The official 3rd Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight - 2017 Edition



Uh oh…


rolls away from underneath Beach’ burned piston engine

Say what now?! I think I saw some fine scotch a mile that way! Be right back!


Especially since the guy bringing the beer is going to be late to the party. Hoping to knock out another leg tonight. Currently being held hostage by in-laws.


I brought my entire CPU, monitor, Rift, and all accessories to my parents house this morning at 4AM (6 hour drive). Gonna demo some VR stuff to the assembled family…


Does your wife ever say “Chris, I think you have a problem” or has she long accepted things like this? :wink:


I made it! Well, there were a couple of mishaps that I miraculously survived, but hey, we can laugh about it now; it’s all over! I made most of the trip flying the NGX 737-800, but also flew the X-Plane King Air, and the Milviz DHC-2 for a few legs. I’m new to the 737. So, I thought the Christmas flight would be a great way to get some time in. Actually, I’m new to airliners; it’s been combat simulators for decades and GA in the last few years for me.

I departed my home airfield of Pennridge Airport (KCKZ), above. It’s was a rather dicey take off, so I only carried minimal fuel and cargo to get off the ground and make the short trip to the Allentown airport (KABE). This is where my Skyvector overall plan starts.

I made a few changes to this plan over the course of the journey – some planned some not. I intentionally bypassed FHAW, taking the direct route to GLRB instead. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

My first significant leg was out of Allentown, PA. The lightning below was an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come.

Note: I’m running P3D v4 with Active Sky.

I noticed the autopilot really yanking the yoke around as I was making my final few turns in toward the airport. It was REALLY bumpy.

It ended badly with the aircraft coming apart.

But, hey, I landed on Marvin Musquin’s freshly made practice track, on the downside of a big tripple and walked away unscathed. There was nothing for it but to borrow the factory KTM 300 and make my way to the airport off road. Good times!

So, I borrowed a 737 from American and went on to Port Au Prince that night.

A little fog the next morning was no factor.

I chose this route because I wanted to hit several locations in Europe where I’ve never flown. Lisbon Portugal being one of them. And never mind that little mess over the atlantic where I was flying the X-Plane 737 and disengaged the autopilot and was rewarded with an immediate maximum nose down yoke. Luckily, the plane didn’t come apart and we were able to deploy life rafts and row to shore.

American didn’t seem to mind.

Out of Lisbon:

Landing in Paris:

I like the Hud!

Parris is nice, but I readied my shotgun and chainsaw when I saw this:

O.K. At this point, they took away my shotgun, my chainsaw and my 737. :frowning:
Something about losing two aircraft, yada yada yada…

So, I borrowed this fine aircraft and moved over to X-Plane again.

This was another deviation from my original Plan. I decided to fly into EDDK, where they happen to have a nice Christmas village.

I refueled and wanted to get in the air ASAP to make the flight to LOWI before dark.
Kind of had to jump in front of this guy. Sorry buddy!

Beautiful evening in the King Air headed for LOWI.

Turning final:

Now, flying out of LOWI, I had an unplanned emergency landing at AVIANO.
I flew out very early and the sun was starting to rise. Then I noticed it was starting to get dark again.
Hmm. I realized I was starting to pass out, so, not having time to figure out where the oxygen mask was or how to fiddle with the cabin pressure, I trimmed for a very gentle dive and went to sleep.
Woke up (the screen came back) at around 11,000 feet. Somehow I had skrewed up my trim controll and could no longer set the trim ??? so I diverted to AVIANO.
I didn’t realize that’s where I had landed until I saw this view and thought it looked familiar:

I had seen this mountain profile many times back when I was flying the F-16C out of here.
In fact, I think the first Christmas flight Mudspike did, I chose to fly BMS as far north as I could get (though, I didn’t upload anything). And the guys across the water didn’t like me flying there and fired on me! Can you believe that?! Firing on a Christmas flight. So, I had dropped a few munitions on them two days before… But this was Christmas. Come on guys!

