Official 9th Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight 2023 - Discussion and AAR Thread

Following from the discussion thread here

it seems there is an agreement on the destination of this year’s edition of Mudspike Christmas Flight, which I am taking the opportunity to kick off now & here.

The destination is the Daocheng Yading Airport (ZUDC) in Sichuan, China with elevation of 14 472 ft (4 411 m) thus being the civil airport with the highest elevation in the world.

The rules are the same as always:

  • Fly the sim of your choice. For MSFS, check for a suitable scenery.
  • Feel free to use time acceleration as you see fit.
  • For increased realism (and more fun reading the AAR), use real weather.
  • Please post AARs with screenshots.
  • Try to finish by end-December (I never did, though :grimacing:).
  • And above all: have fun!

I am personally off till mid-September so I will post my first AAR later this month. It is a long journey so I better launch asap as I can.

Can’t wait for your reports!

Happy The Goldbergs GIF by TV Land


ZUDC is very hard to find charts on and on planning maps like skyvector.

Below is some info I could find on it.

Basic ZUDC Info

Below is charts for Navigraph, I have not tried them yet

ZUDC Charts


This is very useful, thanks @weaponz248

Those who are not using Navigraph can use this version:


Let’s see how far I get this year!

Mechanics Bay (NZMB) heliport - North Shore Airport (NZNE)

I had time for a quick hop…don’t have a plan at this point, but let’s start flying North and take it from there!

Mechanics Bay is kind of closer to work than home, strictly speaking…but it’s right by my jogging route along the coast, so it’s definitely ‘local’ to me. :slight_smile:

I headed for a little sightseeing tour of Auckland first, before heading for the Whangaparaoa VFR transit lane. I started flying over the Ports towards CBD.

I then waved to my workmates at the offices (I’m not at Deloitte, but they have the naming rights for the building):

A little circle around Sky Tower, and a glance of the Harbour Bridge:

I then headed for the eastern transit corridor via North Head and it’s old barracks buildings, with Rangitoto volcano in the east across the water:

Long Bay Regional Park and beach…we’ve spent many a summer weekend hanging out here with the kids.

Shortly after, I turned inland over Okura Bush, behind which lies NZNE.

They must have upgraded the facilities since I last visited…can’t say I’ve seen many widebody jets being maintained there. I assume they bring them in in parts, because you certainly can’t land anything much bigger than a Grand Caravan there.

Alright. Here we are. Now, let’s make a flight plan :smiley:



I don’t have as far to go this year, but I should get started soon as well. I have a basic flight plan in my head. Start YCOM, follow the East Coast of Australia to PNG then island hop through Indonesia up to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam and onto ZUDC.

My personal challenge this year is to only use one aircraft. I’m spoilt for choice but I want it to be ‘interesting’ enough for the entire voyage. Because I’m flying through PNG I would love to take the Caribou, but if that was the case I would have had to have left last week to make it by New Year :stuck_out_tongue:


Congratulations for the first AAR! :+1:

I am on the other side of the spectrum since I have a plan but am still on holidays with family.

The first leg will bring me from Luxembourg (ELLX) to Zell am See (LOWZ) in Austria.

I plan to hit Stuttgart and Munich on the way because why not :laughing: and also LOIJ in Austria to visit one of my first payware sceneries in MSFS.

The LDA in LOWZ is on the short side at 660 m but it still should be OK for my Black Square Velocity XL which needs mere 460 m to land. That’s what the manual says, of course, so we shall see :grimacing:

LOWZ was always a nice scenic airport in any sim and I also hope I will be able to visit it once IRL as well.

Anyway, back home in the middle of the week so the AAR should appear shortly after that.


Hmmm, I will be completing the flight in XP11 and have the Aerobask Velocity V-Twin. Easy to fly, comprehensive avionics suite, adequate range and performance but still interesting enough to be ‘the one’.

I think you have just chosen my aircraft for me. Thank you Sir.

