Balkan Bush trip: How to make it more of a challenge

I found it a bit weird that the Balkan bush trip is actually with a G1000 and the flight route programmed in it and also shown on the VFR map. Since probably many users are quite new to the G1000 (like me!) here’s how you can get rid of those navigational aids.

Yes I know you could simply “not look at it”, but it doesn’t really feel like an achievement if all aid is just a blink of an eye away.

1) Switch off right display with map
Look at pilots side for the avionics bus switch. WHITE switch between the red battery master switch and the G1000 display. Find that this switch actually consists of 2 separate switches and turn off Avionics Bus 2.

2) Delete Flight Plan
On the right side of the G1000, press FPL, then MENU. Cursor should already be at “Delete Flight Plan”, if not then play around with the FMS knob (lower right corner) until cursor is at the right location. Press ENT to delete Flight Plan.

3) Map on main display
If you’re still annoyed by the map that now appears on the lower right side of the G1000, press INSET and OFF from the bottom line of buttons on the G1000. Or, play around with the RANGE knob (right side, middle) to set the map to maximum zoom-in.

Additional notes:
Remember to map a button (Esc → Controls) to “Repair and Refuel” as the airport fuel pumps seem to be out of service.

Flights save automatically if you exit at any point, even in mid-flight. But when loading again, I had it several times that the navlog was broken. Best to save a screen shot when you start your flight.
On the top right corner of the navlog window, you can detach the window (little rectangle with arrow, between the plus/minus and the X symbol) and then make it full size and take a nice screen shot.

A leg ends automatically once you are stationary on the airport. On some airfields, this means ON the runway. If you are at parking and the leg doesn’t end, taxi back to runway and stop there. No need to switch off or set parking brake to trigger the end of the leg.

Are you annoyed that it resets the time of day when starting a leg? Go to C:\Users<YourUserName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft Flight Simulator\MISSIONS\ACTIVITIES\BALKANS_SAVE\ and there open the LAST of the numbered BALKANS_SAVE subfolders, e.g. BALKANS_SAVE_0003. Open the BALKANS_SAVE_number>.FLT file with a text editor and search for [DateTimeSeason] at around line number 310. Adjust Time of day to your liking. Then load the new bush trip leg again and select Esc → RESTART.
Not sure why it wouldn’t let me adjust the unnumbered BALKANS_SAVE file directly (overwrites it every time), maybe you need to be out of the starting airport. But the Restart option is good enough for me.


Nice! I just finished the Yosemite trip. After using INS and GPS in real life for decades, it was challenging and fun to go back to dead-reckoning and pilotage. And I only got lost twice! I think I’ll try the Balkans challenge next. Thanks for the work.

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Thanks for the info, changing the time of day sounds like a great idea. My save files are located under appdata\local\packages and not roaming but maybe my location is a bit different being on the game pass/microsoft store version of the game.

Can paste this in explorer to get there %localappdata%\Packages\Microsoft.FlightSimulator_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState\MISSIONS\ACTIVITIES

Thanks! I think your assumption is correct, I am on the Steam version.

Actually, this only happens on the 1st leg. After that, you’re on partial panel with the MFD shut off, no autopilot, no moving map, no position shown on the VFR map. The CDI does still follow the flightplan turns unless you delete the flightplan manually. However, given that the visibility of most of the waypoints depends a lot on your bandwidth, leaving this going might help some folks.

Also note that the 172 is much slower in the game than advertised (even with leaning) so can’t come anywhere close to making the stopwatch times shown in the nav log. Thus, if the stopwatch is useless and you can’t recognize the landmarks from the text description, following the magenta line on the CDI is about your own way to get through a leg.

A useful trick that I found to add some challenge to these trips is to put the MFD (the screen on the right side) on the weather radar screen and leave it in standby, and then set the CDI on the PFD to VOR mode. This takes away all visual reference to your course on the screens without deleting the flightplan, forcing you to rely more on dead-reckoning and pilotage while at the same time giving you a safety net. It also allows you to use the autopilot, which I use to lighten workload (I fly by hand until I’m established on my course then use the AP to keep the plane straight and level while I read the Navlog, look around for landmarks, etc). Turning off your avionics master disables the autopilot system entirely, so I came up with this solution to keep that option open for use where needed. I also keep a VFR map from Navigraph or Skyvector open on my MacBook (with Moving Maps turned OFF). That way I have the same reference material available that I’d have if I were doing the flight for real.