I’ve completed this year’s flight (in fact I finished on the 19th, but no time to post), but will have to post more later as I’m out of time this morning.


Nice report! Look forward to reading about the rest of your journey.

Also, I would love to read more about that BMS Christmas Flight long ago if you have more to share. Perhaps try making a new topic in #screens-aars for that purpose?


:nerd_face:That looks awesome. X-plane really handles low angle lighting well.


@Goblin I think that might be the longest route anyone has taken? Great post!

My last post before reaching Christmas Island. This constitutes a navigational record of the trip since the Torres Strait.

Present Position (at 14:40 UTC, 28 December) is S 16º 3’ E 116º 7’. There are still some 800 natical miles to go to reach Christmas Island. A circuitous route was necessary, making WSW from Darwin, as the north western coast of Australia allowed, to get into an area of better winds, as per forecast. More to the point, it has been necessary to avoid another doldrums south of Java. Any route, I have learned since the Arafura, that with a reasonable deviation promises better than 2 to 5 knot winds, is a much more favorable proposition than trying to brave a more direct route through them.

The voyage of The D-Gull has, since clearing poor winds just west of Darwin, so far required making way very close hauled and tacking straight into a stiff south westerly breeze of 14 to 16 knots coming off the Indian Ocean. Yesterday, at about 18:00 UTC, I hit a small storm, with winds up to 25 knots, veered to the south. They were, however, unusable for the purpose of making any significant increase in way, as the state of the sea and the gustiness of the winds required a considerable amount of sail shortening to reduce some violent rolling on the crests.

I am aimimg for a point S 16º 40’ E 114º 40’, whereupon I will be able to stand to the WNW and put the wind a point or two forward of the port beam. This would be an ideal situation, as The D-Gull is capable of making 10 to 12 knots in a 15 knot wind from that point. I do not anticipate or expect this will be the case throughout, but according to the forecast, the winds are supposed to continue more or less from this sector with the same intensity for a few days.

Expected wind on December 30…

Just the same, I will not be making Christmas Island by the 31 December. At best, I could be there by the first or second of January. I have been making two Christmas Island Pudding every five hours since leaving Darwin, and so far have accumulated, I have 68 of them ready. At 8 slices per pudding, that is feeding 544 people. Ideally, I would have to make 207 more, so that all inhabitants may have a slice, but as the pudding is unsuitable for babies and young children, as well as people who by their religion may not consume foods with alcohol content, I am reasonably certain I will have enough by my arrival.

Here is the data;

From Booby Island location, Torres Strait (03:55 UTC on the 12th), to Darwin (07:42 UTC on the 21st);

Total distance - 787 nautical miles in 219.78 hours, representing an average way of 3.6 knots.

The most favorable segment of the Arafura Sea was between Booby Island to south of the Aru Islands, on the 15th, the point at which Discobot the Omnipresent denied me the opportunity of having a 50 footer again, and I made for New Year Island. During this segment, the way had been 4.7 knots, on average. The distance had been 402 nautical miles. The worst segment was from that point on to Darwin, a distance of 385 nautical miles covered at 2.8 knots, average.

The present segment, the voyage of The D-Gull, has covered 393 nautical miles in 71.4 hours, giving an average way of 5.5 knots. I do expect this to rise slightly once I have the wind on the beam, but it is not going to make “land ahoy!” at Christmas Island by New Years Eve.

PS: Looking at the Sailaway Map, I notice that someone of the Sailaway community, apparently called Gary, seems to be sailing at Chrsitmas Island. That is a funny coincidence! LOL!


@Freak I went and looked for my old screenshots on the PC I was using for BMS – now my oldest son’s PC and couldn’t find anything. It’s a shame too, because I had some pretty cool stuff on there. Guess I’ll just have to make more.

Picking up where I left off…

Heading south after skirting the northern Adriatic, I passed over LDSP.

