On Saturday, December 1, 2018, members of the FSElite team partook in an organized group flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Miami International Airport. This was done in an effort to bring us together and enjoy our core passion of flight simulation. The morning started off for me at The Atlas Air Cargo terminal on the north side of the airport. I flew one of two Atlas Air Cargo 747’s on this route, the other being piloted by Greg. Besides the two 747s, we had a 737-800, A320, and and MD-80 – quite the variety to say the least. I should also mention this flight took place on the VATSIM network. As we prepared our aircraft, New York Center was preparing to go off line. We all received our IFR clearance, but were left to our own devices for the climb out. Maybe not the best idea!
The morning of the flight, the winds were 6 knots out of the north. With these conditions we planned for runway 04 left. After push and start was complete, I headed down taxiway P, parallel to 13R, to catch up with the rest of the group near taxiway K. Once I made it to K3 I joined up with the 3 aircraft ahead of me. One after the other, we made our way out of KJFK headed direct to waypoint EMJAY. My aircraft “Giant” GTI2684 was the last of our group to depart 04. The climb out was calm until we entered the ceiling where we were greeted by some moderate chop, which lasted a couple of minutes.
Sharing our altitudes with each other we calculated how we should space ourselves as we flew south for Miami. For the most part we ran a nice formation down the eastern coast. On our way down, Miami Center came online. We knew we needed to run a tight ship prior to entering their airspace to make it easier on the controller (Daniel Channani), who did an amazing job sorting all of us out. I became slightly offset from the AR22 airway, so I merged in line with the other aircraft in route. Moments later Miami Center put me on a 360 heading for spacing. This put me at the back of the line, but allowed me to capture everyone’s chatter via the radio as we flew the HILEY7 approach.
With 7 aircraft entering the airspace minutes apart and aircraft on the ground waiting for clearance, things got busy very quick. The winds were around 10 knots out of 140. This allowed us to land on runway 09 which is very convenient for cargo due to the terminal being off to the left upon landing. As I watched my colleagues land one by one on TCAS, I prepared for the 09 ILS approach. At 3000 feet I was put on a 120 heading to capture the localizer. The winds were 160 and about 20 knots. The glide slope began to capture and I was cleared for the ILS 09 approach. At approximately 3 hours into the flight I was on the 10 mile final decreasing speed to 180 knots. Though overcast, Miami looked beautiful on approach. After the wheels met the Miami concrete and I began to slow, I exited taxiway T3. From here I took taxiway S to the Western cargo terminal. All in all, it was a lot of fun to fly with the team. This is something we plan to do regularly, and it’s going to bring us on some interesting flights around the world.
You can watch the final 30 minutes of the flight above and it really was a blast to fly with these guys. It’s nice to have time just to let our hair down after working so hard on providing content for the community. Thanks to everyone involved and to Jonathan for arranging it all. Excited to see where the next event brings us.