If you DO get lost you can just swap the CDI back to GPS mode, and since it works much like a VOR it still feels somewhat challenging/immersive (and it’s literally just a couple clicks of one softkey to go back to hard mode).

I did notice in doing this that the magenta numbers for DTRK, TRK, ETE and BRG (bearing direct to waypoint) are still shown on their respective screens, but they’re much more difficult to see (and MUCH easier to ignore) if you’re using a proper camera view that focuses primarily out the front of the plane. While flying I keep my camera as high and as forward in the cockpit as I can (keeping the PFD screen just in view so I can read my attitude) so I can see over the dash, and fairly zoomed out for a wider field of view. This makes the smaller text on the screen harder to read without zooming back in a bit. But the numbers ARE still there and since I can’t turn them off (maybe I can idk) I figured out a way use them to sort of evaluate myself in-flight while doing the Appalachian trip:

Staying on the charted course.
Cross-check the Navlog heading for each waypoint with the magenta BRG displayed in the top right of the PFD. The closer together those numbers are, the better you’re doing. If they’re way off each other then you’ve gone pretty far off the charted course. Example; if my navlog tells me to turn from hdg 125 to hdg 090 and I do so, but then a minute or so later I check the BRG and it says 067 this tells me I’ve either overshot the course severely to the south or I haven’t compensated enough for a heavy wind out of the north. If it reads, say 093, then I’ve only slightly undershot the turn and am still pretty much on course. From this you can deduce what you may have done wrong while still in flight and make improvements to your flying skills, literally, on the fly. This does you no good unless you’ve switched the CDI to VOR so you can’t see the magenta bar on your rose, though, as the bar will clue you in that you’re going off course so your brain won’t let you make the mistake to begin with. Hence, no potential for improvement.

Timing and Identifying landmarks/cities without a map.
Using the Navlog and the DTRK (desired track or direct track) also helps identify which leg you are on and if you’ve gone past the waypoint you’re aiming for or not. If you’ve flown a 090 hdg following a river towards Randomville for what feels like way too long, or you’re not sure if Randomville is the one you’re passing over or the one 5 miles up ahead, check the DTRK against the Navlog and you can quickly see if you’ve passed your target already. This can be less precise when waypoints are laid out close together, or in a nearly straight line, though. Maybe this is a bit of a cheat, but if you’re using it to retroactively double-check your flying rather than to actively navigate, then I’d argue it’s not.

If you turn on your wind info panel on the PFD, using the TRK will help you better understand how wind affects your course in different scenarios. Over time and with experience you’ll begin to remember how much to compensate for different levels/directions of wind and you won’t need to reference this anyway unless you’re flying into a hurricane or heavy thunderstorm (which you won’t on a bush trip since they’re VFR).

ETE isn’t really very helpful in this sense because the only thing it could help with is improving your mental procedure for course changes; i.e. are you starting/stopping/resetting your stopwatch at the right times. Otherwise it’s a minor cheat so I ignore it and try to either stick with the flightplan and stopwatch or focus on following landmarks like the roads and rivers, only referencing the ETE if I know I’m off course since being off-course changes the Navlog timings anyway.

So basically, with this method you have the numbers there for reference if you’re not sure if you’re lost or not, and you can find your own way back on-course if you ARE lost without using the Back on Track feature, but you also DON’T have the cheat codes (the map and pointer) staring you in the face either. It’s been helping me to understand where I need to improve my flying quite effectively by challenging myself to keep my eyes outside the cockpit more and only use the numbers to assess my performance. If you do this enough you will learn from your mistakes and eventually improve to the point where you can confidently take on some of the more difficult bush trips in planes that only have analog instrumentation.

If anybody else tries this technique, let me know how it works out for you and if it helped you as well. Fly safe!

Mine has a bug makes my flight plan in the Garmin send me back to POI13. I tried everything I could think of. Going back to the POI, flying direct to my next POI, direct to the next airports to finish the trip, etc.

Didn’t use back on track or any other assistance, and didn’t get the achievement, even though I got the completion.

Restarted the trip from the beginning, same issue with POI13. Had to reset flight plan after every leg, hit every POI, still no achievement unlocked.

That makes it more challenging…and frustrating.

I am experiencing sort of the same in the Norvegian trip. I tried several times to go through the leg Bergen - next airport. Once I want to start the next leg, the engine is turned off and I just can get it on again.