Continued VOR navigation south eventually reaching Athens Greece. From there I headed northeast to try my hand at PARO airport flying the Alaska Airlines 737-800.

I knew it was going to be tricky, but no one told me the runway was in a hole.

Had to go around on that attempt and try again knowing I had to be dangerously slow…

I ended up overrunning the runway a few feet (well, you know), but I made it!

Taking off was again pretty dicey. Considering the stone wall I was facing:

I loaded 10,000 lbs fuel to make it to my next stop in Malaysia (I think) and made with no drama other than some IMC conditions.

Out of Bhutan:

I did a few hops in the DHC-2 Beaver so I could get a look at the landscape:

This one is flying west across Jakarta

Though I was trying to make the flight with simple nav aids, I had the Garmin GNT-750 installed and I missed that mountain.

My flight planner clearly showed a runway here:

Thankfully, there was a divert field a few miles south.

I went back to X-Plane and the King Air for the remainder of the Christmas flight.

It was really bad weather all the way in.

I thought I had gotten behind a landing aircraft here:

See the light ahead of me?

Turns out it wasn’t an aircraft, but the runway lights!

This was a very bumpy ride with a lot of gusting winds. Awesome fun!

Here I am on the ramp.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate I had a great time planning and flying!


Nice AAR! That makes two of us who made a detour through the Himalayas.


Whew. What started out as the Mudspike Christmas flight turned into an around-the-world trip. My first. In a C-130 Hercules. Many, many issues along the way–replaced engines, parts, pumps, tires, etc; a couple of emergency diverts; route changes. 15 days, 14 legs, 22,973nm, about 90 hours of stick time in the C-130. Don’t think I’ll be doing that again anytime soon. :dizzy_face:

Made it to YPXM in time for Christmas, and made it home to KTUS in time (just) for New Years Eve. Borrowed a gate from Southwest:

Route was westbound:

Happy 2018, Pilots!!


Leg 08 Burlington, WA to Ketchikan, AK (KBVS - PAKT)

First apologies. This report will be rather short due to my being under the weather.

The route:

Although I’m getting fairly comfortable with flight planning and setting up the Lear 25 for a leg, I need to do more of it before engine start or at least with only one turning. Apparently, this is probably the least fuel efficient of all Lears and I’m beginning to appreciate every pound of fuel that gets burned off unnecessarily.

That being said, our departure was uneventful and it felt good to get underway towards Ketchikan.

The GTN’s fuel planning page is really very accurate if you fly the profile.

While I was fumbling with the autopilot trying to determine why it wouldn’t track to the IAF, Ketchikan came into view to starboard. What appeared to be brightly lit hotels, turned out later to be cruise ships in the port.

The intended approach, RNAV GPS for runway 11.

Setting up for a visual for RWY 11.

Way too much ambient light in the cockpit. Apparently taxi lights also toggles some sort of cockpit floods.

No doubt a lot of ringing in the new year going on over at the cruise terminal.

Around 40 minutes of reserve remaining, leaves me a little worried about the next leg, which is almost 200 miles further.

Let’s find a New Year’s party.


That’s awesome. I’ve been thinking of bringing it on home. I guess you just gave me the motivation; I’ll be heading up around the pacific rim and east to get home.


Awesome flight. That Lear is looking great…! I wish I had bought the GTN for P3D back when it was on sale last month. I only bought the X-Plane version (and I looooove it…!) - I shoulda pulled the trigger on the P3D version too. Now I gotta wait for another sale…


After having tacked and stood to the west at 19:20 UTC on the 28 December, 2017, winds remained favorable, though a little light, and I found myself running nicely on the gennaker and main at around 5.5 to 6.5 knots for the rest of the of trip on an 7 to 9 knot wind from astern. I continued making the puddings diligently. By 04:20 UTC, 2 January, 2018, I saw the first seagulls, announcing my proximity to my final destination. Now, there are a lot of interesting birds on Christmas Island, for bird watchers, but all I saw were seagulls again. Heh! C-Gulls…

I hove to just outside of Flying Fish Cove at 10:25 UTC, 2 January, 2018, and left puddings number 97 and 98 cooking. I had completed the distance, but as it was getting dark now, and I did not dare to venture into the small bay without first having contacted someone via radio. Being now in range of the VHF, I made periodic attempts on both the HF and VHF to contact Christmas Island Operations, though no one answered.

