Last night, I attempted a flight from EFHK Helsinki to UHMA Ugolny in the Airbus A380. The failed attempt at capturing the RWY 01 IKB localizer (110.30) and resulting crash left me with many questions as to how I ended up in that situation. After reviewing my live stream, the answers were clear. I'll share my experience with you, including the stressors and issue with the ILS at that location (which I've since fixed and is available for download on the Black Mill website at the bottom :) ).
I went through my regular procedures by booking the flight through FSAirlines, spawned my A380 aircraft at EFHK Gate 26 (heavy) at 0530 UTC (planned 0600 UTC departure), and planned my route using SimBrief. My flight plan had me cruising at FL350, and the total trip time was estimated to be 7 hours and 42 minutes.
Using the SimBrief downloader and the MCDU from my newly integrated Black Box Simulations A340 cockpit, I quickly loaded the flight plan and filled out all the necessary INIT and PERF information. I checked EFHK ATIS, set my barometer, started FSXTracker and the FSAirlines tracker, loaded the correct fuel, requested clearance, and taxied to RWY 22L. The departure from EFHK was easy, and within 40 minutes, I was cruising at FL350 on my way to UHMA.
200nm from UHMA, I check the weather forecast. It's -6c, cloudy with precipitation, with from the northwest at 7 knots, and QFE is 1015. I check the charts, and I'm clear to descend to 3000' for the approach with no fear of obstacles. I anticipate descending to 2770' on final to get established on the RWY 01 IKB localizer (110.30).
As I reach 3000', I am beginning my approach at 200 knots, so I activate the approach phase on my MCDU. I am flying parallel (downwind) to RWY 01, but I can barely see the lighting out my left window. I follow my flight plan to the southwest, turn to base, then turn on final. As I turn on final around 20nm from the airport, I set my speed to 130 knots for the landing. The A380 begins to slow down, and I begin dropping the flaps and set the autobrake. I press the LOC button on the autopilot, and I look at my PFD to watch for the localizer. Nothing. How could I have missed it?!
It's pitch black outside, but I can make out quite a bit of snow coming down. I manage to spot the approach lighting from RWY 01 ahead, but it's too late. I'm still at 2800' with no time to descend. I fly over the runway, set my speed hold to 200, heading hold to 010, flaps up, gear up, and make my plan to go around.
I turn left to heading 280, then left again to 190. I'm downwind of RWY 01 again. 10nm out, I turn left to 100, the left again to 010. I won't fail this time! I double-check my ILS freq iaw the Navigraph charts. 110.30. Check! Course 012. Check! Speed hold back to 130, flaps down, gear down. The stall siren sounds. I look up from my cockpit, but it's too late! My speed is under 100nm and there's no way to recover! My A380 plummets into the ocean south of UHMA along with 653 passengers on board!
Prior to me attempting this flight, I had spent all of Saturday curled up on my couch with stomach cramps and nausea.
As with any flight simulation aircraft, only one PIC is in the cockpit (unless cockpit sharing), so work load is much higher than irl.
By the time I had reach my destination, I had been awake for 20 hours.
Live streaming on Twitch and communicating in the chat.
Night landing in inclement weather
The default UHMA Ugolny airport does not have an ILS! It is supposed to, but for some reason it doesn't exist. My guess is that it may not have had one in 2006, or it was overlooked during development. I've since fixed it, and you can download the fix on the Black Mill website at the bottom for free!
After watching the video from my crash, I've learned new things about flight simulation and myself. I have also found a new respect for real world pilots. Stressors have a large impact on our ability to perform as we normally would.
Honestly, I could've made that landing any day of the week in flight sim without ILS. I've actually landed in worse conditions, but because of the reasons listed above, I became distracted, which caused pilot error and ultimately resulted in a crash.
I really enjoy going back and finding out the reason why things like this happen! I look forward to seeing your feedback!