I got the X Plane 11 just because I wanted to fly the Aerobask Twin Velocity and then flew the hell out of it over California. With MSFS however, I can’t get myself coming back to X Plane so I bought the Black Square one and am happy :grinning:

It is different animal when landing because with the canard in front you do not really want to make a stall landing unless you want to dig a hole in the tarmac :laughing: (speaking out of my own embarassing experience).

Good luck and have fun :grinning: :+1:

EDIT: Lying on a beech in south of France, one Velocity just flies over my head. That must be a sign :laughing:


I have never been a pilot IRL so flying it onto the deck seems more natural to me, prob why I am OK at DCS Tomcat traps :wink:


PNG in MSFS is wonderful, highly recommend getting in some weather trouble there. The stories write themselves.


the first aar from you, in this year series, was unexpected @Bearhedge :slight_smile: way to go!

heliports and Deloitte next to each other!? what a great place :smile:

just saw an anouncement that FJS B727 is cookin for XP12 :wink:


Yes, I haven’t had the chance to be very active here - but I was wondering about Xmas trip yesterday and it turned out you guys had just got things set up!

So I figured it was meant to be :grin: Carpe Diem and all that.


North Shore Airport (NZNE) - Port Moresby (AYPY)

“Yes, but have you ever tried taking off from the North Shore GA field with an experimental hypersonic aircraft?” I hear you ask.

Well, it was fine, I don’t know what I was worried about. In thrust we trust…

I yanked the wheels off the end of the runway with a good meter to spare…I have to say, though, look at that reckless bus driver behind me!

It’s been a while since I’ve driven the Darkstar, but I really wanted to get back to PNG and didn’t want to spend too much time flying through the usual in-between destinations…so this is my way of getting to spend more time low and slow :smiley:

Up, up and away! The 2,200NM flight took about 45 minutes, all and all.

Arriving to PNG…I’ll be sweating down among those clouds soon enough!

And here we are. Nice. Now the real fun starts. :smiley:


The DarkStar is a pretty cool aircraft. They did (I think) a really nice job of implementing it is a semi-realistic way. It requires some forward thinking, and if you go by the old adage of always staying ahead of the airplane, you have to pretty much be mentally shutting down the engines at the destination before you have pushed the throttles forward at the departure airfield.


Back home IRL, time to leave again virtually :slight_smile:

The last year I started from my home in MSFS and took a car to get to the nearest airport. It did not turn out as a good idea since the roads in MSFS are what they are :slight_smile: This year, I decided to take more appropriate mean of transport to get from my backyard to the airport.

Luxembourg in photogrammetry introduced in the latest City Update.

ELLX the way I am used to see it!

And parked in front of our aeroclub hangars.

OK, that was just a starter. Now the real deal: ELLX to LOWZ - Zell am See in Austria.

Velocity XL ready to go with the flight plan punched in.

I am using FSLTL for injecting AI traffic for this flight and have to say that it does a nice job in terms of models and liveries…

…but not really in terms of air traffic management (which is up to the sim I presume) as I have witnessed three go-arounds by the time I got to the active runway.

Mosel river with Remerschen biodiversite - full of birds which will be migrating soon. This usually triggers appropriate NOTAMs.

Pirmasens in Germany. A nice field IRL and one of the sceneries I purchased for MSFS. Nicely done!

The Velocity XL has a canard in front so stall landings are a big no go. Therefore one has to pay a close attention to speed management on finals - anything below 70 kts will result into the nose dropping towards the Mother Earth. Oh and there are no flaps either.

Rhein river.


And finally: the Alps. I will never get tired of the looks of it :slight_smile:

LOIJ - another little field to visit on my way. Here I was better in speed management.

And on the last leg towards my destination today.

Briefing for the approach and landing.


And the way I executed it :slight_smile:

Turning towards Zeller See.

Checking the wind as the field has only a traffic frequency.

Downwind trying to respect the circuit and min altitude.

Coming in with not many kts to spare. I was on my toes :slight_smile:

All good in the end. And even few meters of the runway still left.

LOWZ is a nice little airfield full of life in MSFS.

Beer, relax, some trekking and off to Slovenia hopefully soon :+1:


Me again. Managed to squeeze a short hop from Zell am See (LOWZ) in Austria to Sostanj (LJSO) in Slovenia this afternoon.