Finally, at 14:30 UTC, I got an answer, and by 15:00 UTC, they had Gary on the radio. I kind of guessed he would be here, after my escape from Darwin. There was probably going to be some hell to pay.

“Hello, Gary.”

“Parrot, where the devil are you?”

“Right here, just off Rocky Point.”

He was silent, for a moment.

“You sound very calm, Parrot. But let me tell you, we’ve been having kittens after that little stunt you pulled in Darwin. Get yourself in, now. We need to see you.”

“Yeah, well. I need someone to meet me at the wharf. Turn some lights on, and things. Send a small party down, with a flash-light or two, or it is going to be hard for me to get in.”

“I’ll be there myself,” was his answer.


When I spied lights on the wharf, I set the jib and main, and sailed in extremely close hauled, on the verge of shivering the sails, as the wind was almost directly from the south, and there was little space for tacking around the small bay in the dark. I hauled in along side the wharf at 16:55 UTC, five minutes before local midnight. I heard Gary’s voice calling down.

“Parrot, throw us a rope!”

“That would be a line, Gary. The painter, to be exact. Can you stop shining that bright flashlight in my face, please? I can’t see.”

When he obliged and some of my night vision came back, I hurled up the line to him. He had a group of people with him, one of whom caught it first throw, which was quite amazing in the dark. He tied a clove hitch around a handy bollard, and I climbed up onto the wharf. Standing on the planking, and attempting to walk up it along side Gary and his group of helpers, I found myself stumbling from one edge to the other, walking in zig-zag across its breadth as I progressed, and speaking to gary as I passed him on each tack.

“Darn, they could keep this wharf still, couldn’t they?”

“It is still, Parrot. You’re the one weaving about.”

“Hey, Gary. By the way. Did you find some containers of AV-GAS on the Northampton?”

“Yes, I did. Why did you have them?”

“They were for a guy who is here, for his aircraft. He is probably drunk in a bar somewhere right now.”


I continued to explain, mentioning a certain @NEVO and his DA-42 Twin Star, who had been stuck here since some time before Christmas.

“There is only one problem. I believe his aircraft has turbo-diesel engines. I was bringing the wrong fuel.”

We had reached the land end of the wharf by now, and some dim street lights were throwing some light on the scene, at last. I could see Gary and his random entourage of five helpers, with a bit more clarity.

“My goodness, Gary. I never realized you look like George Clooney.”

“What? I don’t look anything like him!” he was startled.

“And who are these guys you brought along? Are they quintuplets, or is this a lonely guy party? Were they on sale? They look flat. You know, 2-D.”

“Oh, no, Parrot. I thought for a moment you were okay…”

“Never mind, they can help me get the puddings off the D-Gull.”

Then I pointed out across the cove, at a large illuminated industrial structure, with a large freight ship docked next to it.

“What is that all about?” I asked.

"Phosphates, Parrot. It is their major industry here, on Christmas Island, " he said. “It is becoming a bit of an environmental issue, lately, as well”

“Ah,” I answered, and pondered for a moment. “That reminds me of something you said at the beginning of all this.”

“What would that be, Parrot?”

I grinned.

“Tell me, Gary, now that I’m here. Where does that Green Thing stand, after all?”

