High Altitude Climb

I have flown the SR20 simulator (X-Plane) out of Angel Fire, NM repeatedly with full fuel, temp 20 degrees over ISA, various wind conditions. It handles the climb needed to clear the terrain to the east quite well. It doesn’t clear substantially, but does clear. On one flight a downdraft caused me to not clear. I programmed with 300 pounds of pilot and baggage. My apologies to those who hate my simulator stories.Clark Jernigan

In the words of William, my youngest son;

“your point being…?”

How do you like the X-plane simulator (particularly for the SR-20)? I’m using On Top 7.0 on my machine with Windows XP (my old simulators do not run on XP) and I do not like it much.


My apologies to those who hate my simulator stories.


The simulator stories were fine by me. Not my thing but so what. This one is a might on the insensitive side given what happened.

BTW, not sure what numbers you could possibly have plugged in given that the SR20 POH has blanks in the Takeoff Climb Gradient, Takeoff Rate of Climb, Takeoff Distance, Enroute Climb Gradient and Enroute Rate of Climb data when the Pressure Altitude is more than 8,000 Feet and the temperature is higher than 20 degrees Celsius.

I think X-plane is a great value. The work done by the Carter Copter folks using X-plane to test their airframe mods is pretty impressive. If you talk to those guys they’ll tell you that the simulator reproduces the real world flight characteristics quite precisely. If any of today’s popular simulators were around in 1960 I bet our military would have paid $50 million for one.Clark Jernigan

Brig, I’m sorry if I seem insensitive. I do not intend to be. I, like most pilots have an intense desire to know what went wrong when a fellow pilot has a mishap. Most of us are pretty capable, yet events still happen that result in losses. Imperfect as simulators are, they can sometimes shed light on the cause of an accident and sometimes help decrease the chance of future accidents. In this case it didn’t yield much useful information. I am baffled by the Angel Fire accident. I am very sad that the man died. I hope someone can figure out an explanation. If we get an explanation we can accommodate the risk identified. I am much more ill at ease not knowing, because how do you manage an unidentified risk? Clark Jernigan

Clark, the full story about the Angel Fire crash will have to wait for the NTSB final report. That’s not to say we can’t learn anything from it already. Without speculating about the actual cause of the crash, and notwithstanding your simulator results, it’s clear from what is known about the weather conditions and terrain around the airport in question that an SR20 being flown out at that time was operating at or beyond the demonstrated limits of its performance.

Doesn’t mean that is what caused the crash, but it’s a dramatic reminder to check the POH in hot and high conditions, and to apply an appropriate personal safety margin to the performance figures in the book.

Your original post in this thread made it sound like the plane could perform in a certain way from Angel Fire because the simulator said so. The SR20 has no demonstrated ability whatsoever at more than 8,000 feet on a hot day. The only way you could have plugged the data into your computer was to extrapolate from the POH based on the lower altitude numbers in the chart which is a very dangerous practice to get into.

Fine for fun and games but probably best not to use it for flight planning or post accident speculation.