Another nice touch in the LOWZ scenery - kids playground :slight_smile:

Fortunately the wind favored easterly departure thus leaving the bad weather behind.

The Velocity XL climbs like a homesick angel.

Alps to the left. Alps to the right. Alps below… and sometimes even above.

While the flight was not very long, the terrain called for climbing to at least 10k ft. Here I am over Klagenfurt.

Sostanj in the distance. Its elevation is about 1200 ft. I am not sure what the procedure is to descent properly and not overspeed and not shock-cool the engine in real life. This thing is built for speed so slowing down was probably not really a priority for designers.

Downwind. Still way too high and way too fast.

Termoelektrarna Šoštanj.

Long finals. From this perspective, it looks like I can make it just fine.

Which I did a moment or two later.

Next stop: Dubrovnik


16 posts were split to a new topic: The Velocity XML and it’s Canard Wing

Yesterday evening I progressed a bit from Sostanj (LJSO) in Slovenia to Dubrovnik (LDDU) in Croatia in a nice 286nm long evening (or so I thought) flight. My idea was to enjoy the Croatian coast line in setting Sun and on finals also the old town of Dubrovnik (which starred for instance in Game of Thrones or Star Wars: The Last Jedi).

I left the Velocity XL in Slovenia and picked an Austrian-made DA62. It is a default aircraft which I have not flow much :grimacing: but it does deserve more attention as it is really a nice aircraft to take on a tour. I find the default offer hitting a sweet spot in terms of great visuals and sufficient depth of systems for me.

Dunno if it is a good idea to fire up the two engines in a hangar but there we go. Hopefully the wall posters will stay where they are.

Steady… Ready… GO!

As always, I have not really checked weather en-route and much less at destination. Though this bird is sporting a G3000 which is fully IFR capable (note: I am not) so some clouds in front of me should not really be a problem.

We do have a pretty sim!

Split - a city on Croatian coast and a place from which I was supposed to enjoy flying along the coastline…

…only the Sun was already pretty low :roll_eyes: Nah, I will enjoy this ride nonetheless!

Dubrovnik. As you can see (or maybe you can’t), the old city is buried in darkness. Maybe because…

Star Wars Vacation GIF by Disney Parks

Anyway. This is unfortunately a feature of MSFS which does not provide for night lighting for places covered by photogrammetry. Pity. I will make sure to depart in a daylight and check the old town on the following leg.

Quite an uneventful flight, except for a mid-air refueling as I departed with default 50% of fuel which would be maaaaybe so-so to get to the destination. I poured few more gallons just to make sure I am not swimming to the airport instead.

Anyway… good night.

Next stop is Plovdiv in Bulgaria. Time to head more to the East.


So far I’ve knocked out a few legs for this year’s journey.

Overall I’ll be flying north up through California and the Pacific Northwest, making a couple brief stops in Canada, before working my way through Alaska to the Aleutian Islands. I’ll likely fly from there down to Japan and do a little island hopping before heading inland into China. My focus is on the “hand-crafted” airports where it makes sense and other interesting fields.

My first leg is taking me from KVIS in the Central Valley of California up to South Lake Tahoe. For this trip I’ll be in the TBM.

For a default aircraft, it’s pretty amazing how much the TBM has involved since release.

As nice as it is depicted in MSFS, it’s even more phenomenal to see in person.

The TBM wasn’t fancy enough for Tahoe so for the next leg I opted to take the BBJ up to Mudspike favorite KEAT.

Emptying out the nasties from the arrival flight.

Departing north out of KTVL.

The level of detail in the current generation of payware always amazes me.

Arrived and deplaning our travelers.

Next leg takes me into Canada for a couple stops.


My personal challenge for this year is (was?) to just fly one type of aircraft.

I need something with O2 because the final destination is at 14,472ft and had basically settled on the (Aerobask) Velocity V-Twin… But.

The final destination is at 14,472ft and all I can find on the Velocity is an absolute ceiling of 17,000ft. Does anyone know what the service ceiling is and/or should I reconsider my choice?