He stared at me for a moment, placing his thoughts, and suddenly burst out in hearty laughter…


VESSEL: “Breeze”, a Carribean Rose type sloop.
ROUTE: Salinas, Ecuador -> San Cristobal, Galapagos, Ecuador
DIST: 626 NM
DEPARTED: 20:20 UTC, 29 September, 2017
ARRIVED: 16:15 UTC, 04 October, 2017
TIME SAILING: 4 days, 19 hours, 55 minutes (115.92 hours)
AVG SPEED: 5.4 knots

The name “Breeze” was chosen in honor of my grandfather’s ketch, which he operated out of Barrow in Furness, UK, on port pilot duties, between 1919 - 1936. Sold off after my grandfather passed away from complications of appendicitis in 1936, and I do not know any more about it.

The voyage to San Cristobal started with a deviation south due to a changing wind, while sailing on maintain angle to wind on auto-nav. Later, the vessel was becalmed for 12 hours, starting the 1st of October, 2017. This was a server issue. Apparently the subscription to wind data by Sailaway had expired and not been renewed, and there was no wind all over the world for this 12 hour period (confirmed by in game text messages with other members of the Sailaway community).

VESSEL: “Ocean Belle”, a 50 ft Performance Cruiser sloop.
ROUTE: San Cristobal, Galapagos, Ecuador -> Kritimati, Republic of Kiribati
DIST: 6,407 NM
DEPARTED: 18:05 UTC, 4 October, 2017
ARRIVED: 00:15 UTC, 29 October, 2017
TIME SAILING: 24 days, 6 hours, 10 minutes (582.16 hours)
AVG SPEED: 11.0 knots

Again, the name is in honor of one of my grandfather’s vessels, the original “Ocean Belle” was a small lugger that he used mainly for teaching sailing to sea scouts. My father learned his sailing on this boat. It was capsized and later recovered in a squall off Walney Island circa 1935, with the loss of two of my father’s friends, who were drowned. I do not know anymore of its history after that event, except that the experience had pointed my father away from the sea and into aviation.

This was the very best segment of the voyage, run almost entirely on maintain angle to wind navigation mode, due to a very consistent wind from the south, which never strayed once out of a point either side of SbW, and had an approximate intensity of 10-14 knots from local midnight to midday, and 12-17 knots from midday to midnight. The track deviated slightly north of the intended track leaving Galapagos, but maintained parallel from then all the way to Kritimati.

VESSEL: “Bella Donacela”, a 52 ft Catamaran Cruiser, sloop rig.
ROUTE: Kritimati, Republic of Kiribati -> Kanton Island, Republic of Kiribati -> Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
DIST: 2,197 NM
DEPARTED (Kritimati Is.): 02:25 UTC, 1 November, 2017
ARRIVED (Kanton Is.): 04:30 UTC, 7 November, 2017
DEPARTED (Kanton Is.): 22:00 UTC, 7 November, 2017
ARRIVED (Guadalcanal): 16:05 UTC, 26 November, 2017
TIME SAILING: 24 days, 20 hours, 10 minutes (596.16 hours)
AVG SPEED: 3.7 knots

The name is actually my daughter’s joke household nickname!

There was a strange period of being becalmed on the International Date Line (Meridian 180º), between 19:40 UTC, 13 November, and 06:20 UTC, 14 November. I suspect this is a problem with the wind data to the simulator at this location. This becalming, during which I was thoroughly stopped, accounted for the low average speed. Additionally, it was necessary to deviate south to Fiji, to avoid a huge doldrum between Kanton and my intermediate destination at Honiara.

VESSEL: “Northampton”, a 38 foot Ocean Cruiser sloop.
ROUTE: Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands -> Darwin, Australia
DIST: 2,422 NM
DEPARTED: 06:00 UTC, 1 December, 2017
ARRIVED: 07:40 UTC, 21 December, 2017
TIME SAILING: 20 days, 1 hour, 40 minutes (481.67 hours)
AVG SPEED: 5.0 knots

The name is in honor of the US Navy heavy cruiser, “USS Northampton”, sunk at the action off Tassafaronga, Guadalcanal. I chose it because the date I picked up the vessel coincided with the anniversary of the sinking of the cruiser.

