FSX/P3D – Rocky Mountaineer Adventure. After having been on the Rocky Mountaineer Grand Circle Tour in 2019, I wondered if I could try to retrace it using the flightsim, as it was truly spectacular! To my amazement, it is possible to completely follow the route by following the brownish rail tracks.(there are some large tunnels along the way and you may have to take a logical guess as to where they come out, but I found it relatively easy to find them again). ORBX Vectors make it all possible as they are very accurate and even include the tunnels themselves, so easy to see the entrances.
I suggest the same sections be done each day, just as in the real tour.
1. Rocky Mountaineer station(no station building, though) in Vancouver all the way through to Kamloops.
2. From Kamloops to Banff (possibly the most scenic part and includes spiral tunnels through Rockies).
2. You can then follow the Trans Canada Highway to the Icefields Parkway (Athabasca Glacier) to Jasper.
3. From Jasper you pick up the train line and head for Quesnel.
4. Quesnel to Whistler is a little bit harder as there is no airport there, but it’s not much farther from Pemberton.
5. From Whistler it’s a rollercoaster ride to Squamish, then around the sound to North Vancouver.
I found that the little Icon amphibian was just about ideal as it was very manouverable and I was able to land on the lake at Whistler. In any case you can take any amphib aircraft, I guess, though in some of the tight gorges a larger aircraft may not respond quickly enough to the stick. I found that a speed of around 100kts and 100-200ft above the tracks should keep you out of trouble, but still provide an exciting view.
The distances may not seem very large but I can tell you that following the train tracks back and forth from valley to valley will take a long time and 50 miles might be enough for one day!
It might be well worth acquainting yourself with the route each day with reference to a map of some kind to help your navigation.
To install, simply copy the .pln files into your Documents/flightsim folder (FSX or P3D).
To use, simply load up the flightplan and following the rail/roadway to the waypoints.(obviously the rail/roadway will move around in relation to the flightplan, but you should be generally going in the same direction.)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and maybe it will inspire you to check out the real thing, as the flightsim scenery(you must have the ORBX scenery installed)is pretty amazing, but the Rocky Mountaineer trip was just the most awesome travel experience I have ever had!
By Mark Dickinson