOR and set the OBS so once in the air I flew outward on the required radial.
  • As I would have done in real life decades ago, I continuously tracked my actual position by comparing map features with what I saw on the ground. I was pretty compulsive about this in real life: at any time I could always point out one or more features on the ground and on the paper map in the aircraft and say THAT is where we are at the moment.
  • As I got further away, lost the VOR signal so I continued on the appropriate heading and continued to compare my progress on the ground to the map until I picked up the next VOR.
  • Overhead the next VOR changed heading and flew outbound.

Wash, rinse repeat until I got to Kimberley. Got clearances from the tower, joined & landed.

The beauty of it all was that this was flying over known territory for me so I could recall certain landmarks, towns etc. On top of that, I could SEE a landmark on the ground, identify it on the map and confirm my actual position, just like I used to do in real life. This I find quite amazing and something I just love.

OK, so it was not quite as rewarding and enjoyable as the real thing but it really was a very, very pleasant 3 hour trip. Loved it!


Oh, man, that was inspirational and beautifully said. It reminded me of why I spend so many hours at this hobby.
Thanks so much for sharing this!

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Thank you very much Samurai: that is very kind of you.

Meanwhile, all the “real simmers” claim to be back on P3D or X-Plane watching their “study-level” modern airliners fly themselves. :roll_eyes:


Wow, thanks for sharing that! I’ve often repeated trips I’ve done.

Great post. I too find myself flying “old school”. Loads of fun and challenging.