Despite frustrations with seriously poor winds in the Arafura Sea, the 38 footer made a great showing, and clocked up an excellent turn of speed when it did have good winds in the Solomon and Coral seas.

VESSEL: “D-Gull”, a Mini-Transat sport sloop.
ROUTE: Darwin, Australia -> Christmas Island
DIST: 1,948 NM
DEPARTED: 09:20 UTC, 21 December, 2017
ARRIVED: 10:25 UTC, 2 January, 2018
TIME SAILING: 12 days, 1 hour, 5 minutes (289.08 hours)
AVG SPEED: 6.7 knots

Named as a parody of the “HMS Beagle”, the brig captained by Robert FitzRoy, RN, between 1831-1836, the travels of which Charles Darwin describes, as a naturalist, in the book “Voyage of the Beagle”. The coincidence I chose for the naming was the fact that the settlement of Darwin, Australia, was named after Charles Darwin, during the next voyage of HMS Beagle. The naturalist was not on board, nor was Fitzroy, on that voyage, but many shipmates from the previous voyage still were.

A completely uneventful voyage, save some serious planning to deviate around yet another doldrum south of Java. The Mini-Transat made good way in the available winds, despite these being relatively light.

TIME SAILING: 86 days, 1 hour (2,065 hours)
VOYAGE TIME OVERALL (including stops): 94 days, 14 hours, 5 minutes (2,270.08 hours)
TIME WASTED NOT SAILING: 205.08 hours (about 8 days, 13 hours)

Quite amazing things here. The distance sailed by sheer coincidence, worked out at exactly 13,600 NM, not a mile more or less. The sailing time, with each segment rounded to the nearest five minutes, worked out at 2,065 hours. The wastage of 8 days of not sailing was mainly due to the IRL factor, when I had just enough time to dock the boat and leave it before rushing off for a couple of days.

Here is the data on the originally planned route. Note that I had two alternates as from the Timor Sea, one to go straight to Christmas Island across the Timor Sea, if I was pressed for time, and a second deviating north through the Java Sea and Sunda Strait, which added 154 miles to the route, in case I had made better way than that planned. Here are the originally planned routes, overlaid with the real route (YELLOW ROUTE, the real track, already described)…

The original intention was to make the complete route in 86 days (2,064 hours). This gave the following required average speeds;

CYAN ROUTE original plan, with a distance of 12,158 NM - 5.88 knots
CYAN ROUTE, MAGENTA DEVIATION from Timor Sea, 12,312 NM - 5.96 knots

Notice, I actually nailed the average speed and was overdue in time by only 1 hour, if sailing time alone is taken into account! Considering my lack of experience with sailing navigation (applying only my basis of aircraft navigation), this was a mind-bogglingly exact estimate. I am thoroughly impressed. The time wastage not sailing, with stops at Kritimati, Kanton, and a lengthy hove to period off Honiara before taking the Northampton, accounted for the delay, and not arriving at Christmas Island in time. Had it not been for these situations, even considering two instances of becalming, and two separate sets of doldrums which affected the voyages of Bella Donacela and Northampton, I could have been there on Christmas day.

An extremely enjoyable simulator experience, in summary. My thanks to Mudspike for the chance to do the Christmas Voyage, and for tolerating my forays into a world of imagined situations (which I am sure must have irked some, for which I apologize). I had a lot of fun, at any rate!

All the best for 2018!


LOL…if it burned vodka he would have been in luck three weeks ago. Alas…I think that supply has dwindled as well…

That’s a fitting name for a sailboat - optimism branded on the stern…I like it…!

Hard to believe the sloop outran the catamaran…although like you said, the wind data might have skewed that data.

That is amazing actually.

Oh man, thanks for taking us along for the ride. It was fascinating to read about it and see the adventure unfold. Bravo!


Me too! Very well done Parrot.


Very cool. What’s the sailing simulator?


This is the one.

Under development as yet, there is still a lot that could be done with it. But it works quite well.