KMUD - Mudspike Flight Test Air/Sea/Space Port progress

So way back in July I announced my intention to create a custom Mudspike airport for X-Plane using the X-Plane scenery World Editor (WED). My original idea was to build on the Twenty-Nine Palms payware scenery since it was so nice, but after doing some additional exploring, I decided to branch out and create a whole new fictional airport.

Now, I’m admittedly very new at using the X-Plane WED, so I’m learning as I go, and there are a whole ton of tricks and tips that I haven’t discovered. After spending a couple days dorking around with it - I finally came up with an early iteration of KMUD.

My wishlist of items I wanted in a custom airport included:

  • Wide expanse for good FPS
  • Generally good weather
  • Preferred runway to follow contour with relatively gentle grades
  • Proximity to waterway
  • Multiple runway types for testing purposes

After spending an inordinate amount of time in Google Earth scoping out potential building sites, I finally found the spot. I probably visited a dozen other locations, but after visiting them in X-Plane, I found the terrain would preclude building with “runways follow contours” enabled. I also wanted to build in Arizona because I’m using the excellent State of Arizona orthoscenery from X-Aviation, which provides some nice mid and high altitude textures. The location I settled on is on the edge of a dry lakebed that is (conveniently) filled with water in the X-Aviation version of my scenery. I’m not sure if it is filled with water in default X-Plane. The site lies just east of the Mt. Tipton Wilderness Area (an environmental impact study was not commissioned - we are going to beg for forgiveness instead of asking for permission) about 30 miles north of Kingman, AZ and about 70 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

And the big reveal…(drumroll please asks Clark Griswold)…

So you’ll notice a few things (and probably lots of mistakes from this neophyte airport builder).

  • 3 parallel runways
  • 4,000’ (1,219m) dirt runway for practicing “austere” operations
  • 10,000’ (3,048m) main concrete runway with precision approach lights and markings
  • 4,000’ (1,219m) asphalt STOL runway
  • 7,000’ water/seaplane runway marked off in the lake
  • 2 helipads
  • Large ramp space for large aircraft
  • +/- 1 Mega-watt solar array for running the airport

The design in WED undergoing near constant changes, fixes, improvements, and additions…

The Twin Otter on the custom STOL runway (this took me forever to build from “parts”)…

The seaplane ramp is a work in progress (the whole airport is) and I haven’t yet figured out (or found) a ramp that I can attach to the tarmac to allow seaplanes to roll up and down into the water. I know it is possible because other sceneries have them - but I haven’t found one yet and I don’t know how to build it. It is possible to just drive off the edge of the lake into the water as long as you are going above 5 knots or so…but I need a better solution…

A large part of the “terminal” area was a pre-made template with the objects already placed. I found one I liked and am using it, but I’ll need to figure out how to get rid of some decidedly wrong looking Fir-type trees that are part of the template.

The solar farm on the northwestern corner of the airport property…

The dirt runway will come in useful when testing some of the more rugged aircraft…

Approaching the STOL runway in the BAe146…

I have the mid point marked (2,000) with a white line and red boards on the side of the runway edge…

I have some work to do with the ground objects/airport scenery still. But there are areas large enough for big airplanes (also the reason I wanted at least a 10,000’ runway)…

Late today I found some techniques for making curved taxiways - so I’ll need to do that since the angles are a bit too extreme for larger aircraft. I still have a LOT of work to do with pavement markings, signage, etc…

Fully loaded, the 747 gets off in about 8,000’ of runway. If I use the “space” port of the airport I might need to further expand that runway…

The satellite view in X-Plane - showing the lake with water in it. I think that 99.9% of the time it is actually just a dry lakebed and when it is full, it is probably only a foot deep. On my next drive out there in Arizona I’ll have to drive by and visit “my” lake…

Position along the lake - looks like easy access to Stockton Hill Rd. there too…

I have a lot of refining to do. The list includes (and I don’t know if any of this is possible):

  • Add a target range in the desert nearby (this should be possible)
  • Paint a carrier profile on a piece of pavement for practice carrier landings (IFLOLS)
  • Install VOR and ILS approaches to the main runway (this might be possible?)
  • Lots of tweaking and fixing
  • Would like to get a hangar large enough for A380 and Antanov type aircraft
  • Would like an engine runup sound containment pad

So work continues!

BeachAV8R

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Awesome! I’ve just started slowly learning this one, I’m looking forward to this!

what kind of tactical aircraft are there in X-Plane?

Oh…just one of those crappy F-14 Tomcats…

http://www.drydensims.com/f-14b-tomcat.html

LOL…I don’t own that one. I do have the AMX and another as yet undisclosed module that is pretty kickass…

BeachAV8R

Also there is an F-104 that is very good…but might be a bit dated at this point…

http://www.classicjetsims.com/CF-104/CF-104main.html

I really hate it when you do that. It means I’m gonna be spending more money the near future…

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So I guess the name for the lake is Red Lake according to the VFR sectional chart.

It is also worth mentioning that I didn’t do any prevailing wind studies in setting up this airport. Given that the nearby airports in Vegas and down south in Kingman have prevailing runways that are generally oriented 010 to 030 degrees…my guess, somewhat confirmed by this chart…is that the winds are mostly out of the southwest…but vary over the course of the year.

Also…I’ve done no study on TERPS requirements as far as ILS paths (if that is even possible) nor runway distance requirements between runways and other runways and runways and terminal buildings. There are a ton of requirements…but I’m not going for FAA or ICAO standards here…

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And yes…I’m going to see if Elon Musk would like to land some Falcon 9s nearby…

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I’m almost out of SSD space and now this. You are the worst.

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lol, I’ve actually got a spare on deck, but If i put it in, I have to add the second drive deck into my machine and that’ll interrupt air flow more than I’d like.

#firstworldgamingproblems

Just wait until the Leatherneck F-14 comes out and you can cool your CPU with the tears of vanquished Su drivers…

Or something…

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ftfy

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KMUD is coming along nicely @BeachAV8R. Lots of potential there.

Viper anyone?

D- Did it just take off from a carrier?

It went full Dos Gringos. You’re not supposed to do that.

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I really like the landing physics of X-Plane and the carrier. They can get a bit wonky…but they definitely don’t feel as stiff as FSX. But I can’t wait for the DCS Hornet and that flight modeling…

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Make sure your throttles are in good shape. Even from the hangar bay, you could hear those engines constantly changing power settings the entire way down the groove.

That really is cool @BeachAV8R, I can’t wait to see the updates.

So the good news is - adding custom nav data to the sim is very easy. You just go into the local map while in game and hit EDIT and you can add VOR, ILS, DME, LOC, NDB, marker beacons, etc… Simply set the elevation for the ground station, inbound heading, magnetic variation (for VORs), give each a frequency, name, and identifier…and you are good to go. Then the data gets saved to the navigation database (but only for my install apparently).

I suppose I’ll have to build a custom approach plate too considering there is quite a bit of terrain around KMUD…but the courses and altitudes for a standard ILS work fine at least to runway 18 (haven’t looked at 36 yet). Standard 3 degree glide path…

And I thought I might be clever enough to figure out my NOLF setup with actual carrier wires…but my idea didn’t work. I was thinking I could place a Nimitz carrier under the terrain because I’ve read the wires work regardless of altitude. But alas…when placing a carrier using WED (even if it is just in a normal spot) - the wires don’t appear to work (I tried a couple aircraft with tailhooks…no joy). More testing on that later…but actual arresting wires looks like it will be beyond my ability. Apparently we’d need a talented person that can make stuff using some sort of plug-in (Python?)… I dunno…

BeachAV8R

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Spent today tweaking and learning more stuff. I finally figured out that by pressing the ALT key you can make curving paths that you can manipulate and tailor to whatever you are trying to do. So I was able to get the curving taxiways that are more suitable for larger aircraft. I also changed the taxiway textures and changed the asphalt texture for the STOL runway taxiway, and added some blastpad markings. I spent a lot of time working on taxiway centerline painting and also getting the runway hold short lines painted. Then I realized that none of the taxiways had blue lights…so I used the line tool to place those. It always requires a lot of tweaking and looking at it in the sim, then making changes in WED, reloading the scenery, and checking again. Progress is definitely being made though!

Sexy curves. New taxiway lines (probably need to do the edges too I suppose)…

And hold short lines…(gonna have to add red runway ID signs too)…

MUD VORTAC and the AWOS installation…

Nearly finished with drawing the taxiway lighting. The westernmost runway (dirt) is not lit… I’m gonna have to move that windsock on the south end of the field a bit more off the taxiway and probably put it on the infield since pilots taking off would want to be able to see it.

So WED is basically like Minecraft for aviation freaks. Pretty addictive…

BeachAV8R

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